Last month I wrote on the Microsoft issues with their impending release of Windows XP. I intended to go a whole editorial without mentioning that software company, but because of the amount of e-mail I received, I have to do something.
It appears that, as with any good news story, it comes with a fair share of disinformation. Every news source was reporting some aspect of the XP-Java saga and what it meant for the Java community. A lot of it was simply nonsense and I have to thank you for sending me posts from the "we-love-Microsoft" sites that were just downright comical. If you had the misfortune to read any of them, you'd get the idea that Java is on its way out, and that it was just a marketing gimmick from Sun. Gosh, that would be one hell of a gimmick! Even by Sun's standards.
Fortunately, nothing is ever as bad as it sounds, and we here at JDJ want to make sure our readers are kept informed of the whole debacle. You deserve the truth, and we're here to deliver. We needed someone to tell our readers what the future of Java holds and cut through all the Microsoft marketing anti-Java hype.
Who else but Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, Inc., could tell you how it is? Scott has never been one to shy away from a little Microsoft bashing, but when we asked him to write our Guest Editorial, he kindly agreed and put together a rational and wonderfully level-headed word of comfort for our readers. Read what Scott has to say on the next page.
On another note of Java news, I see that we might be losing one of the heralded J2EE licensees. This morning hp and Compaq announced they would be merging, creating a company that would be just slightly smaller than IBM. Early reports indicate that Carly Fiorina, present CEO of hp, will head up the consolidated company, with hp shareholders taking a 60% share of the new company and Compaq shareholders, 40%.
As with the XP stories, there's already a raft of postings concerning what's going on behind the scenes. Most of it is nonsense, I'm sure. One thing that is true, though, is a consolidation of both companies' Java offerings. It's way too early to be talking of such things, but be assured, we'll keep you up to date with any information we receive.
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It's been a bad month for the embedded world, especially the Japanese market, which lost somewhere around 60,000 jobs from the major chip manufacturers. Apparently, the slowdown in demand for mobile phones, coupled with falling PC sales, is beginning to make its mark at all ends of the manufacturing process. Gateway recently announced the closing of its European operation in Ireland.
I asked our resident J2ME guru, Jason Briggs, what this means for the J2ME marketplace. His reply was that we wouldn't see a great pickup of Java-enabled devices for a while yet. He did note that it would probably sneak up on us. We'll suddenly turn around and discover that the device we're using runs on Java and we didn't even know it. Which is exactly what you'd expect.
At the end of the day we should be marketing our solutions, not the fact that they're implemented in Java. Who cares? As long as it does what we want it to, the underlying technology shouldn't matter to us as consumers. (Oh, before I forget, Jason, can you put me down on the list for one of the devices you mentioned in your editorial?)
Java is going through an interesting time in its development life. More and more people are now enjoying its benefits without ever knowing that their devices are Java powered. This is the way it should be, and we need to start moving away from simply heralding "Java-powered" whatevers in our marketing and focus more on the solutions Java is attempting to deliver.
Alan Williamson is editor-in-chief of Java Developer's Journal. In his spare time he holds the post of chief technical officer at n-ary (consulting) Ltd (www.n-ary.com), one of the first companies in the UK to specialize in Java at the server side. Rumor has it he welcomes all suggestions and comments. firstname.lastname@example.org