Stomatopod eyes by TAKATA Mitsuaki

Why Stomatopods like Java

This section is dedicated to the java programming platform.

"Why?" you ask.

I like the feel and elegance of the language, the beautiful and powerful structures one can create and marvel at later. I like the cleanness and quiet power of servlets, the simplicity inherent in the style of javabeans, and the way Java Server Pages (JSP) nicely complement the server-side components on the presentation side. I dig design patterns: the Flyweight, Abstract Builder, and Facade designs that imbue order amid the chaotic complexity of programming.

I have worked on java corporate projects since 1998: I started out by fumbling around with applets, discovered Java servlets and fell hopelessly in love, then found out I could add JSP to my applications and have a much more maintainable and eloquent design. I am currently incorporating XML and XSLT processing (with JAXP/B/M) into our corporate apps, and am busy exploring the possibility of adding a services layer on top of the current functionality --- I am continually amazed and delighted at how much more there is for me to learn and explore.

This section of The Lurker's Guide to Stomatopods will be an ongoing look at the continuing evolution and life of this phenomenon, an interesting mix that started out as somewhat of a marketing hype, but has slowly grown in importance and scope in the enterprise. Will Microsoft (battered by the slowdown in the PC market and barraged by legal troubles) finally manage to slay the java dragon with its .NET initiative, or will it again be thwarted (as it has so often recently in the web) by its Windows fixation and widespread developer antagonism? Will Sun Microsystem do the wise thing and let its creation flourish under the auspices of the open source community, or will it tighten the screws and stunt java's growth and acceptance by assuming dictatorial powers over its use and spread.

Pretty heady and exciting stuff!

So, without further ado, here's why stomatopods like java:

Recent Notes:

Finding the right wave (aka "laments from the front lines") (2002-7-1)

As one pundit once said: "It's the economy, stupid!".

Java's popularity exploded because it was the right tool at the right time. Although Sun helped propel its spread, any efforts on its part were minor compared to the internet tidal wave that was just starting to overtake the world, and which java rode to become one of the most ubiquitous languages/platform today.

Alas, the bubble burst, and suddenly there just wasn't that much IT money to go around anymore, and suddenly corporate pockets that had been wide open were now closed shut.

Enter .NET/c# (Microsoft's newest attempt to subvert java), which attempted to perform the same feat and ride a new (but this time completely artificial and hyped) wave called "web services."

Alas squared! Although the IBM and Microsoft hype machines had spent literally millions upon millions of dollars promoting this new-fangled, whatachmacallit technology to the brassheads, not that many were actually buying! The hype may have been similar, but the economic circumstances were completely different!

In addition, because of the conservative times forced upon them by the economic downturn, it became clear companies now treasured rock solid, proven technologies more than the spacey, unproven, hyped technologies that were so much valued during the internet bubble.

Guess what? J2EE is just about the most rock solid, scalable, and proven technology out there. Just take a look at IBM Websphere's numbers:

Websphere provides integration to:

65% of the Fortune 500 companies
80% of the top US healthcare companies
75% of commercial banks worldwide
90% of the top commercial banks in the US
67% of the world's largest banks use IBM messaging servers
15 of the top Wall Street brokerage firms
7 of the 8 largest US telecommunications companies

The result, the trend of companies continuing to move to J2EE remains. Some laments from the frontlines:

I'm an independent consultant in the Chicago area and I'm starting to get pissed off. It's bad enough that the consulting market has dried up and there are barely any jobs to go around, but compounding this is Microsoft's seeming inability to sell .NET as a viable platform.

I am hearing from staffing firms nearly everyday that companies big and small are moving to J2EE from asp/com. What are the MS Sales people doing? Are they sleeping? Are they not paying attention? What the heck is going on?

I've been a devoted MS technologies guy since the company opened its doors and now I find myself nearly forced to switch to a set of tools I don't believe in simply because they _are_ selling. I've already got a linux box setup with Debian and I'm probably going to pick up Websphere and Visual Age and start hacking away at that crappy Java language. Why? Because I have to feed my family and pay the mortgage and I can't wait for MS to get off their asses and start winning clients back.

I'm seriously starting to believe that IBM is pulling away in the platform choice battle. If nothing else, they're working a hundred times harder at it than MS.

A man has to work. I love .NET, but if doesn't pay, it doesn't matter.

Reference: Consulting Rant .NET vs J2EE

And what about the post by this guy (who I can assure you is VERY pro-Microsoft)?

I was talking with a friend of mine from IBM this evening who relayed a very disturbing pattern... one that even he was reluctant to believe was a pattern until he began running across it so often. Namely, he says he is seeing an increasing number of Microsoft sites that are throwing in the towel on MS technologies and going with Java/Unix... sighting scalability, security, reliability, etc. problems when attempting to push past a certain limit as reasons they decided to make the change... with many of these companies being very solid MS shops and WANTING to make a success of their investment.

This discussion came up because of a particular company I was looking at for possible employment having a disastrous time with a very large .net implementation that is running on approximately 60 servers. According to him, this company has a large team of MS folks in there trying to salvage this thing because they want it as a reference account... but even with that heroic effort, they are not able to make a success of this project... and that the CEO has had it and is about to sign IBM as a partner to replace the app using Websphere/AIX.

I am concerned because my friend is NOT an anti-MS bigot... in fact, he has been bullish on them for almost as long as I have known him in spite of the fact that he works for IBM.

I am wondering, does anyone know if .net does have inherent problems with scalability, reliability, security, etc. in large implementations... or is it too new to tell? Also, does anyone happen to know of any cases where the REVERSE has been true... that is, cases where a Websphere/iPlanet/etc. implementation has had so many problems that Microsoft has been able to score a deal to replace it?

My career is really at a crossroads at this point and can go either in the Java or .NET direction (I think we will all have to choose one or the other very soon). My inclination is definitely toward .net, but this conversation does have me a tad nervous.

Reference: Are there SERIOUS scalability/reliability issues with dotnet???

I think Java is thrice blessed. Don't you?

What surprising comeback? (2002-6-25)

A new article just out feigns some amazement about how java is making a comeback despite the threat by Microsoft that it will pull java from the desktop Windows XP by 2004 (as if we've never had THAT threat before).

I ask: What comeback? When java desktop apps start to proliferate (including webstart apps), THEN these idiots can say it's a comeback. Until then, it's just java's strong natural expansion into new territory where java apps can rapidly proliferate (and where java developers can make some big moolah).

"It has become one of the most prevalent languages and architecture tools that people use for server development," Smith said. "It's totally unaffected by what Microsoft is doing."

Smith said the "totally different environment" of application servers is helping Java maintain its popularity where rival Microsoft cannot touch it. He added that Java has always been intended for embedded systems, calling the language "a natural" for servers, handhelds, microcomputers and other similar devices.

Reference: http://www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/18365.html

Applet covers the World Cup! (2002-6-14)

It's amazing how FUD can warp reality. Although applets are found in 4-5% of all web sites (slightly less than Flash-enabled sites), they are considered by most the "little brother" behind the very successful J2EE and the fast emerging J2ME technologies. Some people (and we know who you are, bad little trolls!) have even claimed that java applets are dead because the runtime environment does not come bundled in Windows XP (although XP is found in a VERY small percentage of computers, and the java plugin can be downloaded anyways, just like Acrobat Reader for PDF files, or the Flash plugin for some machines).

The FIFA World Cup shows off a really cool applet that features live play-by-play info, lineups, pics, and commentary!

FIFA World Cup applet.

Thank you to some javalobby members who brought these to our attention. Now, if only some great soul could compile a page featuring some of the best applets around.


J2ME Developer's site (2002-6-10)

I decided to combine all J2ME related notes and news/article links onto a separate web site. It'll probably be updated daily, depending on whether I see any noteworthy news. Thank you.

The new J2ME site is here.

Tit for Tat: Sun goes for Qualcomm's jugular (2002-6-4)

Qualcomm has been strongly pushing BREW as the platform of choice for cell phone development. I have seen their ads literally all over the place, from websites to even java magazines like JDJ (where a one page ad faced off with an article on J2ME). In addition, news stories about BREW started to appear regularly on news.com and other sites.

Although Sun has taken the high road and so far has not flooded the airwaves with J2ME ads, it must have finally had enough and on today's news.com, the blaring headline announced: Is Qualcomm's BREW flat?

Sun Microsystems is claiming victory over what was supposed to be a serious challenge from Qualcomm to dominate the market for cell phone software that can deliver advanced services.

Qualcomm introduced BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless ) in February 2001 to compete with Sun's Java. Cell phones with either software can download and run small programs for playing games or sending messages.

But BREW hasn't won many converts compared with the slimmed-down version of Java that debuted in cell phones from Nextel Communications almost a year ago.

Korean carrier KT Freetel is the only carrier with BREW in its phones and wireless network, although Verizon Wireless intends to launch a service in the United States in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, there are 20 million Java-capable handsets in circulation, and many carriers have committed to using the technology, including NTT DoCoMo in Japan and Sprint PCS.

BREW also is behind in the race for developers to write revenue-enhancing applications. Evans Data estimates there are 500 BREW developers, many of whom are attending this week's BREW Developer Conference in San Diego. That's compared with the 200,000 developers Sun claims to have working on a version of Java for cell phones called Java2 MicroEdition.

While the competition is far from over and both technologies are finding a home, some analysts are declaring a winner.

"Java will eventually win out," said Michael King, a senior wireless application analyst at Gartner Dataquest.

Reference: http://news.com.com/2100-1033-931583.html

The quiet revolution: Java smart cards in SIMs (2002-5-24)

James Gosling once marveled that the total number of java developers coding for a specific java technology seemed to be directly proportional to the physical complexity/size of the application type that they are coding.

Well, ok, maybe he didn't say that, but I'm paraphrasing.

However, he did note that once, in a java conference, a speaker had asked all the audience members who coded J2EE to stand up, and the vast majority of the audience stood up. He then asked for wireless developers, and maybe a handful jumped to their feet. Finally, he asked for smart card and other similar developers, and this one guy stood up uncertainly...then asked where the restroom was.

Ok, I added that last semi-joke, but you get the point.

While the world sleeps (or in the case of comp.lang.java.advocacy, while the world debates endlessly .NET and J2EE), java smart cards have quietly crept into the mainstream in really vast, awe-inspiring numbers. The ubiquitous AMEX Blue Card is java-enabled, and so are the various VISA smart cards, 7 million of which so far are floating around the USA.

AMEX Blue site

From a newsgroup POST by myself:

Java's quiet (but extremely successful) story, JavaCard, has gained RMI and wireless features in the new Version 2.2. I believe this java success story has all but demolished the microsoft alternative that was hanging around circa 1998 (when i first started fiddling --- temporarily it turned out --- in smart cards).

"With more than 200 million smart cards deployed worldwide, Java Card technology is clearly the platform of choice for multi-application smart cards," said Tracey Stout, vice president of marketing for Java and XML Software at Sun Microsystems, Inc

- "American Express and Visa have adopted Java Card technology as the platform of choice for the development of their smart card applications."

- Government agencies are currently issuing Java Card technology-based smart cards as their new identification cards to replace existing "paper" identification cards. Most recently the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) named Java Card technology as the platform of choice for the Transportation Workers(TW) card, the first national identity card for transportation workers. The Department of Defense is issuing a Common Access Card to 4.3 million active duty U.S. military personnel and eligible contractors. The Government of Taiwan will deploy a Java Card technology-based smart card as their new health insurance identification card to all 24 million residents.

- Telecommunications carriers such as China Mobile, France Telecom, Hong Kong Telecom, Orange, Swisscom, Telecom Italia Mobile and Telefonica have deployed millions of Java Card technology-based Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM)cards worldwide. Java Card technology-enabled SIM cards allow operators to provide secure, innovative services on mobile devices.


Now, the first South American telecom operator has moved to java-based SIMs, with plans to acquire around 300K subscribers within the first year.

SchlumbergerSema, a business unit of Schlumberger Limited, today announced that TIM Peru has selected its Java-based SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards to offer value-added services - including chat, messaging and email - to its customers. TIM Peru is the first mobile telecommunications operator in South America to offer these kinds of services built on Java-based SIM card technology, a worldwide standard that enables multi-application functionality to co-exist on the same card in order to deploy additional applications post-issuance and ensure interoperability between different suppliers.

GSM using Java technology offers enormous advantages to operators and subscribers, including proven security, service flexibility, fast time-to-market, and low cost for the usage of the value-added services.

Java technology enables the operator to easily add and update services for subscribers without replacing the SIM cards of their mobile phones.

"Introducing new services with low cost and fast time-to-market is the real advantage that telecom operators secure by adopting Java-based SIM cards," said Mario Calcagnini, Mobilecom TIM account manager, South America, SchlumbergerSema.

Drawing on more than 20 years experience in pioneering smart card innovation and leadership in Java* technology, SchlumbergerSema - which has just been named the world's leading provider of microprocessor smart cards by Gartner Dataquest - has sold more than 2.5 billion smart cards to date.

Reference: TIM Peru selects SchlumbergerSema SIM Cards for its GSM services offering

You still here? Did i forget to tell you the few developers who do code professionally in smart cards earn mucho mucho dinero? Now, go out there, download some smart card emulators, and get hacking!

JavaCard Homepage

Smart Card Developer kit from SUN

BREWING trouble (2002-5-24)

Is it just me, or is Qualcomm engaging in an all-out assault against J2ME to win the hearts of java developers to its cause? There I was, quietly reading about using JXTA (open sourced java P2P) with J2ME in the May issue of Java Developer's Journal, when this one page glossy ad from the company jumps right at me from a previous page.

It says: "The Cake- a Complete, Open, Wireless Solution. The Icing - the ability to serve customers your way."

Well, isn't that NICE.

Now, my question is, why in heck's name would I try to learn some new fangled technology that ties me to one vendor when I can just leverage my current java skills and knowledge and jump right into J2ME?

Here's the deal,folks:

ARC Group predicts that all Net-connected wireless phones will be Java-enabled within five years. Specifically, more than 1.1 billion phones will be capable of running Java applications by 2006, the study predicts. Games downloadable to the handset will be the most popular application until 2004, after which location-based services will be the most popular application.

Source: http://www.internetnews.com/wireless/article/0,,10692_917541,00.html

Enter the Dragon: J2ME in China (2002-5-21)

I try to focus on articles or news that I think are important in terms of advancing java as a platform. In this sense, I think this article's brief mention belies its ultimate importance.

In mid-2001, China surpassed the United States as the largest national consumer of cell phones. The number of mobile users increased from 10 million to 100 million in less than four years -- a record for growth, and it looks like the record pace of mobile growth in this country of a billion people will continue for the foreseeable future.

Thus, the announcement by ChinaConnect that it has signed a definitive agreement with Ningbo Bird Electronics Ltd., one of China's largest mobile phone manufacturers, to jointly develop Java-enabled mobile phones comes as welcome news. ChinaConnect in fact is planning to rollout China's first domestically developed Java mobile phones in the third quarter of 2002!

Ningbo Bird Electronics Ltd. is one of the largest and fastest growing mobile phone companies in China, with an estimated five million mobile phones to be sold in 2002, and is a leading product and technology innovator in China, having introduced a number of advanced consumer handheld products, including China's first PDA mobile phones.

People tend to focus on Japan when it comes to deploying advanced solutions in East Asia, but I have always had the belief that China should always be the focal point of any disucussion about this region (even in the early 1990s when there were still these weird opinions going around that Japan could somehow leapfrog the fact that it has too few natural resources and people to become a superpower on par with the USA).

I believe the java community (including SUN, NOKIA, etc) should shift its focus from Japan (which is dominated by NTT DoCoMo, already a supporter of J2ME, although in modified form) to the rising Dragon.


It pays to listen past the hype (2002-5-12)

Here's one great reason why it sometimes pays to listen to the "little guy" rather than those big impersonal research think tanks in order to get past the corporate-sponsored hype.

When Microsoft first hinted that it would be entering the game console arena, many people predicted that it would take a big chunk out of Sony's dominance of the $6 billion market.

Reference: Xbox aims to beat PS2 at its own game

Unfortunately for Microsoft, XBox fell flat on its face in Japan and Europe from the outset early this year, and USA sales slowed down significantly after the initial hype, while Sony and Sega continued to pull in the big numbers. More importantly, software sales for the Xbox games dipped significantly after the initial hype, pointing to a bleak future for the game console:

After registering six top-20 titles in the NPDFunworld report for March 3-16, the Xbox ended up with only two top-20 games for the full month, at Nos. 19 and 20.....The performance is also down from February, when Xbox had three top-20 titles, including two in the top 10. Those two top-10 titles completely disappeared from the March results....The top platform in the period was Sony Corp.'s 6758.T PlayStation 2, with nine of the top 20, including four of the top 10. Sony's PlayStation One, whose games can be played on the PS2, had three titles on the list. No other console had more than three top-20 games.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=technologynews&StoryID=876688
Source: http://www.osopinion.com/perl/story/17456.html

Sales were so slow, Microsoft cut prices on its consoles to stimulate demand, and significantly scaled back its sales projections:

Microsoft Corp. expects to ship a total of 3.5 million to 4 million Xbox video consoles by the end of June, a drastic scaling back of previous expectations of 4.5 million to 6 million units, Chief Financial Officer John Connors said on Thursday.

Source: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020418/tc_nm/tech_microsoft_consoles_dc_1

Now, cut back to one year ago, when "The Gord Spoke" and methodically cut down the hype. He offered 10 hurdles that Xbox would fail to overcome in its quest to compete against Sony, and concluded:

In the end, Joe Average consumer currently does not care about the Xbox, and come November history has proved they will not care. Some care about the Gamecube as a holdover from the N64 days, and they currently outnumber the Xbox fans. In fact, the only people to care about it are people who buy everything, people who hate Sony, and people who are on welfare who magically believe by the time the Xbox comes out, they'll be able to save up for it. Note: these same welfare people were the same ones saying they would buy a PS2 when it came out, and buying a Dreamcast the year before.

To become the market leader, you have to have a better mousetrap with better marketing, and the market leader has to give you the market. Sony has not surrendered the market, and wins by default. This console race was over before it started.

Source: http://www.actsofgord.com/page46.html

IBM's J2EE Appserver Websphere wins eBay contract over Microsoft et al (2002-5-8)

This news is somewhat old news, but a significant win for java over microsoft technologies anyways, especially since eBay was heaviliy dependent on MSFT technologies (including Passport!) before this win.

The techie geeks over in slashdot have also joined in on the fray, with some declaring it to be a major win for open source, although I guess someone has got to tell them Websphere is a commercial J2EE app server with only some open source components. I think if JBOSS had won the contract, it would have been more appropriate for any celebrations.

Source: This Is Your Father's IBM, Only Smarter

J2ME: Beyond the Hype (2002-4-29)

A short take on the the good and bad about current J2ME usage in the US, as well as some possible solutions to maintain J2ME momentum.

The Good News:

Personally, I have yet to meet anyone who has not been surprised and amazed when I showed them java apps running on my Nextel phone. In fact, me and my wife have taken to downloading (OTA) and playing games whenever there is some lagtime (e.g. in dental office, or when repairing car). The future ability of java apps to make use of new technology such as Bluetooth or location-aware devices on the phone definitely points to an intersting future for J2ME.

The Bad News:

Some possible marketing solutions:

Return of the Living Dead: How Netscape's possible resurgence could hurt Microsoft and .NET (2002-4-22)

ActiveX was a perennial also-run against java applets and flash plugins, but the advent of .NET and the fact that Microsoft Internet Explorer is currently the default browser for around 80% of the internet has made some analysts think that the advent of a new age of "fat" .NET clients running on desktops may be imminent. Indeed, Gartner estimates that up to 60% of .NET apps may be "rich clients that would take advantage of a deep connection between Internet Explorer and a .Net-delivered successor to Active X".

Unfortunately for Microsoft, recent rumors that have surfaced that AOL is getting ready to replace IE with Netscape (powered by the open source Gecko rendering engine) may be jeopardizing these nascent plans of the software giant. Adding fuel to these rumors, AOL launched CompuServe 7.0 with Netscape bundled as its default browser in mid-April 2002, and its 3 million Compuserve subscribers suddenly found themselves as the vanguard of possible things to come.

The changeover to Netscape by AOL, if it does occur, is significant not only because of AOL's immense size (AOL's earlier switch to IE enraged Netscape and was a major cause in the slow decline of the browser), but because it signals a new front in the battle by open source advocates against Microsoft.

Although Linux has so far not been able to make any significant dent on Windows in the desktop (due mainly to user inertia, is nothing else, as well as a less sophisticated user interface), Linux on the server continues to gain ground against everyone else. Apache also remains the dominant web server, and IIs is in danger of being marginalized by the new Apache 2.0 running on windows, where eWeek noted that it has matched IIs in performance while surpassing it in security.

Microsoft's other cash cow, MS Office (which make up nearly a third of the giant's revenues), is also in some danger from open source competitors like OpenOffice (aka StarOffice), which provide competitive features at an extremely good price ($0). In fact, there are reports that Office XP has not been selling well since its release in mid-2001.

Why .NET/C# will last at most 5 years (2002-4-15)

(Post from microsoft.public.dotnet.general, comp.lang.java.advocacy, microsoft.public.dotnet.languages.csharp by Luke)

C# and .NET and so on are in trouble because Microsoft is in trouble.

I must admit, they're ok ideas...but, here's the important thing: the fact that Microsoft holds rein on them dooms them from the start to at most a few years lifetime.

Ok, you're getting antsy now, and running off on the swear words, but wait, let me explain.

#1 Is microsoft in financial trouble?

From a financial standpoint at least, this "abusive monopolist" is in good shape. With so much cash at hand, i doubt it'll suddenly go into chapter 11 bankruptcy. HOWEVER, a technology company with such a high valuation as microsoft is expected to grow at a rate that supports that valuation. The PC industry in the developed countries at least, have matured at an alarming rate, and the slowdown in growth (as well as price competition) is crippling the Compaqs and HPs of the PC world. This slowdown in growth is ALARMING to microsoft, which has DESPERATELY tried to expand beyond this stagnating industry.

more: https://www.keyapa.com/mantis/java.htm#caging

# 2 Has microsoft been successful moving beyond the desktop?

(a) It has made good inroads in the (web) server market, but even there is being held back by very popular open source technologies like Apache and Linux (which are free and robust solutions that will surely expand as time passes). Exterprise servers are mostly a UNIX bastion (with more than a 50% share),

(b) It has been trying for years but failing to dominate on the handheld PDA market, where PALM-OS and other devices from Sony, Handspring, and Palm continue to dominate the market (and Palm is starting to pay attention to the corporate market as well, so compaq beware --0oh, oops, it got eaten by HP).

Palm OS-based applications accounted for more than 97 percent of all handheld software titles sold in 2001, with PalmSource, Inc., a subsidiary of Palm, Inc. (NASDAQ: PALM) as the number one maker of handheld applications.


(c) It has completely failed in the smart card arena, where java-based smart cards have dominated (and in fact, such java cards as Blue from AMEX and some Visas have been circulating in the USA for awhile)


(d) It has completely failed in the very important wireless phone market, where java-based (J2ME) phones are becoming the de facto standard for app development, and is supported by ALL the major players including Nokia, Motorola, Sony-Errikson, Samsung, etc.

(e) It has failed miserably in the settop market, where java is also gaining a strong foothold.

"Microsoft has long sold software for interactive set-top boxes. Despite sinking $10 billion into big cable companies such as AT&T Broadband in hopes of getting a leg up in that business, Microsoft remains a marginal player, says Ken Zita, a telecom consultant in New York. "

(f) It is failing in the gaming comnsole industry with its Xbox, where it faces an overwhelming opponent in Sony's playstation. It also made a very big enemy by going into this field.

IN the USA:

"Reports of disappointing sales levels for Microsoft's Xbox in Europe and Japan have been compounded by an apparent easing off of demand in the US." also: "Goldman Sachs claim(ed) last week that US retailers were clearly preferring Playstation 2 to Xbox."


In Europe and Japan:

After an initial launch, sales for Xbox very weak in japan and europe, especially when compared to playstation 2 release awhile back.



(g) Its Passport system of authentication, which enjoyed an overwhelming advantage just a year ago (simply because it was the only competitor out there), has been strongly opposed by privacy groups and is in grave danger of being marginalized by the LIbert organization, which contains some very heavy hitters:


(h) It's hold on web services is slipping. Because it was first with the hype, .NET enjoyed an overwhelming advantage earlier last year in mindshare. However, as the J2EE app vendors have incorporated web services functionality earlier this year, mindshare has been moving slowly towards J2EE (and especially because of concerns about security and maturity).

#3 Is Microsoft in trouble legally and will this hurt the spread of .NET?

This is a BIG thorn on its side, and it should be, because they were branded as abusive monopolists who broke the law.

Its opponents in court have been using the verdict against it to state that .NET is a dangerous tool that could allow microsoft to extend its abusive monopoly to servers, and I would think a judgement againt microsoft might mean any full-blown .NET in desktop windows will be a no-no.

Microsoft itself has said that it is betting its future on .NET, and mainly because they have NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!

I believe that .NET and C#, will be either

(a) discontinued or superceded after a specified lifetime, after all the hype has gone down and microsoft decides to do another turnaround to "bet its life" on something else (start revving the hype machine!);

Here's an intersting comment:

"the classic Microsoft consumer sales profile. The company is generally extremely good at hyping a product at the start, and getting retailers fired-up and stuffed with stock, but tends not to be able to sustain the momentum achieved over the first couple of weeks. When it comes to Windows, of course, this is easily masked by 'sales' obtained via the OEM franchise, which is most of them." Unfortunately, beyond windows, the company is at the mercy of actual market forces...wow!

(b) .NET and C# will be marginalized to just microsoft shops because it is for all practical purposes, a windows only solution, AND most non-windows developers will tend to shrink away from them. Sales levels of C# books tend to confirm this, because sales of java, Perl, and other programming languages have remained the same (java held 6 of the top 10 spots in amazon's programming languages section), so i'm thinking it's been cannibalizing mostly books that would have been for VB, or ASP, etc.

(c) The courts will strip any ability for these technologies (and esp .NET) to gain any foothold beyond the windows server.

IBM arms itself with a big club (2002-4-8)

Hey, if you yourself can't make a big enough club to wreak deadly vengeance on the younger upstart that "humiliated" you earlier , just borrow one from someone else and "Let's Get Ready To RUMMMMBLEEEE!!!!"

IBM, which has been a big supporter of java from the start, finds itself in the enviable position of having a huge influence in the one technology that has been successful in countering microsoft on the IT side. Although SUNW continues to hold a strong position of influence in the future direction of the java platform, IBM's overwhelming size and industry leadership position have been major factors in the continued prosperity of Gosling's "Green" language.

I believe IBM now thinks that the health and future of java depends on loosening SUNW's control, and the company has made several moves which is driving a wedge between the language's founding company and its creation. IBM's support of "open-sourcing" the technology is a smart strategy that has allied it with Apache and other proponents of opensource technology such as Linux. IBM has also been making sure Java is the main foundation of the new "web services" buzz by pushing their flagship J2EE platform Websphere as the all-important backend of any such system, while at the same time making sure SUNW is "left behind" by denying it founder status in the new WS-I group.

I believe IBM should tread softly and slowly and cautiously, because what it does NOT want is to destabilize the delicate equilibrium between vendors and open-source groups that has allowed something resembling WORA on the server. It cannot make the same mistake it made before and try to reap all the benefits for itself. The strength of java is in the fact that it is becoming the evolving product of not one company, but a consortium of enterprises and organizations who rallied behind it because of their own individual reasons, and who all stand to benefit from a common de facto standard.

Here's a GREAT quote on why java is still the tool that will finally cage and slay the tiger:

As a tool for marginalizing Microsoft, Java is everything OS/2 was not. Java is the heart and soul of IBM's WebSphere (the middleware for the rest of IBM's software portfolio). Java is the primary software vanguard that keeps Microsoft from penetrating the datacenter. Even better, Java represents the first credible threat to Redmond on the client side. By all counts, some version of Java now exists on many more client devices than does Windows (including desktop systems, phones, gaming consoles, set top boxes and even credit cards). Java has the all-important buzz too. 3G networks may be the all-the-rage at this year's CeBIT, but more important are the applications they will enable. Judging by the number of Java-enabled phones (e.g., Sony Ericsson's Z700 and P800), Java is far ahead of the Windows alternative (a variant of Windows CE ). Finally, Java is winning the hearts and minds of developers. According to the Hurwitz Group, 35 percent of developers surveyed plan to deploy Web services on Java vs. 15 percent for .Net, and 31 percent plan to use both.

Source: When will IBM buy Sun?

Polling Web Services at Amazon.com (2002-4-4)

Here's an informal and interesting way of polling the relative popularity of java and .net for web services. It may also point out the fact that "java" and "web services" are not incompatible terms in the minds of many developers.

I went to amazon.com and typed in "web services"...lo and behold, the top two (and most of the rest) of the books on web services were on JAVA!

# 1 (sales rank 147) Building Web Services with Java: Making Sense of XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI

# 2 (sales rank 592) Java Web Services -- by Tyler Jewell, David A. Chappell; Paperback

The first .NET book was "Professional ASP.NET Web Services", with a sales rank of 7,042. The number one book in Amazon for web services was also the number one in Barnes and Noble.com

* Note: The sales ranks seem to vary daily and even hourly, but the rankings seem to remain the same.

Java entrenches itself on the server (with .NET as frontend?) (2002-4-4)

There is a curious and developing phenomena of some companies looking to use java on the backend while resorting to .NET tools for the front end of web applications.

Thomas Murphy, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc., said he expects that companies will take the combination approach—a .Net front end and J2EE back end—to better utilize developers' skills. He said those trained in Java might work on back ends and those skilled in Microsoft's Visual Basic and Active Server Pages on front ends, since Microsoft's technology is currently better for building thin-client, browser-based applications that use dynamic HTML.

In the meantime, java continues to lead in the mind share department among large enterprises and their developers (see graph to side).

One developer with a major pharmaceutical company, who asked not to be identified, said large companies have to watch for any technology that might be useful to guard against vendor lock-in. He said he has already been visited by two vendors promoting .Net and that he expects to evaluate it.

But David Eng, a software engineer at Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp., said his firm may be hesitant to use .Net because it is untested. "A lot of our projects are government, and [the technology] has to be reliable," he said.

Source: Some Users See Java on Back End, .Net on Front End

.Net vs. J2EE: An Informal Poll
Percentage of developers planning to use one environment or the other:
40.79% Only J2EE
19.74% Only .Net
34.21% Both J2EE and .Net (equal commitment)
5.26% Other (CORBA, proprietary, etc.)
Source: Giga Information Group Inc., Cambridge, Mass.; poll of 76 attendees at Giga application development conferences in London (Feb.) and Amelia Island, Fla. (March)

Apache and Sun make Peace (2002-4-2)

This was THE biggest news that came out of JavaOne because it seals java's place as an essential components in the open source movement.

The biggest news of this year's JavaOne was delivered Tuesday morning by Jason Hunter, an Apache Software Foundation vice president, co-creator of JDOM, and author of the popular O'Reilly Servlets book. Flanked by Sun CEO Scott McNeally and Sun vice president Rob Gingell, Hunter outlined an agreement negotiated between Sun and Apache that has broad-ranging implications to developers and to the future of Java itself. First, all in-progress and future Sun-led Java Specification Requests (JSRs) will be made available under a license that allows for open source.

In addition, key JSRs that have already been released will have their license altered to this newer, more open license. Even JSRs not being led by Sun can release their reference implementations under an open source license. Finally, Test Compatibility Kits (TCKs) for Sun-led JSRs will be made available for free to qualifying open source and academic groups.

Source: http://www.onjava.com/pub/a/onjava/2002/04/02/javaone.html

Other References:

  • Java Community ProcessSM (JCP) Program Chair responds to Apache Software Foundation
  • Apache, Sun Make Peace Over Java

    IBM Lotus Software's J2EE/Web Services Strategy Gains Momentum And Industry Support (2002-3-28)

    This was a press release/news item that may be easily missed in all the vapor-hype surrounding web services, but Lotus Notes' switch to the J2EE model and its web services move deserve to be noticed. Because many large enterprises depend on Notes, the fact that this IBM unit will use J2EE/web services means that these client companies will most likely adhere to J2EE as the standard in building web services for company intranets or extranets.

    As a prime example, GM is currently considering an internal web services model as a means of unifying its very diverse IT resources. The fact that GM extensively uses Lotus Notes may tip the scale in favor of adopting IBM's J2EE appserver Websphere as the focal point of their services strategy.

    "The IBM Lotus Software strategy to embrace Web services and the Java(TM) 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) model continues to gain support from key analysts, customers and partners. Announced at Lotusphere in January, support for these rapidly growing technologies will increase the collaborative capabilities of IBM Lotus Domino, and enable collaboration features in a whole new class of applications.

    "As a core element of the IBM Web services strategy, Lotus Software is engaged in an intensive program to enable its offerings to augment J2EE applications, exposing Lotus features and capabilities as of collaborative components that are accessed from a J2EE-compliant application server, such as IBM WebSphere. Since January, several leading analyst firms -- including Giga, Patricia Seybold Group and META -- have all published documents affirming Lotus software's J2EE strategy and highlighting the long-term benefits to IBM customers."

    Source: http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/020325/039813.html

    Java outflanks .NET: News from the Mobile Front at JavaOne (2002-3-26)

    With all the hype surrounding web services, it is easy to forget that the most promising, next generation technologies are in the burgeoning field of wireless phones and other small devices.

    Although java has rapidly taken over high end application development on the server side (after its somewhat apathetic attempt to nudge windows out of the desktop), this new arena is turning out to be a natural home for the platform, which after all, was designed from the very beginning to be run in these constrained environments.

    In these environments, Microsoft is a marginal player at best, and SUN is looking to leverage its successes on the mobile phone and mobile devices arena to strengthen its bid to make sure J2EE is the standard for web services development.

    Some notable mobile news out from the JavaOne conference:

    The Tortoise versus the Hare Revisited? (2002-3-22)

    There was an article printed in an online site earlier that there was a risk in the fact that Java trails .NET in not offering native support for SOAP. I believe the risk (so far) is minimal, because of the following:

    A sustainable advantage: java web services surge ahead (2002-3-20)

    Java is rapidly strengthening its foothold (both in terms of "mindshare" and actual implementations) on the still-nascent web services business as the various J2EE vendors scramble to push their respective systems.

    A recent Giga survey found about three-quarters of 110 businesses surveyed were either still researching Web services or working only on Web service pilots or prototypes.

    But nearly the same percentage were looking to J2EE or Java application server vendors, such as IBM, Sun, Oracle and BEA Systems, to provide the foundation for their Web services plans, instead of Microsoft's .Net software and services.

    This point is driven home by the accompanying graph, which shows that IBM's Websphere alone has a greater mindshare than .NET, which was prefered by only 22% of those surveyed.

    Source: NetworkWorldFusion.com

    This surge in perception that java web services are more than ready for prime time is due to several reasons, but one of the key points is Security, where the advantage overwhelmingly belongs to java. The common perception is that Microsoft products are rife with security problems. This perception has been strengthened by the continued critical patches that have been issued for Outlook and Microsoft Internet Explorer, as well as the barrage of internet viruses that have targeted (and are still targeting) Microsoft IIs web servers and windows machines.

    That consciousness has forced the delay of Microsoft's .Net servers, yet again, to a revised expected release date in the second half of this year, while Java Services Framework implementations—such as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s HP Core Services Framework and the freely downloadable HP Internet Server that incorporates it—are nearing the first anniversary of their initial release. .... Persistent security problems afflicting Microsoft's approach to network-based applications, such as buffer-overflow attacks against unmanaged C++ code, continue to arise in the wake of the shipment of the long-awaited Visual Studio .Net.

    Source: eweek.com

    The problem for Microsoft is that it is using its advertising dollars to promote a standard which will ultimately benefit its competitors more than itself. The reason is that Microsoft neglected its own technical and security problems and put too much effort into the marketing side of the equation. Thus, although Microsoft (and IBM) succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in creating a buzz the likes of which has not been seen since the advent of the internet, Microsoft found that it could not roll out the actual implementations fast enough to dent the dive of J2EE vendors into the web services mix. In effect, Microsoft started shouting too soon, and drew attention to itself at the most awkward of times.

    Ironically, the big winner in this race will probably be IBM's J2EE app platform Websphere - Big Blue has the resources and "respectability" (in terms of providing scalable and robust solutions) to quickly gobble up the mindshare and dollars of security conscious corporations.

    "Java, J2EE and the like have won the attention of senior management because the Java-based vendors came in and demonstrated their products scaled, and were secure," writes Howard Silver, project manager at ACNielsen in Schaumburg, Ill., in an online newsgroup debate.

    Silver says for .Net to succeed, Microsoft needs to show corporate executives that .Net Web services are scalable, secure and can work with Java applications on Unix servers.

    Giga's Gilpin says J2EE is well positioned to keep its edge over .Net on server-side Web service implementations in big companies. "J2EE has a value proposition [for them] in terms of its heterogeneity, which .Net can't provide," he says. "That's a sustainable advantage."

    Source: NetworkWorldFusion.com


    Legitimizing the web services hype? (2002-3-18)

    General Motors is hoping to integrate its vast and diverse internal IT systems by constructing one of the largest systems to fully rely on web services standards (e.g. SOAP, UDDI). It is currently exploring tools from IBM, SUN, and Microsoft, and hopes to integrate these with its Lotus Notes and custom apps from i2 Technologies, SAP, and Siebel Systems. Testers are probing the vendors' services for scalability, stability, documentation quality, and compatibility with the current systems.

    GM's rollout would begin at the desktop. If all goes as anticipated, Notes users would be able to aggregate information that represents "the day-to-day churning of the business," regardless of its source, Scott says. That is, daily performance reports from various departments, as well as sales metrics and human-resources information.

    Web services would help GM expose key information to a wider set of users, Scott says. For instance, parties inside and outside the company--ranging from help-desk workers to dealers--require access to the unique vehicle identification number that GM assigns to each car it makes. GM now has to build hundreds of custom interfaces to link those user apps to the VIN database. Anyone with a Web-services-enabled version of SAP, for instance, could access the information. It would "greatly simplify" the whole situation, Scott says.

    My bet is that IBM and its J2EE app server Websphere will get the nod because of:

    If GM goes mainly with IBM and Websphere, this will represent another big win for J2EE against any .NET encroachments,and will boost efforts to standardize web services around the J2EE specs.

    Source: Yahoo Business

    Open source shenanigans (2002-3-15)

    A great, big, useless hulabaloo is going on at javalobby.org about the so-called "vote against open-sourcing java" that happened this week, which apache.org has been turning into some sort of "great momentous event" in the life of java the platform.

    I'll be honest here and say I've read the available information, but since the actual JSPA revision itself is off limits, the gist of it seems to be that Apache was concerned there was insufficient protection for the interests of open source providers and competitors in the current revision, while the majority voted that the revision was adequate.

    I'm not going to wade into this quagmire except to voice an opinion:

    I believe that the mere existence of the JCP (made up of a consortium of companies and organizations, some of whom are bitter enemies in the marketplace), and its mandate to shepard and influence the development of java as a platform, gives me great hope about java's long-term future, and validates my decision to go the java route a long time back (when java still meant funny applets dancing round my browser). Although the vote went against the hopes of Apache, many of the members expressed the same concerns as the open source organization, albeit tempered by the realization that changes must come slowly and surely. The needs of the open source community must always be balanced against the needs of members whose primary goal is to make a profit. That is the beauty and tragedy of the equation.

    The results are here:

    The Apache position is here:

    The news of the results is here:

    Timeline of important events in the Liberty Alliance's web authentication campaign (2002-3-13)

    Sun Microsystems seems to have pulled off a minor miracle in its continued aggressive campaign against Microsoft's Passport. Although Passport had the big lead at the beginning of 2001 (the Liberty Alliance was not formed until September 2001!), it seems that the Alliance that it crafted has become big enough to absorb even Microsoft's initiative.

    Even as late as October of 2001, Steve Ballmer of Microsoft had mocked that it "has absolutely zero probability of mattering to the world."

    Click here to view the timeline.

    SUNW brings hardware and software bundle to web authentication battle (2002-3-12)

    An important milestone in the quest to provide a single authentication gateway for the web was reached when Sun Microsystems released what it hopes will be part of the scheme to be used by the Liberty Alliance to support single sign on in the web. Sun will bring something Microsoft lacks to the battle: hardware.

    A timeline of the important events in the current web authentication "battle" between the Liberty Alliance and Passport is available.

    Sun Microsystems is putting some products and services behind its effort to consign Microsoft's Passport software to oblivion.

    Sun will debut two collections of servers, storage, software and services to house information on customers, employees or business partners. The system can be used to govern who is granted access to network services such as Web-based order forms, system administration consoles or stock option plans.

    The system will be a foundation for products Sun will ship later that support the Liberty Alliance Project. Liberty, which Sun initiated, governs how an authorization system can join with other systems so users get the benefit of single sign-on abilities.

    Source: http://news.com.com/2100-1001-857513.html

    An interesting point that might be missed when reading one of the articles (it is placed at the very bottom of the article) might be a clue as to how java technologies in different environments are to interact with one another vis a vis authentication.

    Support for Java card and smart card technology is due for the platform this year, to enable these to be used for network identification.

    Source: http://www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/03/12/020312hnsundigid.xml:

    A potential client for the new technology might be S&P (Standard & Poor's):

    The Information Services unit of Standard & Poor's is run almost entirely on the Internet and gets most of its revenue from providing content and services to brokerages, mutual fund and banking firms via the Internet.

    S&P's Web infrastructure is massive, scaling over more than 120 Sun Solaris servers running Web, director and J2EE-based application servers from Sun unit iPlanet.

    Source: http://www.internetweek.com/transtoday01/ttoday110101.htm

    Applets on the Rebound? AOL embraces Linux and Mozilla, plans to drop MS Explorer (2002-3-11)

    One of the major threats to java on web browsers has been Microsoft's very dominant position as the owner of the most popular browser in the internet - Internet Explorer, which has around 80% of the market. Because it is the default browser on desktops, people have been (for all practical purposes) denied the ability to choose their browser. This dominant position is upheld most notably by AOL, which, with more than 30 million users using IE, is in the unusual position of using the product of a competing company instead of its own product.

    When i first started out as a coder in AT&T, one of the principal guidelines (The "prime directive", mayhaps) had been to only include features that were supported by all the major browsers, no matter how "cute" or "cool" the feature was. I believe this is a guideline that has not been made obsolete by the passage of time. The news that AOL might switch to Mozilla has huge ramifications for the entire IT industry. Some shops have based their client products on features that are IE-only, a rather short-sighted failing that may now have unpleasant results.

    This news might also mean a second reprieve for java applets, whose popularity may have been affected by repeated assaults from Microsoft (including dropping support for java in IE). But will companies decide to again base entire product lines on this technology after being burned once? A more robust technology might just be to use Java Web Start, a web-deployment technology that allows users to download and run apps without complicated installation procedures from a network.

    The Gecko rendering engine at the heart of the Mozilla Web browser is scheduled to replace Microsoft's Internet Explorer as AOL's default browser -- the one in the millions of free AOL CDs distributed every year -- in the 8.0 version of AOL's client software. (The current version is 7.0.) The Gecko rendering engine is already being shipped as a "beta" test product in some CompuServe client software packages, and reports from CompuServe users who have chosen to use Gecko instead of Explorer have been described as 'very positive.'

    AOL is (also) switching to Linux for the same reason most large companies make the change: to save money. Microsoft's server products have never been seriously considered by AOL, according to our insiders. "The licenses cost too much, their hardware requirements are excessive, they take too much labor to maintain, and we have enough security problems of our own without adding Microsoft's," says an AOL bean-counter who has access to the company's server cost numbers.


    Tying the java world together: J2ME web service specifications (2002-3-10)

    The java community process has started to work on a specification that is to define an optional package that provides standard access from J2ME to web services.

    This is tremendously important, because it ties the small devices buzz with the web services buzz.

    In addition, it provides a standard, enterprise-level, and seamless framework for tying all the major java environments to one another, and this will definitely impress managers and the like. Imagine having all these millions of java small devices consuming web services from J2EE-enabled business entities on the server side.

    I urge all java developers/architects/etc to help and urge this process on.


    The goals of the specs are:

    SUNW sues MSFT: Java rebounds on the client? (2002-3-9)

    SUNW sued Microsoft today, following the lead of other companies such as AOL. This was NOT a surprise move, but was widely expected given the fact that an appeals court agreed last year with a federal judge who determined that Microsoft is an abusive monopolist that violated antitrust laws.

    Sun is seeking the ff:

    Because of the previous ruling that Microsoft is an abusive monopolist that violated antitrust laws, experts predict that SUN and the others filing lawsuits have a very strong case.


    While the court battle is likely to be a lengthy one, some legal experts said the Appeals Court ruling against Microsoft could help Sun prove its case.

    "To the extent that the facts are relevant to Sun's lawsuit, they are already established and the policy is that federal courts shouldn't spend time establishing the same set of facts," said Dana Hayter, an attorney for Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, in San Francisco. "They still have facts they need to prove (but the monopoly finding) takes them a long way."

    If, as expected, the ruling goes SUNW's way, will this mean a reversal in fortune for java in the browser? I'd say the war is long, and sooner or later, java will be back. The question is, will the market embrace it at that time given its relatively rickety position in the browser environment? Forcing an "abusive monopolist" to return it to the browser may be easier than getting companies to again start marketing internet-wide (as opposed to intranets and extranets) products based on the technology.

    By tying .NET to its proposals, SUNW is somewhat cleverly striking out at a rival technology while it is still in a somewhat precarious situation, vis a vis J2EE. The air of uncertainty that would cloud .NET's future might be just enough to push some Microsoft shop (or undecided company) to climb the java hill (which is mature, robust, although lagging in the web services buzz) instead of the equally steep .NET hill.

    Caging the Tiger: Containing Microsoft in the desktop/server environment (2002-3-8)

    There were several big news stories on the J2ME front today.

    The one big cell phone manufacturer that supports Microsoft's technology, Samsung, seems to be edging closer towards giant Nokia, which is a staunch user of java technology.


    There was also a report out that indicated that java would be VERY big this year, with japan leading the way.


    To quote:

    Speaking to The Register at the recent GSM World Congress Sun representatives predicted a boom this year for Java handsets. All three of the major Japanese networks have deployed them successfully; they account for 25 per cent of DoCoMo's shipments, and J-Phone has shipped its 4 million phones with built-in camera since last July. Worldwide Sun expects Java handsets to top 100 million this year.

    In all the hoopla surrounding web services, I think people are missing the point that, no matter how revolutionary or extraordinary this migration to a services structure is, the explosive growth of mobile devices (and especially wireless cell phones) promises to be even more important and far-reaching. In addition, unlike, web services, which is at this time by and large a marketing buzzword and nothing more, cell phones and smart cards and handheld computers like Palm are products which currently have a large impact on the consumer at large.

    In these smaller and constrained environments, the "bloated" architecture of MIcrosoft technologies has been so far overwhelmingly eclipsed by java (which, to be honest about it, was designed to run in microenvironments from the very beginning).

    This situation may have been the result of many factors, but one possible agent was Microsoft's history of "brutal" monopoly in the desktop. As a post in comp.lang.java.advocacy put it:

    Because of the heavy-handed and "brutal" way microsoft has wrested dominance and maintained dominance in the desktops, it has at the same time sealed its own fate.

    Now, no one is saying that microsot will suddenly fall apart, or that its inluence will suddenly wane and it'll become something like novell.

    What's happening is that it will, for all practical purposes, be confined to dominance in the desktops and some presence in similar environments such as servers and handhelds because most corporations (and especially dominant entities) in other areas have become very leery of any advances by microsoft software into their fields.

    This is especially noticeable in wireless phones, where, as pointed out below, all the major manufacturers spurned microsoft's advances and instead focused on competing technologies like j2me.

    It also occured somewhat in the area of set top boxes, and as pointed out below, also in the area of smart cards, where microsoft initiatives have languished while java is flourishing.

    Microsoft probably feels like a caged tiger, trying frantically to get out of the desktop arena to which it has, through its own bumbling arrogance, been largely confined. And java, through these fortuitous circumstances, is the small cat that has escaped and benefitted outside the cage.

    Microsoft knows that its future cannot lie solely in the desktop and on servers (where it is still in a raging battle against the UNIX boxes like Solaris and Linux, with Java manning the application server gates), as well as on small computers such as the handhelds (where Microsoft is still the big underdog with a minor share compared to the Palm OS-based companies).

    It is DESPERATE to get onto additional environments, and has spent mucho dinero trying to gain a foothold beyond the reassuring confines of Compaq, Dell, and the like, but so far to no avail.

    The battle for cell phones exemplifies the principles above in stark detail, with the incumbent industry leaders (and especially manufacturers like Nokia, Ericsson, and Motorola) shoving aside efforts by Microsoft to place its technology onto handsets.

    In this case, the battle had already been decided even before the first shots were fired.


    A Hard Cell for Microsoft: Redmond is determined to get its new software into 25% of mobile phones worldwide. Good luck.

    CABLE RERUN? Cell-phone network operators are wary of letting Microsoft exert too much influence over their business. Likewise, leading handset makers, such as Nokia, view Ballmer's quest as a crusade to take control of their customers. The upshot? Microsoft has an uphill battle ahead of it

    Skeptics point out that this cell-phone push echoes the company's attempts to be a player in cable television. Microsoft has long sold software for interactive set-top boxes. Despite sinking $10 billion into big cable companies such as AT&T Broadband in hopes of getting a leg up in that business, Microsoft remains a marginal player, says Ken Zita, a telecom consultant in New York. That lack of success is due in part to cable companies' fear that Microsoft would try to dictate prices and lure away their customers, says John McPeake, an analyst with Prudential Securities.

    $10 billion plus dollars did not displace java and others from set-top boxes, and neither will J2ME on the handsets be displaced anytime soon by Microsoft technologies.

    How will the dominance of java in these "new" micro-environments such as smart cards, cellular phones, cars, and others affect its use in the more traditional areas of computing such as desktops and servers?

    Firstly, success engenders a boomerang effect.

    For example, Microsoft's overwhelming success in the desktop allowed it not only to leverage its common use in the office to migrate to servers, but also to place a psychological reinforcement into people's minds (and especially the decision makers such as managers) that buying Microsoft is the "safe" decision.

    The success of java in these micro-environs can and will affect its use in the servers (and who knows, maybe in the desktops as well). Although J2EE is firmly entrenched in the corporate environment, transitory threats such as J++ and .NET provide ample reason not to be too complacent. Having java as the dominant application environment in multiple and successful areas allows advocates to muster strong arguments for its use elsewhere, and creates a psychological calming effect on decision makers who are usually somewhat risk-averse.

    Secondly, standardization of resources is a common tendency in human beings.

    People tend to standardize on the most common implementation. This tendency can be used to power the spread of J2EE on the server side, as well as on other small devices. Having J2ME and other java technologies as the de facto standards in multiple platforms can coalesce into a tendency to standardize by having J2EE running on the server side as well.

    The continued success of java is a recipe for success for many companies and open standards as a whole. It is in our best interest, every one of us (from the most marginal developer to the most adversarial corporation), to ensure that competition and cooperation continue to be the driving forces in an environment that fosters and rewards innovation. Strong monopolies, as a rule, tend to encourage the maintenance of a status quo, which sooner or later leads to stagnation.

    More later.

    Building Java Brand Awareness in Wireless Phones (2002-3-7)

    Although many technically-oriented people tend believe that the success of a product should hinge directly on its technical merits alone, this proposition has been disproven time and time again, when products manage to displace (and even drive to extinction) competitors that harbor superior technological characteristics.

    In fact, it is the "marketing" of a particular technology that is often the determining factor in the eventual success of that technology.

    In this interview with CURTIS SASAKI, he makes some very interesting points about the creation of Java brand awareness in J2ME-enabled wireless phones.

    "Right now, if you have an NTT DoCoMo i-appli [short for Internet applications] phone in Japan, which they already shipped more than 2.5 million of, every time you run a Java application, the Java logo appears for a few seconds. Same when you run a Nextel phone and you run a Java application for the first time: It actually will come up with the Java technology-powered logo again.

    "So to me, what we're trying to do here is build some brand awareness so that over time as more and more compelling applications and services are offered that only run in these Java technology-enabled phones -- that I think customers will begin to demand it as well.

    "In essence, what we are trying to do here is create a powerful, useful, invisible technology, in a way. But we want consumers over time to think that having the phone with Java technology is cool; that it is really going to benefit them and demand that. And in fact, in Japan, customers are speaking with their wallets by scooping up the Java technology-based phones."

    You can read the entire interview by clicking here.

    J2ME Keeps On Rolling (2002-3-7)

    J2ME is fast becoming the standard wireless application environment in wireless phones, with a joint venture between Sony Corporation and Ericsson Corporation being the latest major player to release Java-enabled phones to the worldwide market.

    "Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, a joint venture between Sony Corp (SNE) and Ericsson (ERICY), said Tuesday that it has reached a multi-year licensing and cooperation agreement on Java technology with U.S. - based Sun Microsystems (NasdaqNM: SUNW - news) (SUNW) as it also launched a raft of new mobile telephony devices that will use the technology."

    "The announcement coincided with Sony Ericsson's launch of three new phones which will feature Java technology."

    "Whilst this opens up possibilities in several applications areas, gaming is viewed as one of the services which will gain the most from Java capability," the company said."



    Microsoft's attempt to deflect security concerns onto java (2002-3-5)

    ohhh...ahh....the MSFT JVM "might" allow hacker to get info on where you go (ah, did anyone say, cookies, javascript?)...MSFT is using a tactic known as "diversion" to try to get people to look or downplay its own REALLY critical securoty problems...i mean, in their case, people actually can control or look at FILES in the user's computer, and DELETE stuff...also, Microsoft can use this to explain why they are getting rid of the java jvm in desktops using their os.

    Bad boy! Bad Bad Boy!



    Here's why this is not "critical":

    The "critical" problem mentioned cannot compare to having user computers hijacked and computer files deleted and copied and changed....heck, cookies and client side scripting languages like javascript could be used to do similar "nuisance"-type stuff...

    Here come the .NET viruses! (2002-3-5)

    (from microsoft.public.dotnet.general)

    Here come the .NET viruses!!!

    Do you actually want to base enterprise level systems on something where threats might become a frequent occurence?


    oh, just or the heck of it, here's this week's IE/Outlook hack:

    J2EE Pet Shop Outperforms .NET (2002-3-5)

    Microsoft made a big deal about the speed difference between their .NET Pet Store and J2EE Pet Shop last year. However, Oracle redid the Pet Shop to target performance, and the results showed that .NET was outperformed up to 18x by the Oracle server while using only half the resources (without caching). With caching, it was outperformed up to 22x. Oracle also criticized the older tests as being seriously flawed.


    Java Cars (2002-3-3)


    SUNW is working with IBM et al. to have "Carlets" (oh-my-God, enough with the *lets ---app-lets,MID-lets, now Car-lets!) running in your cars. Some tie-in with web services, but the question is, will consumers buy it?

    Here's an article that notes that java is quickly becoming the de facto standard in the car industry:


    J2EE Reaping the benefits of Web Services Publicity (2002-3-2)

    (from comp.lang.java.advocacy)

    Some intersting articles about how it may be J2EE companies that are reaping the benefits out of this web services vaporware buzz.

    Post 1:

    Very interesting articles on the use of J2EE to manage info flow in the Winter Olympics.


    Hey, isn't MSNBC (the official web site of the games) partly owned by Microsoft? Where's the .NET --- LOL!

    "Sun Microsystems, the MB, manages the flow of results data from the field house to the newsroom. One hundred and forty-five Sun Enterprise 220R servers, four Sun Enterprise 4500 servers, and two Sun StorEdge[tm] A3500 disk arrays report results from all ten venues to commentators broadcasting from the site of each event, international news organizations, and MSNBC -- the official Web site for the Games."

    POST 2:

    > Slightly interesting article about very proactive state of Utah trying
    > to cash in on the developing web services "buzz"...they highlight a
    > home grown company that is working hard to develop a services
    > infrastructure...and guess what? it's a java-based system
    > http://www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/02/27/020227hnutah.xml
    > Which may go to show that MIcrosot may be doing most of the marketing,
    > but at least some of the benefits are actually acruing to java shops
    > that are already out there.

    I think this sword that .NET is wielding in another of its bid to displace java can also go both ways.

    I think a lot of java shops will simply retool themselves and call their systems "web services" (hey, we use soap too - pass the shampoo)...the whole concept is so nebulous and tech-laden that the marketing and management people would probably go ahead with those companies who first can offer solid and concrete implementation of "these ye're web services thingamajigi" --- and that means IBM websphere, and BEA weblogic, and other J2EE vendors on the high and medium end, with microsoft's .NET again relegated to the lower end (just as .asp and VB is now)...

    Microsoft implicitly admits defeat and will "join" Liberty Alliance (2002-3-2)

    In the latest eWeek, a Microsoft VP noted that Microsoft would be joining (or more likely cooperating) with the SUNW-led Liberty Alliance.

    Just last fall, Ballmer had derided the group and said it did not matter (obviously, he had hoped El Pasaporte would be taking over the world)..the Evil Empire changed its mind when multiple industry heavyweights went on SUN and IBM's side (Mastercard, AMEX, Visa, AOL, etc) this spring.

    Can you say, the .NET is full of holes? I remember just earlier last year when everyone was in an uproar about how MIcrosoft would control identification in the entire web with its passport system...SUNW got in late on the web id thing, but obviously (just like they will in web services), they got it dead on right.

    Palm-Java and China's Development Plans (2001-5-28)

    Just got back from a vacation to Hawaii, so sorry if I have not updated this page in a while.

    I just bought a Palm m500, the latest, sleek version of the very popular Palm Vx...this is one COOL gadget, and it is by far the best looking PDA in the market right now. Unlike the Palm Vx, it has expansion card slots for adding functionality to the thing if and when you need it...more megabytes of storage perhaps, or a database such as a dictionary or other files.

    Now, what does this have to do with java? Well, the J2ME allegedly will run on Palm OS devices as well, and since I am planning to work on J2ME, I am hoping that any apps developed for a mobile phone will be relatively compatible with Palm devices as well.

    Speaking of which, China's government just made some announcements. According to their plan, China will build the world's largest fixed and mobile phone networks over the next five years. China already has the world's second largest population of cell phones, and it will probably surpass the US by a lot in the near future.

    I tell ya, the future is in mobile devices, and the bulk of usage in the future will be in East Asia. Dust off those Japanase dictionaries and start practicing your Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese)...

    J2ME: Java top choice of wireless developers (2001-4-27)

    A study from Evans Data Corp., a market research firm in Santa Cruz, Calif., reported that 30% of 521 developers surveyed plan to use Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java 2 Micro Edition for mobile development projects. Developers' second choice was Palm Inc.'s operating system (25%), followed by Microsoft Corp.'s Windows CE (22%).

    Some examples that are forthcoming in the article in ComputerWorld:

    Java Popularity Metrics (2001-4-24)

    How do you measure a programming language's popularity? I read once that one easy way to do this would be to go to the local Barnes & Nobles or Borders and compare the number of shelves devoted to one language or the other.

    Here's another "indirect" way of going about this...simply go to one of the major internet sites that group web sites by topic and compare the number of sites that dedicate themselves to a particular programming language.

    By this measure, java is by far the most popular (or at least, the most "hyped") programming language. Yahoo lists 343 java sites, compred to 124 for Perl, 131 for C and C++, and 70 for Visual Basic. Microsoft's C# is far out of the picture, with only 8 sites listed under it.

    In the Open Directory Project's DMOZ, java also ranks far ahead with 1469 listings, with XML following at 511, Perl at 458, and Visual Basic at 408. PHP boasts a mere 139 sites, while C++ has 395 sites.

    Java Server Pages et al. (2001-4-21)

    There's an interesting discussion going on in Slashdot.org about the pros and cons of various scripting languages (including, in a curved kind of way through servlets, JSP). As could be expected, the most knowledgeable among the users in the forum seemed to be PHP or PERL proponents, with a scattered set of (clearly less experienced) java programmers chiming in with the usual "well, i use servlets in combination with jsp" slogan. One misinformed and pitiable soul asked why Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) was not mentioned. Another put it best, when he replied that

    Considering ASP is crap (and yes I do speak from experience, over a year at that), I think it's ok to skip it in this discussion.

    I actually don't have direct experience with ASP, but have worked with people who do, and I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiments. I've seen the source files of ASP and they, no kidding, look like the most insane hodge podge of cr*p you could ever see... I cannot imagine a system being maintainable at all after it gets to a certain size, when using this scripting technology.

    Java J2ME in Mobile Phones (2001-4-4)

    Who says java isn't in the mainstream? Two java-based phones are two of the top 5 best-selling cellphones in Japan. In Japan and some other Asian countries, the PC has not taken such a strong foothold as here in the US, and their wireless infrastructure has been developed more...thus, in Japan, it is a common sight to see even children bustling around and connecting to the net using mobile phones and PDA-like devices....

    Java J2EE Projects (2001-4-4)

    Here's a notable kick to the a*s of Microsoft's .NET.

    One of the largest J2EE projects so far is to be implemented soon.

    GM BuyPower is already one of the world's largest automobile-buying sites on the Internet, with roughly 1.2 million visitors per month and more than 1,000 sales leads per day. Internet research company Gomez recently rated GM BuyPower the No. 1 Internet car site

    RedCelsius (the software firm responsible for the upgrade) will power the site through its BusinessFirePower Architecture, based on Sun Microsystems' J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) technology...

    Executives from Detroit-based GM said they insisted on a supplier that used open-standards software, in part so that GM can use the technology in more than 40 countries where GM BuyPower is available and across multiple languages and currencies. That is part of the reason RedCelsius uses the J2EE software instead of Microsoft's much ballyhooed .Net initiative, said James J. Watson, RedCelsius chief executive.

    "Microsoft is not going to be an open platform per se, and it's much less mature than J2EE," Watson said Tuesday.

    On a related vein, there are "revolts" going on against preliminary implementations of Microsoft's confusing and diverse subprojects that comprise part of the .NET initiative. You gotta feel somwhat for the company, eh? PC sales are going flat, legal troubles continue to haunt it, it's still getting kicked around by PALM and AOL, and about the only ones excited about .NET are people who ALREADY use Microsoft solutions (so they're no big loss).

    Java J2ME (2001-4-2)

    Tired of server side java being the main focus of hype? Here's a new battleground for java to conquer, and probably one that will pay quite well in the near future. J2ME (Java 2 MicroEdition) technology is targeted at a vast range of non-PC computer appliances, such as cell phones and PDAs. Java is poised to make significant inroads into this space, especially in East Asia (e.g. Japan), where the PC has not done as well as smaller appliance-like, net-enabled gadgets. I'm not talking here about the latest JINI dreams of Sun (please, spare us another Household of the Future cr*p), but of projects that are commercialized or are soon to be commercialized.

    Interested in futzing around and learning about this little brother of J2EE? Here's some J2ME developer kits and applications from Motorola...

    Java in SmartCards (2001-4-1)

    According to Sun Microsystems, Java is the de facto standard in smart cards today, and is deployed in tens of millions of smart cards around the world. I dabbled in smart card technology for awhile (before becoming completely immersed in server side technologies), and blew US $600 on a smart card development kit that I never fully used (which my wife reminds me of every time I obsess on some new-fangled gadget). Oh, well...

    What's a smart card? Well, it's sort of like a HAL version of the "dumb" cards and tokens that are a fixture of modern life nowadays (e.g., magnetic stripe cards)--- a credit card on steroids. The more advanced ones contain a microprocessor that allow small programs to run on it.

    Javasoft - Revolutionizing the United States Military ID Badge: ActivCard Takes Personal Identity From the Physical to the Digital World (Mar 26, 2001)

    Java Applets (2001-4-1)

    Now, here's a surprising survey....

    Just when I thought Java applets (which are client-side programs that run on a web browser) were really dead and supplanted by such things as shockwave and especially flash, here comes a survey that seems to show that java on the client side actually has a higher penetration than the two other technologies combined!

    Flash, in particular, has many proponents in the artistically-inclined web designers community, and I had assumed that it would be more widespread than the numbers now indicate. The fact that Flash and Shockwave both need a plugin to function may have something to do with the slowdown in their spread.

    Security Space - Technology Penetration Report (april 2001)

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