I Might Like You Better
Wednesday, April 30, 1997 by Dave Winer.
I just heard a song on the radio, Never Say Never, by Romeo Void. A woman singer. An eclectic early-80s punk beat. It's a funny song!
"I might like you better if we slept together. I might like you better if we slept together. I might like you better if we slept together. I might like you better if we slept together. But something in your eyes... tells me... that maybe... that's never."
Right on! Developer relations is still a mating ritual. Even if there are Macs at JavaSoft, Java is still singin that song, saying come join us and then we'll decide if we like you.
Does Java really have an answer to the security problem? No, there's no smartness to the Java sandbox, no way to move stuff over the firewall. Java is a world unto itself, which means that users will store stuff there that they don't want to lose, and that stuff can be read or deleted by net-based agents.
Is there any value in Java's cross-platform promise? Mac users don't want to use software that doesn't look and behave like Mac software. Same for Windows users, and I suspect Solaris users. Java has to find a niche where people don't use software. In the mainstream market there's no time to catch up.
Further, the Mac implementation of Java is falling behind the Windows and Solaris implementations, invalidating Sun's cross-platform pitch.
Religious wars over language syntax are boring. Programming languages without environments are boring too.
Hey the Mac was supposed to be a Pascal operating system, another language that was presented as a panacea. Now you can write Mac apps in any language. Same for Windows. It'll be the same for the Java OS.
The 100-percent pure campaign is an attempt to bind the language to the environment, to buy Sun the time to write an operating system around Java. At the same time, people are porting Java to make it work inside all kinds of environments, not just the Java OS.
Java is confusing. Is it an environment or a language? As a language it looks good. The environment is incomplete.
What they're doing at Sun is really simple. They're reimplementing all the pieces of Netscape Navigator 4.0. Where's the line? Java Beans looks like a browser. An emailer in Java is a no-brainer. Who's doing one? Look in the feature list for Netscape Navigator. That's where Java is headed.
Why do this? I have no answer. I don't even like all the extra things they've bundled with Netscape. I still use Eudora (and hate it!).
I installed the Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 beta on my Windows machine, and I want to figure out how to get it off asap.
I don't want the browser to take over my desktop! Please, a web browser is just a way to display formatted pages of text and graphics. It's not an excuse for engineers at Microsoft, Netscape and Sun to rewrite the rules on how I use my computer.
Let's take a serious look at this.