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JavaBuzz

Our weekly look at the questions being asked in and around the international i-technology developer community.

Q. Will Sun now revise the JCP to include more individual developers?
In terms of "Internet Time" it's a fairly ancient question these days to speculate as to whether the Java Community Process (JCP) is genuinely an attempt by Sun Microsystems to involve the international Java community in developing Java specifications...or just a way for Sun somehow or other to maintain its strict control of Java?

Sun's "VP of Technology Evangelism and Marketing," with responsibility for the marketing and adoption of emerging, open technologies including the Java platform, Jini and XML, is George Paolini, a regular contributor over the years to JDJ. His objective since the process began in december 1998 was to drive adoption of these open technologies to provide a level "playing field" for the software industry and to oversee the JCP program and Technology Messaging, among other functions.

But after JavaOne last June, Paolini took one step away from the JCP, which begs the question: is this a sign that Sun may now start to embrace the developer a little more transparently? While his title previously was "Vice President of Java Community Development and Vice President of Marketing," the new emphasis on evangelism suggests a tentative "yes."

The idea from the get-go, after all, was that the JCP should foster an industry-neutral, open process through which Java technologies could and would evolve. So it perhaps makes sense to unpack that into a broader context and widen Paolinin's remit to that of helping capture what Sun terms "developer mindshare" for the software industry's need for standards integration, technologies marketing and strategy, evangelism, evangelism technical support, technology messaging, industry-neutral Web Services and Web content for the Java developer community, in addition to energizing brand development for the Java and Jini brands.

"In my new role," George Paolini told JavaBuzz, "I hope to help Sun respond more quickly to the needs of our customers and developer communities."

That's got to be good news for developers. As Vice President of Marketing, Paolini helped Sun create its first Internet marketing strategy, a role which must have served as a natural precursor to this current one of evangelizing and promoting Java. And before working at Sun, he spent over 13 years as an editor with daily newspapers throughout Northern California, including the San Francisco Examiner. So we can hopefully expect further articles in JDJ from him, too, keeping readers of our invaluable print and online Java resource in the loop so that we're all aware of Sun's exact new plans for developers...

Q. Should Sun now ask its partner AOL to make Netscape, which includes a pre-installed JVM, the default browser in its online service?
JDJ Editor-in-Chief Alan Williamson has been raising the issue first flagged by an edition this week of the Wall Street Journal, which revealed that Microsoft have shied away from embedding a JVM in Windows XP, its newest addition to its operating system suite.

"Dropping Java support from Windows XP," Williamson tells JavaBuzz, "makes the SmartTag controversy pale into insignificance in comparison. Why lock out a community of over 2 million Java developers and at least 7 million Web sites that have Java in their lives?"

Williamson wonders if Microsoft are still angling to move Java developers over to C#, and have them leave Java behind. "They’ll soon realize though that the runtime engine for C# runs Java, too, with just minimal tweaks. It’s just a bytecode runtime, and we all know the bytecode for C# isn't a million miles away from Java, is it?"

Given the MS snub of Sun, Clay Sharky - a Partner at The Accelerator Group - has been circulating on the Net a "Call to Action" to all the original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of the Intel-compatible PC world including Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, IBM, Toshiba, and Sony. Calling it "a plea to preserve diversity in the computing ecosystem," Sharky publicly regrets Microsoft's Windows XP decision and laments what he calls "a blow to developers who have created Java applications and applets designed to work with the world's dominant operating system." His hope is that Java developers everywhere will add their voices to his campaign to demand of MS that the JVM remain a part of the PC ecosystem. The real problem, says Charky, is that "it raises unnecessary barriers to interconnecting the world's devices."

His plan is therefore centered on urging the OEM's to exercise a "greater flexibility" that Microsoft has promised them in the configuration of the systems they ship, by installing the most recent version of the Java Runtime Environment on every personal computer they manufacture, and installing the most recent version of the Java plug-in on every browser.

"In this way OEMs will be able increase the value of their hardware to the user, and secure for their customers ongoing access to a vast and growing body of important and innovative software."

What do you think?

About Java News Desk
JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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