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Hail This!

Saturday, April 5, 1997 by Dave Winer.

A couple of housekeeping messages.

First, I didn't explain what the football term Hail Mary! means.

It's the most dramatic play in American football. There's no time left. You're the quarterback, the guy with the ball. You're going to lose if you don't score. Send the receivers deep. Good coverage from the other guys. Take a few steps back. Wait. The crowd leaps to its feet. Hail Mary! OK here goes. Throw it hard and far. Fall to your knees. Throw your hands into the air. Ave Maria. Pray!

Second, a lot of people don't know about my home page.

As I browse the web, gathering background for my DaveNet pieces and web development, I link them into the list on that page. So if you like what's going on in DaveNet, or find it interesting, you'll find more interesting stuff on the website.


Most of the new pieces go up in the morning, Pacific time, sometimes starting very early. We're about to go multi-user, I'm working with a friend on this expansion, so there will be even more interesting stuff in the coming weeks and months on the scripting page.

Are highways safe? Permalink to Are highways safe?

OK, back to the story.

I made a couple of roundtrips to San Francisco this week. Sometimes I drive to San Jose. Every time I do it, I enter an unsecure system.

What are we doing about drunk drivers? Tires that blow out? Ice? Earthquakes? There's lots to worry about!

I think computer networks should be as safe as they can possibly be. I think the roads should be too.

The press Permalink to The press

The press only knows three stories, Apple is dead, Microsoft is evil, and Java is the future.

And they only ask two questions -- Is Apple still dead? Is Microsoft still evil?

Let's ask the third question.

Cash cows and sacred cows Permalink to Cash cows and sacred cows

If you're a Java developer or licensee you're the stuff between two slices of bread. The slices are Sun's virtual machine and Microsoft's. The economic battle, as Sun has defined it, is huge, the stakes are too high for Microsoft to ignore.

Another metaphor. Microsoft is a brick wall. Like so many in the past, Sun has decided to throw itself against the wall as hard as it can, hoping to break it.

Here's what the wall looks like. Microsoft has OEM deals with virtually every PC hardware manufacturer. They make money on each PC they sell. This is a multi-billion dollar business for Microsoft. It would be very natural for PC-makers to license their Java VM from Microsoft instead of Sun. Where are Dell and Gateway and Compaq on this?

And Sun's mainstay operating system, Solaris, is being undermined by Microsoft's Windows NT operating system. There's a lot of movement to NT. Sun must fear that NT will displace Solaris.

Two questions Permalink to Two questions

First question -- Microsoft has a Java Virtual Machine to offer OEMs. Does their contract with Sun prohibit them from licensing that VM?

Second question -- has any magazine done a comparative review of Microsoft's Java VM against Sun's? Which is better?

I understand that Sun's is 100 percent pure. Now, which runs faster and runs more usable apps?

The future Permalink to The future

This Java stuff is an interesting distraction, but the future is still the web.

It's the platform without the platform vendor. It's mine as much as Sun's. No one can get in my way here. There are millions of web users and it's growing at an incredible pace.

All the dissent over Java runtimes is killing Java. Sure it's built into the web browsers, but even the leading Java developers say that the interesting stuff will run outside the browser. As soon as you go that route, Java loses its advantage.

I write code in Java-like languages. You can build new things with Java, for sure, but you can do that with other languages and in more complete environments.

In other words, if you have an idea there's no need to wait for Java to catch up with you.

Dave Winer

© Copyright 1994-2004 Dave Winer. Last update: 2/5/07; 10:50:05 AM Pacific. "There's no time like now."