Free Java advocacy (was Re: Improving Java for Linux)
benjamin at marimba.com
benjamin at marimba.com
Fri Nov 7 14:18:25 PST 1997
I'm not going to quote anything, because this is a very general
comment. But I speak in reference to all those who would like to see
Java turned into an international standard.
I _want_ Java to be such a standard. I think that it would be really
cool. However, there is an increasing tendency in the industry to
completely ignore official "standards" in favor of de facto ones.
Windows is a de facto standard. Netscape's HTML mail is. According
to ANSI, there is no such thing as SCSI-3, but how many people know
that? Whose version of C do you use?
Companies have the clout, the incentive, and the agility (usually) to
protect what they deem is theirs. Microsoft tries to alter Java, Sun
jumps up and down screaming bloody murder. Imagine if Java were an
ISO standard and Microsoft added its own APIs... do you really think
that ISO would do anything? It would sort of look down its nose at
Microsoft and say "You're not standard; you're naughty" and feel good
about itself for a while. Programmers would write to Microsoft's VM,
or Sun's VM, or Kaffe's VM, and Java would be a royal mess. Is that
really what we want?
Once Java is safe from the likes of Microsoft (and that may be some
time from now), THEN it will be time to try to free it from the evil
clutches of Sun, if Sun doesn't behave. I don't really know whether
Sun is a much better custodian of Java than Microsoft, but right now,
Sun is far, far less dangerous. Do not underestimate the power of
Windows. It is very much alive, and I'd bet that more than half of
all Java developers don't seriously believe that _anyone_ runs a
non-MS operating system.
I have contributed nothing to the Kaffe project. I have seen Sun's
source code, so I won't for a long time. Given that this is none of
my #^@!^% business, therefore, I don't think that I should have a loud
voice here. But I will say that I believe that the free software
movement might just be the future of computing, but that if Kaffe
tries to branch out from Sun's blessed Java (at least until a long,
long time from now), Kaffe will wither and die into the dust.
Good luck to us all.
benjamin at marimba.com http://www.marimba.com/people/benjamin
PGP public key on my homepage, and finger -l bwpearre at cs.princeton.edu
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