[ale] OT: So what about Java?
jb at sourceillustrated.com
Sun Feb 2 09:44:30 EST 2003
Jeff Hubbs said:
> Is there anything about this Java mini-universe that simply cannot be
> accomplished through other means that are not tightly tied to one
> company or any company at all?
No. But then again, there's nothing that can be done in any language
that can't be done in assembly, or machine code for that matter, with a
*lot* of extra effort. Java makes it *easier* to do lots of things,
imho, but can make it harder to do certain things. It benefits from
being a truly object-oriented language, but it suffers from being
cross-platform in many cases...particularly for desktop apps. If Sun ever
realizes that they could make a lot of people happy by creating a
bytecode-to-machine code compiler, Java will move a step up in my eyes.
Of course, solutions currently exist (gcj will do it), but it's no easy
task. It's not always beneficial to be write-once-run-anywhere, and there
have been many times I've longed for write-once-compile-anywhere.
For BIG applications, Java is a great language, can make your life
easier, and you can really realize the benefits of modularization and
Another thing Java suffers from imo is bloat, in that there's about 200
ways to do one particular thing. Kinda similar to Perl, but a bigger
research curve. Each of these 200 ways requires a cascading jaunt
through javadocs and online tutorials and can lengthen your
design/development time substantially if you're by nature indecisive.
The *best* way is not always evident, and solutions typically
implemented are "the best way we found in a few days research". There
are so many paths to go down in the Java world, it's very difficult to
have exposure to all, and I've more than once designed a rather elegant
solution to a problem, only to find a few weeks later there were libs
out there to handle it for me.
> I am old-school enough that I distrust languages that are not created
> independently from any corporate interest. I guess I had a bit of an
> "ah-ha moment" WAAAAY back when I was first studying Pascal in the
> 1980s - that a programming language can be committed to international
> standardization with all platform-specific implementations being
> subservient to those standards, to the point that implementers would
> run serious political and market-share risks if they "broke" their
> implementation of a given language.
Can't speak for Sun, but at least by appearances they are very friendly
with Open Source. The jakarta project, for instance, is Sun-driven and
provides a number of solutions that are open source.
However, Sun is a corporation, so I share your mistrust. Their sole
reason for existence is to further their stock holders wealth, and I'm
sure that when it came down to that vs. a decision that would be good
for the community, they'd go with the former. I recall a big stink a
year ago between Sun and JBoss in that Sun refused to acknowledge them
as a true certified J2EE server
recall that the Sun's argument was weak and left a bad taste in my
mouth, but I don't recall the arguments now. The article above provides
links to a large portion of the story. I need to re-read it myself.
I think Sun is aligning itself with the Open Source community for
strategic, rather that altruistic, reasons. Sun has no way to compete
with Microsoft if it doesn't have a rather large army behind it, and the
open source community has an overwhelming amount of available troops.
My suspicion is that Sun is probably not doing it for the right reasons,
but that their paricipation up to this point has helped, rather than
hindered, the acceptance of open source technologies and has helped to
legitamize the open source movement.
Course, it wouldn't surprise me if that changes in the future.
In the meantime, I think learning Java, and the solutions out there for
Java that are open source, is worthwhile, interesting, and can further
your career. I'd recommend jumping on the bandwagon, but keeping your
BS meter at high alert and a pack of gum in your pocket (to fight that
taste of bile that occasionally creeps up your throat).
As Geoffrey mentioned, they're not Microsoft...yet.
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