Some more comments...
I apologize for taking so long to reply to any of the comments on
my previous blog entry. Here are answers to a few...
All that I can say is: Salute Sun, Salute. You were a noble in
time of bastards. Sun, you are badly missed...
We tried. DIdn't always succeed. One of the sad things about
modern commerce is that being a bastard is a good thing. At least
in Wall Street's eyes.
James, can you expand on why Android's fragmentation limits
programmers' freedom? I'm an Android developer and I really don't
see this at all. The code I write works without any changes on
most Android handsets and it's certainly orders of magnitude than
Java ME ever was
Java ME's fragmentation was far worse than we would have
liked. Some of it was politics in the early days, then 10 years
later, small cracks in interoperability become gaping holes. A big
factor was that the incredible constraints of the handsets 10 years
ago made consistency almost impossible. Today's high end phones
have an incredible amount of RAM and CPU, which makes
interoperability hugely easier for Android.
Fragmentation limits programmers freedom because it increases
the amount of work that a developer has to do to address a large
market, and the larger the market you can address, the better your
chances are of being financially viable. So long as handset makers
are "lazy" about implementing Android and don't take advantage of
the freedom they have to alter the Android source code much, life
for developers can be good. But differences will creep in as the
Android world ages: version skews, different bug fixes, and the
handset makers attraction to "added value" and "product
differentiation" will all take their toll without strict
Hey James. Your discourse presents a well reasoned argument for
the issues of software development in the 21st century and how we
get product to the mainstream. Thanks for your firestorm. The
evidence of fragmentation of Android is here: Vodafone UK users
of went apocalyptic when they thought that they upgrading HTC
Heros to Android 2.1 only to receive branded applications.
Vodafone eventually backed down. This was a carrier not a phone
manufacturer. The battle of the future is a walled garden vs
freedom 2 modify your device. Correct.
Absolutely. It will only get worse. The "walled garden" is
the mostly deadly idea ever. All of the phone companies are
addicted to it, even though I've had (for example) the CTO of a
large carrier admit in private that the whole walled
garden concept was a disaster. They just can't stop themselves.
They've got piles of bogus reasons. For example: The first cell
phone app store was the one built by NTT DoCoMo a decade ago. It
was structured almost identically to Apple's - easy to become a
developer, easy deployment, 70% of revenue to the developer - it's
pretty likely that Apple got a lot of ideas from there. DoCoMo made
buckets of money and there was a huge amount of activity in the
Japanese cellphone developer market. Developers were going from
napkin sketch to millionaire in a few months. It was huge. But what
did the phone carriers around the world think of this? The average
attitude was "Those fools at DoCoMo! They left all that money on
the table! Why did they make life so easy for developers? We'll
just keep all that money to ourselves". So they created walled
gardens. I actually had one senior executive at a carrier say
(approximately) "We've had a crack team of our analysts evaluate
what applications our customers need on their cell phones. There
are a dozen of them, which we'll have our developers build".
Apple gave you shared libraries in Java.
That was then, this is now. In the early days, Apple had a
great Java team. They did lots of good work. But when Apple got
successful enough that they didn't need outside developers, they
built their own walled garden.
I was at Sun back in 1987-88. They seem to have started thinking
about patents a bit in 88.
Yes. There was some patenting activity early on, but not a
lot. It really got crazy after the RISC patent case.
Mind your business. Mr. Gosling is old enough to defend himself.
Nothing in his post is correct about Apple. For example. Apple
has the right to create a platform and not invite Mr. Gosling's
love child. Nor let Google in to sell its ads in the iphone. I
don't see Google allowing anyone in the google.com ad business.
So why should Apple allow it. especially when important customer
information is being stolen by google. Since When is Apple's ad
network a threat to mankind when it is only going to live in the
iPhone. You mean that is a direct threat to Google.
They totally have the right to create their own platform.
They totally have the right to create their own ad network in
competition to Google. But I also have the right to be grumpy about
the tools they require for software developers. Steve is well on
his way to becoming the dictator he lampooned in Apple's
. And yes, I meant that Apple's ad network
threatens Google. They only really turn into wide ranging threats
if they achieve monopoly-level success and then abuse that
In Oracle's hands, Java is doomed. I have to agree that Mono has
a much brighter future than Java since last week. I love Java,
but can't say the same about Oracle! It's unfortunate that MySQL
and VirtualBox will share fate with Java - just like OpenSolaris
In my brief time getting to know Oracle, they made it very
clear that you're mostly right (I'd quibble with the Mono part -
it's still silly). The key phrase is "in Oracle's hands". It
doesn't have to be that way. Lightning might strike and they might
live up to their 2007 commitment to create an independent Java
foundation. I'm not holding my breath, but if enough customers rose up in revolt
it could actually happen. But it would require Oracle customers to
do this, since the only thing that Oracle pays attention to is
money, and that's what customers hand over to Oracle.
thank you for telling us this and we able to see from different
prospective. But we all hope, an agreement can be come out from
oracle,google side to address this revenue issue. if this can be
solved, surely java will continue to prosperous. Or if we prefer
continue like thist. you sue me, i sue them. this will be endless
profit for lawyers
No matter what the merits of the case may be, or who is
right, or who has a "right" to do what, the crossfire in the battle
will be hugely distructive (and I don't just mean the patent case).
I wish they'd all vent their testosterone elsewhere.
The underlying problem here is that the rules of the current
economic game favor evil (mostly in the form of cancerous
growth). The degree of corporate liability for the evil is
actually limited. Exxon has bought far more laws than Google
has--so far. Whatever you think about Microsoft's software (and I
think it reeks like the big dog's m0e), their economic model
apparently works. For OSS, I think one answer is better economic
models. One idea might be a kind of shared charity reverse
auction pseudo-stock market. Ergo:
There's a lot of confusing because "free" is so badly overloaded
in English. The important sense of free involves meaningful,
significant, and unconstrained choice. Anti-trust is NOT a
penalty for success. However, improved laws should insist that
overly successful companies reproduce--by dividing and competing
It's not so much that the game favors evil, but that the
definition of "good" is really twisted:
: anything which increases the stock price.
Considerations about employees, products, customers and community
are all secondary. They only enter the equation as ways to achieve
goal 1. Morality or high principles have no place in the corporate
discourse. They maximize the stock price, within the bounds of the
law. Corporations like Oracle and Exxon tend to be perfectly
rational. They "buy laws" because it's perfectly legal to spend
money on lobbyists and political campaigns. While you and I might
think that it is morally reprehensible to buy elections, like the
recent case with Target, it is nonetheless totally legal. Given the
rules of the game, it would be bad for a corporation to not
buy an election, if failing to do so would negatively impact their
stock price. I could rant for a long time on this one, but not
today… The whole modern concept of a public company is deeply
flawed. But the game is what it is.
I'd be interested in hearing answers to the issues no posted.
What happened to the Lighthouse desktop apps? Why did their
conversion to Java fail?
As a former Sun guy myself, I too am disappointed that more
didn't come of the Lighthouse acquisition. However, you do have
to remember the context. It was just after the mid 90s and there
was an opportunity to enter/win the server side app development
approach. Sun was better positioned to do that and it was
probably much more lucrative than building out Java desktop
applications. I think Sun made the right decision and got a lot
of mileage for SUNW on Solaris/servers/JavaEE. More so than
building a better mail client or presentation tool for sure.
The conversion didn't fail: it was never attempted. There
were lots of reasons: Microsoft and three giant lawsuits over the
late 90s/early 00s chilled desktop work; development funding was
restricted; and enterprise software was hugely more profitable and
didn't involve collisions with Microsoft's monopolies.
I think it's quite hard to stop fragmentation on mobile without
stopping innovation. Mobile phones differ radically in speed,
screen, memory, bandwidth, input-method, and so on, to produce a
single app that runs everywhere well is a tall order, even if the
APIs were identical. J2ME was a nice try, but the profiles
themselves created fragmentation. Android devices are fragmented
in a smaller way by contrast, first, the bar for performance
minimum and OS features are set way higher. Secondly, there's no
This was very true in the mobile world a decade ago and was a
huge driver of fragmentation; but with todays dramatically more
powerful handsets, and especially given the concentration on
high-end handsets, there's no reason for any fragmentation.
Hello, With all respect I beg to disagree with James(Thanks for
Java BTW) here. Java was developed by SUN but only succeeded
because of the promise of openness. Remember it was an itch for
many people at the time( both from SUN and out of SUN) to use a
cross platform language without restrictions. Everybody including
Google, IBM, BEA, and ... Oracle bought into Java because they
believed they could do so without any restrictions. Java would
have failed if it belonged to somebody. If today it is proven
that it belongs to Oracle, it will Fail. I would never touch c#
with a stick because I know I am being trapped. Just my 2c.
Yes and no. The vision of freedom that most of the big
corporate interests had was the ability to make their platform
sticky: to destroy interoperability so that (for example) Java
software developed on Microsoft platforms could only run on
Microsoft platforms. They wanted the freedom to capture developers.
While Microsoft may be the one that got caught in a big court case
with a pile of incriminating evidence in the public record, few of
the other corporate actors were much better. "Freedom" is a
freakishly relative word. The freedom of the large software
companies is directly at odds with the freedom of developers.