News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 10/10/97
Kaffe is a GNU Java virtual machine (w/source):
From: email@example.com (John Jensen);
Sent at 10/11/97; 7:11:19 AM;
Guavac is a GNU Java compiler (w/source):
They are both part of the JOLT project
Whose manefesto starts:
"The aim of the JOLT project (originally proposed in the Linux-Java HOWTO as "Mr. Coffee") is to produce a freely redistributeable "clean-room" clone of Java that will pass Sun Microsystems's Java validation suite."
Do you really not know about these things?
Today after reading several articles from Scripting News I came to an important realization:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff T. Polczynski);
Sent at 10/10/97; 8:20:57 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
Q: If Microsoft disabled Java what browser would I be using?
A: Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Why? Because I don't need Java and IE is a better product. The only time I've seen Java as being imp ortant was when I was still a Macintosh owner. A month ago I became the proud owner of a Wintel box, and just a week ago I shipped my old Quadra 660AV off to it's new owner.
Who needs Java?
People not running Win95 need Java. For the first time in my life I can finally stand proudly on the other side of the fence. You know what I think about being on this side? The grass really is greene r. More products, more people, more fun, no Apple.
Of course it be alot greener if there was Frontier on this side... BBEdit would be nice too, but Ric h Siegel already said I was silly for switching over to the dark side.
My one final comment to the Bare Bones guys would involve MicroEmacs. My close friend (only lives tw o blocks from me) Dan Lawrence makes a text editor called MicroEmacs. He has ported it to everything from Atari to Zeniths. Shareware fees still trickle in every now and then from people using some of the strangest setups. The point? Like microsoft, trying to "do it all at once" really does pay off.
Jeff "Oh, congrats on the 3-year mark!" T.P.
"Every sale brings us one step closer to the Dream: A computer on every desk, and in every home, running Microsoft software."
From: email@example.com (Chris Hanson);
Sent at 10/10/97; 5:49:06 PM;
Why Microsoft does it
I saw this in Microserfs; I think it's a good statement of Microsoft's goals.
If an Olympic athelete has 6 gold medals, would you ask why he or she wants another? Why do they keep training and competing? Isn't it greedy to want another medal when it could be left for others? The purpose of a business is to make money, and profits are the measure of your success. In software, you have to be Number 1 in a product area in order to remain successful in the long run. All software companies try to be Number 1, and Microsoft has been more successful than most at doing this, largely by hiring the best people. It has nothing to do with Bill being greedy or having different goals from any other CEO.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Lowe);
Sent at 10/10/97; 5:39:47 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
Since you're having all of this talk of Java today, here's a case where Sun has let a third party have the Java code to modify it to run on Linux (for non-profit use of course.) From how it looks to me the folks that get are modifying Sun's source have some free license. This kinda makes it GNU licensed, but it still has to be for non-profit use.
From: email@example.com (Sam Phillips);
Sent at 10/10/97; 5:03:09 PM;
I'm very saddened by this latest round in the Java world.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dino Morelli);
Sent at 10/10/97; 7:31:32 PM;
Money Money Money
I've just this past month taken on a full-time contract job to write Java code for IBM.
I like Java. It's a nice language. Smart.
Now, I don't trust Microsoft's implementation of the core of Java. I was using J++ for all of my Java development. I dumped it this past 2 days. I bought Sun's Java WorkShop 2.0. I had my employers buy it for me there at the office. It's infuriating. I bought J++ because I like the Visual DevStudio IDE. My money, I bought a product that's garbage now. It's gone.
I don't trust either of these companies right now, but I'm thinking for now it'd be smarter to work with development tools that are from Sun. And see where it goes.
But, really, I'd like to see this language live. I'd like to work in it for years to come. I'd like to see it managed by a standards bureau.
Aloha Dave. I've had a recent and enlightening Microsoft experience I'd like to share, but first some background:
From: email@example.com (Keola Donaghy);
Sent at 10/10/97; 2:33:41 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
I am network administrator and computer curriculum developer for the Hawaiian language immersion programs that involve approximately 1,500 K-11 students statewide, and also work with University-level Hawaiian language departments around the state. We've used the Macintosh almost exclusively since the inception of the program, which coincidentally began in 1984, the same year as the rollout of the first Macs.
Over the years we've translated many programs into Hawaiian, including the FirstClass Client for Mac which is the backbone of our telecommunications system. Late last year I wrote to Netscape to see if they would allow us to translate Navigator so that our children could surf the Web in Hawaiian. No anwer. The message was sent over and over to a number of different individuals at Netscape. Not a single one even replied.
This past spring I wrote a message to Bill Gates, essentially explaining our program and our desire to translate Internet Explorer into Hawaiian, and asking if he could forward the message to the appropriate person at Microsoft. I did not really expect anything to happen, Bill must get thousands of emails a day from all kinds of people with all kinds of outrageous requests. About a week later I got a message from someone at Microsoft explaining that our request had been forwarded to him, and that he was directing someone at Microsoft to help us. A short time later a message came from Walt DePetris, who quickly got us all the information needed. To cut a long story short, we got the Internet Explorer Developer Kit ($29.95 if memory serves), and permission to do the translation ourselves, and distribute it to our schools.
Finally, about two month ago, out of the blue, I received a message from someone at Netscape stating they had no plans to translate Navigator into Hawaiian, I replied that we wanted to do the translation ourselves, and were equipped to do so. A month later another message repeating what had been said in the first message. I wrote back that Microsoft had been very helpful and were going to allow us to do the translation, and I would no longer waste any of my time pursuing the translation of Navigator or Communicator.
Microsoft has very little to gain financially from the Hawaiian-speaking world. There are but a few thousand of us, and though our computer use is growing incredibly, we are probably not going to put millions into anyones pocket with our software purchases. Are Bill and Microsoft in it for the money? Surely they are, but I have a growing appreciation for the way they are going about it.
If this message gets posted publicly, and read by Bill or anyone at Microsoft, mahalo a nui ia 'oukou pakahi a pau - thanks to each and every one of you. We may not be ready to give up our Macs, but if the day should ever come that we need to change platforms, I'll feel much more at ease about the transition.
Dave, I think it's not a great question. It's like asking the 49ers "How many SuperBowls is enough, guys? Shouldn't you step down?"
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rick Eames);
Sent at 10/10/97; 2:18:01 PM;
It's never enough because the "game" never stops. It's constant.
I work at Microsoft not for the money, but for the chance to do something real on the Macintosh. I even, strangely enough, work on Java here. I am here because this is the best place to be.
As a rather technical-savvy non-programmer, I'm quite confused by all the Java hype. I've experimented with Java just enough to grasp what it's capable of. But without something to compare it against (C, C++, etc.) it's hard for me to size it up.
From: email@example.com (Cameron Barrett);
Sent at 10/10/97; 4:49:17 PM;
Java Gives Me Heartburn
So, you can imagine what the general public must think about all of this political in-fighting between computer/software companies. It's like the Republicans against the Democrats all over again. I didn't vote in 1996 and probably won't vote again in 2000. Neither candidate is capable of running the country to my liking, so why should I participate?
To me, it seems like Microsoft is controlling the development of the Java standards more than anyone else, despite what Sun says or does. With the politicians, it has turned into decades of mudslinging and momentary memory lapses that just give themselves a bad name all around.
You say Microsoft has all the money they'll ever need. So why are they trying to control yet another standard? Why can't Microsoft sit back and conform to another's defined standards? Sun's version of java is not going to kill Microsoft. All Microsoft has to do is implement it without any tricks, something I'm sure they are very capable of. Why does Microsoft have to "own" everything it touches.
It's a shouting match between McNealy and Gates where no one will win except McNealy or Gates. What about the developers? What about the consumers? How much longer do we have to watch and hear this crap before we'll just change the channel...or worse yet, turn it off. Then, where would we be? I''ll bet that if you walked into the local CompUSA or BestBuy and asked the first 10 people at the computer display which computer platform they should buy, that only 1 or 2 of them will be able to tell you the pros and cons of each. The general public relies on advertising, marketing and [unknowledgeable?] sales people to help them make their purchasing decisions.
We had a chance in 1993-94 to make the web the Next Great Medium without Microsoft having anything to do with it. However, it took Microsoft only a short while to catch up and it seems that now they have their fingers everywhere, causing everyone heartburn and headaches, with their huge FUD machine. The FUD machine is what is killing Apple. Apple is once again becoming a niche market player. Maybe that's what they need.
Sun. Microsoft. If you're listening, maybe you should do yourselves a favor and settle your differences. Legally, Sun owns Java and can do whatever they want with it. Same goes for Microsoft and Windows. Microsoft sets the standards for Windows apps, so why can't Sun set the standards for Java apps? I don't see Sun telling Microsoft what to do with Windows standards...
Damn it. Why does Microsoft have to go and mess up a perfectly good thing. Enough is enough. I've had it. Please don't make me vote between SunJava and MSJava. Frankly, all this political garbage is pissing me off. Sheesh.
Hi, Dave. I've thought a lot about what Bill wants and I've come to the conclusion that it can't be money. If it was money, he would have retired years ago. If it was money, he would live like a mogul, delighting in his wealth. What he wants, I think, is power and success in his own small world of the computer software industry--money is only the symbol of that success to him. Think about the vision with which he started MSFT: a computer on every desk and in every home. And Bill wants to own the software in every machine and in every pipe between every machine.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jason Pontin);
Sent at 10/10/97; 1:02:36 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
Now if you ask, *Why* does Bill want to dominate the computer industry, that I can't tell you . Computers are what he does, what he has thought about for most of his life.
As well ask why a fish swims upstream. I'm telling you that there is no external value (like money) you can look to explain why Bill is like Bill. Like the Jewish God, like Jaweh, he is what he is.
Given the script that has been written so far, Sun had no option but to sue. You have to protect your rights in court or they lose power, legal and otherwise.
From: email@example.com (Phil Hood);
Sent at 10/11/97; 12:48:45 AM;
Re:Money Money Money
George Gilder says a programmer at Microsoft is worth at least three times more than a programmer anywhere else due to the Windows monopoly. That's what all the excitement is about Java.
It levels the playing field.
Steve Ballmer said that Sun is asking programmers to write to Java APIs instead of Windows APIs and Microsoft would "not allow that." That suggests unbridled power.
This whole thing is very unfortunate. To a great degree hundreds of millions of people now earn their living by their ability to use software and computers to do things. I am very, not totally, dependent on Microsoft softwar e to communicate--which is how I earn my living. Ultimately the world can't allow all decisions about streaming video, word processing, web serving, corporate databases and a million other software issues, to be decided on the basis of what's best for Microsoft shareholders, or even to be decided on the basis of fear about what Microsoft might do to retaliate.
Up to now, the free market has not been able to reach a satisfactory solution to the issue of Microsoft's power, which is why DaveNet and other people talk about it all the time. So many companies make all their strategy decisions with one eye cocked toward Redmond that it makes us all feel governed (or pushed around) by Microsoft's actions, whether that is true or not.
Yes, the contract should be made public, as should Sun's test suites and scoring methodology. The latter should be a no-brainer!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Lewin);
Sent at 10/10/97; 12:40:07 PM;
Java & Disclosure
Why is Sun keeping it all a secret? The day the lawsuit was announced, Scott McNealy exhorted his audience to reject IE and embrace Netscape, because Netscape is "compliant" and IE isn't. How can we tell for ourselves? We can't, which sucks!
Until Sun fully discloses its testing procedures and the results are validated by independent third-parties, we're left with the sad conclusion that Sun's motivations in this lawsuit are purely political and not grounded in the equitable application of principle.
But you didn't mention the answer in your piece at all. In two words. Power. Respect. Money is a means to an end. They want power. Money usually buys it--and at least the semblance of respect. Bill's still greedy because he has all of the money, and a lot of the real power, but none of the respect. Wonder what his childhood was like? I'll bet you there are issues from then still working themselves out. Without respect, there is no revenge of the nerds...
From: email@example.com (Caryn Shalita);
Sent at 10/10/97; 12:23:47 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
And sorry to dis your generation yet again, but with Bill and Scott, as with most baby boomers, as usual, it's all about them....and how they are perceived...not about what really happens to technology in the world because of them... Selfishness. Sorry for the 80's, but only to a point...and only because it made them look like greedy SOB's, not because they actually were...
Well, Dave, I certainly agree with you that this is all about money and power. If that is true, you shouldn't be surprised that no one, let alone the largest and most powerful companies, (addicted to their daily dosages of both money and power) would both demand to win this game.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Amy Wohl);
Sent at 10/10/97; 2:59:17 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
Whatever made you think Microsoft, Sun, or any comany cared about developers, except to the extent that developers help these comanies in their goal to amass money and power?
You're too altruistic!
People care what these guys say and do because it might help them:
1. Get power and money themselves; or
2. Avoid risk
That's the game!
check out the kaffe implementation of the Java VM:
From: H.Wallnoefer@infosys.tuwien.ac.at (Hannes Wallnoefer);
Sent at 10/10/97; 8:53:04 PM;
Re:"Java cleanroom pointers"
which is part of the JOLT project at http://www.redhat.com/linux-info/jolt/
Bill gates is not a mystery. He's pleasantly straight forward. Bill does not want money. He wants to own (read, win, be the best, control) the chessboard that is the computer industry. Why? Becasue he loves the "business of technology" (which is *not* technology). Money is secondary, tertiary, perhaps not a motive at all. Making winning moves in a high stakes game with his passion (the busin ess of technology) at the heart of it is what drives this man. He is a pure, unmitigated, intellect ual, Machiavellian, technology executive. That's why he's so good. That's why he's so formidable. No emotion. Pure chess...as manny winning moves in a row as possible...and always thought out as m any moves ahead as possible. If victory in this game yeilds power..I mean POWER, then that will be fun for him too, but only because it will enable him to, more than ever, dictate the rules of "his" game - the information age game of the business of technology.
From: email@example.com (Stephen Bove);
Sent at 10/10/97; 11:47:27 AM;
Bill and "the business of technology"
Right on, Dave!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steven Gilman);
Sent at 10/10/97; 11:49:33 AM;
Re:Money Money Money
Business is about egos and personality, not business. The money thing is ego-food. It may not be money per se, but what it represents as identification value. The old maxim, maybe cliche' still with relevence; 'The world is a stage'. So, this is a stage as well, and the money is accolades in the world of illusion.
If there is a business perspective, and that is debateable, then it's also tied up with NC's, Net-PC's, workstation management and who controls the desktop controls the network. Java is a lynchpin in this equation.
I don't believe billg is after more money. He's a deal maker, a fighter and loves winning by outsmarting (beating) his competitors; just like many other driven people. It's not about more money for him or Microsoft...that's just what comes with winning. Winning is what it's all about and by winning you show how good you really are.
Sent at 10/10/97; 2:01:26 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
Dave! You da man! What huge rocks you throw! I'm glad someone stepped up and pointed out how many naked emperors we have fighting over Java.
From: email@example.com (Chuck Shotton);
Sent at 10/10/97; 12:55:14 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
Sun is fighting this so hard because they can see the writing on the wall. Their platform, as a unique development platform, is under intense threat from Wintel systems. Gates discusses this in his interview.
From: FIngham@xpense.com (Fred Ingham);
Sent at 10/10/97; 10:41:35 AM;
Re:Money Money Money
If Sun, as you say, accepts a "compromise that radically alters the structure of the software industry, takes the focus off Microsoft, and lets Sun return to its roots making servers and database hardware", they are effectively resigning themselves to a future where the Solaris/Sparc platform will become increasingly marginalized. NT is gaining on them - at some point, application developers, administrators and users are going to refuse to support these two systems if they can standardize on Wintel. Java represents an opportunity to keep Solaris/Sparc as a viable platform, because developers will be able to write apps for Sun hardware at the same time they are writing apps for Windows. This is especially true if Sun controls the Java standard.
Without Java as a viable, attractive, cross-platform environment, Sun will either become a niche platform on the margins of the industry (ala Apple), or will have to drop its role as a platform provider, and become, as you say, a server and DB hardware vendor (supporting the NT platform), and get used to life as just another dog on the Microsoft sled.
Well, Java isn't all that special. It has a C++-like syntax, and is somewhat dynamic, but NewtonScript is pretty damn cool, and it had a byte-code interpreter, and later a JIT compileresque sort of architecture, and NewtonScript and frames are much more dynamic and interesting (albeit less secure). Java just hitched a ride on the coat-tails of the web, which in itself is a cool, but not-all-that-special technical reality.
Sent at 10/10/97; 12:40:04 PM;
Re:Money Money Money
It's virtually impossible to create a "clean room" implementation of Java. All of the API, native code hooks, etc. have to be done from scratch. I have worked on some stuff like this; it's an uphill battle. People want to buy products that have the Java blessing imprinted on them, but Sun won't disclose the nature of their "Java compliance" tests in order to get a license to use their libraries -- you have to "clean room" those. You can send them your interpreter/compiler/JIT, but then they know your secrets. You never know theirs. They tell you if the tests passed or failed, but you don't get to know what the tests are.
Sorta like having a class where you have nasty tests and never are told what to study. You can figure out as much as you'd like about the bytecode format, and it's easy enough to understand how all that crap works (it's rather inefficient and the JDK source code sucks), but as far as implementing all of their bizarre libraries, etc., and then expecting all of your "clean room" stuff to magically pass tests you can't even see... Heh.
Good luck. Sun is going after Microsoft with really weak technology that's slow, and IMHO the wrong way to go about things.
Be, on the other had, has solved the cross-platform issue in a manner that doesn't drastically affect performance and doesn't hinder features because the platform is designed for the lowest common denominator.
I nearly deleted todays Davenet because the subject looked like a Spam!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Curt Howland);
Sent at 10/10/97; 10:11:43 AM;
Re:Money Money Money
When I was at Natural Intelligence, we wrote a clean room implementation of Java and shipped it. It was the first Java available for the Macintosh, months before Sun shipped theirs. Now its owned by Roaster technologies but we were never Sun licensees. Couldn't afford it. No small startup without big venture $$$ could.
From: email@example.com (Chris Evans);
Sent at 10/10/97; 10:07:37 AM;
Re:Money Money Money
(not speaking for Microsoft)
Thanks for the sneak preview! I was looking through some old Scripting News articles last night; here's one I remember from only six months ago:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael McAvoy);
Sent at 10/10/97; 9:16:12 AM;
Re:"Screen shot of Frontier 5/Win"
So much done in so little time!
Is this not what the folks at Natural Intelligence were doing?? I remember their presentation at Web Edge at Apple R&D a couple of years ago. They were preaching their "clean room" implementation.
From: email@example.com (Chris Chapman);
Sent at 10/10/97; 11:56:37 AM;
Clean Room Java
I'm not sure whatever happened to all that. I started using the MetroWerks stuff and forgot all about them. It would be interesting to find out because there were some guys from Sun there really giving them the business. I would expect that Sun squashed that idea. Might give some interesting perspective.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian Kelly);
Sent at 10/10/97; 12:52:31 PM;
F5 for Win 95 (Screenshot)
I peeked at the Win95 screenshot last night and was a bit confused. I've used the Mac version of Frontier a tiny bit and noticed that it pretty much looks exactly the same (the graphics and fonts and what not). I was expecting the Win95 version to have a more... Win95 look.
I'm pretty sure you're not interested in changing the GUI of the Win95 version any time soon, but as a long time Win95 user (and short-time Mac User) the GUI is somewhat "alien". Alien in the sense that I don't use a Macintosh. I understand that in cross-platform programs you want there to be little difference in the GUI between the Mac and Win95 version but it just doesn't sit right with me. I wouldn't feel at home using it. (I'm gonna use it anyway!)
I'm sure a lot of people might wanna flame me and tell me to get over my Win 95 look, but I think I can speak for a number of hard-core 95 users when I say that the interface is strange.
I didn't think you were going to use the MDI type of look. F5 on the mac reminds me of Visual Basic 4 (and less) on Win95, with the one Menu Bar Window on the top and the several different tool windows. It seems you have gone the VB 5 route though, with all the child windows inside an MDI Window. I guess it's easier for you though to make it look and act like the Mac version.
Anyway, didn't want to start a fight, just giving you my gut feeling.
I agree with you that Java is not very useful in the current moment, but I think Java do have its potential. You are true that one can make a fun website w/o using Java. However, there are indeed some situations that will be handled by Java, instead of other programming languages or scripting languages.
From: email@example.com (kcheung);
Sent at 10/10/97; 11:16:51 AM;
Visit this site.
It showcases a Java-based topic index. IMHO, it's a pretty good way to help navigate a big web site. Can you do it in just HTML? You can do similar thing with the help of a cgi, but it will not archive the level of simplicity of this applet. Can you do it with client-side scripting? Yes, but coding such a script will use a lot of text and since HTML file is in ASCII, I am pretty sure that the HTML file will be bigger in file size than the Java applet is. Also, client-side scripts, until the MS proposed scriptlet become widely used, cannot be cached. Can it be done using other programming languages? Of course, yes, but the cross-platform problem enters here, and you cannot embed this program into your web page.
If you don't agree this applet is useful, fine! But at least you should agree that it is more useful than those Java-based animation, right? As you said, Java is a programming language, that means you can do anything you can do in any traditional programming languages, so how can you think that no one can come up with a useful Java applet to be used on a web site? Just imagine if someone writes a Java applet to access a Frontier server thru the Net. It will be able to do everything that the "Frontier Application" can do, yet it's completely cross-platform!
The Java-based topic index mentioned above seems to have a bug when running in the Mac Netscape. Everytime you put in a new character into the text-field, it keeps the previously highlight item in the scrollbox. The Windows Netscape has no problem with it. I didn't test it on the Mac IE, so I don't know if the bug presents.