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JDJ Editor-in-Chief Incensed: "What's Microsoft Up To?" He Asks
JDJ Editor-in-Chief Incensed: "What's Microsoft Up To?" He Asks

(June 18, 2002) - Will Microsoft ever carry a truly current and compatible Java Virtual Machine in Windows XP? That's the question that Java developers worldwide began asking themselves today the moment the heard of Ms's announcement that it is reinstating the ability to run Java programs in Windows XP as of the release of the coming ServicePack this summer.

"I can only regard this as a ploy by the monopolist to help avoid having Judge Whyte issue a preliminary injunction," thunders JavaLobby founder Rick Ross, referring to the statement by Jim Cullinan, lead product manager for Windows, that "For the next year and a half, Microsoft is going to include the JVM in Windows XP."

Cullin added: "Then we'll make the changes to make sure that moving forward, we don't put Windows or our customers at risk." This prompts Java Developer's Journal editor-in-chief Alan Wiliamson to comment: "It's a great headline-'Java's back in Windows XP'-but the small print sucks."

Williamson continues: "It would appear that politicians aren't the only ones with the ability to do an about-turn in the face of public opinion. Microsoft have announced that our dear friend Dukey is to return to WindowsXP; however, the taste is bitter sweet. They are going to be shipping their own JVM implementation, which if you remember, they were only licensed to use up to version 1.1.4."

"Sun have yet to comment about this," Williamson notes. "But I am sure that, like me, Java developers everywhere will be incensed that the announcement has only gone so far, and not really far enough."

"Sadly this doesn't take us any closer to the situation where we can ship our Windows Users an executable JAR file with complete confidence they have all the necessary software in place. Microsoft have made overtures that this Java addition will only be temporary, i.e. for the next 18 months only, and they will be making no effort to update or fix any bugs, citing the Sun agreement as reason why they can't."

"One can't but be suspicious about the whole thing," says Williamson. "Is Microsoft doing a sleight-of-hand trick? Are we to be watching the left hand for the time being, not aware what the right hand is doing? What are they up to?"

JDJ's J2ME Editor, Jason R. Briggs, is also highly skeptical of Microsoft's motives, observing that "Not only do they re-include their obsolete VM, thereby gaining some needed points with the Courts (they hope), but they also manage to dilute the Java brand in the meantime."

Briggs fear is that the general public will come to associate the term "Java" with software that may turn out to be insecure "And since ostensibly they now 'already have Java installed'," Briggs explains, "the risk is that they won't go and download Sun's better/later model."

Somewhat ruefully, Williamson concurs. "As with many Microsoft announcements," he says, "more questions are usually asked than answered. This one is no different."

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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