DaveNet: Wednesday, October 8, 1997; by Dave Winer.

blue ribbon Miko Evangelizes

Miko Matsumura, miko@miko.com, is the evangelist for Java at Sun's JavaSoft division. He has a response to Microsoft Response to Sun's Lawsuit, posted yesterday.

Miko Evangelizes

Microsoft's response is unfortunately not substantive enough to rebut except in one area. By this I mean no disparagement, but that I can only respond "not outrageous" when they call our claims "outrageous" and that I can only say "not compatible" when they say "compatible". You say to-MAY-to I say to-MAH-to, you say po-TAY-to, I say po-TAH-to... (let's call the whole thing off) :) Facts, indignation and opinions cannot be sensibly refuted.

But carefully lodged amidst irrefutable facts ("Sun has no ability to impact the shipment or deployment of IE4"), indignation ("...outrageous."), and the matters of opinion ("we think evidence will show that Microsoft has fully complied...") there is a single speculation that I will address.

"Sun has apparently decided that they can't compete in the marketplace."

Without arguing ad hominem about Microsoft's historical unwillingness to compete in an open marketplace, I will articulate how clearly the pot is calling the kettle black.

One of the areas of contention is Microsoft's refusal to ship the Java Native Interface (JNI). There is nothing wrong with Microsoft supporting their own native interface, RNI, as long as they are willing to also ship the Java standard JNI (in accordance with the agreement). Shipping both would give developers the right to choose. By expelling JNI from their implementation, they themselves have decided not to allow these technologies to compete on the basis of merit. We believe that JNI is superior technology. By their intentional exclusion of that API, Microsoft shows their fear that, given the choice, the developers will choose JNI over RNI. Competition is about the freedom to make choices, and Microsoft is not giving developers that choice.

Another issue that was raised were the approximately 40 methods and 50 fields that were added by Microsoft to the AWT (graphics), lang (basic language APIs), and .net (I/O) layers. Any program that inadvertantly adheres to these corrupted interfaces is tied to the Windows platform. We are all in favor of allowing programmers consciously decide to write Java programs for a single platform. Our concern would be if a programmer were not given that choice as a result of a deliberate attempt to mislead.

We welcome all of our 116 licensees to extend the platform by adding their unique expertise to Java. By choosing to extend Java, each of these licensees add value in the marketplace, which is what we encourage and expect. But intentional exclusion and/or corruption of the core classes of Java is not a value add, it is a "value subtract". Any behavior such as that from any licensee would be considered a breach of contract.

To clarify, no company in the Java union wants to exclude Microsoft from Java. Microsoft provides significant OS value on a large number of Java desktops. Sun and its licensees want to include these users in the Java family--it would be bad business not to. The purpose of the suit is bring Microsoft into compliance with the unified Java the marketplace demands and the industry supports.

Mr. Matsumura has a website at http://www.miko.com/. The links in his response are his, not the editor's.

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