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If you had to conjure an image that best serves as a "sign of the times," what might it be?

Perhaps a screen shot of a rare Partridge Family album being auctioned off for an incredible sum on e-Bay. Or how about a staged photo op of some of those starched-white-shirt telco and cable guys shaking hands in the latest billion-dollar megamerger. This might be more likely: hip-looking X-gens tipping their plastic champagne glasses to celebrate as their IPO turns them into instant multimillionaires. All good images, to be sure.

But a sign in a little toyshop in San Francisco says it all for me. "See us at our new address: www.toydomain.com." That toystore is just one of millions of businesses that has figured it out. And with your help, they've made the Web the definitive platform for business infrastructure today.

It's not that every business is going to do something as radical as abandon its bricks and mortar environment and move to cyberspace. But they're going to build their businesses with the Web as their architecture. And they're going to make it go with the Java platform.

The reasons are very clear. In a global, hypercompetitive market where agility and the ability to react is key, the last thing any business executive wants is to remain locked into an IT architecture. Businesses are demanding the Web and the Java platform as the way to extend their current infrastructure, to unlock all that business logic that has been hidden from public view for years and years by arcane protocols and formats. And businesses are demanding the Web and the Java platform as assurance that they won't be locked in again.

This, of course, is all good news to you. As part of the Java community, you've been lauding the advantages of writing in the Java language for years now. It lowers development costs; it lowers deployment and maintenance costs on heterogeneous networks. But even more than that, you, as part of the Java community, have sought a technical platform based on the free exchange of ideas and fair competition.

It's hard for me to envision another technology that delivers such a level playing field. Open interfaces result in choice. Choice spurs competition. Competition is the mother of innovation.

Indeed, we are on the cusp of a new era where Java technology innovation is delivering real business value and impacting the bottom line.

The Java platform was invented by Sun Microsystems, but it truly is a product of open industry collaboration and cooperation. There is major intellectual property invested in the Java platform not only by Sun, but also by countless other companies and independent developers. The more than 50 application programming interfaces that define the Java platform were built with the help of this community. JavaBeans, Java Media Framework, Java Database Connectivity, Enterprise JavaBeans the list of technologies built in cooperation with the developer community goes on and on.

The collaborative way in which the Java platform has evolved has afforded us the honor of being able to use the World Wide Web to harness the intellect and creativity of the smartest people in the world people like you. That is how the Java platform has become a technology of the highest quality in Internet time.

The growth of the Java industry and your success with the Java platform has been staggering. You now number more than 1 million, and estimates say that your numbers will triple by the year 2002. Collectively you have shipped thousands of Java applications. Your work is innovative and groundbreaking. And we at Sun Microsystems are privileged -- and, quite frankly, proud -- to have played a role in this success.

Our mantra has been to listen to you and deliver your requirements. You required a platform that was complete, stable, secure and fast. We delivered Java 2 the first release of the Java platform that delivers functional completeness, uncompromising stability, bulletproof security and speed beating the pants off any platform previously released or available in the marketplace.

You required easier access to source code and fewer restrictions for using the Java platform...and we announced a new licensing model the Java Community Source Licensing program. This program facilitates increased and more rapid innovation and faster commercialization of products based on source technology. Licensing the Java platform is as easy as point-and-click. We have been pleased to welcome tens of thousands of new licensees into the community of Java partners through this program.

We also announced the Java Community Process initiative, which opens up the community of interested parties working to extend and develop the Java platform to a larger circle. This initiative formalizes the collaborative, industry-participative methodology for developing the Java platform. And it engages an independent auditing firm to ensure that the collaborative process for new Java platform developments is followed faithfully.

And we heard you loud and clear when you said performance, performance, performance. This spring, the Java HotSpot performance engine was released. This engine delivers unprecedented performance, breaking new ground in software design and raising the bar by providing 100% faster performance than the previous version of the Java platform.

Like you, we've done a lot of work on the Java platform. But our work isn't done yet.

We're preparing for JavaOne, Sun's worldwide Java Developer conference the largest developer conference on the planet. There we'll unveil Java 2 Enterprise Edition, which enables component-based distributed applications to take full advantage of the power of the Java platform.

These Java platform and Java technology achievements and those milestones we have yet to achieve all work toward a single objective: to equip you with the tools you need to capitalize on opportunities in the new networked era. The Java platform has changed the rules of the game. But your innovation is what makes the Java platform a winner. The success of the platform ultimately rests in your hands.

About the Author
George Paolini is director of corporate marketing at JavaSoft, a Sun Microsystems, Inc., business unit. A member of the Java Developer's Journal Editorial Board, he is responsible for managing all public relations, advertising, field marketing communications and developer support activities within JavaSoft. George can be reached at [email protected].


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