Making Sense of Java
Wednesday, June 25, 1997 by Dave Winer.
I've gotten email from Sun Microsystems employees saying (with sadness not anger) that it seems as if I'm feeding a religious war against Java. They want the old Scripting News back, the one that seemed friendlier to Java.
On Monday I ran a comment on Java from Cornelius Willis, Microsoft's Director of Platform Marketing.
Mr. Willis was doing his job, and I was doing mine by running his comment. I may appear one-sided, because only one side is speaking to me. Microsoft has used DaveNet and Scripting News skillfully.
Where are the proponents of Java to respond to Microsoft's challenge? Who are the leaders of the Java world and why are they so silent? Their comments would be welcome, and would certainly add balance to the discussion.
Before someone from Sun responds, check out Scott Guthery's comments:
He says that Java is a pure branding play, a Ponzi scheme, JAPL (just another programming langauge) and an anti-trust dodge.
These points require a response. I'm sure if Microsoft was being questioned this way, we'd hear from them.
It's true that Java is a religious issue, but I didn't make it that way. I'm allowing the religion to be part of the debate on the Scripting News site. In my own writing I'm telling you what I think, based on what I know. If the facts are wrong, set me straight.
Long term, I'm trying to get to a place where Java makes sense to me, and then take all the religion out of the discussion. I want to get to work, use each tool and each runtime for what it's good for.
Java can play a role in my world. I understand that it's fluid, stuff is happening in real time. I think that's great! What everyone does now can make a big difference for the future.
When I say that Java isn't positioned, that's a challenge. Tell me what it is. What isn't it? How does it fit in with software that's not written in Java? I want to know.
From Reede Stockton, email@example.com, a longtime correspondent, who as far as I know has nothing to do with Sun, JavaSoft, Netscape or Marimba.
He said: "You're missing the point. The idea which is pushing Java isn't how to get there the most efficient way with today's system -- it's how do we grow the market in a way that frees us from the constraints of platform limitations.
"Hardware is cheaper than software development. Always has been. Always will be. Bandwidth will continue to grow. Local computing horsepower will continue to grow. NCs are a realistic option. TVs with keyboards, Java chips and network storage are a realistic option.
"Do we want to be able to deliver stuff today? Sure. Can we do it today with Java? Probably not. Does that mean Java is bull? Sure. And the 128K Mac was a toy. Ignore Java at your own peril. Let's compare target market size in 5 years."
I'm not ignoring Java! Quite the opposite...
I remember when they called the original Mac a toy, but I was pretty sure it would be greater than that. Stockton's comments ring a bell for me.
I'm into debate and learning from other people.
Why should we trust Sun?