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Two Takes on the Java Dilemma 562

Joe Barr writes "NewsForge is running a pair of excellent commentaries on the plight of Java and the Java development community following the recent "settlement" between longtime rivals Sun and Microsoft. One is by Rick Ross, the articulate leader of JavaLobby, entitled "Where is Java in the settlement?" The second is "Free but shackled: The Java trap" by Richard Stallman. Good reading. Both commentators put their finger on the heart of the problem, albeit from different perspectives." Yes, Newsforge and Slashdot are both owned by OSDN.
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Two Takes on the Java Dilemma

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  • RMS Blathering (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twocoasttb ( 601290 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:47AM (#8837449)
    As soon as RMS says something like "If your program is free software, it is basically ethical" I have to force myself to keep reading. It's a real bitch when that sentence is the first in the article.
  • by wmacgyver ( 555987 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:48AM (#8837453)
    I don't think either Python or Perl has ever threaten Microsoft in the way Java has.
  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) * on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:49AM (#8837461) Homepage Journal

    RMS has a very valid point. My open source Java software depends on non-free java compiler and runtime environment.

    I continue to write free software in java because Java is sexy, and I believe that Java will one day be free (or have some free implementation). Many of the things that I can do in java would be very hard in any other language. Namely having a GUI program that can run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

    I disagree with RMS that we should not accept this even temporarily. I write open source Java libraries under the GPL so that people who find them useful and want to use them must adopt the GPL. Planting open source seeds in the Java community will help in the liberation of the platform as a whole.

    The reliable way to avoid the Java Trap is to have only a free implementation of Java on your system. Then if you use a Java feature or library that free software does not yet support, you will find out straightaway, and you can rewrite that code immediately.
    Having such a setup is currently non-trivial. I have tried many times but have yet to get one to work. The gjc compiler is not hard to get working but getting a jre and the classpath libraries set up is beyond my skill level.

    We are trying to rescue the trapped Java programs, so if you like the Java language, we invite you to help in developing GNU Classpath. Trying your programs with the the GJC Compiler and GNU Classpath, and reporting any problems you encounter in classes already implemented
    Rather than appealing to developers, making free runtime easy to set up is the best way to make this happen. I applaud RMS for his work in this area, but it is not yet practical to take his advice.
  • Re:The Algol, the (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kin_korn_karn ( 466864 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:49AM (#8837467) Homepage
    You're barking up the wrong tree. People copy Algol because people are taught that programming languages -should- look like C and Java.

    Also, they're more logical to humans than stuff like LISP. When you were a kid and decided you wanted to program, did you sit down with a LISP compiler? If you did, congratulations, but I don't know anybody else who did and most programmers I know look at a programming language with the thought of, "how much money can I make if I learn this".

    Java sucks because it's wordy and the standards that people use with it are overwrought. I had no problems with RSIs until I started working in Java.

  • Not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Garg ( 35772 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:55AM (#8837522) Homepage
    Get real. See all those Java jobs out there? I know a few months ago there were more of those than any other language. I doubt that has changed... or will change in the near future.

    Sun could drop off into the Pacific tomorrow, and Java would keep on going because in a lot of places it's the best tool for the job. As much as they would like to, neither Gates nor Stallman is going to change that fact. If Sun (under MS's influence) tries to corrupt or hamstring Java, IBM, Blackdown et al will simply fork it, and everybody will start using theirs.

  • by No. 24601 ( 657888 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:55AM (#8837524)
    I'm sorry, but .NET is garbage - too much glitter and not enough of the important stuff like platform-independence. Microsoft may have succeeded in getting .NET firmly entrenched in the industry if people trusted them, but they've been playing the game since day one for dominance. .NET will benefit Microsoft products, but I don't see it becoming a predominant force anywhere else.

    The whole thing was a mistake for Microsoft, because they never really supported platforms outside the x86 architecture, and rarely code for other OSs (Office for Mac). .NET was Microsoft's attempt to fool the industry into thinking they were ready to embrace and extend open standards... but when it came down to it, they just weren't ready to take the risks to their existing monopoly.

  • Free World? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:57AM (#8837532) Homepage Journal
    RMS's talk of a Free World devoid of any contamination by non-free dependency sounds eerily like Juche []. I guess self-reliance is nice and all but all the talk of "rescuing Java programs" from "shackles" seems to remove one of the most basic freedoms: the freedom of choice. I myself must not only be free but must all of my friends must be free as well? And if they aren't, I really shouldn't because that's just accepting their unacceptable lifestyle?

    That just doesn't sit well with me.
  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:57AM (#8837536) Homepage Journal
    How can they kill StarOffice when it is open-sourced in its' OpenOffice form?
  • by Lao-Tzu ( 12740 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @10:58AM (#8837547) Homepage

    Many people have argued that it doesn't do Sun any good to "open source" Java. They might be right. You can argue that an open source Java may have a good chance of becoming _the_ platform for software development, but Sun may no longer profit from it regardless. From Sun's point of view, they really don't see the benefit.

    Well, screw them. I don't care about Sun. I'm a programmer, and all I want to do is write a piece of software that I can move from system to system without a lot of pain. Swing is the best toolkit out there for this, right now. It is relatively well documented, consistant, and available to any programming language that can run under the JVM. It can run on multiple operating systems, looking fairly native-like, or with it's own ugly but usable UI where a native look-and-feel isn't available. Some classes, like JOptionPane, actually require fairly small amounts of code to do relatively robust things.

    The Java platform has a huge number of libraries available for it, and they work all over the place.

    There might be no benefit to Sun in open sourcing Java. But there is benefit to me. I want to be able to rely on Java as a platform, but right now any Java developer would be rather screwed if disappeared. I don't like that risk, and I won't build a Java application (except for consulting work - who cares there) because of it.

    (I'm not interested in alternative programming environments, by the way. I already know about them - after all, I don't do Java development, like I said.)

  • Yes, Intel x86 can handle many of the tasks that only Unix machines used to be able to handle. I'd just tend to debate whether they're capable of doing these tasks as cost effectively, as reliably, and as efficiently.

    Well judging by the amount of people dropping their old UNIX gear, and taking up rackfulls of AMD or Intel boxes (especially the new 64bit offerings), i'd say the answer to that is a big YES.

    Companies like Sun and SGI did used to really have a corner on the market.. but now their gear is slower than the competition and insanely overpriced. Don't get me wrong, they are all still the geeks ultimate play thing (I especially like SGI gear, and used to own a few old boxes) but price to performance ratio is soooo in Intel & AMD's favour right now.

    Reliability is superb, runs a LOT of operating systems, scales very well (imagine a beowulf cluster of these...), and doesn't cost a lot of money.
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:00AM (#8837560)
    Forked what? Does Microsoft need the code to write their own implementation? Not really. In fact, Microsoft DID write their own implementation, with J++ and the MS JVM, and then they morphed that into .NET, which cherry picked the features they wanted from Java. They aren't allowed to call it an implementation of "Java" unless it sticks to the Java specification, they have permission from Sun or whatever - but what's wrong with that? That's just a trademark issue, it has nothing to do with Open Source software or the licensing terms of the code itself.

    Would the Sun/MS debacle have unfolded any differently if the source code for Java had been available under the GPL? Microsoft could have build their own stuff on top of it, but they would have had to keep it under the GPL - they would never have wanted that, so they would have had to do the exact same thing they did, which is write their own clean room version of it, or make a derivative design and have their own team implement to their own modified spec. If you can put forward a convincing argument that Sun GPLing the Java standard would have substantially changed the platform battle with Microsoft, I'd like to hear it.

  • by Hast ( 24833 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:01AM (#8837568)
    True, but they have nowhere the market penetration of Java. Unless you consider Unix systems you'll only find Python and Perl on the machine of a programmer. Java is found on almost all machines with a web browser in it.
  • I was careful to say 'StarOffice' not OpenOffice. OpenOffice is GPLd and safe. Still, OpenOffice relies on support from Sun: my guess is Novell or IBM will provide a new home for it if/when Sun says it's cutting back.
  • What a load (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:03AM (#8837579)
    Where does RMS get off? Java belongs to SUN, they are the one who invested the time, money and effort to develop it. If you dont like it go build your own version rather than trying to imply that SUN are unethical or trying to maliciously entrap developers.

    RMS might better ask why Java has been so successful. It addressed a gap in the market, not its original intention but a need none the less and developers like it. There is an extensive Java developer base now. RMS's comments have a serious smack of petty jealousy about them. Shock horror a commercial company came up with something that has attracted developer mindshare on a far larger scale than anything FOSS can manage and almost 10 years down the line the 'free alternative' is still so half assed its not even a realistic alternative.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:03AM (#8837582)
    I just wish some posters would wake up and face reality:

    Java is a bright success! All fortune 500 companies are using it in one way or the other.
    Developers are counted by the millions.
    Where is .NET?!?

    No go to and search for job openings and compare Java and C#...

    From a marketing perspective:
    If you choose Java you have the choice
    to sell your product on any major OS.

    If you choose C# you just don't have the choice.
    See how far Mono has come. Its not even close
    to fulfill the WORA promise Java has.

  • by dmeranda ( 120061 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:04AM (#8837586) Homepage
    "Many of the things that I can do in java would be very hard in any other language..."

    You really need to get out more. But I won't waste more space here debating technical misperceptions, this is about freedom.

    "I write open source Java libraries under the GPL..."

    Ahem, you mean free rather than open? That's RMS's whole point--it's not free. He never said it wasn't open.

    "Planting open source seeds in the Java community will help in the liberation of the platform as a whole."

    That's sure wishful thinking. I hope you're correct. But there's no way you can make it free. Only Sun can do that, and your seeds aren't falling inside their walls. That's like saying that writing GPL'ed software that runs under Windows will help in the liberation of the Windows platform. You're only fooling yourself, trying to justify using a sexy language. I commend you for GPL'ing your own programs, but you must not be fooled into complacency by your lack of freedom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:04AM (#8837594)
    The problem is that Java is already incompatible across various implementations. Even if the syntax is identical, you never know if your program is going to work on Blackdown or Classpath just because it works on Sun's JVM. And lord only knows if the "standard" libraries you're using are available on the user's machine.

    Quite frankly, the stupidest thing Sun did was force MS to give up Java. MS wanted to make Java ubiquitous by making it the standard platform for writing Windows apps. In order to do this, they needed to add a few features (like delegates -- function pointers, essentially). Sure, people would end up writing "Java" programs that wouldn't necessarily run on other JVMs, but who cares -- they would be Windows programs anyway! And besides, every single one of those Windows developers would also be a Java developer, spreading Java everywhere.

    So now, instead of having a solid, fast, best-of-breed implementation of Java (with a few extras) on every single Windows machine on the planet, everybody who wants to run Java apps must install their own JVM. This does nothing but hinder use of Java. And of course, all of those would-be Java developers are still using VB or have learned C#.

    Come to think of it, had Sun incorporated MS's improvements, such as delegates and enumerations, they would have an excellent language for GUI RAD. Instead, they stuck by their NIH ways and we don't get these features until 6 years too late.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:05AM (#8837598)
    Java and C# are crufty languages anyhow.

    I don't care much for OO myself, but many people say at least the newer Java implementations are really quite good.

    What put me away from Java since the beginning is the size of the executables, and their truly atrocious speed. And also the size and speed of another monster called Swing.

    But, I remember a certain OS called Unix that used to be the archetype of bloatware, with a graphical system that used to open 2 megabyte (gasp!) temp files, in the past. Now that computers have caught up with it in terms of memory and speed, Un*x looks thin compared to Windows, and its creators seem like precursors and visionaries.

    So sometimes I wonder if I'm not missing a boat with Java : perhaps it too is ahead of its time, and one day nobody will balk at the speed, because it'll run fast by virtue of the underlying hardware.

    But I guess now that Microsoft and Sun have agreed to kill it, the question of whether or not I should try it is getting moot.
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:06AM (#8837611)
    If Java was truely Open Source, then Microsoft could have forked it to allowed J++ to exist on Windows and blow a hole in the "write once, run everywhere" theory.

    Well, since Microsoft couldn't do that, they just switched to plan B. They used 5 years of hindsight to write a new language like Java, but with some nicer new features, then they applied this new language to their OS monopoly to get instant market penetration with little effort.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft froze their support for Java until it was hopelessly obsolete; this passive-aggressive move blew a hole in "write once, run anywhere" all by itself. Microsoft's moves seem to have succeeded in taking much of the steam out of Sun's goal of taking over the world with Java.

    It seems to me that this course of events was a big factor in Sun's recent "surrender". I don't see how things have come out any better for Sun than if they had set Java loose.

  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:07AM (#8837618)
    How does Microsoft benefit from that? Okay, given that Microsoft could have released .NET for Unix at any time, and given that Microsoft has apparently ported or at least considered porting most of their major apps (like Office) to Unix at various points in time but never had any desire to actually release them, what would make them change their mind now? What do they think they will win by eliminating the huge carrots they are using to lure people onto the Windows platform? Why do they need Sun to do this for them when they could easily do it themselves? I don't really see it.
  • by BlackStar ( 106064 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:08AM (#8837623) Homepage
    Wishful thinking is the way Stallman has always approached solutions, and does so in his Java trap article. Getting more software written in Java with a greater demand on the platform and wider popularity is probably the easiest way to get more hackers working on teh GNU Classpath and related projects including the GNU Java Compiler. Computer science builds on itself, and on the work of others, both free and non-free. For years, Stallman's stuff only ran on Sun, as he pointed out. For years, many of us waited eagerly for the first HURD implementations. Good thing a pragmatist by the name of Torvalds came along and WROTE one rather than endlessly redesigning it. Results breed demand breed developer interest. Cygwin arose at least in part due to Unix programmers working on Windows and wanting the strength of their environment to be there. Demand and need.
  • by Aumaden ( 598628 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .relliM.C.noveD.> on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:09AM (#8837639) Journal
    Sun's implementation of Java is non-free. Blackdown is also non-free; it is an adaptation of Sun's proprietary code. The standard Java libraries are non-free also. We do have free implementations of Java, such as the GNU Java Compiler and GNU Classpath, but they don't support all the features yet. We are still catching up.

    If you develop a Java program on Sun's Java platform, you are liable to use Sun-only features without even noticing. By the time you find this out, you may have been using them for months, and redoing the work could take more months. You might say, "It's too much work to start over." Then your program will have fallen into the Java Trap; it will be unusable in the Free World. -- RMS

    I generally respect RMS, but I have a problem with this. Like it or not Sun (and others via the JCP []) set the Standard for Java. I fail to see how using the Standard is falling into a trap.

    The real reason Java would be unusable in Stallman's "Free World" is because the current, free compiler is sub-standard.

    I shouldn't use the features supported by Sun, Blackdown and IBM because the GNU Java Compiler hasn't caught up with the pack?

    Now, whose trap is that again?

  • Re:The Algol, the (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:11AM (#8837661)
    Also, they're more logical to humans than stuff like LISP.

    This point seems a bit unstable to me. I don't see why an Algol-like syntax would be more logical to humans for any reason other than that most folks learn to program in BASIC or C or because the syntax is relatively similar to standard mathematical notation. But in this case the argument would be that the syntax is usually more familiar to most people, not more logical. If it is inherently logical to anything, it's logical to computers, not humans.

    If there's anywhere where folks seem to have a hard time with, for example, the LISP family, it's the recursion and not the syntax. Personally, I agree that LISP was harder to get used to than languages that have Algol-style syntax, but I'm not willing to say it was because of my human nature and not because I had already been programming in BASIC and C for ~10 years. And now that I'm used to it, I've found it is the most useful thing in the world, to the point that when I'm working out how to write a difficult function I generally use LISP syntax for my pseudocode because I've found it is much easier for me to make prototypes that will end up working.

    I agree that languages take on because folks are interested in how finacially beneficial that language is, but that has nothing to do with whether or not it is an objectively well-designed language. I submit COBOL as evidence.
  • by dmeranda ( 120061 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:14AM (#8837687) Homepage

    Did you even read the article? RMS never told Sun what to do. He was speaking to programmers who write software using Sun's Java platform. It is those programmers who think they are writing free software, and may not realize that it really is not free after all. His audience does not include Sun programmers; they are already aware that their software is not free--they need no warning.

    He is cautioning those people who desire to write free software to reevaluate whether they are really achieving their own goals, to not be blinded by Java's sexiness and Sun's apparant benevolence. But to say that RMS want's to force Sun to do business in a different way is to read something that I'm not seeing in his article.

  • by thogard ( 43403 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:14AM (#8837694) Homepage
    According to the Borders metric, java is dead.

    The Borders metric is where you wanter into a Borders book store and count the shelf space allocated to each subject. Some subjects grow to several racks and then die out and others just sort of stay at their 1/4 rack for ever (like Ada, Fortran and C).
  • Re:RMS Blathering (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oooooops ( 32349 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:20AM (#8837748)
    So if I write an open source virus or trojan it's basically ethical? hell i'll even GPL it (or LGPL should someone want to make a closed source version of it). You are missing a huge piece of the puzzle here - that is that 90% of Windows Users are not going to bother looking at the source first. Do you look at the source for everything you run? I doubt it, but if you do, my hat is off to you for it (and you apparently have no life other than computers or you don't run many applications).

    To say that because it's open it's ethical is a load of crap.

    Time for me to be moderated into oblivion because I'm speaking against the establishment.
  • by black mariah ( 654971 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:27AM (#8837809)
    Microsoft doesn't have a competeing language to C, doesn't want control of C, and basically doesn't give two shits about C. They want Java under their control because they know what a massive asset it is. See a bit of a difference here?
  • by raptor21 ( 47540 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:41AM (#8837932)
    I actually read the Stallman article (yeah I know this is slashdot). One thing bothered me as I read majority of the article is Stallman's use of GPL and free interchangebly.

    My main problem is "free" means free. But in the GNU context "free" means "GPL'd". There is a problem here GPL'd software is not really free, it is freedom with restrictions. Java is also free software with restrictions, mainly not being able to modify it. GPL goes one step further allows modification but with the restriction that the modifications also be made freely available. Thus GPL is a little more free than Java but not completely free in the true sense of the word.

    Suppose I released some software completely free. Free to use, modifiy and redistribute without realsing any of the modification under a new FSL (free software License). Said software would also be shackled when run with dependencies of GPL'd software which is not as free as the software I just released, lets call it the GPL trap. Or any software linked with GPL'd software must also be released under the GPL. Java doesn't require you to follow its licensing terms, one may release Java programs under the GPL.

    As I have just illustrated, different degrees of freedoms exist in the world and mean different things to different people. Java is free, as in no monetary cost to use, GNU software is more free as in it is free to modify, but there is also a definiftion for free as in "no restrictions, no cost" which the GPL'd software like GNU/linux is clearly not. So I would like Mr. Stallman to please stop using the word free interchangebly with GPL'ed software, so as not to confuse readers.

    Freedom is a deeply philosophical term of which excrutiatingly long discussions can ensue. However, Java is free, albeit with restrictions, GPL is a little more free but also with restrictions.
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:42AM (#8837943)
    If the corporate world decides that Java will not be supported with improvements from Sun, and without IBM able to take over due to no Open Sourced version, they will drop Java faster than you can say C#. Nobody is going to run their business on obsolete stuff, no matter how good it is now.
  • by Srin Tuar ( 147269 ) <> on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:44AM (#8837966)
    I shouldn't use the features supported by Sun,
    Blackdown and IBM because the GNU Java Compiler
    hasn't caught up with the pack?

    If you dont care about having a 100% free O/S, running no proprietary software whatsoever, then his article is NOT AIMED AT YOU.

    He is NOT trying to convince the pragmatic masses to stick to a substandard implementation. He's calling upon those who do want a Free environment, that if they think Java is the future of programming (at least for themselves), to either contribute to Free implementations or to adhere to them.

    There is really nothing radical, objectionable, or unusual in his article. The fact that is is a conservative, simple, and logic position shows me that the extremist, based upon your reaction, is YOU.

  • Insightful?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:46AM (#8837983)
    See all those Java jobs out there? I know a few months ago there were more of those than any other language. I doubt that has changed... or will change in the near future.

    There were more Java jobs than any other language? Really? Or do you just mean there were more adverts mentioning the buzzword "Java" than any other buzzword? There's a world of difference.

    As for changing, tell that to all the VB6 developers.

    Sun could drop off into the Pacific tomorrow, and Java would keep on going because in a lot of places it's the best tool for the job.

    So do you work for Sun PR, or are you someone who's built a career around developing in Java and is desperately willing what he says to come true? Blanket statements like the above are meaningless: there is no job for which, other things being equal, Java does not have at least one serious rival. Often the best tool is decided by who you happen to have on your development team, rather than an odd detail supported by Java but not by <alternative of choice>.

    If Java rolled over and died tomorrow, some people/businesses who'd invested too much in it would get hurt, and then the software development world would move on, just as it always has.

  • Re:Not. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:47AM (#8837989)
    Except that you cannot "fork" Java and still call it Java. Sun owns the name. You try to come out with "Kaffee" or some other psudonym, fine, but the VAST MAJORITY of Java developers out there who code on Windows, deploy to Windows and know only Windows will not understand this. To them, Java will be dead, and the Microsoft .NET runtime is a quick 20MB download away from a new career.
  • by The Spoonman ( 634311 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:48AM (#8837998) Homepage
    Well judging by the amount of people dropping their old UNIX gear, and taking up rackfulls of AMD or Intel boxes (especially the new 64bit offerings), i'd say the answer to that is a big YES.

    Which begs the question: if they were all jumping off a bridge, would you do so, too? Just because "everyone's doing it" doesn't mean it's right. It means that lemmings can't think for themselves.

    Don't get me wrong, I agree that the price/performance/value ratio of the Suns and SGIs of the world is way skewed when compared to the Intel-style architecture. I disagree in that moving to the latter architecture just because everyone else is doing it is a management-style decision, not a technical one.
  • Re:RMS Blathering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @11:58AM (#8838078) Homepage Journal
    How is unethical to want to get paid for your work? How is software any different from books? What about education? Why should I have to pay to go to a Class at MIT? Sure if want my papers graded or get help from the teacher?
    I think it is unethical to taint the free software movment with this dogma. RMS caliming that non free software is unethical is just as bad as Microsoft claiming that free software is unamerican or SCO "claiming all your ?nix belong to us." I have produced free as in beer software, I have produced free as in speech software, and I have produced software that I sell. All of which are ethical. If you want a that does what a program I sell does got and get a c compiler and write it yourself or you can to choose to pay me.
  • by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:04PM (#8838130) Homepage

    Free software depends on non-free hardware to run. Even if hardware became free, you still rely on non-free electricity to make your hardware run.

    Would Stallman then advise us to avoid the Electricity Trap?


    • the free software situation was pretty much won
    • we already had widespread "free" (obviously just speech, not beer) hardware
    • electricity was not a completely exchangeable commodity in the economic sense (making incompatibilities and therefore "lock-in" possiible)
    • electricity suppliers were limiting (for example, by contract) customers' freedom (as in speech)
    • there were comparatively "free" (speech) sources of electricity

    ...then yes, I think he absolutely would...

    ...and I think under those circumstances, I would agree with him.

  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:09PM (#8838193) Journal
    "but RedHat deployments have a tendency to self destruct."

    Err yea ok, sure whatever you say.

    "Long term, Unix machines still win the day."

    You wrote an entire reponse to something he didn't say. He never said he was advocating Winx86. He said that the older SUN/SGI style hardware was losing marketshare in favor of X86 hardware. Which of course is correct. He didn't say that these cheaper X86 boxes wouldn't be running a *nix.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:16PM (#8838277)
    Your forgetting that back when that was a possibility Micrsoft had say over what was shipped on every box. I bet that Sun had talks with more than a few OEM's who were not even willing to consider shipping Sun's Java. Plus what were OEM supposed to do? Ship two Java VM's per box? If OEM's had to pick one VM to ship it was going to be Microsoft's. In your eyes Sun didn't lift a finger but in reality they never had a chance.
  • by J. J. Ramsey ( 658 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:26PM (#8838408) Homepage
    "I generally respect RMS, but I have a problem with this. Like it or not Sun (and others via the JCP) set the Standard for Java. I fail to see how using the Standard is falling into a trap.

    The real reason Java would be unusable in Stallman's "Free World" is because the current, free compiler is sub-standard."

    And the current free compiler is substandard because Sun sets both the standard and creates the reference implementation. By the time the GJC guys have seen the latest updates to the standard, Sun has already implemented them in its own reference implementation. Inevitably, that means the GJC developers will *always* be chasing taillights.

    Why don't IBM and Blackdown have this problem? Because they use Sun's code as a starting point.

    So long as the status quo remains, it will be impossible for there to be multiple independant complete implementations of the current Java standard.
  • Re:What a load (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Karn ( 172441 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:30PM (#8838468)
    You don't understand what motivates Stallman.

    The man isn't impressed by anything, unless it meets his definition of free (which I respect and admire, personally.)

    You should at least read something about the man so you can formulate a valid opinion of him. His thoughts aren't on the short-term, where Java currently is, but on long term freedom of software. His goals predate Java, and will most likely postdate it too.
  • by koali ( 175176 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:33PM (#8838506)

    Nobody is going to run their business on obsolete stuff, no matter how good it is now.

    Like... Cobol?

  • by bfg9000 ( 726447 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:37PM (#8838568) Homepage Journal
    As this thread progresses, I'm certain we'll find that a lot of people whine about and take cheap shots at RMS. Coincidentally, these are typically people who haven't accomplished anything useful in their entire lives except post witty one-liners and flames of others here on Slashdot. RMS' legacy is the GPL and a fast-growing freedom movement, mine is having Excellent Karma on a News for Nerds site.

    RMS actually tries to protect our freedoms, which is more than I can say for 99% of us, including myself. We mostly seem to care about what's the best DRM or how easily we can adapt to the corporations' new demands on us. We act like a slave nation. I remember reading a book about slavery in the Old South, and the amazing thing was that many slaves believed that slavery was ethical because they had been taught that they were an inferior people, and that the white overlords were justified in beating wayward slaves because it was their plantations and their profitability that would suffer from lazy slaves. The masters managed to get the slaves to see it from their perspective, and in the process, to forget the reality that was their own perspective. We are the same. This is fast becoming our way of thinking. We're not looking out to protect ourselves, but to be "fair" to the companies we have to deal with. The RIAA cries about lost sales. Software companies cry about free alternatives or piracy. Pretty much everyone cries about people making products similar to what they've already released, even though their design was just common sense. And we hear their cries, and often feel bad for the poor Multinationals whose sales are down 7%, leaving them with a meagre profit of about 5 billion dollars (after hiding some with crooked accounting, of course). Needless to say, the companies don't have this self-doubt and ethical dilemma. If they can get us to cave in and start down that "slippery slope of compromise" at all, they can continually and slowly take our consumer rights from us. Look at fair use, already on its deathbed. Timeshifting, which will soon be legislated to death. Copying, sharing, tinkering; all dying. Public domain vs. copyright.There's even crazy talk about the US outlawing free software. The balances are shifting hard and fast in favor of the corporations and against consumer rights. We the people generally have no ethical problem with proprietary software, spyware, or restrictions on our freedom as long as it is inobtrusive. Because we have bought the line that we don't OWN anything. We're only LICENSING our possessions AT THE SAME PRICE AS WE USED TO BUY THEM FOR. Pretty soon, we'll only be able to license our computer hardware. Since we won't own it, we will have NO legal right to privacy on it. And you know what? Give us a better media player or smoother GUI and we'll line up for it like lemmings.

    We tend to begin from the assumption that the corporations are right and ethical in their thinking. They spend massive advertising dollars to promote their claim that they occupy the moral high ground. This is often incorrect. We should always begin by doubting every position, but especially the status quo. I got a chance to talk to a few fairly famous musicians at Juno afterparties a few years ago, and yes, they were all thankful that the record companies supported them, but at the same time agreed that they were taking too big of a cut, had too much artistic control, and that the RIAA-type organizations were all crooked and greedy as hell. Some of the artists WANTED to put free songs online to get their names out or to reward faithful fans, but they were forbidden by their corporate masters. They aren't even allowed to play guitar and sing around a campfire without the Company's permission. So whose ethical viewpoint should we be listening to -- the artists themselves, or the middleman who packages the artists music? In a digital age, why are these middlemen even still around? If we keep them around and move to the digital download model, we've just added another layer of middlemen (Apple, Nap
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:39PM (#8838596)
    Would the Sun/MS debacle have unfolded any differently if the source code for Java had been available under the GPL?

    If Sun had GPL'd Java early on, there would be no .NET today. There would be no need, as Java would have become the de-facto language for Windows applications and Microsoft would have been forced to go along. Java would benefit from Microsoft's strength in Dev-tools, and anything good that Microsoft came up with would have been shared across platforms.

    Sun expected Java to do for them what Visual Basic did for Microsoft, but they were stupid about it. When Visual Basic came out, Microsoft created a huge market for tools vendors like Roguewave and others without giving them a rectal exam everytime they came up with something to keep them under their thumb. Sun could have done the same thing, allowing people to create Solaris widgets and stuff, but Sun should have had a decent IDE available at the time of Java's initial release for all this aftermarket stuff to fold into.

    Sun thought that good press equaled big money, and they did not listen to anyone about how to build a market. People took Java and left Sun behind.

  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:45PM (#8838646)
    "A modelling tool is quite different to a programming language.."

    Yes, but not really in this context. If IBM is going to buy something, they expect some return from their investment regardless if it's a programming language or a modeling tool.
  • by ArmorFiend ( 151674 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:45PM (#8838661) Homepage Journal
    Hm...good point. Okay, you've changed my mind, now I think that java just needs a marketing department, at least 1/3rd as big as the Enemy's, to keep people somewhat informed about what is standard and what is embrace-extend from MS. Additionally academia should do their jobs and teach to the standard, funnelling students way from the E-E crap. I don't see the need for the marketing department to have absolute dictotorial powers, or in fact any powers whatsoever.
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:56PM (#8838803)
    Did I say that C# is better than Java? No.

    I said C# rocks. If you develop Windows applications, there is nothing better. Before, the choice was to use C++ and take a long amount of time, or use VB and get crap out the door quickly. C# (and VB.NET) lets Windows developers avoid the pitfalls of VB and the complexity of C++. Does that rock enough for you?

    And show me anything, anywhere that matches MSDN as a developer resource for any platform. I dont particpate in religious wars about whether Java or C# is the better language anymore. I'm just glad that I something other than Java for Windows development.

  • A red-hat based distro can last a long time provided you use somewhat more sophisticated tools to manage it. Suggestion: apt-rpm.

    I don't know what those other problems you speak of stem from, for I have many RedHat boxes and have not experienced them. Perhaps the admins are idiots?

    A Solaris box is also difficult to work with on the first go-round. Usually you get sent to Sun classes and everything becomes clear.

  • by greg_barton ( 5551 ) * <> on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:02PM (#8838866) Homepage Journal
    If a programmer uses an object from say java.rmi.server on Sun's platform

    Then don't use that object. Do what you want to do in a different way. I know you can probably bring up some isolated examples of when you must use a

    Also on sun's JVM it doesn't say com.sun, it is all just "java.whatever", "javax.whatever", etc... when you import a package.

    Those are implementations of an API. If you want another implementation, use it. There are even alternate implementations of the java.util package out there. If you don't want to be locked into a vendor specific implementation, then use another or write your own.
  • by mccoma ( 64578 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:04PM (#8838896)
    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.

    A paragraph like this makes it hard to take "Where is Java in the settlement?" seriously.

    Apple's JVM is a modified Sun JVM and Apple has contributed enhancements back to Sun.
    Apple killed the clones because they were not expanding the Macintosh market (they were eating Apple's share).

  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:09PM (#8838937) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about everyone who reads slashdot, but I would still be in a job. I've been programming for fifteen years and I've never done anything that didn't at some level involve specific customization for the way a particular client does business.

    Did you complain about the jobs lost when compilers replaced the work of assembly programmers? Or as more and more functions make their way into standard OS libraries? Remember doing http with raw sockets?

    The fact is, some problems are just plain *solved*. If your livelihood involves solving those problems over and over again, and charging money for it each time, then you're going to lose to someone who is more interested in solving new problems.
  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:09PM (#8838947) Homepage Journal

    The reason this is true for you says more about your quantity of experience in Java compared to your experience in Lisp than it does about the quality of either language. An experienced Lisp programmer would probably say exactly the opposite. (In fact, someone in this thread remarked that he does pseudocode for other languages in a Lisp-like syntax, which I found interesting.)

    Similarly, I'm a Perl programmer and have never understood why people say the language is "write only" and similar snide remarks. Perl is instantly readable to me. Put me in front of a bunch of C, though, and I have to puzzle for awhile to work out what it does. That doesn't mean Perl is better than C (although every good programmer knows it is :P ); it just means I'm much more fluent in Perl.

  • by FooMasterZero ( 515781 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:12PM (#8838966) Homepage
    First off I have no personal feelings for or against the three letter leaders (RMS, ESR).
    However I think the aforemetioned focus too much about software. Software isn't everything, at least last time I checked ? To illustrate my point I will give this questions to the three lettered leaders and all you other OSS ethusiasts.

    Do you grow your own foods, and i mean all of them ?
    Do you weave and grow your flax, and such for fabrics that you wear ? again all the clothes you wear ?

    I am gonna guess that the answer is definte NO for both. Since 1 it takes entirely too much time to do either along with other responsibilities most people have. Secondly it is just easier to put that responsibility on a company that makes it convient in the form of mega superstores/grocery marts. If we all had to make our own clothes, and grow our own food we would not have much time to move forward and create other things to push our social quo to the next level. Same thing with hardware and software we should excerise balance free software as well non-free software competing for the next big thing. Not everyone wants to control the innerworkings of their OS, and or low-level device drivers just so they can type. No most people opt for Mircosoft/Apple/*nix vendors to do that for them so that the user can do something with and possibly make something else to work with it and make thiers as well as others lives a bit easier for them, and the cycle continues.

    I enjoy free/open software however some software i would just rather pay for or get the binary and be done with and not have to try and compile it and trudge through any library hell that might incurr. My time is better spent doing things i do better, and in other ways enjoy more. I think free software needs the proprietary software to keep the value of what software is in perspective, since software seems to be ever more expensive as the years pass-on.
    So to re-iterate keep things in balance and the path should be clear because extremists on any topic are rarely 100% correct.

  • by merdark ( 550117 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:14PM (#8838998)
    Uh oh. Now you've done it. Expect a ton of GPL nazi's to go on posting about how anything freer than GPL is anarchy and how it's not "free" but "Free" and the four freedoms blah blah blah.

    So I would like Mr. Stallman to please stop using the word free interchangebly with GPL'ed software, so as not to confuse readers.

    Stallman chose to use the word free precicly *to* confuse people. If you compare the language used on to that of cult texts you can find a ton of similarities. It's all very highly manipulative. And it's also very successfull. Most critisism of GNU/Stallman's use of manipulative language is immediatly shunned and attacked as if it came from the devil.

    The problem with GNU is that they are not content to lead by example. Instead of simply demonstrating how their development model/philosphy is superior to other methods, they rely on rhetoric and preaching. GNU followers have a *need* to convert you to the GNU way as I'm sure you've noticed.

    Still, I commend you for trying to set things right. I tried once, but the eyes of the devoted are blind to any reason.
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:15PM (#8839001) Homepage
    No, Sun has (in my paranoid opinion) agreed to kill Java and probably StarOffice as well.

    What on earth are you basing this on? Sun settles a lawsuit and signs a patent crosslicensing agreement, and all of a sudden we have people hypothesizing Sun agreed under-the-table to drop their only interesting or promising products in exchange for a measly two billion? Why not just go all out and suggest that Microsoft had Scott McNealy quietly killed six months ago and replaced with an actor hired to impersonate him while running the company into the ground, and Sun will soon be sending out squads of mercenaries to kill Linux users on sight?

    These threads continue to baffle me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:26PM (#8839107)
    I've been watching the paranoia around the Sun/MS deal for some considerable time and I just don't get it. This is a huge good deal for Sun. There is no conspiracy here and nothing to be concerned about.

    What could Sun achieve by proceeding with its 2002 lawsuit? The lawsuit asked for $1 billion in damages; the settlement yields Sun $700 million for antitrust issues - less than what it wanted - and a further $1,250 million covering patent royalties - which is more than what it wanted. The only reason for continuing to persue the legal case would be on a point of principle. Sun can't afford this at the moment. The fact is that the EU ruling was a watershed - Sun can't hope for any more out of MS at this time. And Microsoft is doubtless hoping that by paying out it will derail the EU ruling. I doubt there is any more to this then that - Microsoft knew it would loose in the end, and litigation is bad for any company, but particularly one that is in the throws of taking on the EU. Sun has principles, which is nice, but can no longer afford them. The idea that Sun would cease development on Java (its most important product of the last few years, central to its Linux strategy going forward and worth a not inconsiderable amount of money (50 million USD from Nokia alone)) is as daft as imaging MS will now cease work on .NET and the CLR.

    As for the rest of the debate Java is in pretty good hands at the moment - Java developers have way more influence over it then .NET developers do over .NET. Come to think of it Java developers have more influence over .NET then .NET developers do. In the end Sun may well go under in which case IBM, BEA, Oralce, Nokia, or some other company with a major vested interest in Java will buy them out. It might be Microsoft I suppose, but it seems very unlikely to me.
  • Stallman's article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by akuzi ( 583164 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:26PM (#8839111)
    From Stallman's article..

    > If you develop a Java program on Sun's Java
    > platform, you are liable to use Sun-only features
    > without even noticing. By the time you find this
    > out, you may have been using them for months, and
    > redoing the work could take more months.

    You could say the same thing for GCC.

    It's possible you link to a proprietary library without noticing. It's the same with any development platform. Does this mean you should avoid using the GNU compiler?

    The reality is that standard Java is so feature-rich and there are so many open-source libraries and frameworks around you very rarely (if ever) need to resort to using proprietary libraries (Sun or not).
  • by tolan-b ( 230077 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:30PM (#8839158)
    Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying.

    My only point was that a GPL'd Java would be unlikely to have forking issues. People tend to stick with one main version, with large switches to forks only when there's some serious problem with the original, such as with XFree
  • by dekashizl ( 663505 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:43PM (#8839308) Journal
    Your whole post is unsubstantiated anthropomorphization of Sun and Microsoft, boiled down to "MSFT made a better Java than Sun, and Sun wanted to hog the credit, so they rejected every reasonable offer simply out of spite". Amazing that this gets modded to +5 insightful... Please, go tell this story to a room of kindergarteners.

    Sun worried (rightfully) about the proprietary extensions MSFT was adding to Java, which would have had the result of tying "Java" to Windows and shattering the "Write Once Run Anywhere" promise, while at the same time having the (mostly false) appearance that MSFT was playing nice with its competition. And that's just one part of the whole issue.

    Get your history right, or at least don't try to pass off your skewed opinions as fact.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:50PM (#8839389)
    From RMS's article:

    If your program is free software, it is basically ethical

    RMS should stop insinuating that commercial / non-free software may be un-ethical.

    The ethics of software are not for RMS to decide.

  • by sploxx ( 622853 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @02:05PM (#8839566)
    This is why RMS envisioned a software tax.
  • Re:Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mmusson ( 753678 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @02:23PM (#8839743)
    It seems like a lot of hoop-jumping to no good end

    The "end" in my opinion is whether the additional abstraction due to the language design creates a simpler, more bug-free program. In the past, people have been willing to use low level languages like C in order to get the best performance from a program, but as programs have become increasingly complex, the quantity of bugs is becoming unacceptable.

    Is it worth trading some runtime efficiency if it would make your program higher quality? I think this is an even easier question to answer when you think of how many programs spend most of their time idle waiting for user input.

    I am not a one language fits all type of person. A language is not a silver bullet. A bad programmer will find ingenious ways to write bad code in any language. But I do think there are certain problem domains that are well suited to functional languages. I am a particular fan of Haskell.

  • Re:The Algol, the (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pHDNgell ( 410691 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @02:29PM (#8839795)
    For anyone attempting to measure the credibility of your post, the last sentence was greatly benefitial:

    Humans don't like recursion, thats why nobody uses LISP or anything like it.

    Personally, I don't see why people seem to think iteration and mutability is so much better an recursion over immutable structures. Recursion is functional programming is conceptually simpler because you don't have to consider state, only the particular values supplied to the function.

    Of course, many languages offer the option of side-effects and iteration and all that if you want it. Perhaps you should try to understand why people who program in functional languages use recursion so much (and yeah, a lot of people do use functional programming languages).
  • Funny how you latch on to the worst of the bunch and then loudly proclaim how much all Unix machines suck. Sun machines are *nice*. I'm sorry you've had the displeasure of having to deal with AIX, but that doesn't mean that other vendors don't have their act together. Personally, I'll never understand why people keep buying the massive heaps of garbage that IBM puts out. Oh, that's right: "No one ever got fired for buying IBM."

    Why, because you've found some mystical, magical fix for it? The reality is that RPM hell is a symptom of a larger problem -- that different programs often want different versions of shared libraries.

    Actually, I have. It's called Mac OS X. And somehow ISVs are able to release all kinds of software based on Open Source without littering my hard drive. Examples include Safari (KHTML), OpenOffice, a LAME GUI that integrates with iTunes, DigiTunnel VPN, Firebird/Thunderbird, VideoLAN player, and ToastCD. All of these install by opening the DMG file and dragging the application to the Applications folder (or wherever else you want it).

    The basic problem with RPM hell, is that RedHat made the decision to base every component of the OS on the RPM package manager. This means that really stupid dependencies like the version of Bash (for GUI apps even!) interfere with the system. FreeBSD doesn't have this problem, because all of their packages assume the base system. It doesn't bother to check if you have BASH, TCSH, or KSH installed, because it doesn't matter!
  • by Ogerman ( 136333 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @03:49PM (#8840587)
    Quite frankly, the stupidest thing Sun did was force MS to give up Java. MS wanted to make Java ubiquitous by making it the standard platform for writing Windows apps.

    It's not so much just what they did, but that they used monopolistic tactics to do it. MS was trying to completely take over the Java market, not just be an ethical player. In and of itself, there was nothing wrong with them writing their own implementation. (many others have done the same, including Open Source projects..) It was all the proprietary and undocumented extensions combined with their marketing power to sway the industry away from pure implementations without their extensions. This would have hurt us all, not just Sun.

    How do we feel about MS's extensions to standards like Kerberos and HTML? Well, same thing.
  • Wrong. In 2000 when SGI offered me an O2 for $25,000, it would've taken 5 of them to do the same job as one $3,000 Dell Pentium2.

    It's called "capacity planning". If you're buying a bigger machine than your capacity calls for, then of course you're spending extra money. OTOH, if you can put your web server, email server, domain server. file server, etc. all in the same box, then you're saving money over the proliferating x86 boxes.

    BTW, four years ago, Sun was pretty much the only Unix machine vendor that was attempting to attack the low end as well as the high end. IBM sort of did, but most of their small machines were for product demoing purposes.

    I suppose that in the 4 years that've gone by since a UNIX dealer has last tried to sell me anything, they might've gone more into a desperation mode and started reducing prices to get competitive with Intel/AMD systems again.

    Sun makes some very nice Ultrasparc Rackmount and Blade systems starting at $999. That's pretty hard to beat, even for Dell.

    Those are all areas where an x86 PC trounces Sun or SGI systems. With Sun, the annual maintenance fee can often exceed the lifetime ownership cost of a PC variant.

    I don't know if you've been paying attention, but Dell has also been charging exorbitant yearly maintenance fees for their server products. I know a small company that just payed $50,000 to Dell for their yearly maintenance. When you consider that those maintenance costs are for replacement of hardware that fails (and with Dell it *will* fail), there's simply no way to get away without those costs. The only alternative is to do without maintenance and absorb any costs for replacement hardware. And I'd much rather do that with a small Sun machine and a Solaris Free license than I would a Dell.
  • by dekashizl ( 663505 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @04:35PM (#8841076) Journal
    Interesting (and somewhat relevant) article in today's SF Chronicle: Sun appears to be following a familiar script [].

    Quote (emphasis mine):
    "In a larger sense,
    Sun's actions remind us of Compaq/Digital in their later days," analyst Andrew Neff of Bear Stearns said in a research note. "If history is a guide, Sun could follow the path of those companies with further disappointments leading to an eventual acquisition."
  • by Minna Kirai ( 624281 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @04:53PM (#8841282)
    Facts as flamebait?

    The quotes you printed make Microsoft look evil. They appear to have succeeded not on strength of technology, but on cleverly quasi-fraudulent contracts.

    The real truth behind the J++ dispute has two parts, and you've omitted one of them. Yes, J++ was faster than Sun Java (at least under MS Windows). But that only mattered in combination with the fact that Microsoft was adding new language keywords to J++. Programs written for J++ wouldn't compile under regular Sun Java. Therefore they had no real right to call it a "Java" compiler.
  • by the-build-chicken ( 644253 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @05:12PM (#8841512)
    I completely agree with you (and I hate .NET), it is a fantastic microsoft end to end product. However, how many companies use microsoft end to end. Todays corporations are a mishmash of microsoft, linux, unix, oracle, sybase and SQLServer (and splashes of db2 around the place). The company that I work for develops financial applications in java. We constantly have to battle the whole "what about .NET thing"...and to be honest, it's an easy question to counter. ADO.NET support is too rudementary amoung database providers. Sybase (which has a large financial market base) asked for expressions of interest for a ADO.NET driver for the first time last year in August...and how long has .NET been around? We (and lots of other dev companies) can't bank on ADO.NET drivers being available and being of production quality.

    Also, if I want a good http client in java, I have many to choose from...a web server...again, many to choose from....a reporting framework...a graphing framework....a logging framework...workflow graphical components...templating engines...xslt and xpath engines....the list goes on and on. .NET will never (IMHO) have a similar level of open source libraries available for developers. So while end to end microsoft webby stuff may work great with .NET...I personally don't believe it offers any advantage to the rest of the development space

  • by Minna Kirai ( 624281 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @05:37PM (#8841750)
    To illustrate my point I will give this questions to the three lettered leaders and all you other OSS ethusiasts.

    Your questions are absolutely meaningless, because software is scalable.

    Do you grow your own foods, and i mean all of them ?
    Do you weave and grow your flax, and such for fabrics that you wear ? again all the clothes you wear ?

    There are people who can answer yes to both those questions. They're rare, and modern society views them as freaks, but they do exist. They do things the hard way for fun, or to prove themselves, or for spiritual satisfaction.

    But that has nothing to do with OSS. Because a few hundred devoted self-sufficient farmers cannot attempt to feed the whole rest of the world- the number of people who can use the product is proportionate to the number working on it. To double the eaters, you must first double the farmers.

    But in software, it's completely plausible that 100 dedicated programmers could provide the majority of the software needs for the entire planet. That's because with software, the number of users is independent of the producers. When the number of users of software doubles, the number of programmers can stay the same. The additional usage costs zero additional effort!
  • by The Spoonman ( 634311 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @05:38PM (#8841760) Homepage
    However, it does not necessarily mean that the lemmings cannot think for themselves.

    Unfortunately, that's not always the case in the business world. If you're able to make technical decisions based on technical reasons, rather than mass-market your company hiring? :) Remember, most IT decisions are made by CxOs reading in-flight magazines.
  • by Xross_Ied ( 224893 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @06:08PM (#8842035) Homepage
    "A company I worked for once had a Dell RAID controller go"

    I have seen this happen on AIX ($600,000 box, Quad Power4) and Sun ($200,000 box). In the case of the AIX box, production database, lost 7 business days of work: the corruption started happening slowly, 7days before it blew up. And, yes we had IBM/Oracle 7x24 maintenance, didnt help much :( The AIX box was replaced soon afterwards with a two $100,000 Dells ($35,000 Quad Xeon server, with 65,000 for duplicate RAID arrays) that was much faster than the AIX box as a database engine (Oracle failover).

    Not saying RAID failures don't happen on Dell or other PC class hardware. Just that Sun/AIX/SGI being better hardware became a myth when Sun/IBM/SGI started using the same companies/tech/chipsets/manufacturing as Dell, i.e. Taiwanese.

    The key business driver is uptime/availability of service..
    A 4 times more expensive Sun/SGI/AIX box might give you 99.99% uptime (Versus a PC's 99%). But with properly designed software/application, replicated PC hardware will acheive 99.99% application availability for less than half the price.

    So the only class of problems that PC hardware can't solve cheaper/faster/better are the hard ones that require one big machine. This class of problems make up 0.1% of the problems out there and that percentage is decreasing. Decreasing because there is a lot of good work that has been done and is being done in distributed systems.

  • by dont_think_twice ( 731805 ) on Monday April 12, 2004 @06:45PM (#8842361) Homepage
    Get laid, loser, then correct my grammar. I'm sure once you've had sex, you'll find there's more important things to worry about.

    Dude, you're posting on slashdot. I don't think you are in a position to be making fun of someone else's sex life.

    Even funnier, however, is your defense of improperly using the phrase "begging the question", which was, "everyone is doing it". The irony is delicions, considering that this thread started from your post pointing out that just because everyone is doing something, doesn't mean it is the right thing to do.

    In your defense (sorta), you were wrong when you tried to somehow turn the price/performance ratio into a disadvantage due to it's popularity. All that proves, however, is that popularity should be irrelevant to most decisions. This holds for both technology and grammar. You should buy processors on the price/performance ratio, and you should chose phrases on whether they mean what you are trying to say. Using popularity or lack-thereof as an arguement gets you nowhere.

Truth is free, but information costs.