Microsoft has announced that Java won't be shipping as part of
Windows XP (unless newly "liberated" OEM's choose to put there)
which raises some questions regarding the meaning of this move.
Here are three articles addressing the issue from different angles,
including mention of a grassroots organization of developers
protesting the decision, an open letter to OEM's asking them to
make sure Java is included with the machines they sell, and an item
that says a Java-less WinXP is roughly analagous to Tonya Harding
clouting the competition on the knee:
"Microsoft's decision to drop support for Java and
block many Java applets from running prompted a number of small-
and mid-sized Java developers to form People for Open, Safe and
Secure Internet and Email (POSSIE), based in Atlanta, Ga. POSSIE's
members have decided to stay anonymous for now -- "for fear of
retribution," according to a spokesperson -- but said it is not
supported by any big companies, including Sun Microsystems.
"While we commend Microsoft for taking steps to plug some of the
security holes in Windows, we're concerned about changes that could
curtail the use of Java and limit the richness of Web content and
email," said POSSIE Director Andrew Shikiar. "Java has proven to be
a secure environment that simply doesn't deserve these
POSSIE said that Microsoft, by blocking Java applets in Outlook,
will limit email to basic text and graphics. Additionally, the
group said that by changing browser default settings to high
security, users will no longer be able to view common Java-based
Web page components including stock and sports tickers, electronic
forms and animation."
"The personal computer is the ubiquitous computing
platform. It is the center of the average user's computing
experience and increasingly critical as a server, connecting to
pagers, personal digital assistants, mobile telephones, set-top
boxes, and other devices. Thus, the public has a strong interest in
having easy access to new and innovative applications for the PC,
particularly network-aware applications that take advantage of the
PC's functions as a server as well as a client.
Seen in this light, the recent announcement by Microsoft not to
include a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) with its future operating
systems is a terrible blow to the computing ecosystem. This
decision threatens to lower the diversity of programs that can
easily run on the PC, and it raises unnecessary barriers to
interconnecting the world's devices.
Because the Java programming language offers the best potential
support for software designed to run in multiple environments;
because millions of Java programmers have created many thousands of
Java applications that are especially rich in features for servers
and for connecting multiple types of devices; and because there is
constant and ongoing industry effort to add new features and speed
to Java itself:"
"What do you do if you can't win a fair competition?
Club your opponent in the knees. That seems to be Microsoft's
tactic against Java, a programming standard Microsoft doesn't
Microsoft's next version of the Internet Explorer browser, set
to ship with Windows XP (news - web sites), will no longer include
a Java Virtual Machine. That means that Java applications will no
longer run in the browser without the user downloading additional
code. Additionally, Microsoft will treat mobile Java code the same
way it handles viruses in IE and Outlook.
In other words, Microsoft is playing monopoly once again by
taking its browser ball home."
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