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"We Can't Let Java Go the Way of WordPerfect" Says JavaLobby Founder
"We Can't Let Java Go the Way of WordPerfect" Says JavaLobby Founder

(February 28, 2002) - He has said it before. He will doubtless say it again. JavaLobby founder Rick Ross is this week circulating his most urgent rallying-cry yet to those who would preserve Java technology in the enterprise and fight off the $200,000,000 marketing campaign that Microsoft pledged to throw behind its .NET Framework now that it has officially launched Visual Studio .NET, which went into general release just two weeks ago.

"Make no mistake," says Ross in a newsletter yesterday to JavaLobby members, "this massive campaign is aimed at persuading your peers and managers to choose .NET instead of Java. It is aimed squarely at you, your job, and the technology platform in which you have invested time and energy to become an expert."

Ross's argument is that Java developers "probably have something to lose," and "may even have a lot to lose."

"Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have repeatedly stated that they have bet their whole company on .NET," Ross warns, "so you can be absolutely sure they have a lot to lose. Expect them to compete ruthlessly, and remember that they have established a track record of being willing to play dirty."

JDJ is not the place to comment on that latter allegation, but looking at the technological side of things, Ross of course has a point. When Microsoft launched Visual Studio .NET at VSLive! on February 13, there were simultaneous events around the globe. With its own Java-like OO language, C# (C Sharp), and aimed at the preexisting - and huge - community of somewhere between 6 and 8 million Visual Basic developers, VS.NET is regarded by many industry pundits as evidence that Microsoft has completely rewritten all the rules of how Windows software is built and deployed.

With corporate use of Windows as an enterprise computing platform already on the rise, this means that the .NET Framework is arguably on course to become pervasive over the next few years, and it is Ross's view that Internet technology professionals everywhere are therefore going to need to know the respective strengths of both platforms, in order properly to advise clients objectively why J2EE beats .NET for both business and technological reasons.

"We can start by focusing on the fundamentals," Ross explains. Then, repeating a point he has made again and again in recent months: "Most Java developers comprehend instinctively how important it is to have viable alternatives to the offerings of a monopolist."

"We understand intuitively," he adds combatively, "that using .NET leads directly to single vendor lock-in and everything that implies, especially when the vendor is Microsoft. If we can just be clear, articulate, and pleasant while explaining this to people who may be less passionate or knowledgeable than ourselves, then we will be a solid front line of defense against Microsoft's $200,000,000 campaign to sway public opinion in their favor. It's a simple beginning, but a powerful one."

"This is just a beginning," Ross concludes. "We can't let Java go the way of WordPerfect!"

What do you think? - How can Sun best make the Java runtime ubiquitous? How can Javaland best resist the Microsoft $200,000,000 marketing push? Is it time now perhaps for Sun to open-source the Java implementation, maybe under GPL/SCL? What more should and could Sun do to boost Java? How much is .NET a threat to Java - is it really life or death? Or will the future be interoperable, on the Web services model? Can Java and .NET in that case coexist peacefully?

About Java News Desk
JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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