Support Wikipedia



On a New Road

Quite the firestormSunday August 15, 2010
The last couple of days have been quite an entertaining firestorm of press and blog-o-sphere commentary. Lots of questions were brought up that give me a bottomless supply of blog topics. I hope I have the common sense to not write on most of them :-)

But there are some topics I feel I should briefly say something about:

  • In Sun's early history, we didn't think much of patents. While there's a kernel of good sense in the reasoning for patents, the system itself has gotten goofy. Sun didn't file many patents initially. But then we got sued by IBM for violating the "RISC patent" - a patent that essentially said "if you make something simpler, it'll go faster". Seemed like a blindingly obvious notion that shouldn't have been patentable, but we got sued, and lost. The penalty was huge. Nearly put us out of business. We survived, but to help protect us from future suits we went on a patenting binge. Even though we had a basic distaste for patents, the game is what it is, and patents are essential in modern corporations, if only as a defensive measure. There was even an unofficial competition to see who could get the goofiest patent through the system. My entry wasn't nearly the goofiest.
  • Sun got a lot of heat for not going full open source early on (and there's a lot of disagreement over what "full open source" would mean... GPL? Apache?). But freedom is a funny concept. It's often a function of point of view: freedom for one could restrict the freedom of another. The freedom we were most concerned about was the freedom of software developers to run their applications on whatever OS or hardware they wanted. In opposition to that, the platform providers wanted the freedom to make their platforms as sticky as possible. Microsoft was the poster child for stickiness: they signed a contract saying that they'd support interoperability. Shortly thereafter they broke that promise by making it the case that if Java programs were developed on Windows, they wouldn't run anywhere else, so we took them to court and won. We were pretty careful about enforcing interoperability on desktops and servers. As an interesting aside, that commitment to interoperability is why Apple dislikes Java. Having OS X apps run on Linux or Windows doesn't make them happy. Apple wants to add your technological distinctiveness to their own.

    When it came to cellphones and JavaME, we weren't as able and successful at achieving interoperability. There were a lot of factors, but it all added up to pain for developers and a chilling of the software market. When Google came to us with their thoughts on cellphones, one of their core principles was making the platform free to handset providers. They had very weak notions of interoperability, which, given our history, we strongly objected to. Android has pretty much played out the way that we feared: there is enough fragmentation among Android handsets to significantly restrict the freedom of software developers.

  • Money was, of course, also an issue between Sun and Google. We wanted some compensation for the large amount we would be spending on engineering. Google did have a financial model that benefited themselves (that they weren't about to share). They were partly planning on revenue from advertising, but mostly they wanted to disrupt Apple's trajectory, and Apple's expected entry into advertising. If mobile devices take over as the computing platform for consumers, then Google's advertising channel, and the heart of its revenue, gets gutted. It doesn't take much of a crystal ball to see where Apple is going, and it's not a pretty picture for Google or anyone else.
  • Don't interpret any of my comments as support for Oracle's suit. There are no guiltless parties with white hats in this little drama. This skirmish isn't much about patents or principles or programming languages. The suit is far more about ego, money and power.
  • It's a sad comment on the morality of large modern software companies that Microsoft, while I don't think they've gotten any better since Sun sued them, probably has the high ground.
It's tough living in a world of Borg-wanna-be's.

By suing Google, Oracle has tainted Java worse than British Petroleum poisoned the Gulf Coast. Thank you, James for java! And about Oracle... "With Oracle, everything is always about money. It is the only metric they know." I don't trust Oracle anymore.. :-( Good bye, java...

Posted by Alexander Tavrovsky on August 15, 2010 at 04:08 PM PDT #

I don't know why Google didn't pick Microsoft .NET Micro Framework for Android. Microsoft released the .NET MF as open-source under the Apache license and penned an open letter to the world claiming that they would not sue anyone that uses the technology-- with no caveats. It runs any language that will run on the .NET CLR (C#, VB.NET, IronPython, IronRuby, etc.)-- and will even run Silverlight. There are free tools available from Microsoft to develop for the .NET MF (Visual Studio 2010, with built-in Silverlight facility, etc.) They also give away the SDK that can be used to port it to any platform, and it should port to Linux with no problems at all. Just add the rest of the security and phone-specific code to special libraries, and there you go... At the end of the day, the Google/Android vs. Oracle lawsuit will probably go the same way as the Linux vs. SCO lawsuit. Just my $0.02 on the matter...

Posted by NYDB on August 15, 2010 at 04:23 PM PDT #

All that I can say is: Salute Sun, Salute. You were a noble in time of bastards. Sun, you are badly missed...

Posted by Hussein Baghdadi on August 15, 2010 at 04:31 PM PDT #

New really cool Oracle logo [type on URL]

Posted by New Funny Oracle Logo - Certified... on August 15, 2010 at 04:41 PM PDT #

It's pretty amusing that all the Google ads on the page are ads for companies and attorneys that help people get patents.

Posted by tzs on August 15, 2010 at 05:03 PM PDT #

Android fragmentation is a win for Google. Where there is dis-order people must search. An effectively curated world is the anti-google. An ingenious plan for sure.

Posted by David on August 15, 2010 at 06:01 PM PDT #

James, can you expand on why Android's fragmentation limits programmers' freedom? I'm an Android developer and I really don't see this at all. The code I write works without any changes on most Android handsets and it's certainly orders of magnitude than Java ME ever was.

Posted by Steve on August 15, 2010 at 06:24 PM PDT #

@David Maybe you're joking, but I think you might be oversimplifying the issues a bit:,+android

Posted by Angus on August 15, 2010 at 06:28 PM PDT #

So Apple is the new Borg. give me a break. Apple gave you shared libraries in Java. What about that. NeXT gave you all to copy, even that you couldn't do properly even with former NeXT developers writing AWT and Foundation classes. Even with buying Lighthouse, you couldn't ship it for Java. Every one hates Java on Desktop, so Apple wants it to behave like a Mac app. What Sun wasn't talented enough to accomplish that. Java lost fare and square to Obj-C and now you are crying. ha ha.

Posted by no on August 15, 2010 at 06:31 PM PDT #

no, This is not the way to talk with someone like James Gosling. Show him respect and forget for a second your Apple fanboy-sim.

Posted by Hussein Baghdadi on August 15, 2010 at 07:29 PM PDT #

I was at Sun back in 1987-88. They seem to have started thinking about patents a bit in 88. Sun was behind in graphics and still relying on 8-bit color-mapped displays as compared to SGI's 24-bit full color. We were going to try to squeeze more out of the 8-bit graphics board by dithering colors, which was a very sad thing to do compared with what was happening at SGI. I had come up with a little trick to generate an ordered dither matrix on the fly by xor-ing address bits. It saved a couple of gates on the graphics card over the more obvious approaches. Then someone came by and asked me if I thought the xor idea was patentable. I just told them I thought it would make for a pretty pathetic patent and they left. I might have stayed at Sun longer if the graphics were as interesting as the rest of the company. They just didn't have a strong visionary leader in that department and were wandering. I was sad to see Sun fall under the wheels of the Oracle bus.

Posted by Dan McCoy on August 15, 2010 at 07:52 PM PDT #

James, when you say: "This skirmish isn't much about patents or principles or programming languages. The suit is far more about ego, money and power." What is your primary thesis about why Oracle is suing Google? I am not clear from the piece, save for the equation that patents = money, usually more so than protecting innovation. Thanks in advance. Cheers, Mark

Posted by Mark Sigal on August 15, 2010 at 08:44 PM PDT #

@Hussain, Mind your business. Mr. Gosling is old enough to defend himself. Nothing in his post is correct about Apple. For example. Apple has the right to create a platform and not invite Mr. Gosling's love child. Nor let Google in to sell its ads in the iphone. I don't see Google allowing anyone in the ad business. So why should Apple allow it. especially when important customer information is being stolen by google. Since When is Apple's ad network a threat to mankind when it is only going to live in the iPhone. You mean that is a direct threat to Google.

Posted by no on August 15, 2010 at 08:52 PM PDT #

The issue is not whether apple/oracle/ms are 'right'. doing stuff like building walled gardens and using software offensively..are just not nice.

Posted by lazylizard on August 15, 2010 at 10:09 PM PDT #

@Angus, who told everyone hates java on desktops. Java is better on desktops.

Posted by Prince on August 15, 2010 at 10:23 PM PDT #

Hey, Alexander, what a great idea. Why didn't Google pick .Net Micro for Android. Hmm, I can think of 3 reasons: 1) It sucks 2) It's Microsoft 3) Even Microsoft didn't choose it for Windows Phone 7. Says a lot when a Microsoft won't even eat their own dog food, huh?

Posted by Xenon on August 15, 2010 at 10:31 PM PDT #

In Oracle's hands, Java is doomed. I have to agree that Mono has a much brighter future than Java since last week. I love Java, but can't say the same about Oracle! It's unfortunate that MySQL and VirtualBox will share fate with Java - just like OpenSolaris.

Posted by Nikolay Kolev on August 15, 2010 at 10:45 PM PDT #

Me Im moving back to C++ and I will do more with Python and PHP. I would like to see Google Go to get more mature, Go its really Python with the power of C++ and garbage collected and with BSD license maybe even Google send it to ISO, Go looks promising but in the mean time my old friend C++. C++0x is getting closures and lambdas nice. Mr.Gosling many thanks for Java, it was a wonderful technology but nothing is forever thanks to the goofy people at Oracle.

Posted by Otengi Miloskov on August 15, 2010 at 11:06 PM PDT #

[Trackback] Oracle finally <a href="">filed a patent lawsuit against Google</a>. Not a big surprise. During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation ...

Posted by on August 15, 2010 at 11:48 PM PDT #

I was surprised by the choice of legal teams. David Boies for heaven's sakes. I hope you and the former JavaSoft people at Google and Oracle are not absorbed by the legal fray.

Posted by Jon K on August 16, 2010 at 12:17 AM PDT #

Hi monsieur james, please thrown in some T5440 at the back end, your pages now opens at snail pace...

Posted by new Color(1.0f, 1.0f, 1.0f, 0.5f); on August 16, 2010 at 01:23 AM PDT #

Hi monsieur james, please thrown in some T5440 at the back end, your pages now open at snail pace...

Posted by new Color(1.0f, 1.0f, 1.0f, 0.5f); on August 16, 2010 at 01:42 AM PDT #

I still hope that Oracle and Google can work this out fast. I believe Oracle reacted very well with the JVM update 21 issue which created a problem for the Eclipse community. I believe Google actually help Java the programming language to remain strong with GWT, AppEnine for Jav and Android.

Posted by Lars Vogel on August 16, 2010 at 01:56 AM PDT #

&quot;I don't know why Google didn't pick Microsoft .NET Micro Framework for Android.&quot; Because nobody in their right mind trusts Microsoft's promise not to sue. :) &quot;The code I write works without any changes on most Android handsets&quot; And Java ME code works without changes on any Symbian handsets and many non-Symbian handsets, from very weak to very powerful. Even on Android handsets, actually, thanks to some enterprising people who wrote a compatibility layer. &quot;Java is better on desktops.&quot; Not for the developer, it isn't. Most attempts I made to develop desktop Java apps failed miserably, while in the mobile and server departments it's always smooth sailing.

Posted by Felix Ple?oianu on August 16, 2010 at 02:03 AM PDT #

Posted by Rob Dickens on August 16, 2010 at 02:13 AM PDT #

thank you for telling us this and we able to see from different prospective. But we all hope, an agreement can be come out from oracle,google side to address this revenue issue. if this can be solved, surely java will continue to prosperous. Or if we prefer continue like thist. you sue me, i sue them. this will be endless profit for lawyers

Posted by cometta on August 16, 2010 at 02:42 AM PDT #

I saw this coming at the time of the acquisition, I immediately took a break on Java and started working in C++ with smart pointers and all. Then it remained relatively quiet, confidence returned and I came back to Java, even downloaded Oracle's IDE. Now this is what they come up with? First big news, oh the language and architecture are ours, stuff it bigtime Oracle, you cannot claim a language, you need to use it, might as well reverse that, say hey I'm using Java in my app, why the hell are you claming it, you see, it's a two way street really. Of course I don't care about Google, what do they care about Android anyway, they have cloud software, you know , the search engine is cloud? Cloud will be my choice from now on I'm afraid, quite a pity, it gives corporations like the aforementioned all the power to BE EVIL!!

Posted by admin on August 16, 2010 at 02:55 AM PDT #

Seems we have an Apple Lawyer on the blog who is not interested to reveal his name. ''Java lost fare and square to Obj-C'' this made me laugh...

Posted by Ankit Garg on August 16, 2010 at 10:03 AM PDT #

microsoft cannot compete .net with java, while google will always use java to leverage their business, android is only the small chunk for their business, but it's impact beyond the imagination for marketing attraction, will oracle always defend java ? or they will shake their hand and ok, lets work together as long as you put the money on my bag

Posted by eko subagio on August 16, 2010 at 10:33 AM PDT #

Hey James. Your discourse presents a well reasoned argument for the issues of software development in the 21st century and how we get product to the mainstream. Thanks for your firestorm. The evidence of fragmentation of Android is here: Vodafone UK users of went apocalyptic when they thought that they upgrading HTC Heros to Android 2.1 only to receive branded applications. Vodafone eventually backed down. This was a carrier not a phone manufacturer. The battle of the future is a walled garden vs freedom 2 modify your device. Correct.

Posted by Peter Pilgrim on August 16, 2010 at 12:44 PM PDT #

The underlying problem here is that the rules of the current economic game favor evil (mostly in the form of cancerous growth). The degree of corporate liability for the evil is actually limited. Exxon has bought far more laws than Google has--so far. Whatever you think about Microsoft's software (and I think it reeks like the big dog's m0e), their economic model apparently works. For OSS, I think one answer is better economic models. One idea might be a kind of shared charity reverse auction pseudo-stock market. Ergo: There's a lot of confusing because &quot;free&quot; is so badly overloaded in English. The important sense of free involves meaningful, significant, and unconstrained choice. Anti-trust is NOT a penalty for success. However, improved laws should insist that overly successful companies reproduce--by dividing and competing against themselves.

Posted by Shannon Jacobs on August 16, 2010 at 01:02 PM PDT #

I'd be interested in hearing answers to the issues no posted. What happened to the Lighthouse desktop apps? Why did their conversion to Java fail?

Posted by Jon H on August 16, 2010 at 01:31 PM PDT #

This is getting more bad I think (Someone commented on Charles Nutter blog a friend that work for Oracle said) &quot;Larry Ellison does not give a sh*t about Java developers and the Java community.He just cash cow Java in the short term and control competition&quot;. What a bizarre world, I dont want to live anymore with that. If apple was getting super Villain, Oracle and Larry are worst than Apple or Microsoft. Im so pissed to see how Java is falling and the sun already set off.

Posted by Otengi Miloskov on August 16, 2010 at 03:08 PM PDT #

I think &quot;platform neutrality&quot; is an important regulatory objective, it should be considered a citizen's right when it comes to egovernment services. In general we need ways to get less patents in software standards and more interoperability.

Posted by kurt on August 16, 2010 at 03:33 PM PDT #

@Jon H, @no: As a former Sun guy myself, I too am disappointed that more didn't come of the Lighthouse acquisition. However, you do have to remember the context. It was just after the mid 90s and there was an opportunity to enter/win the server side app development approach. Sun was better positioned to do that and it was probably much more lucrative than building out Java desktop applications. I think Sun made the right decision and got a lot of mileage for SUNW on Solaris/servers/JavaEE. More so than building a better mail client or presentation tool for sure.

Posted by Matt Ingenthron on August 16, 2010 at 04:10 PM PDT #

@Shannon Jacobs: Well said. As someone who appreciates and understands the benefits of &quot;walled gardens,&quot; protecting your IP, patents (as they are intended, not what they have come to be) AS WELL AS Open Source, the issue should always be sustainable economic models. If Sun is the only entity that could have provided proper stewardship of Java, don't be pissed at Oracle because Sun failed as a business. The bloody fight ahead may be ugly, but the slow, mismanaged collapse of Sun is just sad.

Posted by Tim F. on August 16, 2010 at 05:36 PM PDT #

I think it's quite hard to stop fragmentation on mobile without stopping innovation. Mobile phones differ radically in speed, screen, memory, bandwidth, input-method, and so on, to produce a single app that runs everywhere well is a tall order, even if the APIs were identical. J2ME was a nice try, but the profiles themselves created fragmentation. Android devices are fragmented in a smaller way by contrast, first, the bar for performance minimum and OS features are set way higher. Secondly, there's no profiles.

Posted by Ray Cromwell on August 16, 2010 at 05:49 PM PDT #

Thank you for your comments, James (and for Java!). I can't help but think that if only Sun had released Java under the GPLv3 (patent clauses) instead of v2 only, we could have avoided this mess. Sure, it might not have made Sun as saleable (obviously the potential to sue everyone who uses Java was a great buying point for Oracle) but it would have made Java _truly_ free, for everyone. How can one push for the world to adopt a free platform, and then sue them when they use it, implement it, change it, create a better one? I think it is generally easy enough to work around software patent issues, but the whole thing stinks. Oracle is an old world bully in a new free software world order. This will only hurt them (and Java) long term. -c

Posted by Chris Smart on August 16, 2010 at 06:05 PM PDT #

>... commitment to interoperability is why >Apple dislikes Java&quot; No. The reason Apple dislikes Java is that they want a cohesive, easy to use platform. They want all Mac OS X applications to look and feel like Mac OS X applications, not some of them to feel like Java apps, foreign. Don't forget, back in the Mac OS and early Mac OS X days, it was Apple who ported and maintained Java, not Sun (but they did for Windows). Also, they had Java bridge for Cocoa and ported WebObjects to Java. In the end, Apple's vision in the desktop beat the run-anywhere vision: programs should look like they belong in their host OS

Posted by Marcos on August 16, 2010 at 06:10 PM PDT #

I am a professional Android developer, and I don't see much fragmentation other than a handful of platform specific bugs. I wish you could elaborate on how my freedom is somehow compromised by this.

Posted by Eric Burke on August 16, 2010 at 06:14 PM PDT #

I'm calling BS on the whole &quot;Saint Sun Micro&quot; slant to some of these comments. It's clear that SUNW was going to sue Google over the Java/Android thing but was too distracted with their own &quot;financial issues&quot;. The only reason Google co-opted Java was because they knew there would be developer resistance to learning some new Google-developed language for Android. If Sun had taken a less touchy feely approach with Java and was a tad more (gasp!) Oracle-like in conducting business, maybe they wouldn't have had to sell to Oracle in the first place. For my money, any effort Oracle takes to keeping Java/JVM relevant is welcome. It hardly qualifies them for the whole &quot;evil empire&quot; persona being laid on them in some of these comments. If we're looking for evil here w/r/t the Java situation, let's lay blame at Google where it belongs.

Posted by John on August 16, 2010 at 07:01 PM PDT #

Guess this time I'll leave out the expletives&hellip; Apple doesn't like Java because Java apps are pure crap. Show me a Java app and I'll shoe you a Mac AND Win app that wipes the floor with it. I'd rather work the command line than go near a Java app for more than ten minutes. No one likes Java apps. 'Cept for Android devs. Good luck breaking even, by the by.

Posted by Justin d on August 16, 2010 at 08:03 PM PDT #

&quot;Android fragmentation is a win for Google.&quot; You *must* be kidding! And even if it is, via some convoluted fanboy-style rationalization, a win for Google, who cares about that? The customers are getting screwed by Android's fragmentation. I own a Droid Eris that, at first, I thought was fine piece of hardware running a surprisingly nice OS, Android 2.1. In the intervening time, I've come to discover that none of the companies behind this product--neither Google nor HTC nor Verizon--plan to offer the upgrade to 2.2. It just isn't going to happen. A decent piece of hardware barely a year old and it's already orphaned. And if you think my story isn't typical, go ask yourself why, almost 5 months after its release, only 4% of Android phones are on 2.2 yet. That's not a win for anyone. I don't care how you spin it.

Posted by Andre Richards on August 16, 2010 at 08:07 PM PDT #

I am a 55 year old user with grade 10 math. My programming skills consist of two lua scripts for Celestia and several Excel macros. I did make a website (thank god before google) using a program that came with office 95 but that does not count. All the comments I read seem to be what I would be saying if I made software. &quot;I learned this a long time ago and things are changing for the worse&quot; seems to sum it up. Well the game changes and the cutting edge bleeds. Suck it up. This is a corporate marketing issue and not the least technical anyway.

Posted by Jim Harvie on August 16, 2010 at 08:31 PM PDT #

Is that true - who ever use Java to develop software need to give Oracle money. What open the idea of open source community. What will happen if Microsoft buy Ubuntu tomorrow? IBM buy PHP. Oracle have killed MySQL already. The question we should ask is &quot; Is it open source really works?&quot;.Why developer let lawyer destroy such common ground in software development world. say.....

Posted by jameschuk on August 16, 2010 at 09:00 PM PDT #

@ Alexander Tavrovsky - &quot;I don't know why Google didn't pick Microsoft .NET Micro Framework for Android.&quot; If I was making that decision, I'd run as far away from Microsoft technologies as possible as fast as I could. All those free Microsoft tools and proprietary technologies have a way of tightening around your throat once they get traction in the market. Everything Microsoft does ties several technologies together, which seem attractive by themselves but actually serve as trojan horses for each other to wedge into a platform. Fast forward four years from now and Google would likely be battling developers to stop using the free Microsoft tools which keep redirecting everything to Bing and a resurrected Soapbox. It's happened many times before. That's why. Just ask James.

Posted by Steve on August 16, 2010 at 10:31 PM PDT #

When you talk about fragmentation it is as if Sun made a very good job in stewarding Java. How about the many ways persistence models exist in Java today? JPA/EJB, Hibernate, OJB, Ibatis etc etc etc.... And don't even get me started in Mobile/UI standards.

Posted by Stephen Cook on August 16, 2010 at 11:12 PM PDT #

@Angus, if you where trying to make the point, that the iPhone is superior to Android phones in your comment #comment-1281922128000, the query fails, Iphone is approximately 3 phones that combined, are named iPhone. Android is the OS of more than a hundred different models. -- If you where trying to make another point that iPhone OS is superior to Android the trend query should look like this:,%20android and your point fails again imo. *J*

Posted by Jan Nielsen on August 16, 2010 at 11:58 PM PDT #

james, i wish u r in and do something about it ... they seem to cannibalize java at the end

Posted by daniel on August 17, 2010 at 12:23 AM PDT #

&quot;Fragmentation&quot; seems to be one of those meaningless words bloggers stir into their blog posts to provoke people. The reality of J2ME is that, regardless of its supposed lack of fragmentation, there are close to zero truly wonderful, compelling J2ME applications. Blackberry is based on J2ME and the fragmentation just on that one platform is ridiculous. Between screen sizes, soft and hard keyboards, wheels and balls, color and greyscale, GSM and CDMA, and portrait and landscape orientations it is effectively impossible to write an application which runs well on more than a few models of Blackberry. J2ME lost because it's worse. Not because of some nefarious plot.

Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker on August 17, 2010 at 12:41 AM PDT #

What is this? Slashdot?? James Gosling has some very intersting points, why don't we discuss those instead of defending &quot;our&quot; platform of choice?

Posted by Anonymouse Coward on August 17, 2010 at 01:09 AM PDT #

@Justin d, NETBEANS!!!

Posted by new Color(1.0f, 1.0f, 1.0f, 0.5f); on August 17, 2010 at 03:00 AM PDT #

This situation is troubling, but obviously Oracle didn't throw billions at JAVA just to kill it; or to make a killing with patent suits. Yeah, it's the fragmentation they don't like. That's all I can think of. They're more aggressive than Sun. Maybe it's not so bad.

Posted by dukedude on August 17, 2010 at 03:02 AM PDT #

Any more info on the 'RISC patent'? It sounds to me like a hardware patent.

Posted by matt on August 17, 2010 at 03:41 AM PDT #

Just what did JavaME succeed with? Getting onto allot of devices, it only survived a decade because it managed to get broadly entrenched. From a tech perspective it is/was horrible. Not a single popular app uses the MIDP UI components, Operare, Google Maps, Wayfinder, etc all rolled their own UI frameworks manually drawing on a blank canvas. The MIDP 3 spec grandiosely only added more of the features no developer used, but no features developers actually needed. Google with Android, and Apple with iOS adds more functionality each yearvthan what the whole industry managed to do to JavaME in a full decade. Interopability is not what made JavaME fail. It did it to itself by sucking so bad. Making a better alternative was just too darn easy.

Posted by Fredrik Olsson on August 17, 2010 at 04:49 AM PDT #

I hope our new approved education program on education for all over Indonesia wont become my biggest sin to the human being here. We help poor people to get better life with Java, because since collonialzation this country got abused by european countries. The progress getting better, hope we can find better solution if we dont use Java. this country dont support software paten, and we glad we can fork Java and use it here. We also can open anyone to open company here, and get out from Oracle's silly patent.

Posted by Frans Thamura on August 17, 2010 at 06:14 AM PDT #

One has to wonder how much money was originally at stake with Google not licensing Java. What was Sun asking of Google by way of the license fee back in the day? Was the amount significant or trivial?

Posted by Jon E on August 17, 2010 at 06:30 AM PDT #

Hello, With all respect I beg to disagree with James(Thanks for Java BTW) here. Java was developed by SUN but only succeeded because of the promise of openness. Remember it was an itch for many people at the time( both from SUN and out of SUN) to use a cross platform language without restrictions. Everybody including Google, IBM, BEA, and ... Oracle bought into Java because they believed they could do so without any restrictions. Java would have failed if it belonged to somebody. If today it is proven that it belongs to Oracle, it will Fail. I would never touch c# with a stick because I know I am being trapped. Just my 2c.

Posted by xor007 on August 17, 2010 at 06:57 AM PDT #

There were two options for Sun whilst it was heading towards bankruptcy. Being acquired by IBM or Oracle. When IBM made an offer, most employees I knew were horrified. When Oracle came along, there was a lot of relief. And to be fair, the only place where Java ever looked reasonably good was on the server. Desktop was horrible, so personally I don't think the reason Apple didn't like Java on the desktop was the run-everywhere, but the looks. Come on, half of all the Sun personnel has Mac.

Posted by Mike on August 17, 2010 at 08:23 AM PDT #

@Matt Ingenthron: &quot; It was just after the mid 90s and there was an opportunity to enter/win the server side app development approach. Sun was better positioned to do that and it was probably much more lucrative than building out Java desktop applications.&quot; Yet they bought OpenOffice in 1999, so they were still thinking about that space.

Posted by Jon H on August 17, 2010 at 08:37 AM PDT #

I am surprised that &quot;no&quot; can still speak with Steve Jobs' cock shoved so far down his throat.

Posted by Crepescular Monty on August 17, 2010 at 09:08 AM PDT #

Java lost fair and square to Obj-C? What kind of bad crack is that tool smoking? LOL.

Posted by BigBadBob on August 17, 2010 at 09:10 AM PDT #

What WAS the goofiest entry?

Posted by Matt on August 17, 2010 at 09:31 AM PDT #

@Crepescular Monty And I'm surprised you can sit and type at a keyboard with Ellison's member shoved so far up your southern flank.

Posted by BigBadBob on August 17, 2010 at 09:34 AM PDT #

I think no was trying to say that Java lost to Obj-C on the Mac - not in the general marketplace. Originally, Java was given first class status with Obj-C in MacOS X. All of the Cocoa classes were available in both languages. But most Mac developers ignored Java and used Obj-C primarily. So after a few releases of MacOS X, Apple quietly dropped support for Cocoa/Java.

Posted by Dennis on August 17, 2010 at 12:18 PM PDT #

The Java/Obj-C connection seems to go back further than most people seem to be aware of. To me, each has their uses. I feel Java seems better for server-side, and Obj-C better for client-side.

Posted by hachu on August 17, 2010 at 01:11 PM PDT #

It&rsquo;s about IP, patents, and Trade Marks of the implementation of Java and Test Suites provided by Sun/Oracle (IP &quot;guardian&quot;). To be Java TM product, you run the Test Suite to insure the implementation complies with IP and meets quality standards. Android uses a flavor of the Apache Harmony implementation, which was never given access to the Test Suite. So it is an &quot;unofficial version of Java&quot; (see Sun vs Apache). Why no &quot;open source test suite&quot; again? Removing the IP encumbrances within the Sun implementation was what took fully open sources OpenJDK. Moving towards OpenJDK based also delayed more substantial and quicker updates to Java. Android vs Java battle or Linux distribution vs GNU/Linux; similar beasts different names. By ack. and using &ldquo;GNU&rdquo; tools, you are labeled GNU/Linux. By using the Test Suite and ack. IP rights, you are labeled &ldquo;Java&rdquo; TM.Oracle wants into the mobile space. Here&rsquo;s one way in. &quot;you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours&quot; (money, related IP, etc).

Posted by Eric B on August 17, 2010 at 02:36 PM PDT #

@Jan: I certainly didn't mean to address &quot;superiority&quot; at all. I just think the situation is a bit more complex than the original commenter's assertion that &quot;An effectively curated world is the anti-google&quot;. You can clearly get a fair few google searches even with a very curated product. :). I suspect only Google has any idea how much ad revenue they make from all Android-related queries compared to all iPhone-related ones. That certainly doesn't speak to any kind of &quot;superiority&quot;, either. Just compare with the Google trends for Justin Bieber. ;).

Posted by Angus on August 17, 2010 at 05:11 PM PDT #

&quot;We wanted some compensation for the large amount we would be spending on engineering.&quot; Google developed their own libraries and their own virtual machine. What exactly do you want &quot;compensation&quot; for? Java itself liberally copied lots of ideas from Smalltalk and other languages. What intellectual contributions has Sun/Oracle actually made to Android?

Posted by Mike on August 17, 2010 at 05:29 PM PDT #

@Alexander Tavrovsky It was BP that poisoned the Gulf, not British Petroleum. British Petroleum ceased to exist in 2001, after the purchase of Amoco, an American company. In the words of Homer the Great - Doh!

Posted by James Bliss on August 17, 2010 at 07:23 PM PDT #

<<They had very weak notions of interoperability, which, given our history, we strongly objected to. Android has pretty much played out the way that we feared: there is enough fragmentation among Android handsets to significantly restrict the freedom of software developers.>> I was really surprised to read this from you, James. You're better than this. Interoperability is simply not a problem on Android. Compatibility requirements are enumerated and tested (for more information, see And everything is done on a common code base because Google specifically chose an open source license that would be acceptable to all members of the Android ecosystem. This point is key, and stands in stark contrast to Sun's approach. As a result, Android's compatibility story is much better than Java's has ever been.

Posted by Dave on August 17, 2010 at 08:53 PM PDT #

Android's so-called fragmentation is a myth. The platform is evolving spectacularly quickly, but it is not fragmenting. The simple problem is that some manufacturers are not keeping up, leaving some users running older versions of the platform on their devices. This is not a new problem, and it's not one that's unique to Android. It will never be possible to run software that takes advantage of new platform features on an old version of a platform. Java has always faced exactly the same problem, of course.

Posted by Dave on August 17, 2010 at 08:53 PM PDT #

Forget Java. Go with Scala.

Posted by The Right Knight on August 17, 2010 at 09:09 PM PDT #

The out come seems to be like this: Java looses, Oracle gains some money and looses face, Google loose some money, but remains in-different. There is no point in bringing Microsoft or Apple to the discussion here. People and companies have choices and they choose based on their priorities. It does not help any team a bit when people come to mud slinging, every programmer has a write to choose what he compile :) and what phone to use. Peace.

Posted by Diceyus on August 17, 2010 at 11:07 PM PDT #

I think Oracle is right to sue Google. If Google would have paid money to SUN, Sun at least would have reduced its losses. Otherwise how come fund your engineering?

Posted by Karthik on August 18, 2010 at 12:43 AM PDT #

If Sun had been more like Oracle in their management of Java would as many of you have started using it for development if it was a completely closed platform which you needed to pay to gain entry into? Why didn't Sun push Java through the ISO fast-track process? Because they'd lose some control. Now we're all paying for that demand to control.

Posted by Barnes on August 18, 2010 at 04:28 AM PDT #

I've been building enterprise scale Java desktop apps for 12 years. No probs. It's easier and faster to code than C++, which I've also done. And according to TIOBE, about twice as popular. Thanks Dr. G, for a great income.

Posted by John Bannick on August 18, 2010 at 04:40 AM PDT #

James, I am sorry to tell you that your pretty child 'Java' is now in hands of an evil gang who might kill her.

Posted by Mina Shokry on August 18, 2010 at 06:36 AM PDT #

As someone who originally developed 3D games for mobiles when J2ME MIDP 1.0 first came out, but pulled out of that business due to lack of return on investment, I'm not really too bothered what the big players in the mobile industry choose for their app environment. In most cases modern phones nowadays should already have an app for that, it is called a decent web browser. I am surprised that Google went for Java, when they were also putting so much effort into their own optimised V8 JavaScript engine. Personally, I feel that JavaScript has quite an interesting future. What with the engine providers (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Firefox, Opera) in a battle to create the fastest JavaScript engine, with just in time compilation features etc.

Posted by how-to-program on August 18, 2010 at 07:25 AM PDT #

I really miss SUN Microsystems :( sob sob. The people who worked there were a bunch of geniuses and an inspiration for true software developers (not the ones who just drag and drop). After SUN Microsystems is gone, Im just not too sure about the future of Java since Oracle is not really an IT company it just a trading company (buys and sells, rarely makes anything useful). Had IBM acquired Java, things probably would not have been that gloomy. When Java was under the SUN umbrella I would have bet everything on its success in future but now I think sooner or later the door will open for another open source language/platform whose direction will be set by software engineers rather than sales and marketing. And last but not least I want to say that I have tremendous respect for James, Joshua, Craig, and all others who worked in SUN. They are my teachers, my inspiration and motivation. I hope you guys don't give up and take initiative to start a new revolution.

Posted by Jawad on August 18, 2010 at 12:24 PM PDT #

It's sad. I can't understand how someone can break the freedom by the dollars. I can't understand how someone can avoid the improvement of the world only for its own interests. I can't understand how someone can be hated by billions of people around the world playing with their feelings and their illusions, because Java was not only our programming language, but also was our style of life and our media to express our talent and our works. Please, James, let's create a new programming language, or a new paradigm, or new programming revolution. Make us to dream again. Touch us with your magic and your ideas.

Posted by Rafael Hernampérez Martín on August 18, 2010 at 01:16 PM PDT #

I'am student. And I have a dream to become Java developer. I see a lot of experienced people here. From my point of view from all yours comments I see that everybody thinks that Java time is over. So, like a student, I would like if there is someone to point me now (before it is too late :) ) is it worth continue with Java now when everybody talks about Java doom, Java die, Java over etc. Is it really possible that ORACLE buy Sun just to not care about Java anymore :(

Posted by 1110 on August 18, 2010 at 02:18 PM PDT #

Java is still a proprietary technology disguised under open source. So much for the open source bait. Open source is starting to sound suspicious.

Posted by BK Lau on August 18, 2010 at 03:32 PM PDT #

Stop talking to your nose. Without in depth understanding of the patents and copyrights, people speak to their nose. This not only causes negative impact to others, it spoils the motivation. Just sit tight and watch out what happens, unless you know everything about Patents and Copyrights.

Posted by sreev on August 18, 2010 at 07:35 PM PDT #

Oracle has every right to sue google.. if some one tampers with ur product beyond the terms of use.. dont stand and watch.. sue them.,they did exactly that. I think everyone who can go be terms of SUN/ORACLE can use it with out fear.. next time hire a lawyer before coding. Every one has a right to licence its IP.

Posted by Sakm Mathan on August 19, 2010 at 01:51 AM PDT #

[Trackback] Nach der Klage von Oracle gegen Google wegen Android und Java spekuliert die IT-Branche �ber die Auswirkungen: Die Java-Nutzergruppen beklagen Oracles Schweigen, die Open-Source-Gemeinde f�rchtet weitere Schritte und die javanutzenden Hersteller gr�bel...

Posted by on August 19, 2010 at 02:05 AM PDT #

@BK Lau: When something is opensource it does not make it free. There are many proprietary software that are open source and have tons of restrictions. Java is open source and it is GPLv2 with all the freedoms and restrictions that come with GPLv2. Patents are another thing, and not anyone can hire a lawyer to patent their algorithms, and really who cares, one day your patent is going to be obsolete.

Posted by George on August 19, 2010 at 05:45 AM PDT #

I start to feel that everything noble and beautiful that the American nation has produced in last century is beginning to fade away. since 2001, America started a process of decline and crisis : mad and bloody wars , economic crisis and now their technological master- pieces are also starting to fall apart : Nasa space program and Java /Sun is only two examples. the few remaining Rational and Noble elite of US should try to stop this fatal decline process . they should stop this economic wild greed and this military madness and aggression against weak peoples. If not, i can bet that the Great Nation of America won't survive for very long time ahead. peace.

Posted by othman on August 19, 2010 at 10:03 AM PDT #

C++ rulez! :P

Posted by Alex on August 19, 2010 at 10:50 AM PDT #

Don't sell yourself short on the &quot;goofiest patent through the system&quot; contest. I looked at your entry: for all we know, you are now THE SOLE OWNER OF THE SMART GRID!!! We pledge our loyalty and very existence to you and you exchange for a pledge not to turn our power off.

Posted by Bruce on August 19, 2010 at 01:51 PM PDT #

Apple fanboys are really pathetic. Attacking James for saying the truth about their beloved Apple.

Posted by on August 19, 2010 at 03:29 PM PDT #

Can anyone tell me where I can find more information about the lawsuit between IBM Corporation and Sun Microsystems over RISC? I have having a tough time finding any information about this lawsuit. Thanks!

Posted by Ayn Rand Was Right on August 20, 2010 at 01:22 PM PDT #

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.