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Java Programming

Sun Withdraws Java from Standards Process 397

An anonymous reader pointed us to a story over at ZD Net about Sun withdrawing Java from the ECMA Standards body. They say they want to protect the "Integrity" of the company's investment in Java.
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Sun Withdraws Java from Standards Process

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  • That's Plan B: Make Sun's Java the de-facto standard by dumping it on the market at under cost (free) until it is firmly entrenched in the marketplace.
  • Yeah, like, maybe just having something like the good old thing where it looks at the first line of a file to determine what it should be run with.


    Every UNIX I know of does this automatically in any call to exec*(). Why can't a webbrowser do this for applets? Just get it as application/applet or something and then it can run it directly. Seems to be an okay way to do it, except that I'm squeamish about running any arbitrary code I'd run across on the web. Like, I wouldn't want Netscape to automatically run the following "applet":

    rm -rf /

    Which is, of course, why Java is setup as a secure, isolated virtual machine, and why ActiveVirus...er, ActiveX uses a silly signature/authentication mechanism to make sure it really is a trusted source, in theory anyway.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • The classes are part of the language. The language is not just the syntax, but also the semantics, and the core libraries are tied up in this. For instance all objects inherit from java.lang.Object. I believe all java.* and javax.* classes are part of the language (/platform). This is why the java.lang and java.util packages are described in the Java Language Specification.
  • Oops, I almost made it sound as though I run as root. I'm not saying that I do, but some people do. What I meant was 'rm -rf ~' - much more disastrous for a user account.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
  • Yes, Java has a couple of huge steps above C++:
    • garbage collection
    • explicit package system, intead of preprocessor tricks
    • various standardized API's that will be cool if they are ever widely deployed

    However, there is so much more available in other languages, for instance:

    • numbers, characters, and strings are objects
    • dynamic typing is an option
    • decent type systems, especially wrt generics
    • decent library of classes; largely this is due to typing problems
    Maybe Java will at least get people thinking about the languages which set the context for so much of their work. If you aren't worried about applets, then, for many programming domains, languages like Lisp and Smalltalk give you the same benefits that Java does, plus more, and plus they have stable, mature implementations.
  • Your comments about Sun, knights in shining armour and Microsoft remind me of a comment about trust made by the moredhel Gorath*: a friend can betray you, but with an enemy, you always know where you stand. Now, admittedly, a true friend will never betray you, but someone who only seems to be your friend can and probably will. Sadly, this is the only effective test of friendship I know of.
  • I really don't get the ranting of the majority of the /. base on this one. If people had been following the Java legacy from day 1, I think they may come to the conclusion that Sun has tried to have one standard version of Java with different levels of libraries. Every action they've taken is to keep the language standardized and portable.

    The community process is in place, and has been working. Needed changes to the language and libraries get adopted in the next release or two. It's not as responsive as OpenSource, but it's pretty effective. From what I've seen, notably in C++, having a committee as a guardian isn't very effective by comparison.

    The bulk of the posts say how bad the decision is, and yet, Sun has acted in good faith and good conscience to protect the integrity of the language. That's why I can write the c/s app on Linux, and run it seamlessly on Digital Unix, Solaris, and NT/Win98 without any sort of port or recompile. Because their process is working. I can't even get two compilers to agree on output on all those platforms in C/C++, without even taking the db interfaces into consideration.

    Why, specifically is this a bad thing? Don't the results matter? Isn't that the real reason for doing things? The principle isn't at stake here, as we don't have a comparable project I know of that a committee or standards organization has succeeded with.

    My 25 cents.

    Dallas Hockley

  • Minor correction. G++ has C++ extensions but of course neither they nor any part of G++ is "proprietary".
  • Can someone tell me why I have to pick a platform target for downloading the JDK javadocs or extended APIs??

    Oh, for cryin' out loud. Normally I ignore the mass ignorance on /., but this is just too much. Below is a quote from Sun's download page [sun.com] for the Java 2 documentation.

    "The download choices have identical documentation content and differ only in the compression format, so "theoretically" any choice should work on any OS. However, due to tool imcompatibilites, this is not entirely true. Do not download the COMPRESS tar or GZIP tar formats and try to install them with WinZip or a non-Solaris version of tar (such as GNU tar). About 10 of the included files have paths that are 100 characters or longer, and these programs will not install them correctly."

    As you can tell, it's OS and tool problems. Sun didn't write your freakin' decompression tools, so don't blame them. (And ironicly enough, it seems to suggest that a GNU tool is at fault here.) At least they went to the trouble of packaging it multiple times and documenting things which is more then I get from most companies or open source projects.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This week we finished mods to a java program on NT. Unit tested it there. Moved the bytecode to Solaris. Pounded the hell out of it for scalability testing. Then deployed the same bytecode on a FreeBSD box. We got it out of Java.
  • Moreover, none of those people are large corporations trying to dethrone the current king of the hill. Corporations are inherently less trustworthy than individuals, given their mandates and organization.
  • Python is also compiled into "bytecode" in the same way that Perl is. And it's run by something called a "virtual machine". Of course, this VM is much more abstracted from the actual computer than the JavaVM, so you don't get as good performance. And if that's not enough, someone has recently written a python assembler!
  • Correct me if I'm wrong ( I've never written in Python, so there's a good chance of that), but isn't Python an interpreted language where the source is always available? Java is compiled into bytecode, and many tools exist to obfuscate the bytecode to the point where it cannot be usefully decompiled.

    Python, like lisp can be compiled to bytecode and distributed as such--just like java. They both run in a "vm", although I don't know how different the vm design is.

  • but I took it as "Correct Me If I'm Wrong".
  • Wander off into irrelevancy with it? :-)
  • It's not a TLA, because TLA stands for Three Letter Acronym, which CMIIW is now. A four letter acronym is actuall an ETLA, for Extended Three Letter Acronym, because FLA would only have three letters. Oh, BTW, CMIIW means "Correct me if I'm wrong."


  • Python can be compiled to bytecodes, but python programs are traditionally distributed only in source form. There's nothing stopping anyone from distributing python programs in bytecode form, but there's not much that can be done to obfuscate the bytecode, so decompiling is relatively easy.
  • Let's step back for a moment and consider the fact that not everyone endorses the Open Source movement. Many companies don't like to Open Source their products because of copyright standards and such like that. However, this makes porting their programs to different platforms more work, and not always feasible.

    And then there's Java, a perfect solution. It suddenly makes life a ton easier on computer owners everywhere, because they can all run the same programs, using the same interfaces. Programs for the various flavors of Unix and Linux no longer have to ship the source code with the program, instead having to just ship the program itself, guaranteed to work.

    Java is the solution that many companies are looking for. But, like any startup language, it's fighting for its independance right now (Microsoft J++) and it can't be burdened with a "standards committee".

    But that's just my two bits...
  • by pspeed ( 12169 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @12:43PM (#1474057)
    There are differences between what Sun is doing and what Microsoft has done. (And this analogy is getting really tired of being trotted out for any company Redhat's size or larger.)

    First, Microsoft does not license their Windows technology to anyone. (Wince doesn't count.)

    Sun licenses their technology to anyone that wants to pay the fees. In fact, Sun would be happy if they never had to do their own JVM implementations. They would be content to provide a reference implementation and compatability testing.

    Microsoft charges for everything.

    Sun gives JDK, JRE, etc. away for free... and has even made the JDK more free.

    Microsoft does not provide a source for input to the evolution of their products.

    Sun provides a Community Process to which anyone can become a member for a fee. Sure, not any old Joe can give his input, but would we really want a language developed by popular vote? I sure wouldn't.

    Microsoft creates products to push their own defacto standards for API's and such.

    Sun regularly publishes draft standards for Java extensions. Many of which are designed around third party implementations to be plugged in.

    In conclusion, Sun controls the Java platform but not with the same stranglehold that Microsoft has on anything Microsoft. And this difference is significant.

    If Sun suddenly decided to take Java in strange directions that the majority of the Java development community didn't agree with, Java would live on as another language. If that happens then I'll be the first one joining in on the Myva(?) project. :)

    However, right now I think Sun is doing a fantastic job and I'm willing to give them some leeway.
  • NFS
    I don't think there is any commercial UNIX vendor that does not profit from these things.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The difference is obviously that neither Perl nor Python are being used as a lever by a MSFT wannabe to cause the great unwashed masses to buy more of a particular workstation vendor's gear. McNealy and crew are just want to be like Bill. They want to own the desktop, the server, and the client business, and have you, the poor unwashed (l)user, pay them fees for taking a leak with a java based toilet.

    Perl is being pushed by O'Reilly, because they want to sell books. But hell, I can download the source and do pretty much any freaking thing I want with it. Same goes for Python. O'Reilly does have a motive, and they have Larry working there too. But O'Reilly isn't pulling the same crap that Sun is pulling. Why the hell would anyone claim that some C++ wannabe language is a standard when they really don't want to allow it to progress to full standardization?

    Simple. They want control. Absolute control.

    A little while ago, a competitor to Sun from across the garbage heap offered up a great technology to help boost java. Sun would have nothing to do with it, prefering instead to write its own API. Other companies have tried to write java technologies competitive with Sun, only to have Sun change the API on them in the next release to make their technology more difficult/impossible to implement, and allow Sun to covet that technology.

    Folks, do not allow yourself to be fooled by Sun's motives. They are trying to protect their bottom line, and frankly they do not care who takes it in the shorts in the end. They want you to pay them for every use of the java based auto-toilet, and they want to be like Bill.

    If they really wanted to grow Java, all they ever had to do was freeze the specs, release it (copyrights and all) to the orgs, and voila, a standard. That would have been good. Now, there will be a java standard. Sun just wont be involved.

  • Standards. Don't ya just love 'em.

    When Linus says, "remember: a compiler is a TOOL"
    people nod in agreement. When he says that if a
    job's criteria can't be met by sticking within a
    standard, the compliance to the standard should
    suffer, not the criteria. And people murmur
    their approval.

    And Linux is completely dependent on gcc and
    very popular and useful and portable.

    Now along comes Sun shadowed by the evil
    Microsoft. Frankly, Sun (and Microsoft) are
    in it to make a buck.

    Java is very public and portable and open.
    But Sun was in a dogfight with Microsoft
    and saw the mire of the Standards Process
    as a way of shaking them. And it sort of worked.

    Now when Sun's job criteria can't be met by
    sticking within a Standards Process, the
    compliance to the Standards Process should
    suffer, not the criteria.

    Pragmatic sauce for the goose
    is pragmatic sauce for the gander.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's a rubberstamp shop in just about any medium-sized city they could pay a visit to.
  • Yes, another Eiffel fan here. (Sather too).

    Why is C++ multiple inheritance bad? Among many other reasons, because C++ has NO DISAMBIGUATION UPON INHERITANCE.

    Eiffel does.

    That makes an enormous difference in making multiple inheritance clean and painless. Why is it that so many people say "use delegation, not MI"??? Because delegation is a painful and manual way of, in effect, specifying how to disambiguate potentially conflicting features.

    With GOOD multiple inheritance, you don't need to do that. You just use delegation when delegation really is the best solution.

    Notice that Java still lacks dismbiguation, and it IS still a problem, but as Java only has MI of interfaces, the problem just happens to occur less often.

    I disagree with the notion that the Java language designers were that brilliant. Compared to any other new OO language designed around the same time, Java is pretty damn poor. It would get maybe a C+ :) in a programming language class, not a B or A.

    Only if you are used to poking yourself in the eye with pointed sticks (C++) or poisoned pointed sticks (MFC under C++) would you think that Java is all that great.

    There are other boneheaded decision in the Java language design as well.

    I always thought "well the language is lame, but at least we have all these great API's". I personally never used them. Now people who do are saying that the APIs suck but the langauge is OK.

    Oh boy. Is there anything actually good about Java???

    I guess the bytecode verifier and security model is fairly decently "high tech" and well designed. That's about it, as far as I see.
  • I can see why you never went back to it; if you really looked at 1.0 and decided to wait for 1.2, you would have been waiting for 3+ years!

    Anyway, if you had any clue as to what you are talking about, you would realize that anything you developed for 1.0 would work fine with 1.2. You might get some deprecation warnings at compile time, but it would still compile and run.

    For Sun at least, "innovation" doesn't mean "make incompatible".

  • First off I think the idea of a general VM is a good one. Writing a good one would be hard. Writing a good, fast one would be even harder.

    The problem with the Java VM is that it has a lot of Java-specific behaviors in the VM itself. For instance it assumes that there are classes. That's fine and you could compile a C program into a bunch of classes but why?

    One reason that Sun may have had for doing this is that it makes the VM faster. If the VM can work at a slightly higher level by making a few assumptions, the VM can put a lot of code that would otherwise have to be interpreted in native code.

    For instance, if you assume that the languages that target the VM have garbage collection, then you can have the VM handle it automatically instead of making the compiler emit code to handle it. On the other hand, that means no pointers. Then the VM isn't a viable target for C/C++ compilers.
  • by Thomas Charron ( 1485 ) <twaffle@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:12AM (#1474072) Homepage
    That's one way give a good uppercut to developers who are trusting you. So now Sun completely controls Java. They're reneged on their promises now that developers have put alot of time and effort into Java, because they believed in it, and they believed Sun was making their best effort to move it to a standardized base, and do things for the good of Java, which, in the end, is for the good of then.

    Suddenly, *WHAM*. We need to protect our investment.

    Goodbye good 'ole Sun, HELLO Microsoft II.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Really. The initial submission was to benefit Sun's case of bastardizing the language by Microsoft and to take away some of the heat from the community for Sun apparently doing whatever the hell they want to the Java core libraries.

    "Look! we're trying to make this a standard and they're messing it up... boooooo hooooooo..... We need a preliminary injunction... wahhh haaaa!"
  • They're all development enviroments not languages. VB is an implmentation of VBA (originally Object Basic) and there's nothing stopping you from making your own implementation as people have (Halcyon's Instant Basic and someone else's Power Basic).

    Visual C++ is an IDE with a very fast and for all intents and purposes ANSI compliant C compiler. Visual J++ is also an IDE which by default uses microsoft's compiler, which is a 1.1.4 compliant compiler.

    Just cause you add extra features doesn't mean it's not compliant (like sun would tell you).
    J++ does everything 1.1 does - but does a bit more than that too (which I'm thankful for).
  • From a Linux perspective you're right. The NFS code in Linux is poor.

    The unfortunate thing is that everybody assumes there's something wrong with NFS.

    If Microsoft had adopted NFS and was sabatogueing it with as bad an implementation as Linux, you can bet people would be howling "embrace and cripple."
  • thogard writes:

    ...but C was the property of AT&T and quite controlled by AT&T (mainly Richie) until well after the standards process was in full swing. Anyone see the early release of the "2nd edition K&R"? It is full of not quite polite footnotes about stupid things that were just wrong from the ANSI C committee. Most of those things are not in the current ANSI C. Sun could do the same thing with Java if they chose too.

    Part of the problem with C was that Dennis Ritchie was not involved in the standardization process; Bjarne Stroustrup headed up the C++ standardization effort.

    Steve Molitor
    "Emacs is the Computer"

  • I was always worried about Sun taking Java to
    a "standards commitee".

    What better way for Microsoft to "embrace and
    extend" and eventually destroy Java than by gaining eventual control over such a commitee? Sun is only trying to prevent Microsoft from getting any toehold. Can't blame 'em a bit.

    Sun has given away many innovations. Not
    Microsoft. I can't blame Sun at all for wishing to be "keeper of the flame". The best way to keep any vision pure is to keep it out of the hands of a commitee.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are 3 parts of java: the language, the classes and the bytecodes. The language and the bytecodes are pretty solid, Sun has nothing to gain by changing them and it's a pretty safe bet that they won't, there simply isn't a good reason to do it. Now if you're an IBM or an Apple or somebody who's bought into the java myth and want to extend the language or bytecode you're out of luck, but if you're a java beLIEver then whether or not Sun gives it to a standards group doesn't make a lot of difference.

    Then there are the classes, that is the bread and butter of java. Sun wants to control that. Let them, the classes suck. Look at the performance of java, a good portion of it is due to classes. The classes are at least half of java's biggest problem, it's slow. JFC makes the problem even worse. JFC is a slow framework built on top of a slow framework. Not standardizing the classes could be a huge bonus for Java is IBM and some others go ahead and push to standardize it anyway and have to roll their own.

    Honestly, I think we need to start looking ahead. Java missed it, it's nothing compared to what the hype had it made out to be and it never will be any of that. Java is best at providing a lingua franca for custom apps you never want to touch again. It's not ready for prime-time in the general programming arena and it probably never will be. We need to develop a structure and way to plug perl, python, tcl, etc.. into mozilla. We need to start our own active scripting and active content platform and let the world take notice and start copying it. What did java do to the web? It made icons bounce, allowed for some vector graphics, played sounds, I feel pretty confident we can do all that with perl. I bet we can come up with a ton of cool things that we can do with perl in a web browser and a way to make it safe.

    As for portability and all that, we do pretty good with perl, python, and source code. GTK+ and QT are the big things anyways. GUIs have always been the pain in porting stuff.

  • Actually, though I've never tried it, I think rm -rf / might be worse than rm -rf ~, the latter would only nuke your home directory, but if you have files somewhere else (and can delete them) the former will nuke the lot (assuming the OS will allow rm -rf / to work at all for non-root users)
  • theres alway W3C! they seem to have low standards in terms of bending over for vendors...
  • Microsoft license Windows source to many universities and companies (Citrix, Softway and some others which I can't remember right now).

    Also, Microsoft give away SHITLOADs.
    Your examples of JDK and JRE are stupid. Microsoft also give away their Java SDK and Runtimes. I reguarly get free copies of Windows Betas (and the full release eventually) - I'm not special, just applied. I also recently ordered a free copy of the VBA devleoper's kit - FULL shrink wrapped box - shipped etc for free.
    There are shitloads if free downloads from MS...NT add ons like IIS, MTS, MSMQ etc are totally free.
    And MS have the largest online developer's database with GB of information and source code, as well as commentaries from MS engineers etc.

    Microsoft is by far the best developer support software company. Sun doesn't even come close.

    I think MS have spent at least $1000 on me.

    I get shipped stuff for free from redmond to new zealand.

    In conclusion, Sun controls the Java platform but not with the same stranglehold that Microsoft has on anything Microsoft. And this difference is significant.

    Yeah whatever, like I said, MS is the best developer support company, and that's why I continue to develop for windows.

    BTW, check out MSDN.MICROSOFT.COM sometime, don't get lost in the GB of information there - much more than Sun's Java site.
  • by dave_aiello ( 9791 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @02:31PM (#1474093) Homepage
    I have to admit from the outset of this post that I am not qualified to judge the technical worth of ECMA as an organization. So, I ask the Slashdot community:

    Is ECMA a legitimate standards body?
    Are they producing standards that help to advance the state of the art?

    The reason I ask this is because my only previous knowledge of ECMA is the certification that JavaScript (aka ECMAscript) went through. If memory serves, the ECMA group was chosen over other more well known standards organizations because it was thought to be easier to influence, thereby orchestrating the outcome. Ever since then, I have wondered about this organization.

    Now, ECMA is in the news again. But, this time, a Slashdot community member posts a link to the ECMA Web Site. So I have the opportunity to check out the roster of member companies [www.ecma.ch]. If you look at them, you will note that practically every one is a multinational that is not based in Europe.

    I guess that this point, in itself, doesn't say much. Except that there must have been a much bigger number of true European companies in ECMA back when it was founded in 1961. But, then I notice that at least one European computer manufacturer that I know of, Bull [bull.com] isn't a member. Neither is Nokia, although Ericsson is.

    There is an organizing body in the sport of boxing known as the IBF. It was created as an alternative to the WBA and WBC, and seems to exist for the sole purpose of having an alternate slate of champions who can challenge one of the more established sanctioning bodies' champions.

    So, my ultimate question is, does ECMA serve the same role in the technology world that the IBF appears to serve in the boxing world?

    Dave Aiello

  • What many seem not to have noticed is that the withdrawal from the ECMA standardization effort is accompanied with the royalty-free release of the Java 2 standard edition.

    In my view (and I am not speaking for my employer) this should assuage the developer's fears of not having the standards body oversee the process.

    This URL [sun.com] has more information.

  • Sun owns the trademark and the original source code.

    Why doesn't ECMA simply go ahead and standardize the same thing under another name

    They're considering this, but the big problem is that everybody involved already has a license from Sun.

    It's possible to write a jvm from scratch (e.g., kaffe), but most companies licensed the platform from Sun in order to port it. And with that license comes a lot of conditions.

    If ECMA made changes without Sun, virtually nobody could implement those changes without violating the original contract with Sun. Remember, that's pretty much what they nailed MS for: using the licensed platform to implement something other than a Sun-approved java implementation.

    By letting everyone see the source, Sun has actually manage to tighten the license even more.
    Proving a cleanroom implementation after your development staff has pored over the java code for a few years is not going to be easy.
  • The thing to do in Mozilla would be to set up the language interface so you could plug anything in there. Perl, Python and Scheme would all make interesting web languages and I suspect they'd all be more portable than Java.
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @01:08PM (#1474132) Homepage Journal
    A web applet language [snip...]

    That opening line destroyed whatever credibility you could have established as someone who knows what he/she is talking about. Java is not, has not or ever will be a web applet language in fact what the fsck is a web applet language?

    IIRC, Java was originally designed for embedded systems and workstations/servers. That's why the VM and portability was the main push behind the language. With the advent of the World Wide Web, Sun added a few tricks to Java and enabled people to write web applets. The funny thing though, is that now Java is primarily seen not as a GUI development language (better use C++ or VB if your a pseudo-programmer) but as a quick and powerful server side development language.

    Bad Command Or File Name
  • Do you really think that if Linux wasn't based almost entirely on pre-existings standards, and a well-known defacto standard called Unix (heard of it?) that Linus would have had any possibility of putting together what the Linux kernel has grown to be?

    It is NOT Linus's vision of what the kernel needed that holds the Linux project together. It's everybody's vision of what Unix is that does that.

    Comparing Java to Linux is an incredibly flawed analogy.
  • There are differences between what Sun is doing and what Microsoft has done. (And this analogy is getting really tired of being trotted out for any company Redhat's size or larger.) First, Microsoft does not license their Windows technology to anyone. (Wince doesn't count.) This is just not true. Microsoft will license their OS to you if you have enough money. In fact, it is even possible to get the source. I believe several universities have source code to NT for use in graduate programs. I'm sure they don't allow you to give away your product based on NT, but they will license it.

    Note: I have no first hand experience with this, but I have good information from several reliable sources saying this.

    Sun licenses their technology to anyone that wants to pay the fees. In fact, Sun would be happy if they never had to do their own JVM implementations. They would be content to provide a reference implementation and compatability testing.

    In some ways I agree with this, but not completely. If Sun wanted to never implement another VM, they would make it a lot easier to get the code. If they open source it, they will never have to implement it again. I'm not an open source bigot. I like open source software, but I recognize that currently some things need to be closed. A language like Java does not seem to be one of them. They want to control where the language goes. I feel this is the real reason Sun keeps a short leash on java. It also explains their 100% pure java program and such things.

    I think Sun is a good company in many ways. I like aspects of their hardware. I even like parts of their OS. Watch out for them. They already do some scary things. Do you think you can stick a normal IDE drive in one of their IDE ultras? Good luck, It has to be sun branded.
    Mike Mangino Consultant, Analysts International
  • > C++ sucks because Stroustrup didn't know when to quit
    Why do people all of a sudden become such expert on judging a language. A professional, experienced and good programmer can surely use C++ in a perfectly nice way. Besides you're not bound by all those stupid restrictions imposed in java.
    Why is Open Inventor, or Qt or any other nice OO library based on C++ if it's such a bad language.
    Java is a nice language "platform independent" language. But fast? NONONO!

    Just couldn't help myself. Don't mean to use my flamethrower, but I just can't stand people giving statements without foundation.

    Now for the real topic. Personally I think Sun is better of without going through the ECMA Standards body with Java. They did a good job designing the language and I trust they'll do a good job keeping control and developing the language in the interest of thousands of programmers currently commited to use java. Why? Because it's not impossible for another company like M$ to create a new language and too much effort and time is invested that they can't afford anything else.

    Any yes, I've got a bad carma. That's because I can't be bothered writing long, intelligent comments. I'll just leave that to the others.... (I'm to busy programming)

  • Basically, it means your CS or Comp Eng program just became a degree in Sun. :)

    Seriously, I don't expect this to be a huge problem. In fact, now Sun pretty much has to ensure backward compatibility and a slow rate of change to the language, or they alone will face a worldwide mob of angry designers. I don't think Sun's original goals have changed, and the possibility of relationships with other standards organizations still exists.

    On a related note, things like Verilog HDL aren't formally standardized, but the world happily uses them anyway. I'd say keep using Java (though you may not want to throw away your "C++: How To Program").

  • So far, Sun's Java specs are explicitly open: you can use them to build your own compatible implementation (you just can't call it "Java"). And Sun's Java specs are detailed and quite complete.

    The language spec, while good, is incomplete and outdated. There is no library spec publicly available. The two-volume (plus supplement) Java Class Libraries set from Addison-Wesley is pretty good, but they have many errors and by no means qualify as a specification: There is way insufficient information to write a compatible implementation (though they help). (I speak from experience as the former technical lead for Gcj.)

    The documentation for Swing is even worse, with no real documentation out there beyond the very terse javadoc-generated api documentation. I have found one book (from O'Reilly) that goes into any detail on the Swing text classes.

  • Big critical difference here. Microsoft loathes linux and any other OS with a passion. At least the JDK is avaible on a wider range of OS choices than DirectX or anything else that MS creates.

    Apples to apples, I don't think there is a difference at all. Java is not just some language or an API (like DirectX), but is a full-blown *platform* (or at least attempting to be one). If Sun has their way (and I hope they don't), Java will be the only platform a developer ever needs to address. As such, Java is to Sun what Windows is to Microsoft (an DirectX is merely a "Java 2D"). Therefore, it is in Sun's *advantage* to have Java ported to as many conventional OS's as possible. It promotes the platform, not competes with Solaris. Extending the analogy, this is like MS porting NT to non-Intel CPU's.

    Unfortunately, again if Sun has its way, it may end up much worse than Microsoft II for MS only controls the platform (Win32). Java, in addition to being a platform (java.*), also forces the choice of language (syntax + java.lang.*) and even the CPU innstruction set (JVM)! These things don't stand out right now, because in most cases Java still lives in a virtual environment within another OS. Imagine if Java was all you had (Sun's goal).

    Now I'm not an MS fan - far from it. But given a choice of the world domination by Gates or McNealy, I pray it's not McNealy.
  • There are differences between what Sun is doing and what Microsoft has done. (And this analogy is getting really tired of being trotted out for any company Redhat's size or larger.)

    First, Microsoft does not license their Windows technology to anyone. (Wince doesn't count.)

    Sun licenses their technology to anyone that wants to pay the fees. In fact, Sun would be happy if they never had to do their own JVM implementations. They would be content to provide a reference implementation and compatability testing.

    Hmmm... Microsoft does license Windows to people - many universities have the source code. So do many companies.

    Microsoft charges for everything.

    Sun gives JDK, JRE, etc. away for free... and has even made the JDK more free.

    Sorry, but that's complete and utter rubbish.

    Microsoft gives away all kinds of things for free, including a C & C++ compiler, assembler, over 2GB of sample code, documentation and libraries, plus lots of other freebie tools. They give away more than Sun has given away by a factor of 10, and have done so for YEARS.

    You might want to check out http://msdn.microsoft.com/ some time... you'll be surprised (well, I don't know that for sure - but going off what you're claiming in your post, you'll be very surprised by the reality of what Microsoft gives away).

  • I don't really understand the article, it said that Sun would have to abdicate their copyrights. Is that right or am I reading it wrong? You can't hardly blame sun for wanting to keep the copyrights to their work. Like the article said, there is a de facto standard, do we really need an official governing body maintaining the standards.
    Take Mesa for example, it has not passed any OpenGL standards and aside from not being able to call itself OpenGL it works fine as a replacement to OpenGL. The problem lies when companies like Microsoft begin to "enhance" the platform, but Sun already sued MS's arses for that so not to many people are likely to try it again.

  • The poster's comment above about using UAE as a virtual machine actually has some real merit. The Amiga is a very clean environment, and you can emulate one very nicely on a P2/400 or so.

    Even if everyone thinks using UAE is stupid, I think it's a good proof of concept. The Amiga is a ridiculously complex design, amazingly hard to emulate, and yet the developers of UAE have managed to get an emulation running pretty damn fast. At one time, it was widely believed to be an impossible feat.

    If they can make a virtual Amiga run as well as it does, it seems likely that a clean, simple virtual machine design would run very quickly indeed. The 68000-series architecture wouldn't be a bad choice. Even a virtual Atari ST might work pretty well, if that abomination of a desktop was replaced with something else.

    After thinking about this a few minutes, I think the Amiga would be a better choice. Strip out the custom chip emulation layers and do a pure-CPU Amiga OS in a virtual machine. It wouldn't have memory protection, but wouldn't need it; if you want to run more than one VM program, start more VMs. It would be multithreaded and highly efficient. The total footprint of the device would probably be under 2MB... including 512K of RAM for the Amiga OS to work with.

    It seems like such an obvious solution that I'm wondering why it hasn't been done. Ideas?
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @01:27PM (#1474198) Homepage Journal
    Back in the day (The day being the Java 1.0 day) I looked at Java and said "That's cool." Studied it a bit and decided to get a group together to develop some free widgets for it.

    I set up a mailing list, got a group going, and we started to go into our design phase. We looked at the new features that were going to go into 1.2 and decided to wait for 1.2 to come out and the spec to settle down. We shelved the effort until that point.

    We never started up again. The java spec went all over the place and I decided that I didn't like Java for one of the same reasons I don't like Microsoft -- I don't want to be a member of the API of the week club. I have better things to do with my time.

  • I think Java could only be helped by removing it from Sun's control.

    The difficulty with any language or standard which is controlled solely by a corporation which stands to profit from its control is that the company will naturally move to protect its control.

    Other companies (Microsoft!) will move to undermine control or use of that standard, regardless of technical merit.

    This only undermines the advance in computing technology as major corporations fight over market share rather than promoting the best tools available.

  • You assume much about Sun that isn't necessarily true..

    You assume that Sun will make decisions for the best of the language, and for the best of those who use it.

    However, Sun will make decisions based upon making Sun more popular with pointy-haired types, and investors, and making Sun's stock price go up.

    The best thing for the Java language, to make it popular, would be to release a bunch of code with a real open source licence, not the SCSL. However, Sun has to keep control, in order to reserve the option of milking more money out of it.

    That's why a standards body would be better. Sun wouldn't have that last-resort lever to pull; preserving their copyrights, trademarks, and other "intellectual property".
  • Sun wants to control the market as much as Microsoft does and their Java strategy has been vague and lacking direction. Every java VM has its little quirks which render the most important advertised feature of the language -- its ability to run on any platform after the code's been compiled -- worthless.

    You'd be better off with perl or scheme in your search for a portable language. I'm hoping someone embeds a Perl interpreter in Mozilla at some point. I'd take that over Java any day.

  • Oh yes, the JDK is *SO* available for Linux. Lesse, it's been nearly 6 YEARS since the original JDK came out, and *hopefully* by next week we'll finally have an official JVM from sun for the platform..
  • by pmancini ( 20121 ) <pmancini&yahoo,com> on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:21AM (#1474231) Homepage
    Sun has always been Microsoft II. I have always felt that the words coming out of McNealy's mouth have been quite disturbing for some time. He is not interested in destroying Microsoft, he is interested in taking Bill Gates' place. For what it's worth, RMS has been advocating people not use Java for quite some time. His fears are now being realized. I tend to agree with the assessment that unlike just about every other computer language on the planet - Java is the only one that is proprietary. Imagine the ruckus if C/C++ remained an AT&T commodity after years of promising to make it "free".

    Sun scares me, it should scare you too.
  • They already tried ISO, and they walked out on that as well..

    This was their last chance..
  • It is only when the control is too tight that programmers and users suffer.

    Actually, programmers and users could suffer if they have no recourse if the maintainer happens to go off his/her/its rocker. With Linux and other open source projects, you could split and start your own project. You have the code. It doesn't matter if Linus goes insane one day and decides that we should implement a talking paperclip as an integral part of the kernel. Everyone can just turn to the next sane person who can take the reigns and pick up right where Linus lost his head. Everyone will follow this project and it will supplant the old.

    Is that possible with Java? I've seen many people say that there isn't enough info to create a complete implementation of Java. Even if they did, could they do anything with it without being sued? I'm truly curious about all this. Anyone got the answers?

  • by Rick Razzano ( 76194 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:23AM (#1474243)
    According to the article Sun thinks Java can stand on its own. In other words, Sun is saying "We don't need you anymore; we write our own ticket from now on" to ECMA.

    They seem to be saying "we don't need you-you need us" to developers too (SCSL?). They might have been better off not portraying themselves as the knight in shining armor, then abandoning that role once it had any disadvantages (at least short-term). At least with Microsoft, developers have no illusions about motive; you know what you get there.

    There may be a lot of scorned developers out there who react like they have been betrayed by Sun. If that happens, we will find out if Sun "doesn't need you anymore."
  • (Man. First Bruce Perens and now me?)

    This poster is a fake. Notice the period at the end of his name.

    My user # is 57473.

  • by Signail11 ( 123143 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:23AM (#1474248)
    This will hurt Java in the short-term since it will be more difficult to develope code that will be portable to [the now non-existent] Java 2 standardized platform. However, I don't think that this will negatively affect the Java language itself in the long run. Java as a language will live or die on its own merits, of which I believe that it has many. It is a type-safe language built from the ground up to support OOP. For thirty years, C has withstood the test of time despite not _ever_ having a standard platform; the same assessment applies to C++ as well. A careful programmer can exploit the benefits of the language while mantaining portability and efficiency using the same methods that he/she have always used. Sun's decision will probably help Java in the end because of this.

    Flames? Think I'm a karma whore?
  • by Alan Shutko ( 5101 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:24AM (#1474255) Homepage
    It looks to me like Sun is looking for a standards body who will put their name behind Java, while letting Sun handle the actual "standardization" process. Unsuprisingly, they're not finding a body to do this.

    So, who's left? I seem to recall they've already tried ISO, they've tried ECMA, and they're sure to get the same reception with the IETF.
  • by Cironian ( 9526 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:24AM (#1474256)
    This [heise.de] article (in german) tells us that "the head of technical commitee 41, Michael Wheatley (IBM), possibly wants to continue with the standardization of Java even without Sun's support.
  • Why do people keep suggesting that Star Office is written in Java?

    It can use Java if you have it, and on some systems comes with it's own copy of the JVM. But then Netscape uses Java too...

    It isn't written in Java and can run quite happily without a JVM on the system - as it does on my RedHat6.1 home PC.

    I can only assume it's because it's so slow and such a memory hog that people make this assumption ;O)

  • And, BTW, MSDN membership costs money too. You'd be surprised how much and what the restrictions on those give aways are.

    No it doesn't. Go to msdn.microsoft.com, and download the platform SDK. Go ahead - you know you want to. 2Gb of compressed data. 2Gb of documentation, samples, tools - you name it. (For more tools, download the DDK's - eg. the Win98 DDK has the MASM assembler in it).

    And guess what? It's free. All you have to do is register - which means painlessly providing a name and address; the same as you'd have to give to subscribe to, say, the New York Times online site.

    If you want MSDN delivered to you on CD every couple of months, sure, it'll cost money. And the more you pay the more you get (the universal subscription is about $3000 - IIRC - but for that you get pretty much everything that Microsoft produces, in every single version, on CD). In general though, it won't cost you a *cent*.

  • by MattMann ( 102516 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:27AM (#1474271)
    What does Sun own? What is Java?

    I guess they own the trademark, and a bunch of the code that's out there... but do they own other intellectual property involved, or is everyone simply worried about fragmentation?

    Why doesn't ECMA simply go ahead and standardize the same thing under another name... perhaps the contracts that the current players in the Java industry have disallow them from going it "together" against Sun alone?

    See, I'm speculating. It would be nice if someone who knew the answers could chime in.

  • Python is distributed under a BSD-ish license that allows people to fork off their own, if they don't like what Guido is doing. In fact, this has happened several times (Ka-Ping Yee's extensions, Viperi, Stackless). Because of the way that the language is set up (small language, rich modules), it's unlikely that a corporation will be able to usurp the language by adding in rich proprietary features and not distributing the code. It's very possible that one might distribute nice closed source modules, but that could happen with any language. Aside from the fact that it's non-GPL, RMS probably wouldn't complain about the control issue.
  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:29AM (#1474288)
    I understand their decision and don't actually see much benefit from having Java go through a standards body. Sun has been doing an excellent job on designing the language and the libraries; HP, Microsoft, and other "standards" participants would likely make things worse. So, from a practical point of view, I think it doesn't matter.

    So far, Sun's Java specs are explicitly open: you can use them to build your own compatible implementation (you just can't call it "Java"). And Sun's Java specs are detailed and quite complete. This is in stark contrast to the Win32 API specs, which are so poorly documented that for practical purposes, it's not possible to make a complete independent implementation.

    However, dropping the standardization effort also is bad PR because it gives the impression that Sun is renegging on their commitments.

    One point of concern is that Sun every now and then seems to make some fuzzy claims about intellectual property related to the Java APIs. No matter who drives the evolution of the Java platform (Sun or a standards body), those parts of the Java specs would clearly not be acceptable to most users of Java, and that is something users need clarity on up-front.

    If Sun does make IP claims related to parts of the APIs (rather than their implementation), that would be a serious matter and would have to be identified up front. That is a point, I think, Sun needs to be pressed on so that we don't end up in a situation analogous to GIF/Unisys. Those APIs would likely be only a small part of the Java platform and easily replaced by alternative de-facto standards developed outside Sun.

  • I was at the press / analyst conference at the Javits Center in NYC on Monday, and they were very clear in saying that in the beginning, Java was all about cross platform compatibility. They have removed Java from the ECMA to protect this concept. With the quote, "Let all of us build this industry".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:30AM (#1474298)
    Sun's been doing a fine job on the language itself, what we're talking about here. The LANGUAGE. Not the class libraries; not swing; not jmf; not java 3d; not java 2d; just the LANGUAGE.

    I've been to many JavaOne conferences, and a few of the other presentations when this topic comes up. All kinds of people have their own little pet additions to Java. Multiple inheritence is one. Do people miss it? Sure. Do they need it? NO. I've been programming in Java professionally for four and half years now (since the day it went public). I've never ONCE run into a situation where I've been stopped by this. And you know what? The code is cleaner because of it. Say what you want, but multiple inheritence is just a huge mess for the next poor slob that has to maintain the code.

    What's the point of that rant? Without Sun (and mainly Gosling and Guy Steel) holding the reigns on the Java up until this point, all kinds of confusing crapola would have been added to the language (just look at what Microsmurf tried to add), and it would have gone from a simple, elegant language to a huge mess.

    I think Sun (specifically the team of people that keep an eye on what to add) has been doing a pretty darn good job so far. Without the people who knew from the beginning what the original intent of the language was, Java would have degenerated into a mismash of crap.

  • With the next round of additions from Sun, Ecma's "standard Java" (which they'd have to choose some other name for) would look like "poor man's choice".

    Very true. Let's not also forget to look at just what ECMA has done for JavaScript compatibility. Very little. I see at least three different implementations out there, probably a heck of a lot more. All need to be ``written to''. Sigh.

  • "Integrity" is such a nice word, innit? It gives you the warm fuzzy feeling that there's somehow something pure and holy there that's being kept sacrasanct, out of the dirty hands of the teeming masses. Sun Microsystems, noble defenders of the "integrity" of Java2, stalwart bastions of truth and light against the unwashed heathens that would taint their singular manifest vision.

    Merriam-Webster [m-w.com] defines integrity as, among other things, "an unimpaired condition : soundness." So, Sun is protecting Java2 from the "impairment" of the standards process. Standards are somehow "unsound." Sun is saying that Java2 becoming a standard will somehow innately taint, corrupt, or poison the platform.

    Merriam-Webster also defines integrity as "firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility." Aha. So Sun keeping Java outside of the standards process is an issue of morals? "It's a moral decision, Doc, and I'll stand by it." Sun-as-priesthood, handing down proclamations on morailty to the ignorant masses who are too immoral and corrupt to See The Java Vision(tm) themselves.

    Finally, M-W defines integrity as "the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness." Here's the cruz of the matter: control. The One True Java, Sun's Java. The Java Above Which There Is No Other. I-AM-Brand Java. Thou Shalt Not Worship Other Java's Besides Sun's. Sun fears the fork, more than anything.

    None of these observations is earth-shattering news, but it's interesting (to me, at least), to look at how Sun has doctored and spun this story with the use of that single word, "integrity."

  • by Crutcher ( 24607 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:33AM (#1474315) Homepage
    Java promised us a compile once, run anywhere solution, and for a few years, it looked like we would get it.

    Well, we didn't; and we aren't going to out of java, not for a long time.

    I think its time that we consider abandoning java, and starting up a new program. The real wonder of Java is, and should have remained, its virtual machine, and if Sun had developed a robust VM, and kept it seperate from the language, then developing for the VM would be just like developing for any other computer archetecture, and we could have used our languages of choice and cross-compiled to the VM.

    In addition, an independant VM would have less security issues than a merged language/VM, and it would become easier to maintain the sandbox.

    In conclusion, we need an OS VM, and you can write C, I will write C++, and my buddy will write Fortran and Assembler, and they will all run on it.

  • I'm not sure turning Java over to a standards commitee would be a good thing. Commitees move slowly, they bicker, and ultimately there's no legal reason why individual companies have to abide by the standards (e.g. C). For something as politically charged as Java, it's possible that we may need a company like Sun behind it to sue companies like Microsoft that deviate from the standards. Yes, Java needs to be more open, but I don't think turning Java over to a standards commitee will make things any better than they are now.
  • I never missed MI, but that's just me. Some API classes emulate MI by using several interfaces that a class must implement.

    You're absolutely right about the simplicity and elegance - it really hurts to look at a medium-sized project in C with tons of ifdefs and other crap like that once you've worked with Java.
  • by _Swank ( 118097 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:36AM (#1474322)
    I see IBM (and HP also) as entirely different than MS here and can not see them developing their own versions of Java. It makes sense for MS to bastardize Java because they are enitrely for the proprietization of the language to the Windows platform. They have nothing else but Windows and do not desire their "enhancements" be available on anything else. IBM and HP on the other hand have a much larger set of platforms which they support in various ways. In the case of IBM, polluting Java would require polluting it for OS/390, OS400, AIX, as well as Windows, Linux and many other operating systems that they often make their products available for. IBM is very concerned about portability as many of their software applications run on several (or more) platforms. Just check pretty much any product at www.software.ibm.com [ibm.com] and you will likely see that the product you look at is available on several platforms (MQSeries is available for well over 20 different platforms and is not alone). IBM is making a big push in the Java arena already specifically for its platform independence and development speed, polluting Java would not make sense for them. This is an investment which they have already made and very likely will continue to do so and not by bastardizing the language.
  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:37AM (#1474327) Homepage
    Indeed, standardization only slows things down. Java is evolving rapidly, any standard would be obsolete before it has gone through the acceptation procedure. I.e. a standard has little other than marketing value.

    If you look at standardization of Java, there's three things that can be standardized:
    - the language
    - the bytecode
    - the API

    Standardizing the language at this point would not be a good thing since interesting language extensions are being developed at the moment (classes with parameters). As long as the extended languages are backwards compatible that's ok with me.

    Standardizing the bytecode would probably be not very harmful but I don't see any immediate advantages either. The bytecode and the VM have been pretty well described already and anybody can make a cleanroom implementation of it. As far as I know the specs have been very stable. It should be possible to compile old jdk 1.02 programs with the latest JDK and run the resulting bytecode on an old java VM (provided the new API doesn't clash with the old one).

    Standardizing the API is rediculous. The java API is a moving target, functionality is being added continuously and the existing API is also perfected from time to time. Fixing the API is not a good thing since I want new functionality and I want those errors fixed in the existing API. In any case a standard API would be lagging behind the current version of the API making it pretty much useless.
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:38AM (#1474335) Homepage
    Now that they own StarOffice, is this move an indication of things to come. IE. will future versions of StarOffice only run on SUN's Java VM?
    ABIWord is looking better and better.

  • I believe that in most UNIXes, rm -rf stops if it hits a directory you don't have permission to delete. I could be wrong, of course. Though probably the worst thing you can do is, say, rm -rf ~/../* - then any sad luser (at least in the same home directory mount as you) who has left their directory world- or group-writeable loses all their stuff.

    Normally I'd check things out to back them up, but this is one thing I don't want to verify. :)
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • Unfortunately with standard bodies, you get way too much politiking. This company wants something implemented this way. This company wants something implemented that way. The group decides to implement it as a combination of both ways, which is ACTUALLY worse than either method alone. Let's look at a heavily standard influenced language. ADA, need I say more? Argh, nice ideas, but try writing a compiler for it. Sometimes simpler is better.

  • by jone_stone ( 124040 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:44AM (#1474345) Homepage
    Do you really think that Sun would behave any differently than MS has, if they had MS's power? No, they wouldn't. Corperations are there so that no one person has to take the blame for the corp's dastardly deeds. And Rare is the corperation that doesn't perform nasty acts. They do whatever they can to survive and prosper. If that includes breaking the law (assuming they can get away with it), so be it.

    My point here is that when you get right down to it, Sun is no more or less evil than MS. We just like to focus on MS because they have the power. If Apple had won the desktop war, it would be them on trial for anti-trust violations right now, not Microsoft.

    What about Sun withdrawing Java from the standardization process? Well, it enforces my point: Sun is not our friend just because they are the underdog in the war. They will do anything they can to gain ground, even if it ends up screwing us, the loyal folks who have faith in the ultimate virtue of the underdog.

    Perhaps that faith is their greatest asset?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:48AM (#1474352)
    I don't see the problem. Guido van Rossum "controls" Python, Bertrand Meyer "controls" Eiffel, Linus Torvalds "controls" Linux. Nobody is complaining. Centralized control of the direction of an OS or a language by itself is not evil, since it prevents splintering. While solitary control can sometimes be confining, possibly preventing some innovation, its benefits can outweigh its costs when applied judiciously. It is only when the control is too tight that programmers and users suffer.
  • Visual C++ is a product, not a language. It's a compiler for a nearly standard implementation of C++. For reference, that is how I would describe g++ (GNU's C++ compiler) as well.

    They do supply proprietary APIs and stuff and encourage their use, but being aware of that, I've actually had an easier time porting [the non directdraw portions of] my VC++ code to other platforms than [the non-svgalib parts of] my G++ code.

  • Well, to pick nits, the original purpose of the corporation was to dilute/distribute the financial responsibility of running a business. I agree that a side effect has been the dilution of moral responsibility.
  • linux must be released from the tyranny of linus torvalds and full control of the kernel should be turned over to a byzantine european standards body composed of retirees from groupe bull and versace who will spend 6 years arguing over the relative merits of creating a steering group to debate an initiative to consider adding better smp capabilities
  • What sun is trying to do it save their creation from the jowls of Microsoft. Do you just want another Visual Basic?

    If Sun retains control than that is exactly what we're going to get! Sun just wants to take over
    from Microsoft.

    Java has potential. It is very annoying to use currently, since it is in active development. If the changes to the language are motivated by the desire to improve the language, it will make a good platform. If, on the other hand, it continues to be abused by Sun, Microsoft, and whomever else gets their hands on it, it will never realize its potential.

    That's why I wish to see the overall design taken out of Sun's hands.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I listen in on the ISO JTC1 SC22 list (http://wwwold.dkuug.dk/JTC1/SC22/JSG/) where a lot of the ECMA people also go, and the reaction has been universally hostile to Sun. Many people are anxious to go ahead with or without Sun.

    In the end, Sun will sue their asses before letting them define a spec, so it will come to nothing.
  • Interesting point about RMS and Java, I never knew that, but then, I don't exactly hang off his coat tails either (no offence). I wonder how he feals about Python. I don't think Python has ever been offered for standardisation (CMIIW), and I think Guido maintians fairly tight control, but I've never heard of anyone trying (eg MS) to usurp Python. Hmm, I wonder how aware MS is of Python; it seams to be a fairly low profile language and thus may be under MS's radar for cross platform languages. Python seem to fulfill the promise of Java (write once, ease of programming) without the hype and controversy.

    Sorry if that's incoherent, I'm in a distracted mood ATM.

  • Sun wants to control the development of the language. They don't want other companies like HP and Microsoft polluting it for their personal gain. I'm in no way saying Sun is a saint and they couldn't do things better..

    I become very cynical toward those who think open source is the answer to every issue and because someone has control of code they are unenlighten individuals that are beneath them. Companies make money.. that's the point.. I'm still amazed there isn't so much backlash against RedHat because they sell open source software. They make money off your work.. But it's not ok for Sun to control and make money off their own work.

    Java was created for 1 reason. To sell Sun servers. The more programs in Java, the more portable and the less control Microsoft has over Sun. If in anyway Sun can lose control over the direction Java goes, then HP, IBM, Microsoft, or someone else can add extentions that cause it not to be platform independent and that will spell the end of Java's purpose, to sell servers.

    I personally would love a open source standard, but not at the expense of portability. Sun offers me a free JDK that I can code whatever I want and do what I please. If I remember correctly you can still get the JDK source code and can still fix bugs, but you can't go and sell it.. Gee.. There's a big loss.. not!

    It's the price you pay.. You want portability or fragmentation.
  • by Nightspore ( 102270 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @11:58AM (#1474393)

    Since Sun obviously can't be trusted to do the right thing as far as opening this platform up I don't install any Java VM on my Linux boxen. Support an open object API for Linux, support GNUstep [gnustep.org].

    Java is over. The future belongs to Objective-C.


  • And ANSI standards haven't done any damage at all to C, FORTRAN, COBOL, SQL, or any of the other languages that have ANSI committees to define them. C++ sucks because Stroustrup didn't know when to quit. -jcr
  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @12:25PM (#1474403)
    A web applet language should be well integrated with HTML, not segregated into little square windows. Does anyone remember Curl? Not the web grabber, but the lispish thing with curly brackets at MIT. It was a brilliant idea. It replaced HTML, Java, Javascript, Flash, etc. with one quite adequate language. Unfortunately, nobody seems interested in replacing HTML.

    A run-anywhere platform should not be tied to specially designed languages. You should be able to compile your C into bytecode that will run on any system. It wouldn't be a big deal to implement, many game emulators do a bigger job. You'd have to provide a low-level window library, but that's really no big deal (the insanity begins when you try to make a high-level window library, and anticipate everything the programmer might want to use).

    Let's face it, Java went as far as it did on a huge marketing campaign, not on its technical merits. It didn't deliver on its promises, and those not caught up in the trendiness saw that it never could. Let's not waste any more time with it.
  • I have no real opinion on Perl (don't know it and don't use it, but I've heard things about it (good and bad, but the portability is in the good)), but I would say Python is an equally good candidate as Perl for the cross platform holy grail. In general, a program written in Python will work on any platform, it's only when you get into the nitty gritty OS specific stuff that you encounter problems, and, like you said for Perl, that's mainly for Unix and Windows. Heck, I used Python sockets in DJGPP using the exact sample code that was meant for unix machines. I imagine Perl has no problems in that regard either. Also, like Perl (but unlike Java), there is only one implementation (not counting any Java byte code ports). Perl and Python have much better support on almost all platforms than what seems to be the case for Java.

    IMO, Java is pure hype while Perl and Python get the job done (in Python's case, quietly, Perl does get a bit of hype).

  • I know this is going to sound like pure flamage, but I can't help myself.

    Let Sun take over Java. Let them keep it closed and proprietary. As far as I'm concerned, Sun really hasn't delivered on ANY of their promises for Java, and even the Microsoft lawsuit was really a slap in the face to folks who took it seriously (ie. it's something to keep pure, so we hadn't ought to compromise it, so Sun better have the cujones to make sure nobody else does).

    I'd have to say that I'm convinced that 100% of Java's success has to do with media hype and people buying into ANY hope of being able to slip loose the Microsoft shackles. Hadn't delivered on THAT promise yet either, has it?

    It's slow, it's buggy, it sure as hell isn't cross platform. So who really cares about Java anyway. Oh, poor Steve Jobs (chuckle - chuckle). All that effort that went into OS X to integrate Java into OpenStep/YellowBox/Cocoa, and now it's going to be MORE irrelevant than Objective-C. HA HA! Stupid sucker.

    Okay, I'll go seek counselling - I really have to work on my corporate sarcasm problem. It was mommy's fault. . .

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • More than enough. I like C, but C++ is too much. Sooner or later C++ is going to do to C what Algol 68 did to Algol.

  • by pspeed ( 12169 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @12:29PM (#1474413)
    I agree. Sun has a process for contributing to Java's evolution. Sure, they have final say, but they've done a good job so far at weeding out the bad ideas. In that sense, Sun has set themselves up as their own standards body with a vested interest in the success of the language they guide. And the process is working.

    I think the language is still too young for a totally committee based evolution. It would be 5 years before we saw a new version.

    Rather than convincing Sun to do something as drastic as giving over their baby to a third-party, maybe we should be working on having them slowly open up the Java Community Process a little more.

    I personally have no problem considering them to be their own standards body. At least for the forseeable future.

  • If we think about this a little more we may see that it may be a case of mismanaging expectations. Sun was going to release Java to the standards body but did a 180. However, all the licensing and community process that Sun had done is far better than most anything done by Microsoft. Have you seen MFC in any standards body? It's sort of like when companies give bonuses. Let's say that I work for a company that gives no bonuses. You work for one that regularly gives bonuses. Now when your company cuts your bonus in half you whine like mad. You're still getting more of a bonus than me and I'm not whining! So when Sun cuts back on what we're expecting, even when it is more than what most other vendors provide, we still a whine like mad.
  • What about Visual Basic, Visual C++ and Visual J++, to name a few?

    Among these Visual Basic is the only example. Visual C++ and Visual J++ are products they are not languages.

    Among other things VC contains a fairly standards-compliant compiler. (At least for its C language subset; since C++ was still in draft-standard at the time of release it is harder to judge) Granted it does have proprietary extensions but so does every other compiler including g++. Same goes for Visual J++ except that Sun has been very aggresive about prosecuting-out any extensions there. As for the case of Visual Basic: who cares?

    Java is unique in the sense that its specification is closed-- revisions, derivatives or descendant languages are not allowed. For reference it is not the only language developed in commercial environment. C was designed at Bell Labs, and so was C++. SmallTalk came out of Xerox Parc. How many people did AT&T and Xerox go after for implementing compilers with different language semantics or proprietary extensions? I am sorry but criticizing Microsoft and then being apologetic about Sun's behavior is sheer hypochrisy.


  • Fizgig most likely means an assembler to emit compiled Python bytecode, much in the same way that a traditional assembler puts out compiled x86 bytecode (i.e. instructions), as opposed to compiling Python (the language) into Python bytecode.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

Those who can't write, write manuals.