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Three on Java and Microsoft: From Open Letters to an Unpleasant Tonya Harding Analogy

Jul 20, 2001, 18:52 (40 Talkback[s])

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:

SolarisGuide asks Is Microsoft Attacking Sun or Protecting Consumers?:

"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 restrictions."

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."

Meanwhile, O'Reilly is carrying an open letter that says Java is Essential to the Software Ecosystem:
"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:"

Yahoo!, to wrap up the trio, says the move is so much monopolistic thugishness:
"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 control.

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."