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Sun Microsystems

Sun To MS: You Don't Get It 284

Chuck Humble, who works at Waggener-Edstrom, one of Microsoft's earliest PR agencies, has sent an e-mail to reporters, questioning Sun's technologies and "crowing" about Microsoft's .NET. Sun has decided to answer Chuck and Microsoft with this Open Response to Microsoft. Definitely worth reading, and pretty funny answers.
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Sun to MS: you don't get it

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    We are being Stallmanned. Each of us is being exploited by the GNUs when we go to the market to buy food. The GNUs charge a hidden software tax that costs consumers billions of dollars per year in tribute payed to the GNUs. The Stallman GNU\Linux Tax is a national scandal, and it serves as one more reason why we must solve the GNUish Problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here is my response to Sun as inserted into their website:

    I am no friend of Microsoft, and I commend you on the responses (not the sentiment behind them), but I do not believe that Sun Microsystems would have behaved any better if you had been a monopoly.

    I have been using Sun hardware for years, and over time, the cost/capability ratio of your machines has been consistently increasing with respect to the WINTEL conspiracy. Also, software for Unix is priced using models that are untenable for individual users.

    Today, I can load Linux on a Intel machine and lower my cost to around 50% over equivalent Sun hardware. Maybe, this is why you are concentrating on Web based services and servers.

    Also, I believe that Java would have been more widely accepted and adopted if you had the prescience to do what Berners-Lee did -- give it away. Retaining control over Java and its derivatives has hurt the technology. But you knew this anyway.

    Java as a language is a poor implementation of concepts known in Computer Science for years. The forced compatibility of syntax to C and C++ has produced bloat in the language making it unusable in an efficient manner. I can do all anyone can and more in Lisp or Scheme, and have been able to for years. So much for having invented the greatest language on earth -- I thought it was only the winners that got to write history.

    Let's face it. No large corporation is for open standards -- least of all Microsoft and Sun. You may act holier than thou with Microsoft, but most of your consternation comes from seeing what you might have become, appearing in a combination of envy and disgust.

    So, stop preaching, and do by example. Posting answers to stupid questions as you have done will not help you gain ground. Bloody evangelists are all the same -- no one lives their religion.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Personally, as someone who owns stock in Sun, I'm pissed that they would actually make that sort of public response. It's ridiculous that two gigantic, multibillion dollar corporations are going at it like a couple of schoolchildren. Yes, I love Java and I hate Microsoft. Then again, I'm a college student. Given how easy it is for computer scientists to find jobs these days, I can afford to be immature and blow off Microsoft when they ask me to schedule an interview. I do not think it's okay for Sun to act the same way. If they need to respond to crap like that, they could at least do so with a bit more dignity.

  • I don't want to spend time learning how to use Microsoft APIs and .NET, given that I have already put a load of effort into learning the Java APIs.

    Those APIs that keep getting 'depracated' you mean?

    If MS succeeds with its .NET vision, then thousands of programmers will have to spend a lot of time learning how to do the same things differently

    You mean, all those programmers who already know VB and VC++, which they can continue to use under .NET?

    Opposing a new technology because you don't want to learn it seems a bit short-sighted to me.

  • Now, it might not be a standard, it might not be as open as, say perl - but if I took perl and extended it, and wrote something that used those extensions, it wouldn't work on everyone elses system

    Tell me again how that would be writing cross platform applications? I'm not sure I get your point. Have you ever known anybody do this and then complain that their application doesn't work across platforms? No, because you would slap them with a wet kipper if they did.

  • I am by no means an expert on .Net, but I have been reading quite a bit. .Net is a marketing term which covers a whole lot. There are various pieces, and I believe you are focused solely on C# and the CLR.

    But as to your question. It's hard to say since there isn't a Unix implementation yet.

    But the GUI elements of C# seem to me to be quite portable.

    Your write something like:

    private Button button1 = new Button();
    button1.Location = new Point(10,10);
    button1.Size = new Size(50,25);
    button1.Text = "OK"
    button1.Click += new System.EventHandler(button1_Click):

    and so forth...

    That and the other GUI primitives seem to me to be quite portable.

    Now there are obviously going to be things that you can do on Windows easily that you won't be able to do on Unix simply because Windows supports the functionality and Unix does not.

    And vice versa.

    From what I have seen Java limits you to the lowest common denominator. Microsoft didn't want to make that mistake, and thus C# is far more flexible in what it will allow you to do.
  • ".NET seems to drag along a signifigant part of the Windows API. "

    You seem to be considerably confused over what .Net is. That's not unsurprising, as I think Microsoft has not communicated that well.

    .Net encompasses a great deal of change for the Windows platform. But in this case, the piece of .Net being discussed between Microsoft and Sun is SOAP, or essentially XML based RPC over HTTP.

    That is standardized, it has nothing to do with Windows API, and it is the key to interoperability between systems.

    It's amazing to me the number of people who complain about .Net and just don't get it, primarily because they aren't willing to sit down and learn about it. :(

  • Interesting. But then that pretty much kills the Write-Once Run-Anywhere paradigm, since the minute I take advantage of a Mac specific feature... it won't run anywhere else.

    So now you have a case that if you want a cross-platform solution you have to write your code to be portable.

    Which makes Java just like any other language, just with a lot more overhead.

  • As for those embedded systems, it wouldn't surprise me if they were running a scaled down version of X.

    There actually is a version of GTK and GDK that run on top of a raw framebuffer (just like there is a Qt that does the same). It in and of itself has to reimplment most of the X drawing primitaves (because GDK allows only lightly abstracted access to most of them), and a small window manager like bit. It is probbably still smaller then the small X server. But less useful.

    Yes, I said small X server without gaging. I thought Keith Packard had done one weighing in at about 600K, which isn't tiny, but unless you are a Palm Pilot it isn't worth writing a new windowing system just to get smaller. (all of the little Linux capable PDAs sport a fair chunk of memory, enough that I would say take X, spend the time getting a hotsync, or support for a USB FM Tuner, or something cool)

  • BTW, 'deprecated' is not the same as invalidated. You can still use them, it's just that you get a warning at compile time saying there's a better way, have a look at the docs...Which strikes me as a fairly civilised way of doing things.

    Deprecated items can also be removed one full release after they have been marked deprecated (i.e. Java 3 does not have to include things listed as deprecated in Java 2, but they do have to exist in Java 2.7).

    They don't have to be removed, but I expect if something has been deprecated for multple full releases and finally goes away it'll be a Real Bad Thing.

    Still I would rather have deprecated API calls plus a set of nice sensable calls then a mish-mash of dozens of ways to do it with no clear indication of which is really the best. It is nice to see Sun saying "Oh, awt was a mistake, here is a easier thing to use, and if it isn't good enough we'll fix that too". The alternitave is something like X, or Windows. Or libc.

    At the moment the only time I can forsee taking the time out to learn .NET APIs and (possibly) C#, is if I can't get an interesting job writing Java.

    C# has some nice features (which like Java all appeared elsewhere first). If I didn't have to learn the MS APIs to use it well I would be intrested. Oh, and if it ran on, say, half the platforms Java does. Regretably I think the boxing and unboxing and better destruction sementics will make it hard to implment as a language on top of the JVM...

  • .Net encompasses a great deal of change for the Windows platform. But in this case, the piece of .Net being discussed between Microsoft and Sun is SOAP, or essentially XML based RPC over HTTP.

    That may be, but I am discussing .Net itself, not just part of it. As far as I can tell to make a useful GUI .Net program you need to use a lot of Windows APIs. I wrote a ssh client in Java, and looked into making a C# one. I learned enough about C# to like it, and enough about .Net to not write it. If I have enough free time I may still do the C# version. I expect to use it less then the Java one (I normally only use it to get mostly secure access from odd places)

    It's amazing to me the number of people who complain about .Net and just don't get it, primarily because they aren't willing to sit down and learn about it. :(

    It is unsupprising, the damm thing is big, and as you said before Microsoft communicates about it poorly. Most people have limited time. I know I do. I spent the weekend looking for framing shots for my film class, I have more hobbies then just computers. I do still feel I know enough about .Net to talk about it. I also realise I don't know enough to really be right about all of it. You seem to imply that you know more about it then me. Is it possable to write a GUI C# program that is portable to systmes that don't implment most of the Windows API? Or are the Unix .Net implmentations going to be as limited as, say, the SmartCard Java implmentations?

  • Hmm, where did this list of things Microsoft finds disappointing about Sun come from? Must be from Festivus[?] [] -- seems like the "Airing of Grievances" is really catching on []!
  • by trb ( 8509 )
    I'm an old-school UNIX hacker, some would say UNIX bigot. But I found Sun's answers smug, juvenile, and annoying. I would have found Sun's response more credible if they just got to the point and saved us the "Chuck, you ignorant slut" ornamentation.
  • It's ridiculous that two gigantic, multibillion dollar corporations are going at it like a couple of schoolchildren.

    I'd like to submit this for understatement of the year.

    ObJectBridge [] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • I'm starting to get tired of the constant MS-SUN feud. If only one of them would actually deliver superiour products, but instead they both concentrate on bickering about each other.

  • If you're really interested in developing with Microsoft go to their fucking website or call them. They are a software company and do actually provide developers some assistance. If you want to throw hypocritical software licencing issues at them don't bother.
  • You have got to be fucking kidding me. What does Sun make that is cheaper than its Intel based counterpart? Solaris gives you as much freedom as Windows 2000 does and don't give me some bright eyed speech, I use both regularly. Sun "forces" you to use Solaris with their hardware; oh shit wait it is merely pre-loading like Windows 2000 what besides you're short sightedness prevents you from nuking the hard drive and installing whatever OS you'd like? If your Windows installation keeps crashing you can with a bit of effort fix it. Or call up your hardware vendor and give them shit for an inferior box. I say fuck Solaris and Windows and Linux. They only reason I almost give a fuck about operating systems is the OS manufacturers are part of my portfolio. It isn't about what you run with it matters what you're running on top. Fuck Linux or Solaris or Windows if I can't access my mission critical application(s) on it. Given the proper tools I can be productive on any system what is it that's causing you so much trouble?
  • Uh..I hate to break this to you but you do NOT have to reverse engineer .doc in order to write an application that reads it. Microsoft Press publishes a pair of books, one concerning Word documents and the other concerning Excel documents. They describe in detail the formats of the document structures. I guess people haven't learned about these books because the documentation costs money. Oh well.
  • Did you JUST register your slashdot account or something? You're like a glowing radioactive inflamed piece of hyperbole. For starters Solaris is not open source in the Richard Stallman Linux zealot sort of way (oddly enough Sun's business plan involves you PURCHASING things from them to generate income). Unicies that comply with POSIX are for the most part interoperable. They do however have different API sets which either aid or hinder developers. If these APIs were standard among different unicies they would not be different unicies. FreeBSD and Solaris both have Linux compatibility layers anyways, most binaries compiled for Linux will run on both Solaris (providing they are compiled for the right processor) and FreeBSD. If this isn't compatibility I don't think you know what is.
    If you think that your opinion of Microsoft having too much money is legal grounds for them to be put out of business I doubt you're over 14 years old, in mentality at least. You cannot put a company out of business for being successful. You can however sue them for improper use of market position and persuade the court to issue an injunction against them. Microsoft has not abused personal freedom or technology or innovation. They have done what many other corporations have done, use whatever tactics necessary to make money. If you want to talk about personal freedom being infringed point fingers at older industrial giants (think mining and production) and look at how said companies turned their workers into little more than indentured servants. Microsoft has yet to destroy a small town's economy a la Flint, MI. We must remain strong and not give into your bullshit.
  • Hey, I'm not gung-ho about .NOT either. I was just pointing out that you can download the BETA version of the framework. I'm sort of skeptical about .NET, though I think it has the potential to be a powerful cross-platform framework. I guess it's Microsoft's trackrecord that leads me to believe they will only push their products and platforms down everyone's throat. We'll see.
  • Please blame me for not reading enough and not asking around enough, but wasn't SUN going to: 1. Break staroffice as a package apart and building it into an opensource office package made up of CORBA objects so it could be used in different GNOME applications?

    The source to Star Office has been opened []. The Open Office hackers are working on merging the component architectures. They already have an early working version of a component you can embed in Nautilus [].

    2. When will solaris be shipped with GNOME as the default desktop?

    At Gnome version 2.0. In the meantime you can certainly download Solaris packages of Gnome. Try the Ximian distribution of the Gnome desktop.

    . When will SUN ship it's systems with a protocol a bit less bloated than X? (Ica?)

    Huh? What major UNIX vendor ships with something other than X? What realistic alternatives are there now? Framebuffer? Berlin? I think not, at this time.

  • You can download the .NET framework BETA from The Microsoft Developer Network []. It's not vapour.
  • If you're really interested in developing with Microsoft go to their fucking website or call them.

    I'm not interested in developing 'with' Microsoft. As I said, I don't use their products. Unfortunately, their products are popular and so it is difficult to escape having to deal with their file formats and protocols.

    They are a software company and do actually provide developers some assistance.

    It just seems like they only do it as long as it is convenient for them. If you want to try to build something that is competing with them, then they will try to crush you. If you want to build something that works with their products, but it extends to competing products, then they will still try to stop you. For that matter, if you build a new product niche even in their environment they will likely wait until you prove the market then they will either try to buy you out for pennies or crush you so they can hijack the market.

    If you want to throw hypocritical software licencing issues at them don't bother.

    As if Microsoft has any room to talk about hypocracy when it comes to licensing... Have you ever read any of their license agreements?

    My question about licensing is if I was to use the information from their books instead of reverse engineering one of their file formats or protocols, are they going to try to sue me for that?

  • Sun is saying that it is OK for their implementations to be proprietary, but it is not OK for MS to do the same.

    Proprietary implementations aren't the same as proprietary formats. While the application that creates a file or document in a particular format might be proprietary, that doesn't mean the file or document format has to be proprietary. For example, Microsoft could keep MS-Word proprietary, but release the .doc format as a public standard. They could, but so far they haven't. What that means is that to write an alternative program that reads .doc formats you have to reverse engineer the format. Contrast that with Sun's proprietary implementation of Java. The Java spec is publicly available, although unfortunately not yet standardized by an independant standards body as many people would like to see. You can sit down and write your own implementation of Java from the spec, as for example the Kaffe and IBM people have to a certain extent.

    While sun isn't perfect when it comes to supporting open source or open standards, they are a lot better than Microsoft who openly slams open source and only pays lip service to open standards for PR purposes while continuing their same old 'embrace and extend' patterns.

  • I do not believe that Sun Microsystems would have behaved any better if you had been a monopoly

    Thankfully Sun never has been close to a monopoly, as there have always been enough competitors in their market space to keep them well under 50% of the market. Given that nobody out there expects that HP, IBM or Compaq for example are going to wither up and die tomorrow, I don't see Sun suddenly turning into a monopoly. I think that when any one company in a market gets more than 50% of the market, things tend to go downhill, but the *nix server market has never seen any one company control more than about 40% or so for any significant period of time.

    Speculations on what Sun might have done had they become a monopoly instead of Microsoft seem pretty pointless to me. The reality is that in certain markets Microsoft certainly seems to hold monopoly like market shares and power and they certainly seem to have a track record of abusing those powers.

  • I have always felt that Sun got it so wrong when they decided that developers wanted to be able to develop cross-platform, when in truth very few developers find this an advantage.

    What planet are you from? In this world cross platform is something that is very important, since there are so many different platforms out there. In many large companies you have to deal with the fact that they aren't a homogenous environment. Often they will have big IBM mainframes in their data center for running legacy applications and some sort of *nix servers for running their newer back end apps and Novell servers for PC file/print services. Throw in a few odd NT/W2K servers for small departmental applications. Perhaps an AS/400 in their accounting department. PC's on many desktops with Macs in advertising and graphic design departments.

    Think that isn't common? I used to work in an environment that had that basic IT infrastructure. There are thousands of companies that have similar infrastructures. To make matters more complex, they didn't just have one type of *nix servers but due to mergers and aquisitions they had several different RISC hardware platforms (Sparc, RS/6000 and Alpha).

    You can't tell me that in that sort of environment that being able to write one set of code and easily migrate it to any platform you have isn't a great thing.

    Java is a big thing in that type of shop because as long as you ignore certain products (cough, Visual J++), and write with the intention of making things portable, compatibility between those different platforms is pretty good.

    Sun didn't make up the demand for cross-platform compatibility, the industry has been crying out for it for years.

  • Care to give ISBN numbers? And are there stipulations as to what you can and cannot do with the information in those books? Anyway, .doc and .xls are only two of Microsoft's proprietary formats... how many others are so documented?

    And since you bring up the price, how much are these books? It seems to be a common misperception that open source advocates won't pay for anything. That isn't quite true. I've bought a lot of things, even things I could have gotten for free. If Linux users weren't willing to pay money for documentation, then I don't know why the Borders and Barnes & Noble bookshelves have a couple hundred Linux related titles. I don't necessarily have anything against paying money for products that are worth it. I don't, however, buy anything from Microsoft, as they don't deserve my money. And as for your assertation that people have't learned about these books because of the price, I would counter to say that I probably don't know about them because Microsoft apparently hasn't done a very good job of publicizing their availability, and the fact that I don't generally spend my time researching things in that environment. Why would I, I don't use it.

  • I don't think you should tell a man he's a complete and total jerk in the business world; it tends to make him do desparate things, like go out and cut shady deals with their downline. Besides, it makes you look unprofessional to resort to such ad hominem.

    Furthermore, he's also liable to come back with "Oh, yeah? It takes one to know one!" At which point the truly wise consumer takes his business elsewhere, ignoring the schoolyard squabbling.

    Don't get me wrong, I think if you ignore all the FUD and mudslinging, Sun makes some good products. I mean, if you want to run a honkin' huge Oracle farm, ye olde E10000 is the way to go. But their PR department needs to grow up just a little, and not descend to the level of the big ape up in Redmond they so loathe.

    Hacking the Penguin in the Backyard of the Beast
    Renton, WA

  • C# has some nice features (which like Java all appeared elsewhere first)...

    Agreed, totally. Not sure about your comment on better destruction semantics - isn't it the same as Java: the destructor is not guaranteed to be called (at all) because of the vagueries of automatic garbage collection? I was under the impression that the destructor was nothing more than a Finalise call in disguise.

    The other gripe I have is that there is no equivalent to a throws clause. You can't specify that a method throws an exception. This seems to me to be a bad thing - it screws up design by contract and I wonder if they did it to make optimisation easier?
  • When will SUN ship it's systems with a protocol a bit less bloated than X? (Ica?)

    X is not the best in every situation, but if with "bloated" you mean "large bandwidth", I'd suggest you having a look at dxpc [] (Differential X Protol Compression).

    If with "bloated" you mean it has a complex low-level API because of backwards compatiblity, well, it may be the case. But unless you are a toolkit developer, this shouldn't affect you

    On the other end, if you just want ICA, you can buy Metaframe [] for Solaris from Citrix. But probably is not what you want.

    The problem with X is that it usually is good enough (i.e. office applications on a 10Mbps LAN) and it can be extended, so competitors have to work really hard just to catch up.

    There is also a large set of X application out there that must be supported, so a replacement should really also provide X compatibility (i.e. at least with a gateway X -> other protocol, like VNC server on *NIX).

  • As I was reading the article, I couldn't help but think, what if SUN had made the Xbox?

  • Check out ONE []

  • --If MS succeeds with its .NET vision, then thousands of programmers will have to spend a lot of time learning how to do the same things differently,

    I'd have to disagree. I mean if you and the thousands of others are already programming in a Java environment in today's Microsoft-is-everywhere world, I can't imagine it would get worse 'tomorrow'.

    .NET might be a creative marketing buzz word, but it's simply the next release of technology Microsoft already has out there. MTS/COM/COM+ framework, for example.

    I guess I'm saying I don't see the war being fought via .NET. I see more impact coming from the O/S platform war, the server war, etc.

    Plus, as companies grow & merge, they simply get bigger, needing bigger servers, hardware, etc. Microsoft wouldn't last a day in these companies. I figure that if you have plenty of jobs to choose from right now that are non-Microsoft, I can only imagine seeing the same tomorrow, or even more. Plus, this is the computer industry-- there will always be competition & new technologies to learn.


  • You know, Chuck. I think we'd better Chuck your name Chuck, into every sentence we can Chuck it into...

    Ah, it's even funnier if you read the entire article imagining that it's Peppermint Patty berating Charlie Brown over something stupid that he's done. :)

    "Gee, Chuck, you sure are stupid. You're not making any sence Chuck. You're not even in the same game, Chuck. Why can't you even hit the ball, Chuck?"


  • Windows and other assorted software is only free so long as they don't "yank the chain", so to speak.

    Remember, each of these pieces of software (Windows, stuff for Windows) generally has a EULA attached - which basically says "We have all the rights, you have none - and if we say so, you have to give us back the software, delete it from your machine, and oh, by the way, you DON'T get your money back" - read the fine print, and tell me it isn't true. Granted, no one knows whether such "contracts" are enforcable - but I would bet M$ and others would take you to court to prove a point - that they have more money than you (money is the enforcement). If the UCITA passes in all the other states - suddenly EULAs *do* become enforcable - add the DMCA on top of that, the Digital Signatures Act that treats clicking on the EULA button to get Winders installed as a *real* signature - and suddenly you aren't looking at freedom anymore, but at a contract on the way you live. Let's not forget, those same companies rarely if ever show any source to their products - so if they move on to a newer version, and you don't upgrade - or if they completely drop support on a version - you are HOSED (unless, of course, you cough up the tribu-- err, I mean, money - for a new license).

    Contrast all of this with Linux, and GPL'd software (note, I do not say Open Source - that carries a ton of different meanings to various people - many times depending on whether they are trying to make money on code or whatnot): You get the OS, the programs, etc - more importantly, you get the code - you can change it, give it away - burn it, whatever you want to do with it, you can. No worries that if Mr. Torvalds dies you are hosed, no worries if Stallman goes to M$ (hahahahaha!!!), emacs won't be there. No worries that someone can recall or stop supporting the software. No worries at all!

    Perhaps there are worries if you are a business (most notably, how can I make money on this new stuff). I just say you haven't figured it out yet.

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • I have read the article and sun does make a lot of vaild ideas concerning not locking down ideas to one platform/language. This can only be a good thing (open systems breed good competition)
    XML and java do work well together (look at
    Yes all of suns ideas are not perfect rmi is cool but has a large overhead however sun will let us add things and run on free systems
    Give me an open solution that i can run on any system rather than a one OS one language solution
  • Well there are some reasons why Sun (or any other serious HW vendor) make fairly expensive machines:
    • They will support these machines for a long time -- I guess 5 years or so. Keeping spares for that long cranks up the price.
    • The large majority of these machines will have support contracts. This means that they need to be reliable, because if they're not then they will cost the vendor later to support. Making reliable machines costs money.
    • They have stuff like ECC memory, does your PC?
    From the buyer's point of view:
    • These machines have long lives. We've just stopped using an IPX from (?) 1992. Sure it was slow, but it ran Solaris 7 OK, and it made a fine X terminal. We might still revive it to do something like DNS or print serving. I worked somewhere that had a Sun 3 on maintenance until 1996 or so (and they fixed it in 1996 too): it was 11 when we turned it off.
    • Professional boxes are typically very homogenous -- if you buy a Sun (or an HP or whatever), then it will run pretty much the same OS image that all your other boxes will run: you won't have to spend time mucking around with some weirdo graphics card. That's a big deal.
    • When bits go wrong they'll get replaced, and they'll get replaced by bits that work the same way: you won't have to spend ages finding drivers for the new graphics card they shipped you because they don't have the old ones any more.
    • They also run the same systems your big box in the basement runs, so you can develop code on a (relatively) cheap machine without having to worry too much about porting it all the time. In fact this is why people like Sun sell workstations I think: I doubt they make much money on them compared to what they make on E10ks.
    In summary, They aren't that expensive if you get paid. Sure if your time is worth nothing, then saving a couple of thousand dollars when you buy a machine amtters a lot. But if your time costs money then the time you save because of the points above more than pays for the extra up-front cost.

    Of course that's not to say that Suns aren't quite expensive: they are, but the difference is basically in the noise for many purposes.

    And of course there are plenty of cases where a Sun won't cut it -- for instance if you really need lots of raw CPU performance, either for some single-processor machine or some embarrasingly parallel problem which you can solve with a farm of PCs. PCs beat Suns every time for Quake...

  • Oh man, it's been forever since I knew the words to this song, but here goes...
    Chuck Chuck,
    Bananarama Bo Buck
    Fee Fie Foe Fuck

    Of course, in third grade the name Chuck was by far the funniest one to use in the name game, just for the third line... :)

  • Ah yes, another episode of As The FUD Turns. Always amusing to watch, sometimes intriguing, but there is no real substance.

    It's kind of funny to watch two technological titans call each other names like kids at the schoolyard. "We're more Open than you are", "Our technology is more advanced than yours", "My server can beat up your server", "Nyah, nyah nyah, nyah nyaaaaah nyah!".

    The bottom line is that you have two groups, each vigorously defending their positions, but THEY ARE BOTH WRONG. So very wrong.

    It is amusing to watch, though.

    C'mon guys. Open the source or shut up!
  • I just want to go on record here as saying that everyone who knocks UNIX because of its age is a hypocrite. I want you all to do me a favor. Take the next ten minutes, step away from your computer and just walk around and look at things. Think about the technologies used in them and how old those techniques are. Then come back and try and tell me how something is a piece of crap because it's 20 years old.

    Here's what I see around me:
    • Several buildings based on architecture from the 40's and 50's (all still standing).
    • CRT technology in my computer monitor -- been around since the 40's I believe.
    • Electric lights -- 100 years or so.
    • A pneumatic cylinder on my office chair. The technology has been around since the Industrial Revolution.
    • Wheels on my office chair. Wheels everywhere. How many tens of thousands of years old is that technology?

    - Milo Hyson
  • by dennisp ( 66527 )
    "Still, you're probably wondering what we think of SOAP. So there is no confusion: We think it's great! We support it on the UDDI, on W3C XP working group, in the Java language, and in other products.

    That said, we're cautious because we have concerns about what Microsoft is doing with SOAP. For example, Microsoft is pushing hooks that would allow it to create extensions to the SOAP framework that would require Microsoft technologies to access Web services. The only way those services can then be accessed in their richest form is via the Internet Explorer browser connected to a Microsoft Windows server. That's called lock-in. That means no choice. We think that's wrong.

    Our experience is that Microsoft uses standards as second-class connections. They make them available where they must to communicate outward, but they lure customers into a proprietary lock-in.

    Then again, your actions on the standards front don't surprise us. You give yourself away in your own questions. For example, "allow" our customers to interoperate? Everyone knows that no vendor can dictate terms to its customers. Except, of course, monopolies. "
  • Hmm. I checked and didn't see a version that I can run on Linux for my home server, or Solaris on both SPARC and Intel, nor anything for the IBM SP2 boxes running AIX or our S390 mainframe. Java, and true standards based APIs and programming languages are available for all these platforms. Where does that put .NET? As a proprietary solution from a company that doesn't understand the problem.
  • Besides, Ultra 5's aren't $5000, and they come with DVD's now. You forgot the high end card if you're looking for good graphics. You're pulling those numbers from your ass is what you're doing. Try closer to around $2500.
  • developers have no choice but to implement it themselves or go searching for someone else's code.

    ...or use open-source projects, like saxon...

    and what exactly is jaxp doing for us [], if it isn't handling xml in Java?
  • > The common language runtime WILL however be ported to various other platforms.

    Will this be "ported" in typical Microsoft style though? For example:

    NT 3.5: The much hyped POSIX subsystem. However, could you mix and match POSIX and native Win32 calls? No. Thus making the POSIX system useless but for the most bare porting efforts.

    IE: Available for UNIX. Yeah, in a hideous cludge that consisted on bundling most of windows with the application.

    Win2k: Kerberos, discussed to death on /. already


    I thought .NET sounded really cool until I found out two things:

    Firstly that it isn't a case of using *any* language, it's a subset of available languages, including C# (bastadised C) and Eiffel# (or whatever they've called it, equally bastadised to fit .NET).

    Secondly, crossplatformness. I like Java because it contains libraries for the kitchen sink - collections, networking TCP/UDP, GUI, and then audio/video (JMF), high level 3D (Java3D)... I get all this crossplatform. When I heard about "Winforms" - that the GUI code isn't included in the "portable" .NET, I completely lost interest.
    If I want portable without libraries, I have C - and then I can add portable libraries for the things I need. People have been doing this for decades.


  • From the article:

    "As for Jini technology itself, you're wrong. It's been very fact, late last year, a European Jini technology conference had to turn interested developers away because they were already 25 percent overbooked."

    So, does that mean that 5 people showed up instead of 4? [rimshot]

    The day that a PR guy can admit that something didn't turn out as well as they hoped is the day I start taking press releases seriously.

    - JoeShmoe

  • I don't know why M$ bother with all this back-stabbing and petty quarreling when they've developed software that can do this! []

  • Java is a fully functional language. There are no design decisions that preclude the use of XML with Java. In fact, a language that is designed to be tightly coupled to a certain technology is probably not going to be flexible enough to cope with next year's technology.

    There are limits to how much foresight you can expect someone to show. For example, no-one would expect Microsoft to have the foresight to notice anything that might have happened more recently than five years ago.
    -- Andrem

  • Sure it would. However, do you really want to be a second-rate netizen just like in the browser-wars? That's what you get for not creating and following fully open standards.

    - Steeltoe
  • What's really funny is the way you don't understand that Java is a language and .NET is a framework. Try saying it over and see if it sinks in. If you compared, say, J2EE to .NET that would be better (although not perfect).

  • We absolutely believe that software is a feature

    Uhm. Admittedly being a programmer I'm biased, but this does not sound right. Computers are empty general purpose machines, not appliances, therefore the software IS the computer (well, almost).

    Think of another classic dualism: genetic vs culture. Which one is more important in the determination of human personality?
    My idea is that genetic gives potentials, i.e. it defines the hardware. But is the cultural environment that 'programs' the human brain about how to actually *think*.

  • Sun's claims that Java and XML are joined at the hip violates XML's main benefit- independence from any platform or programming language
    Yeah. And you don't NEED a canopener to open an aluminum can. But it's the best tool for the job.
  • Suddenly I can imagine Sun as an Open Source company.

    It's already starting to prefer humor to PR. Admitted, this was just PR with a layer of humor on top, but it's a lot better than that cheap WW II-propaganda that we got so used to take from Microsoft. Once Sun couldn't care less than Linus what other companies claim about their products, I think Sun can really be trusted :-)

    It's... It's...
  • We've been working with a lot of Java and XML. Some of us have been looking into the XML resources available to C/C++, and they just aren't as good. I realize you can put a very good system together with them, but it's not nearly as clean or easy to use.

    And while we haven't tested the Java version under all of those platforms-- we don't even have all of those in house-- it's worked just fine under every platform we've tested on, including Linux, Windows 98/NT/2000, and Mac.

    And guess what-- the runtime was already installed on all of those machines. We didn't even have to recompile, we just copied it and ran it. And, finally, the Xerces Java implementation is also totally open source.

    The telling point, though, is that we decided to rewrite a lot of the SAX parser module. From my experience with C++, doing the same thing in that language would certainly have broken compilation or execution on some platforms, and required some platform-specific code. But again, we just compiled it, copied it over, and ran it.
  • The corporate enviroment is a mishmash of departments and platforms of various ages and flavors that all have to share the in house network facilities, and often the same apps.

    In my own business here, which is very small, I am running an old Compaq transportable 8088 which actually handles the most important core apps for my business, an old Tandy 1000TL, A Tandy CoCo, a 486 laptop, An old Mac running OS 7.5, an Athlon 900 running W98, and an Duron 600 running linux which serves extra duty as a firewall/router.

    I've never seen a business more than a few years old with anything approaching the sort of segregated/homogenous computing structure that you posit.

    Second, Java is NOT positioned for inhouse development. I'm truely clueless where you get this idea. Java has ALWAYS, from its very inception, been a key part of Sun's idea that " the network is the computer" and the WWW is where it found its first adherents, not inhouse, where the old guard was perfectly happy with its C and COBOL.
  • I'm running the latest release of OpenOffice. It's OK. There doesn't seem to be much difference from StarOffice 5.2. I think some work has been done to break the different apps apart, but the default is to still load the 'soffice' all-encompassing thing. As for why there's not more hype over OpenOffice - from my perspective it's a great project, but not particularly useful for the company I work for. We are _very_ reliant on Visual Basic. Call it evil & impure & fugly, but it's easy. You can expect any programmer to be able to use it. And even non-programmers can delve into it. I don't think any office app will get much interest until it can perform in the office - VB and all. There is just so much legacy VB code in use...
    And unfortunately for OpenOffice, Wine is almost able to run M$ Office. I've personally been able to get Word and Excel loading from a Windows installation. I haven't been able to install in a windows-free environment, but I've been following the progress, and, well, there is progress. Check out the wine mailing lists. I can see companies installing Office into Linux, but I just can't see companies installing OpenOffice into Linux. It's just too scary...

  • I don't want to move towards a world of the ubiquitous `network appliance'. I know; to many I am a naysayer for this. There are some compelling arguements r.e. the ability to pass off a certain functionality that is too processor intensive on one's own portable unit to a commodified local computation grid, [for say, realtime speech recognition and translation].

    But I really don't like the idea of moving towards a world in which someone dosen't buy software anymore. What?! Not buying software is good, right? ;) No, I mean that in the status quo today, you may have to pay for crappy and propriatary software, but at least you then own it. You can do with it what you want, lately it even seems you may be able to legally reverse engineer it in certain cases.

    Do you really want to be typing that private letter on software that is actually running on someone else's hardware?! Yikes! I want software that runs locally, without the need for network services. Otherwise, I would have no real privacy.

  • A troll flame bait I know, but...
    MS has an excellent consumer OS with 95% market share.
    As to the excellence of the os, I'd say that was debateable.

    Sun don't have anything with 95% market share.
    I'd say Java has a fair market share.

    Sun have never even written a game.
    So? Have MS ever made a server? Sun makes all its money off hardware and not software...

  • Not true. The .NET runtime can be installed on any platform it is implemented for, just like a JVM. Right now, there's only one runtime, and that one for Win32 and it's only in beta yet. For Java, the situation is, of course, much different. The common language runtime WILL however be ported to various other platforms.

    Is this similar to how Microsoft was going to port ActiveX to various other platforms?
  • You are incorrect.... many of the .NET classes are in fact written in C# (a .NET language)

    Perhaps you should sign up for the beta or go read through the online docs.
    The IHA Forums []
  • OK, no problem :)

    .NET compiles down to what is called "Microsoft Intermediary Language" or MSIL for short. It is a complete "virtualized" processor.... in other words, it is a complete virtual instruction set, and programs are compiled down to this assembly language. The difference between it and x86, is that MSIL is verifyable, whereas you can't ever be sure that next x86 instruction isn't going to wig out and screw something up.

    When you install a program, the local .NET runtime automatically compiles it down to whatever your native processor is and writes that to disk. From then forward, you are running in your processor's native mode... not byte code interpretations.

    Of course for applets over the web (replacements for ActiveX controls), there is also a JIT compiling option. This is also the method used to run ASP.NET scripts -- when they are uploaded, the system JITs them and then caches the compilation for later usage.
    The IHA Forums []
  • I want them to release NEWS

    They can't, unfortunately. Gosling explained at a lecture/Q&A that a lot of the cool stuff in NEWS is licensed from other companies, crucially the Display Postscript. It would be like Netscape open-sourcing their browser, but without the HTML rendering engine.
  • OK, sun should have said to Microsoft. Exactly how many development products do you have for .NET, and where can you get them from? .NET is VAPORWARE, and a knee jerk reaction to Sun's Java technology, which is available everyware ( (Free)), JBuilder, Forte For Java CE ( (FREE!)....

    GOD BLESS DALE...... He lived to race and died racing!!!

    Aaron, a wannabe #3!!!
  • It was about 4 years ago that the blackdown project came out with ver 1.0 of the JDK. Unless I'm mistaken I don't think apple or OS/2 had a working JDK.

    Maybe. I was pretty sure that IBM had released an IBM-created JDK for OS/2 sometime in '96; IBM was really pushing Java...
  • I agree - we are studying it in my Computer Science course at Uni and my main gripe (apart from the fact that it does things in slightly strange ways) is that it make my PIII-600 act like a 486. (Any views expressed here are MINE - the University can go get it's own!)
  • I am biased in the sense that I believe Java and J2EE provide a more superior and cost-effective solution than .NET ever will.

    However, what makes me disappointed is that this is defiantly not the end, and its going to get even worse as Microsoft starts delivering .NET ready solutions and products and tries to market them in the enterprise solutions market by trying to beat down Sun alternatives.

    Not only will Sun and Microsoft try take each other down ( and their products, like 'Chai' HP initiative licensed by Microsoft ), but also take down other neutral technologies like XML, which has real potential.

    This is bad for all concerned, especially for developers as it means being locked into a particular technology trees resulting in a lack of exposure to different paradigms and reduced ability to gain 'generic' skills that can be used and applied anywhere, and instead the growth of specialised product centric skills which can't be migrated to other technologies and products. Overall, the would result in reduced job opportunities as people become locked into products, apis and languages.

    In the end it'll be the end-users that pay.

  • There is no such thing as an Ultra 4.

    An Enterprise 250 w/2x440mhz CPUs w/512mb ram goes for under $25k USD.

    You're not helping yourself.

    All men are great
    before declaring war

  • I submitted a story about SUN ONE earlier (got rejected of course) but the one thing that really stuck out in the article I had read (CNNFN: un_wg/index.htm []) was this quote from Micro$oft.

    Microsoft dismissed the criticism of its own .NET initiative to provide software for a more pervasive Internet and hit back at Sun for being late to the game.

    "You can't have a standard just by unilaterally declaring something to be a standard," a Microsoft spokesman said by email. "How is this announcement not a belated and vaporous response to Microsoft .NET?"

    ROFLMAO! Micro$oft tries to make its standards everyones standards just because it can! What a joke!

  • I think one of the differences between the two is that Sun started with Java and built a framework from there (actually, they didn't really build it, they did a bunch, other people did some, it just accumulated.) .NET just happens to be working in the opposite way; beginning with an overall design, then fleshing out the details. The reason there's no really good equivalent for .NET at Sun is that no single framework was created at the start. You end up having to refer to the Java-framework-conglomerate as Java simply for lack of a better term. I'm no Java zealot, by the way. Whether Sun's idea or MS's idea will work better, I don't know.
  • Compare:

    Dim s, t, sd, td As String
    Dim i As Integer
    i = 4
    s = "VB String"
    t = "Another String"
    sd = Mid( s, i, 1)
    td = Mid( t, i, 1)
    If sd = td Then
    ' do anything
    End If

    String s="J String",t="Another String";
    int i=4;
    // do anything

    So keep it. VB has a lot of unnecessary words, but not even distinct equal and assignment operators.
  • The differnece is that Microsoft has a poor track record for supporting alternate platforms. Java, OTOH, has been ported to quite a few architectures. As of right now, the only platform that Microsoft has contributed to at all outside of the Windows OS is MacOS, and Microsoft probably only did that because of the fact that they no longer perceive MacOS as a threat to their dominance in the desktop market.

    Also, Java applications run inside of a virtual machine which places a good, thick layer of abstraction between the Java apps that you and I would write and the hardware/OS of the underlying platform. From what I've heard, .NET does not put a layer of abstraction between the platform and .NET programs, so if any cross-platform work has to be done from .NET to any other environment... well, you're pretty much SOL, because porting will require source code modification. From what it looks like to me, .NET is language independant but not platform independant.

    However, if I'm wrong, please correct me. : )

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @08:18AM (#450514)
    For those who don't have time to read this rather long article, I can (after diligently reading the first few paragraphs) sum it up for you:

    Microsoft: Sun, how you could possibly think you can compete? Our dick is so much bigger than yours.

    Sun: No no, you misunderstand the size of our dick. It is really way bigger than yours, and it is still getting bigger while yours is shrivelling. Soon, we will taunt you by waving our huge dick in your face.
  • by stripes ( 3681 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @06:10AM (#450515) Homepage Journal
    Not true. The .NET runtime can be installed on any platform it is implemented for, just like a JVM. Right now, there's only one runtime, and that one for Win32 and it's only in beta yet. For Java, the situation is, of course, much different.

    There is a reason, other then a multi-year-headstart, that Java's runtime is available for a lot of platforms. The amount of Java's runtime that is not (or can't be) written in Java is quite small. Limited mostly to drawing primataves, low level I/O, and a few other things. .NET seems to drag along a signifigant part of the Windows API. That's great on Windows, but when you are on signifigantly diffrent systems you are screwed unless Microsoft implments them for dozens of platforms, or manages the substantal task of re-writing them in C# or another .NET language.

    For GUI apps, it's my understanding that .NET doesn't even support them directly through the framework API. Instead, something called the Windows Forms API is used.

    Oops, it seems we are arguing along similar lines.

    I do assert that even if the Win API is not offically part of .NET, if there is no supplyed substitute (on Windows!), and no effort by MS to get it used, and easy access to the "non-standard WinAPI" then it will become a de facto .NET standard, and it will be tied to Windows.

    Not that it is wholy bad to give Windows a decent language (C# is decent), but it isn't the step into the open platform world that MS asserts it is.

  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @04:26AM (#450516) Homepage
    Both the language, API and bytecode specifications are available at your convenience. The fact that ISO or any other organization has not put a stamp on it is not very relevant since all the relevant information is open. Lets call it an open industry standard. Closed propietary standards on the other hand do not have these properties. The win32 API, for instance, is largely undocumented and creating something such as wine is a long process of reverse engineering and testing of the binaries.

    Now .Net is going to be similar to win32 and different from Java in that many of the APIs will be undocumented and in addition that there will be dependencies on the closed win32 API's. Because of this, vendor independent implementations of .Net, as is common for Java VMs and compilers, are highly unlikely to be available.

    Now the confusing part is that MS is making parts of their .Net specifications available and is even moving to standardize for instance C#. However, the bulk of .Net remains closed.
  • by gattaca ( 27954 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @03:51AM (#450517)
    Those APIs that keep getting 'depracated' you mean?

    This used to be the case - Java had three goes at getting a Platform Independent GUI right, I agree. But what you're talking about is stuff that happened years ago. Java has settled down now...
    BTW, 'deprecated' is not the same as invalidated. You can still use them, it's just that you get a warning at compile time saying there's a better way, have a look at the docs...Which strikes me as a fairly civilised way of doing things.

    You mean, all those programmers who already know VB and VC++, which they can continue to use under .NET?

    Not my argument: I don't want to stop VB or VC++ programmers doing their thang - I just don't want to be stooped from doing mine, that's all.

    Opposing a new technology because you don't want to learn it seems a bit short-sighted to me.

    I agree totally. I was advocating something different: chosing not to learn something, because I could better spend my time doing something else. That strikes me as forsighted...

    At the moment the only time I can forsee taking the time out to learn .NET APIs and (possibly) C#, is if I can't get an interesting job writing Java.

    Two possiblities that might make this possible are:
    • .NET is so damn good, that Java pales by comparison, and loads of people start using it instead.
    • Microsoft uses its commercial might, combined with the ubiquity if Internet Explorer, to force Java out of the way. If this happens, I just keep my fingers crossed that .NET is not worse than Java...
  • by segmond ( 34052 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @06:21AM (#450518)
    I am not taking sides on Microsoft or Sun, but I liked one thing Sun said and definitely agree with it.

    "Sun Answer: We hate to be the first ones to tell you this, but the concept of open applies to architecture, not to implementations. And architectures and implementations are two different and independent notions."

    This is important because there are still many people who don't know this, give them an open architecture with a close implementation, and they will bitch all day long about how it is not open, give them a closed architecture with an open implementation and they do think you did the right thing. Some might argue that the architecture can be derived from the implementation, but that is wrong...

  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @07:30AM (#450519) favorite example of this is the splash screens that come up during a Windows install, telling you that this new Os will "Make Your System Faster" even though after using w2k for a month, reinstalling NT4WS on the same box brings up an immediately noticeable speed boost...

    My favorite one is from the Windows 95 installer, "Everything you do will be more fun!"

    That's quite a claim.
  • by kevin805 ( 84623 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @02:23AM (#450520) Homepage
    Consider this statement:

    In the world that the Java community envisions, that program can run on any computer. That's just not so in the Microsoft world. It will only run on Microsoft .NET (presuming, of course, that it was available today).

    Now, IIRC, Java will run on any system that has the Java runtime installed. .NET will run on any system that has .NET runtime installed. Could someone please explain to me the difference here?
  • by Rentar ( 168939 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @01:36AM (#450521)
    > 1. Break staroffice as a package apart and building it into an opensource office package made up of CORBA objects so it could be used in different GNOME applications?

    Uhm ... where's the problem? OpenOffice is Reallity and the source is beeing worked on, the entire Package is broken up, and the Wordprocessor is working stand alone... I don't geht this point.

    > 2. When will solaris be shipped with GNOME as the default desktop?

    Well ... it is about beeing able to choose, after all. You can install Gnome on your Solaris (never did it, don't have such a box, but heard it is possible), as you can install KDE (I assume). Dou you want to force them to install _your_ default-desktop??? Thats open?

    > 3. When will SUN ship it's systems with a protocol a bit less bloated than X? (Ica?)

    So you want Solaris to run a non-X Windowing System and at the same time to be Gnome the standard-desktop? I see a problem here. I've not heard that Gnome runs on anything but X.

    I think I haven't gotten your point or misinterpreted your posing, otherwise I can't explain, why it's so easy to counter.

  • by pezmerchant ( 214293 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @03:37AM (#450522)
    Whats even funnier is you don't get it. .NET is, at this point, still all vapor. Lots of press releases with promises. And of course, Microsoft delivers on all its promises.

    And those poor old Java programmers, in many markets making more money than coders in any other languages, as well as having more available jobs. Java isn't weak. Not by a long shot.

    Microsoft is on it's way down. Even bastions of pro MS zealots like zdnet are turning into bastions of MS hate. I don't really care what OS/platform people use. But to believe that Microsoft isn't doing anything but heading into the toilet at this point is delusion. Lawsuits right and left. The DOJ case looming over it head. Microsofts biggest expense right now all the used toilet paper they have to buy to print up new stock certificates on to make sure they don't record the big losses they are sufering.

    I use the Internet today. I have no intention of doing the following-

    1. Waiting 5 years for a working(?) version of .NET to be implemented.
    2. Paying a MS tax to access my own data, while being bled dry by all the additional software costs. (No better way to force people into the upgrade cycle than to possess the customers data.
    3. Being very limited in where I can actually go today.

    .NET has nothing to do with innovation. It has nothing to do with a great new idea for networking. It has to do with control and expansion. They are desperate. Then again, .NET may actually work well enough someday to where MS will actually allow it to be used on their machines.

  • by albanac ( 214852 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @02:25AM (#450523) Homepage Journal
    2. When will solaris be shipped with GNOME as the default desktop?

    There is a much more usefull question to be asking at this point. How about:
    2. Why should Solaris be shipped with GNOME as the default desktop?

    I'm posting this using a Sun Ultra machine, running Solaris, with a window manager called Windowmaker. I like it; I run it on my laptop and my home desktop; I see no reason not to use it at work. In order to build this working environment, I had to get hold of WindowMaker, and some libs so that it would compile for Solaris, and then hack the configuration of the Solaris X graphical login and session handler in such a way that it recognized Windowmaker as existing and was willing to start Windowmaker for me instead of CDE. This took a while, but that's the way it goes.

    Imagine if this box had been shipped with GNOME as the default window manager. I would have had to get hold of WindowMaker, and some libs so that it would compile for Solaris, and then hack the configuration of the Solaris X graphical login and session handler in such a way that it recognized Windowmaker as existing and was willing to start Windowmaker for me instead of GNOME. I do not see why this would improve my quality of life or my ease of use.

    Personally, I would argue that using XFree86 instead of Sun X would be a much more significant thing, since that would allow me to load a program such as GDM in place of the graphical login handler already loaded, which would make the process of building the WM of my choice much easier. This is, of course, not going to happen, but that does not diminish the significance of my point, which is that you are making the same assumptions as Sun (that you can predict what WM people will want to use).


    Chris Naden
    "Sometimes, home is just where you pour your coffee"
  • by Karma Sink ( 229208 ) <> on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @01:06AM (#450524) Homepage
    What a bastard Chuck came off as! Is this really the kind of PR that MS needs at this point? They look like 17 year old American boys comparing one's Ford to another's Chevy... Just shut the fuck up, race your cars, and let history decide who the winner is.

    I mean, Sun had every right to come back in the same way... And it was pretty cool... Mostly, it made MS look stupid, very quickly.

    Of course, the funniest thing about it all was how much MS sounded like Sun did a few years ago, when Java was still half in the dark...
  • by Martin Spamer ( 244245 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @02:45AM (#450525) Homepage Journal
    Wow, great. Yet again, a pointless story about Sun and Microsoft making bitchy remarks and putdowns at each other.

    Now is this really fair ?

    The original M$ story was FUD of the highest order, perhaps as Java Software Engineer I have an advantage in recognising that large parts of the original M$ attack are simply untrue. The Sun response focuses of answering the questions/issues raised, and defending Sun & Java from the attack, with only trivial swipes at .NET

    It actually closely follows the Linux/Open Source approach & style of FUD control, of focusing on the issues, rebut the falsehoods & keep your cool, especially keep your cool. I think this may well prove as important as the Halloween leaks, & subsequent rebuttals.

  • by sharkticon ( 312992 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @01:15AM (#450526)

    Wow, great. Yet again, a pointless story about Sun and Microsoft making bitchy remarks and putdowns at each other. I mean come on folks, surely by now we've got to the point where every tit-for-tat exchange to come out of the PR departments of large companies isn't anything new? If it's not Sun and Microsoft, it's Oracle and Microsoft, Intel and AMD or whichever pair of companies feels like garnering some free publicity at the time.

    The smarmy and condescending tone of this article is a real put-off, and yet again Sun are doing little other than spewing hyperbole about Java with a few facts, figures and dates to give it authenticity. Sun, as a company have done little for anyone but themselves, and have fought tooth and claw to keep Java from being a truly open standard, only ever making token gestures when people shouted loudly enough.

    Not that Microsoft it any better. They're not. Which makes me wonder who cares about this sort of exchange? It adds nothing of interest to the world of computing, just more of the same corporate BS we've seen a thousand times before.

  • by PenguinX ( 18932 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @02:15AM (#450527) Homepage
    So what if Microsoft has more money? There are many companies that have more money than Microsoft and are not doing squat with it. I fail to see the importance of even bringing it up. As per Microsoft having better prospects, what the hell planet are you from? Microsoft has a a single point of failure in the business model that they are currently running with. If windows was to fail all other products would collapse underneath the sheer weight and media crap that would follow. Granted I do not know what would cause that - but the possibility always remains. You are off on your 95 percent shares, what with Apple's resurgence and the rise of Linux on desktops etc. I'm curious how Microsoft can keep up with this sort of FUD. Fact of the matter is that these sort of numbers come from Microsoft themselves - they are produced by the amount of OEM and retail purchases made over a year. The problem with this is that due to the model Microsoft employs every single x86 system that leaves a major manufacturer must have a Microsoft OS - else they loose out on the privilege to deal with that sort of cost. This figure doesn't even take the Macintosh platform and other alternatives.

    If you think that Microsoft is poised to seize control of the console market you should think again. The x-box is going to be interesting, of that I have no doubt - but exactly HOW Microsoft goes about marketing, distributing, and selling the licenses for the development platform will be vastly more important than anything else. The Nintendo 64 was "poised to seize control of the console market", as was the Atari Jaguar -- the problem? REALLY EXPENSIVE developer licenses and a company that did not want to work very closely with those developers. IMHO Microsoft isn't as cheap in the development department, nor as rich in the Windows CE environment to handle this. However - we shall see.

    Sun has written games, nothing fully 3d and interactive and "gee wow" - but that's not what they do. You really don't get it - look at the game giants of time past: Sierra On-Line, Accolade, EA, Atari, etc. It's a difficult business that you must be VERY aggressive in. Sun isn't stupid - they are more concerned with profitability then market ubiquity.

    Better products? Dude - you really gotta learn something. I have used IIS, Apache, and Netscape
    Enterprise Server on NT with various preprocessing engines (such as ColdFusion, Webobjects, etc). They ran pretty well for a fairly small amount of traffic - however the moment that we went from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand of hits a day we got screwed. The problem wasn't so much the hardware, or even the software - but in the OS itself - in fact IIS did MUCH poorer than Netscape Enterprise Server (which was quite astounding). As per management of it, you've got to be kidding. I can write scripts, wrappers, use products such as Micromuse Netcool, HP Vantagepoint (ITO), Lord - pretty much *anything* I want to manage a web server running almost /any/ form of UNIX - Solaris or otherwise.

    As per a "standard". All I have to say is "what the fuck?" - any company cannot simply REWRITE a
    standard, they go through a process through a /real/ standards org - something Microsoft is not used to. Get a grip my friend Microsoft just cannot say "IT WILL BE SO" and make it so. They may have a lot of
    influence in the market place but they are not Gods.

    Hardware is something that's always fun. You've got me here - yes Sun does have expensive hardware. Shit look at the E-line. It's a lot of damn money, into the tens of thousands of dollars range. Wow - well look at the Netra line if you are cheap. The Netra T-1 is 7 grand (give or take) and the Netra X-1 is going to be 995 bucks. Take that and look at Compaq equipment it's just as expensive - if not more. Ever priced out an IBM S/390? You'd probably choke. Just because you CAN run windows NT on your 300 dollar pile of shit you threw together out of the 5-and-dime doesn't mean it is a "server" I wouldn't trust running carrier grade to that - not in my lifetime. That's why there are /server/ systems Sun boxes are actually really REALLY cheap in comparison to what there has been in the past. And if you really, REALLY wanted to - you always could run Solaris x86 on you're 5-and-dime pile of junk system. Just fyi.

    Overall I have problems with your argument - you essentially say that Microsoft owns the market in every possible sense of the technology when in fact they own very *VERY* little. Most enterprise level systems are managed in a way completely unlike how Microsoft works. To hear you say that they can rewrite standards and deliver the same level of service to other businesses on cheap hardware makes me cringe and tells me you just don't get it. What is more is that you defend the very thing that the government is saying is a "very bad thing" - you simply validate the decision to break up Microsoft.

  • by iapetus ( 24050 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @05:13AM (#450528) Homepage
    I mean, Sun had every right to come back in the same way... And it was pretty cool... Mostly, it made MS look stupid, very quickly.

    Far be it from me to defend Microsoft in any way, but that, of course, was the whole point. Make Microsoft look stupid, while carefully skirting around the inadequacies (and there are inadequacies, as even a hardened Java-zealot like myself would admit) in Sun's model. This is FUD countering FUD, not Sun showing us all how rational and logical they can be.

    Of course, it probably counts for something that Sun's FUD is a lot more entertaining and convincing than Microsoft's, and certainly I believe it's closer to the truth. In the same way that Berlin is closer to my flat than Los Angeles. :^)

  • by gattaca ( 27954 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @03:04AM (#450529)
    As a Java programmer I find this very important.
    The hard thing about learning a new language is not its syntax, its the libraries and their philosophy that takes the time.

    I don't want to spend time learning how to use Microsoft APIs and .NET, given that I have already put a load of effort into learning the Java APIs.
    If MS succeeds with its .NET vision, then thousands of programmers will have to spend a lot of time learning how to do the same things differently, rather than getting better at doing what they're already good at.

    What worries me is this kind of corporate FUD is exactly what execs like to hear, and they're often the ones that make decisions about what platforms to use, and which shares to buy.
  • Microsoft Question 5: XML has never been core to Java; rather Sun has attempted to bolt it onto the side after the fact. For example... there is no way to generate XML from a JDBC ResultSet.

    here's one [] I prepared earlier.

  • by Baki ( 72515 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @03:18AM (#450531)
    .NET runtime can only be installed on MSFT platforms, the JVM can be installed everywhere in principle.

    JVM spec is published, thus you see JVM implementations from different makers, all executing the same Java classes. Yes, Sun does not (and cannot) support each platform in existance, but you yourself could (given time and intellectual capabilities) implement a JVM for any platform you like.

    In contrast, .NET runtime is not an open spec (the parts that are open depend on non-open things that are only available for the MSFT platforms), thus it is impossible for anyone but MSFT to make a .NET implementation for a random platform. I consider this to be a crucial difference.

  • by haggar ( 72771 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @01:48AM (#450532) Homepage Journal
    Why do people use it?

    I don't know about other companies, but ours is an almost 100% java shop, and the reason is, every project is manageable and succesfull, all of our products run on HP-UX, Sun and NT, and we do a lot of code-reuse.

    Besides, Java is VERY readable.

  • by ghmh ( 73679 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @03:58AM (#450533)
    (For those that read the whole article....)

    You know, Chuck. I think we'd better Chuck your name Chuck, into every sentence we can Chuck it into...

    I mean Chuck, don't you find that everyone carrys on a bit Chuck, especially about how much wood can a woodChuck Chuck if a woodChuck would Chuck wood.

    Huh, Chuck? ....Chuck???

  • by Damon C. Richardson ( 913 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @06:48AM (#450534) Homepage
    I'm looking forward to this new standard method of internet information design. Thats really what this is all about right? How we ( developers ) design the next evolution of information services. I remember very well how MS software ties together on a internet system. I also remember how Sun has handled Linux over the last 3-4 years. It might not have been as nice as the Linux community wanted but Sun was honest about what it thought and that was worth something. ( though i have no idea what ).

    I believe it too be true that if you use microsoft software in your middle tiers you will start to tie your self to both microsoft client capablities and to microsoft backend software. If you take a look at any company that is using Exchange server you will find that allmost ALL the clients are Outlook. That's pretty impressive you must admit. I can remember upper management Giving the okay to Internet Explorer functions because they were neat. I allways thought that DCOM added it's own weridness. I was totaly amazed. Microsoft put a GUI on RPC (Remote Procedure Call) calls on the server. Now that took balls.. not to mention the fact that I have yet to run into a Unix programmer that has been thinking. "I'd like to have a GUI that forced the way I installed RPC code. And then made it so that I had to create a Client.exe inorder for the the client to use the RPC. (Give me a break, I think this is crappy version of RPC) calls on the server." Wow that was not too clear. Let me explain that again. You write your DCOM functions. ( mostly in VB ) Then you use the GUI to register them. Then you make a Client.exe that will install the RPC information into the Clients Registry. Now programs can call the servers functions like it was in a DLL sitting on the Client. Sounds easy to setup and use right? Well I suggest you try it. It was probly the 3rd to last straw that made me swear off MS software. The idea is that on many levels Microsoft has built in sugar to attract other Microsoft Software or Tier solutions. This was back when GNOME was a set of Spec's. Hmm... Now that I think about it do i really have to say anything more about MS?

    It was about 4 years ago that the blackdown project came out with ver 1.0 of the JDK. Unless I'm mistaken I don't think apple or OS/2 had a working JDK. Concidering that during this time every IS dept was gearing up to switch from what ever language to Visual Basic on the client side. Java was not concidered a contender in my mind 4 years ago. But the one thing I saw was real promise. Java was a great toy for me to play with at the time. I loved playing with applets. This was around the time when people started looking at network and internet services. The ideas of XML seem to be the anwser for data packaging. Ever try to figure out a "packet" of information that was in a undocumented structure with out source code that did not have null terminated vars? XML looks pretty good after problems like that.

    Back to Sun and Java and Blackdown. Alot of people seem to think that Sun did alot of C*ck Blocking with the Blackdown project. I don't know if that is all that fair. In the end Sun had to admit that Linux was becoming a perfered Java platform. I know that when I heard about a .dot come site I pushed Linux because I had fath in the blackdown's efforts and knew that soon Sun was going to have to support Java on Linux.

    Sun has a way of doing things and then telling us about it. It's true that a Sun server is all Sun hardware. But if you ever get a chance to look inside one of these boxes you will understand why the price for a Sun box compared to a Intel server is the same as paying the extra for the BMW 850 over the Camero SS. Personally you can do more tinkering for speed to the Camero then the BMW if you know what i mean. The thing about Sun hardware is that you can Hook it up to any network. Run all kinds of open services off it. And it has a good reputation for staying up. For a company that has been working like China befour Nixon the attudes towards Opensource is pretty damn impressive. In a age when Oracle and IBM seems to be pushing linux. Suns been pretty well behaved in my mind. Let's face it. CEO's and VP's will allways put their feet where the pizza goes. It's allways been a heated battle for the hearts and minds of IS departments.

    In a nutshell. I think I have a better chance using the Sun instead of the Microsoft . The reason? Because I'll write it on Linux and in the future my users will be able to move it to Sun or any other system that supports java. I should also be able to count on the fact that if I write good code then the system will have a long and upgradable life span. This is whats import to me and this is why I'm interested in finding out what Sun has in mind. Sure they are mean to Tux but they are also worried about their servers being replaced by Linux boxes. But you will never see IIS on Linux. Sun's released StarOffice for linux ( correct me but sun did not have to do this after they bought it did they? ). Forte for linux and of coarse they are not supporting the JDK on linux.

    You may not like Sun but the people they have working their really do know what they are doing. I also think that Linux and Java Knowlege will be very important to stoping .NOT (sorry bill, could not help it) I mean .NET

  • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @02:55AM (#450535) Journal

    Java might not be an open standard, but:
    I can (and do) write Java software that runs
    - on Windows 95
    - on Windows NT
    - on HP-UX
    - on Linux

    using VMs from Sun, IBM, HP, etc.

    I don't change a single piece of source code. I don't even have to recompile. It runs. I have a choice of VMs. I have a choice of platforms.

    Now, it might not be a standard, it might not be as open as, say perl - but if I took perl and extended it, and wrote something that used those extensions, it wouldn't work on everyone elses system. So how is it any better than Java? And it's a damn sight better than VB where I have to use MS technologies, running on MS OSs, paying MS money.


  • by macpeep ( 36699 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @04:50AM (#450536)
    .NET runtime can only be installed on MSFT platforms, the JVM can be installed everywhere in principle.

    Not true. The .NET runtime can be installed on any platform it is implemented for, just like a JVM. Right now, there's only one runtime, and that one for Win32 and it's only in beta yet. For Java, the situation is, of course, much different. The common language runtime WILL however be ported to various other platforms. Hell, the standardization of .NET that Microsoft is doing through ECMA *requires* two reference implementations, and Microsoft has stated that one of them will be "an open source OS" - my guess is BSD.

    JVM spec is published, thus you see JVM implementations from different makers, all executing the same Java classes. In contrast, .NET runtime is not an open spec

    This is very relevant. While Microsoft *IS* standardizing C# (which doesn't really matter that much in .NET since you can use any language) and the common language runtime, they haven't decided if they will standardize the spec for the framework API. It will be open in the sense that all public methods and classes will be documented, of course, but it will not be standardized and frozen and the source will not be available for them. On the Java side, in theory, the API is frozen, but it's not standardized. The source IS available for both the JVM and for the core API.

    While the common language runtime will most likely be quite quickly ported to at least Win32, Win64, Mac OS X, BSD and *possibly* Linux, it will take considerably longer for the framework to appear - in particular in a stable and identical form. Hell, just look at Java.. .NET will have to go through basically the exact same process that Java has.. Only Microsoft is not so interested in other platforms as Sun is.

    For GUI apps, it's my understanding that .NET doesn't even support them directly through the framework API. Instead, something called the Windows Forms API is used. AFAIK, this is NOT part of .NET. So if you want to develop cross platform apps with a GUI, you can't even use .NET for it, regardless if there is a ported framework and common language runtime for it or not. With Java, you can.

  • by dennisp ( 66527 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @02:28AM (#450537)
    Is it just me, or are both of these companies throwing around utter bull shit business speak like "smart, intelligent, collaborative, next-generation" when in fact besides better interoperable programming methodology, it is completely vapid and almost utterly disconnected from implementing an innovative web service?

    Off the MS web page for example:

    ".NET is important to end users because it makes computers easier to use and far more functional."

    Wow, where do i sign up!

    "By allowing multiple secure data feeds to be merged into a single user interface--or even a programmable decision engine--the .NET architecture will free users from the limitations imposed by the data silos that populate the Web today"

    SOAP and XML don't magically make applications speak to each other, like MS would like us all to believe.

    What MS has is market dominance which allows them to leverage their reputation in creating new "standards" -- no matter how vapid and stupid their talk about their next generation of programming tools is.
  • by goingware ( 85213 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @02:51AM (#450538) Homepage
    I was pretty perplexed by Sun defending its statement that XML and Java are bolted at the hip.

    Now don't take me for a Microsoft fan or anything. But until Sun releases the Java specification to a vendor-neutral international standards body I have no use for this large corporation trying to manipulate the market by winning developer mindshare. Remember your choice of development platform is a vote you make, either in favor of one company or another, but hopefully a choice you make with clear thought behind it.

    What Sun basically said is that XML is platform independent, and Java is platform independent, so it makes a lot of sense to use XML with Java.

    Now, I'm not arguing that there is lots of great XML software available for Java. But in my feeling (and Bjarne Stroustrup's opinion too []) Java is not platform-independent, but a proprietary platform unto itself.

    And in fact most of my actual working experience with XML has been in C++ using the platform-independent Xerces-C [] validating parser for DOM and SAX from the good folks at the Apache XML Project []. (You can also use Xerces-C from Perl or Win32 COM with provided wrappers).

    I used Xerces-C on MacOS and Win32 for the config files and user documents of a consumer GUI application after integrating it with the similarly cross-platform ZooLib [] cross-platform application framework - something that would have been really inappropriate to do in Java, as this was meant to be a free downloadable app for which tech support costs had to be near zero, and we could not expect our users to install a Java runtime.

    According to its web page, the C++ version of Xerces works on:

    • Win32
    • Linux
    • Solaris
    • AIX
    • HP-UX
    • OS/390
    • AS/400
    • SGI IRIX
    • Macintosh
    • OS/2
    • PTX
    • "and more!"
    Further, it's open source under the Apache license and doesn't come with any burdensome requirements or political repercussions from dealing with Sun. You also don't have to wait until a needed version of some targeted runtime is available on any platform to be able to run your application with cross-platform C++ libraries like Xerces - because there are no runtimes.

    If more powerful players than you want to trip each other up with competing initiatives - well, just let them, and go on about your business by using open source like Xerces-C.

    BTW - the Win32 port listed on the web page says it builds with Visual C++, I think others have built it with Borland C++ and I was building it with Metrowerks Codewarror for both my Mac and Windows versions, and could cross-compile on each platform for the other.

    Michael D. Crawford
    GoingWare Inc

  • by goingware ( 85213 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @03:27AM (#450539) Homepage
    Speaking as a cross-platform developer [], I beg to differ with you on the point that cross-platform code is unimportant.

    I'd like you to understand why cross-platform code is incredibly important [] (note that this page quotes Judge Jackson of the MS vs. DOJ case as to why Microsoft felt it was so important to put a stop to cross-platform code as to break the law.)

    But I think what we have lost sight of is maintaining both the usefulness of our code and our independence as programmers by not remembering how to write cross-platform code.

    What Sun got wrong was not making Java cross-platform, but trying to bind us all into proprietary platform of Java [] while sweetly singing into our ears that it was platform independent. Sun did this and continues with it to serve its own marketing and political purposes, purposes which may not serve the interests of either the public or the independent developer.

    You too can write cross-platform code, in almost any compiled language. Check out the ZooLib [] cross-platform application framework for C++, as well as the Boost C++ Libraries [].

    Jon Watte of Be, Inc. [] told me "Portable, to some people, means it builds on at least two linux distributions with several flavors of GCC".

    Here's a list of a bunch of application frameworks [], many of which are cross-platform, and many of which are open source - so there's more than just ZooLib to pick from.

    Get off your duff and ship your executables for all platforms in common use - and not just ones with POSIX system call APIs!

    And here's a hint for making your code buildable cross-platform - ever try to run "./configure" on a computer that doesn't have a command shell? Pretty hard. Makes folks like me struggle to write all the makefile's and config.h's by hand. But look at how many platforms the Independent JPEG Group's [] JPEG codec library builds on - DOS, MacOS, Cray, you name it, and it builds with both ANSI-C and old K&R c compilers (using macros for the function interfaces).

    Kids these days... damn it makes me mad.

    Michael D. Crawford
    GoingWare Inc

  • by abcbooze ( 245097 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @01:15AM (#450540)
    that /. is a little anti-microsoft

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."