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Sun-Microsoft: "Where Is Java In This Settlement?" Asks Javalobby Founder

Sun-Microsoft: "Where Is Java In This Settlement?" Asks Javalobby Founder

  • Read "No Sun Is An Island" - also by Rick Ross

    I can neither endorse nor denounce the Sun/Microsoft settlement at this point. Those of us on the outside have no access to the particulars of the settlement and have no way to know whether Sun has sold us out. In truth, precious little of the corporate messaging has specifically referenced Java. It would be nice to paint a positive picture, but experience has proven that we shouldn't be too quick to believe what corporations convey in their highly managed dog-and-pony shows. They made a similar set of happy announcements when Microsoft originally signed on as a Java licensee. Look how many years it took before we got to see the bad faith that finally surfaced in the courtroom evidence. We should be smart enough to learn from history that things may not ultimately be as happy as the spin doctors want us to believe they are.

    Notably, Sun V.P. Rich Green, with whom I worked closely to prove to Judge Motz in the courtroom that Microsoft had gravely damaged Java and Java developers, is leaving Sun after 14 years there. Rich's resignation was the first significant news to emerge following last Friday's public relations event where Steve Ballmer and Scott McNealy smiled and laughed, shook hands and reminded us all that they have been great personal friends ever since growing up together. There's some doubt about the circumstances of Rich's departure. It was first reported in The Register, which said he was quitting Sun in "disgust." Sun's people got hold of the story and quickly re-spun it to be just "coincidental timing." I don't know which angle, if either, is closer to the truth.

    Rich has been a tireless champion of the Java values and vision most of us share in the developer community. In my opinion he was the best friend the developer community had inside Sun, so I am genuinely sad to see him leaving. It makes me respond to the news of the Sun/Microsoft settlement with fear and apprehension. None among us knows what Rich knows, but we can be sure he knows more about the entire matter than we do, and he has decided that now is the right time to be somewhere other than at Sun. Despite the best efforts of Sun's PR team to minimize the event, I cannot see Rich's exit as an unrelated or inconsequential occurrence. Sun's principal Java leader and champion has left the company on the heels of the Microsoft settlement announcement. On the surface, at least, it would appear to speak volumes.

    Microsoft is shrewd and successful at using what is tantamount to "petty cash" for the monopolist to make its problems go away. I have noticed people pointing to the investment Microsoft made in Apple some years ago as a model that predicts success for Java here. My recollection of that event has not dimmed, however, and I still regard it as one of the cleverest ways Redmond ever killed multiple birds with one stone. For a mere $150 million, which was subsequently recouped with profit from stock value increases, Microsoft was able to pay Apple to abandon its commitment to Java compatibility, and they also got to keep their weakened competitor alive so that they would have a leg to stand on in their antitrust defense. As an added plus for free market competition, Apple promptly used the money to foreclose innovation in its market segment by shutting down all the Mac clone vendors.

    I hope this isn't the model of success people are anticipating from the Java settlement. Historically speaking, other "partnerships" with Microsoft haven't worked out so well, either.

    Nonetheless, there's a place in the world for optimism, so we can still hope for the best. I have serious concerns about the consequences of the settlement, however, and I'd very much like to have answers from Sun about what lays ahead. Will most or all of the funds from the settlement be directed back into Java platform research and development? Will Sun now take a more active role in supporting the Java community that has supported it for so long? Will Java become merged into the .NET framework in a way that makes it acceptable to inject Windows platform specificities now that Microsoft has paid Sun's price? What plans were agreed to between Sun and Microsoft, what are the details? Where is Java in this settlement?

    It seems improbable that Sun (who simultaneously with the settlement announced layoffs of 3,300 employees and a staggering quarterly loss of $800 million) will be hiring many new engineers to deliver the Swing enhancements, the perfection of shared JVM instances, or the overall performance and reliability improvements that are the highest priorities to Java developers. When you're losing money as fast as Sun is, it's tough to say this infusion from Microsoft is enough to make a meaningful difference. Is the money just delaying the inevitable by six months to a year?

    How can Sun show us that it still has the strength, vision and leadership to deserve our support and loyalty? The way they should do it, in my opinion, is by ensuring that a significant portion of the settlement proceeds will be used to benefit Java developers and strengthen independent, standards-based efforts to advance Java.

    You and I at Javalobby were much more closely involved in this court case than most, and I can say without doubt that the resounding support we offered as an independent Java developer community was crucial to persuading Judge Motz. The presence of Javalobby's developer perspective in his courtroom was instrumental in establishing the momentum that led to this settlement. Make no mistake, I was never alone in that courtroom, you were right there with me the whole time. Together we helped fight for an outcome that should result in benefits for Java developers as well as for Sun.

    Our view of the settlement should depend on what we see Sun doing with the proceeds. What did we fight so hard for? Will Sun show us that our support was well-deserved, and will Sun prove it has the vision to strengthen Java by recognizing and assisting the independent developer community? These are the key questions, and I hope you will join me in watching how things progress before we draw conclusions about this settlement (or was it a purchase?)

    Please join me to discuss the settlement and Java at Javalobby.org

    Until next time,
    Rick Ross
    rick@javalobby.org
    AIM or Yahoo Messenger: RickRossJL

     

  • More Stories By Rick Ross

    Rick Ross is the founder of Javalobby (www.javalobby.org). He is a frequent speaker at Java-related events and a well-known advocate for Java developer interests.

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    Most Recent Comments
    Satya 05/10/04 03:27:44 PM EDT

    I don't see why should Sun give the settlement money to anyone? or fund any open sourcing efforts? The deal is between Sun and Microsoft; so the settlement too. The best thing that Sun should do is to revive (and restructure) themselves with the settlement prceeds, and take their own control of the Java platform, the way they want to steer it.

    ethan allen 04/27/04 08:56:02 PM EDT

    Lotta blowhard nonsense from the JavaLobby geeks. Go away if you don''t like what Sun does. Don''t use Java. In fact, all of you Java users go away if you don''t like what Sun does and give up Java.

    I think we all need to realize that our beloved language is steadily approaching the downward curve in the language life cycle. Like most languages, it has bloated and is now adding features to make it too complex to be worth the effort for the wide group of developers it has reached. (Generics ... bleh.) No big deal, this is normal. It has been a good 10 years and soon ... soon, my friends, we will reach that terrible time of retraining in the Next Big Thing. Those of you too young to remember how this works, watch your elders and give them money.

    But I want those diamonds. Mr. Kelly, you sound like a reasonable and trustworthy man. And I like always like to help a guy out. Can we talk about some of the details ... call me at home ... we''ll do lunch. I have many plain brown paper bags I can put at your disposal and I am sure we can work something out. Keep your chin up.

    MR KELLY MUSA 04/20/04 07:03:23 AM EDT

    DEAR SIR,

    MY NAME IS MR KELLY MUSA, SPECIAL DUTY ASSISTANT TO UNITA LEADER, JONAS SAVIMBI(DECEASED); ANGOLA''S JONAS SAVIMBI, LEGENDARY GUERRILLA LEADER OF UNITA (THE NATIONAL UNION FOR THE TOTAL INDEPENDENCE OF ANGOLA), WHO WAS KILLED BY COMMUNIST MPLA (POPULAR MOVEMENT FOR THE LIBERATION OF ANGOLA) FORCES IN COMBAT ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2002 .

    PLEASE SEE SOME ANGOLA AND DIAMOND WEBSITES:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_1839000/1839252.stm
    http://www.the-idler.com/idler-02/3-16.html
    http://www.globalpolicy.org/socecon/tncs/angola.htm
    http://www.un.org/peace/africa/diamond.html
    http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/afrec/subjindx/144diam.htm
    http://www.idrc.ca/reports/read_article_english.cfm?article_num=1069
    http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/diamond/

    IN ADDITION TO MY OFFICIAL JOB, I WAS ALSO IN CHARGE OF THE CONSOLIDATED BUDGET AND PERSONAL FINANCES OF THE LATE LEADER; THESE INCLUDE GIFTS,ANONYMOUS DONATIONS FROM INDIVIDUALS AND COUNTRIES; ALSO REVENUES FROM CRUDE OIL SALES AND DIAMOND/PRECIOUS STONES ETC.

    WHEN UNITA FORTUNES AND CONDITIONS BEGAN TO DETERIORATE RAPIDLY, I TOOK THE PRECAUTION OF CONVERTING ALL LIQUID ASSETS INTO CUT DIAMONDS.
    THE ESTIMATED VALUE OF THE DIAMONDS WHICH HAVE FULL GIA (GEMMOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF AMERICA) CERTIFICATION IS USD 75 MILLION (CALCULATED AT CURRENT AVERAGE MARKET PRICE OF USD2,500.00 PER CARAT). GRADED FROM GIA SCALE D TO M;EMERALD, HEART, MARQUISE, OVAL, PEAR, PRINCESS, RADIANT AND TRIANGLE(TRILLION) SHAPES; THE DIAMONDS ARE IN SMALL CARATS WHICH ARE VERY EASY TO BROKER.

    UNFORTUNATELY FOR ME, AFTER JONAS SAVIMBI''S DEATH, MY PERSONAL SAFETY AND LIFE CAME UNDER THREAT BY GOVERNMENT SECURITY AGENTS, WHO PROMPTLY SEIZED MY INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT, AND FROZEN MY BANK ACCOUNTS. I EVENTUALLY THROUGH OUR SPECIAL CONTACT SHIPPED THROUGH A COURIER COMPANY THE DIAMOND CACHE WORTH ABOUT USD75 MILLION (CURRENT STREET VALUE) AND CASH MONEY OF USD 45 MILLION TO A NEARER COUNTRY COTE D'' IVOIRE , WHERE IT IS PRESENTLY KEPT IN A COURIER COMPANY´S BOUNDED WAREHOUSE (FULL INFORMATIONS TO BE DISCLOSED LATER TO YOU ON CONFIRMATION OF YOUR ACCEPTANCE TO ASSIST ME. I BELIEVE THE TIME IS NOW RIPE TO CLEAR THE DIAMONDS AND THE CASH MONEY TO SAFETY, AND I NEED YOUR HELP AND ASSISTANCE.

    NOTE: THE COMPANY DOES NOT KNOW THE EXACT CONTENT OF THE BOX, AS THE CONTENT WAS DECLARED TO BE CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS AND VALUABLES. THE SHIPMENT WAS DONE WITH DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY [NOT TO BE INSPECTED BY ANY AUTHORITY].

    IF YOU AGREED TO HELP ME, THEN YOUR SHARE WILL BE 30% IN DIAMONDS OR USD 22.5 MILLION MINIMUM NET AFTER THE DIAMONDS ARE SOLD.

    THERE IS NO RISK IN THIS VENTURE; AND BECAUSE THE DIAMONDS ARE FULLY CERTIFIED, YOU WILL NOT BE BREAKING YOUR COUNTRY´S OR INTERNATIONAL LAW!

    IF YOU ARE INTERESTED AND PREPARED TO ASSIST ME, PLEASE SEND ME IMMEDIATELY THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

    (1) YOUR COMPLETE NAME;
    (2) YOUR FULL ADDRESS;
    (3) YOUR TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS.

    Thanks as I wait to hear from you soon.

    Your''s SINCERELY,
    MR. KELLY

    ChrisA 04/12/04 01:30:10 PM EDT

    Thanks for the comment, Mozilla User. For a while, I thought it was just something wrong with my system...
    I think we all have to remember that companies will do what is in their best interest first. Altruistic and magnanimous actions come after the bottom line is achieved. As others have posted, it is imperative on the Java community to come together and demonstrate that Java can deliver superior performance and ease-of-use than Microsoft technologies, while additionally maintaining cross-platform ease.

    My $0.02 (Cdn)

    Trym 04/11/04 07:27:24 PM EDT

    "Swing is the wrong focus as well. How can Java possibly compete with Flash? As soon as developers take a serious look at MX Studio they won''t look back."

    That's just FUD. The real Swing competitor is SWT.

    Paulo 04/09/04 02:44:01 PM EDT

    Despite I agree with the author. I see Sun
    doesn''t have any economical advantage but
    marketing on Java carrying Sun''s name along with.

    They tried do do like ibm, an use free software
    to sell they machines, but they weren''t so
    competent on it too. But then they also hurt
    Solaris

    So while blood floods, they could thing no other
    way, they had already sacrificed their OS, now
    they will put windows on it and try to sell
    their machines. Like IBM did, but with linux...

    They couldn''t make java free, and this was the
    reason, Java was the only flag on advanced
    champs which annoys microsoft, since their .net
    toy doesn''t work, but only works by marketing.
    People put it on their business and may happily
    shake the .net confetti to their customers
    (people and enterprise of those which buy
    computer by its GHz, not the real throughput
    benches) and think they use the better
    technology. M$ couldn''t let they discover they
    are throwing out money for something that
    doesn''t even work well.

    So if they had left java free, they wouldn''t
    have anything to sell to M$.

    I heard some days ago a professor saying about
    what is today something like NASA. NASA is an
    marketing agency, sounds terrible, but, if they
    doesn''t work on getting the beautiful photos and
    interesting stories, they won''t get the money
    they need for the real research, the things
    which will on future end benefit us. Sad, but
    that''s real.

    Sun needs M$ marketing to sell their machines,
    Linux on their machines had hurt Solaris, and
    Java as it is today, isn''t their technology
    anymore, they just own the word "java". Even ibm
    calls it''s product Websphere with much more
    success, not java, so none other the technical
    field people knows about java.

    But on end I''m worried about M$ plans on killing
    Java, first they put it into their own ground,
    then they make everything work so well around
    java on their windows machines, but java. They
    already bought apple for stopping java spread...

    Well, if that happens, and since the money M$
    gave to Sun only to will keep it alive won''t go
    to Java, since this goes against M$ interests,
    one of these things could still save us, and our
    long investments on learning java. First, Sun
    doesn''t let M$ kill java (!!? Sun is almost
    died), Second, Sun makes java free and doesn''t
    leave this for M$ blood suckers. Or last, the
    real Java technology players, jcp workers, joint
    around classpath, and just leave the
    empty "java" word for Sun, and M$ to put the
    empty package on their heads.

    Mozilla User 04/09/04 10:38:46 AM EDT

    Again SYS-CON

    shows its

    unwillingness

    to support

    open source

    projects like

    Mozilla.

    For those of you

    who read this

    article using

    Mozilla, you would

    understand that

    reading long articles

    in narrow columns

    is most annoying.

    paste exception 04/09/04 09:48:43 AM EDT

    The conduct is worrisome, and what''s at stake is the value of the Java platform.

    Swing is the wrong focus as well. How can Java possibly compete with Flash? As soon as developers take a serious look at MX Studio they won''t look back.

    Arnt Karlsen 04/09/04 05:13:57 AM EDT

    > It was first reported in The Register, which said he was > quitting Sun in "disgust." Sun's people got hold of the > story and quickly re-spun it to be just "coincidental
    > timing." I don't know which angle, if either, is closer > to the truth.

    ..well, you say you worked closely with Rich, so you know him and can ask him, right? Or, would that be "focusing on the wrong issue"? ;-)

    mcc 04/07/04 07:57:09 AM EDT

    > What does Sun stand for, now?

    Perhaps they just intend to attempt to defeat Microsoft in the marketplace and on the strength of their products, rather than in the courtroom?

    Not that from looking at the public information they seem to have a terribly clear plan on how to do so, mind you, but it's a theory that settling their lawsuits would be in no way inconsistent with.

    vivek7006 04/07/04 07:55:44 AM EDT

    McNealy had presented the fight in apocalyptic terms: "Mankind vs Microsoft."

    Sun staff must be wondering if the company, which defined itself by its opposition to Microsoft, has a reason to exist.

    What does Sun stand for, now?

    Faust7 04/07/04 07:50:53 AM EDT

    McNealy finally grew up, and therefore Sun's corporate policy with respect to Microsoft finally grew up. They were fighting a losing battle against the software titan and Linux--and McNealy must have known this for a long time, because the deal recently struck with Microsoft had actually been in the works for a good long while. Corporate contacts were reportedly telling him to grow up, and it looks as if he has, if not in spirit, then at least in practice.

    They are a power player and have no intention of fading away, and they have invested far too much in Java to let it fade away either. And regarding Java itself, there are great things that both Sun and Microsoft have done for it (from a purely objective standpoint of programming, this is very true, and if you can''t see that, you're blinded by dogma). The agreement between Sun and Microsoft is specifically designed to facilitate interoperability, and of course this includes Java, and Java components and applications.

    BiGHead 04/07/04 07:48:14 AM EDT

    Java is being driven largely by other companies... IBM, BEA, Oracle, and Borland... I don't see that Sun makes a lot on Java. The real competitor to Windows is and always will be Linux not Java