Java FUD

by Eric M. Burke

Related link:,14179,2872421,00.html

I'm linking to an article by Larry Seltzer where he makes the claim that Java is a failure on the client. I've been using Java since JDK 1.0 for MANY different clients, and have had a lot of success with web clients, Swing clients, AWT clients, etc. I'll be the first to say that Java could always use some performance improvements, particularly with Swing, but it is easily fast enough for a vast majority of business apps.

Here are some choice quotes from the article:

"As far as desktop systems go, Java probably never had a chance because essentially it's an inappropriate technology for most development projects."

Larry offers no data or explanation. I think Java is very appropriate for most projects because it is a relatively easy language, free, and highly portable. It performs very well in most scenarios.

I always refer my clients to Sun's "Swing Sightings" column for some good examples of very successful client applications written in Java. The URL is

"And by freezing Microsoft at version 1.1.4, Sun has made it difficult for anyone who wants to write an application that requires a later version of the VM."

Deployment might be more difficult, but development is as easy as downloading the JDK from Sun. I could go on with additional quotes, but you get the point.

Here's my beef with Larry's article. While he makes some good points, he ruins everything by taking such an extremist stance on everything. The world of software development and languages is not so black and white. I'm always skeptical when I read articles that claim "such and such is a FAILURE". I generally believe that authors of such articles are most interested in stirring up controversy.


2002-07-07 15:37:26
Conversion of Opportunity w/ apologies

Microsoft Takes on the World:

Sadly I think there is much more to this than just another hatchet job to generate hits. I posted my reaction to Larry's latest drive by hit piece under the title, "Conversion of Opportunity", Did Microsoft Kill Java?

My initial thinking was that it was too too easy to turn shallow Larry's argument around and make the exact conclusion he obviously would rather avoid. Since then I have had some second thoughts though. I think an all out assault on the Internet, Open Source, and Java have been launched by Redmond.

At first I though the onslaught was perhaps an indication that Redmond expected a most favorable ruling from the courts. However, the shear voracity and breadth of the attack as it has now unfolded indicates otherwise. I think Mirosoft is concerned over the upcoming ruling and is rushing to get a number of initiatives in play, in the hands of users and developers, before possibly draconian rulings are announced. It would not be the first time that Microsoft seeded the installed base so that the pain of penalites and remedies for their illegal activities would be born by innocent by-standers. Kind of reminds one of how Saddam Hussein hides his nuclear - biological warfare laboratories, weapons stockpiles and command centers in hosptials and schools. The only way to punish the perp is to slaughter the innocents he hides behind.

My guess is that Larry and the rest of the shills will move quickly to the next stage of the assault. The facts, the truth, the motives and actions, will all lie buried in a heap of confused passions. The sucker punch having been thrown, the herd will now move loudly to the next headline blaring issue, "Will Visual J#.Net be able to do what Java could not? ...... J#.Net enables developers to easily create the next generation of web applications, web services, and highly productive desktop connectivity applications....... Is this the beginning of the end of Java?"

The findings of Judge Jackson's court should be pasted into conversations everywhere. Microsoft's efforts to wrest control of Java from Sun, and now to kill it should be the introduction to any discussion on the success, failure, or future prospects of the platform. Instead, there's a rage ripping across the web with the fury of oceans announcing the sudden arrival of another Yucatan comet. What an incredible onslaught Microsoft has unleashed. So well coordinated too. No doubt Larry is on the daily Redmond Talking Points list.
First come the taunts with shills like Larry carrying the disinformation load. Then, into the cloud of confusion and bickering comes the payload, a triangulation of C4 explosives set to blow up Java. Palladium, Visual J#.Net, and a XP JVM so old and out of date that the entire Java enterprise could be discredited for years to come. Once again the message goes out from Redmond that they, and they alone sit at the gateway to the 200 million Windows desktops. Want to get to those users? You must go through Microsoft.

What developer isn't listening carefully to this unspoken but nonetheless blarring message?
Reading all the insightful posts that trailed Larry's effort to slime Java, it was fascinating to see once again and be reminded loudly that the court findings put a special emphasis on the deceitful motives and objectives behind Microsoft's actions. Reminds me of the gun control argument, "Guns don't kill people, murderers kill people". Intent is the cornerstone of both justice and, the public trust. To pull off .NET, a totally discredited Microsoft needs people to focus on the technology, the ease of use, and the unspoken but ever present "permission to pass through the gateway" to the user base. They need people to forget the past history of reprehensible business methods, or at least lose the facts in a cloud of FUD.

So spurious accusations based on disingenuous innuendo spew out of the MS shill machine, posturing as insightful commentary, in total disregard for the truth. What Microsoft can't afford is to have people asking why these efforts seem suspiciously coordinated and well timed. The "security, technology, ease of use" trusted computing shield they are hiding behind crumbles fast when the true motives come under suspicion.
That this latest multi front assault on the Internet, (and those open source, open community, open standards technologies that depend on an open Internet), should come on the eve of the Appeals Court penalty ruling perhaps speaks volumes as to Microsoft's confidence that the fix is in. How else to explain the refusal of Microsoft's to respond to U.S. District judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly request for prioritizing possible compromise issues? And the near immediate release of the Palladium embedded PassPort scheme?

Either that, or Microsoft expects the worst, and is rushing to slip the trip hammer into wide spread public use. Making any effort by the courts to remedy the looming MS .NET problems also an assault on the works of independent developers. Making any ruling of punishment and remedy itself an assault on the technological well being of the public.


2002-07-07 21:30:43
Java will be a success on the client...
...when I can run Sun's own Windows Java VM without a gaggle of dumb little, redundant java logos appearing in my system tray.

Seriously, if Sun had the slightest clue on how to push their JVMs out to mass desktops, via bundling and an easy user experience, Java client offerings would be doing much better.

As it stands, here we are -- is it 7 years already? -- and it's still a @#$@^ pain to get Java working on the most popular desktop OS.

Visit -- and try to pick out the one place to click if you need/want Java on your Windows9x machine. "Downloads"? (No, that brings you to SDKs.) "Standard Edition"? "Micro Edition"? (No, those bring you to more marketing spiel. "Do i need to register?" (No.) "Recent Releases"? (No, more developer info.) "New to Java"? (You'd think, but again it's a deep, involved intro for developers, where the install instructions are several clicks in and based on the SDK.)

Hmm, perhaps it's this "Get the Java plug-in for WIndows XP" -- even though I may not know what a "plug-in" is or even have XP. Aha, yes, that's it.

What's more, this current design is a massive *improvement* over the previous design.

It's almost like Sun *doesn't want* average people and their average desktops to have an up-to-date Java installation, and that impression hurts anyone who wants a good end-user experience from a java desktop app.