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MS Killed Java: Time for Justice - A Commentary on Sun's Injunction Request Against Microsoft

MS Killed Java: Time for Justice - A Commentary on Sun's Injunction Request Against Microsoft

(August 30, 2002) - It's interesting to discuss this on the day that Michael Skakel, the "Kennedy cousin", is sentenced to 20 years to life for killing a woman 25 years ago. Someone mentioned to me that it seems a harsh punishment for something that happened so long ago, and I could only reply, "She's still dead."

Five years ago, almost to the day, Microsoft shipped IE4 with a JVM that was intentionally engineered to provide leverage to corrupt and pollute Java compatibility standards. The US District Court clearly found Microsoft guilty of illegal anticompetitive behavior with respect to Java, and that court's findings were upheld and clarified by the US Court of Appeals. Nonetheless, Microsoft has continued to benefit from having used its monopoly power illegally to suppress the emerging success of Java. They have been as free during these past five years as Michael Skakel was since he committed his crime. It is time for justice to be done, and justice demands that Java get the chance to succeed that Microsoft intentionally and illegally took away.

It doesn't matter that Microsoft committed the illegal acts a long time ago, they are no less culpable. I support Sun's motion and hope that the judge who hears this case will understand that Microsoft's illegal acts were made even more severe by the fact that Microsoft committed them early enough to kill Java on the client before it had a reasonable chance to succeed. In the famous words of Barney Fife, they "nipped it in the bud!" It is representative of the worst and most calculated forms of illegal use of monopoly power.


Microsoft's Response to Sun's Injunction Request
Due in October

(August 29, 2002) -- Microsoft has until Oct. 4 to respond to Sun Microsystems' request for a federal court injunction requiring Microsoft to integrate Java into Windows, said Sun spokeswoman Penny Bruce.

This week, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz set a Dec. 3 hearing on Sun's request for the preliminary injunction, in which Sun also asks that Microsoft be prevented from distributing Virtual Machine for Java in an unlicensed manner.

Last March, Sun filed the private antitrust lawsuit in federal court in San Jose, CA, and transferred the suit to Maryland in August. The lawsuit alleges Microsoft's antitrust violations have harmed the Java platform, and have forced other companies to distribute or use products incompatible with Java. Sun also charges that Microsoft has intentionally created incompatibilities between Microsoft software and competing technologies. Sun has not set a definite dollar amount in the lawsuit, but has said it is seeking coverage for legal costs as well as economic damages.

More Stories By Rick Ross

Rick Ross is the founder of Javalobby (www.javalobby.org). He is a frequent speaker at Java-related events and a well-known advocate for Java developer interests.

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Most Recent Comments
Mahesh 08/30/02 02:48:00 AM EDT

MS could have saved itself if it was in India. According to Indian laws if you haven't been punished within 7 years since the case has been filed, you are a free man.

You can check up on Google in the 'Bal Thackeray' case.

Thanks
Mahesh.

Youri 08/30/02 02:38:00 AM EDT

To Mike:
Have YOU seen C#?

James_Buko 08/30/02 01:56:00 AM EDT

Yes i dont like MS..I use Linux

Kozta 08/30/02 01:51:00 AM EDT

...is to Java what Java is to C++, C++ to C, C to B. Or in other words, a better version.

Being better is just one of the differences, there are others. But one has to look beneath the surface, maybe try to use it a little bit, instead of getting the official opinion from Rick Ross.

java_supporter 08/30/02 01:51:00 AM EDT

I don't have to go on about this old subject, but MS is like Dell. They take technologies from the inventors and do some trickery marketing to siphon money from blind customers! I will never support MS anything! Why should I pay $500 for Office and XP?!

Valy 08/30/02 01:44:00 AM EDT

The point in the trial is that Microsoft has done something illegal, and should pay for it. The java is well developed on the server side, but the client part has a long way to go, and that may be the result ( partially at least ) of Microsoft's move.

Mike 08/30/02 01:19:00 AM EDT

Want proof of Microsoft's opinion of Java? Take a look at C#. It is a shameless copy of Java. One could write a Perl script to convert a Java class to C# with just a couple of regexes. Most problems with client side Java stems from the MS JVM. On the server side it has proven to be the dominant technology. And you can't blame that on hardware, Java on Linux is far more scalable (not to mention secure) than any Microsoft technology on Windows. As for the cost of Java technology, it is always going down because of there is a lot of compettition in the market. Windows based technologies are only suitable for small systems, thus have to be cheaper. Nonetheless, their cost is only going up (anyone seen those new "subscription" license plans?)

Dwight Vogel 08/30/02 01:11:00 AM EDT

I understand in the world of business that it's all about getting the bigger bottom line, but these corporate bigwigs should realize that it's not all about them, and that we the programmers who use the technologies are falling victim to there egos. Why don't they work together to improve everything for everyone?

Stu Barrett 08/30/02 12:23:00 AM EDT

Java Script has *nothing* to do with a JVM. William is a zealous jerk.

Stu Barrett 08/30/02 12:23:00 AM EDT

Java Script has *nothing* to do with a JVM. William is a zealous jerk.

Kevin 08/29/02 11:55:00 PM EDT

I have read a lot of the replies already and I have to say, there are definitely some total anti-MS and a lot of anti-Java replies. I got into an argument with a co-worker not too long ago who said Java sucks, nobody will use it, .NET is the way to go, nobody can make better products for MS than MS themselves. I asked him how much experience he had with Java, he said the typical answer, NONE!

I am one who believes in a fair shake for any problem. I agree that MS used it powerful presence to shake up the Java world, after all they didn't create it, and when they wanted to change it to their likings, they got shunned by Sun and others. Hence J++ and JScript that are not completely compatible with the standards. But I also laugh at the morons here saying Java is expensive to deploy. Sure, some things like WebLogic and SunOne are expensive, but as many others said, the language, compilers and many different IDE's, servers, 3rd party APIs and so on are ALL FREE. JBoss is probably one of the best examples. It is an enterprise class server, and in almost every way is superior to every other J2EE app server out there. No, it isn't perfect, and each other J2EE app server has some things JBoss may not do so well. But when you compare the features, the architecture, the performance and oh, lets not forget the price, how can ANYONE say that Java is expensive to deploy? Couple it with PostgreSQL or mySql (or FireBird/Interbase) and you have yourself a damn solid set of products to build an enterprise application with, all for free! When was the last time MS bundled ANY of its development tools with its OS, or gave it away free? Infact, other than the gnu and various hybrid compilers, I dont know of any other "free" compiler of any language on Windows. Borland, Symantec, and MS all charge ridiculous amounts of money for each developer license. So does BEA (Webgain), Sun (Enterprise) and so on, but most of the java tools and ide's are free, most of the servers to deploy on are free, most of the 3rd party apis we like to use so as not to reinvent the wheel, are free. And lets give it up for Ant! A build tool that runs on any platform and can be used to easily manage huge projects of varying languages on different platforms! Now, by my very email address you can probably deduct that I am a Java advocate. However, before all my ranting makes it look like I am only for Java, I will say that I would not give a second thought to learning C# and .NET either. Hell, it only makes my resume that much more respective, and a better shot of getting a job in this rather hard to find industry these days. But, if I had a choice, after playing with C#, Java is still the winner. And the crap on performance, sorry, nope, wont work. Java servers are proving to be faster at handling server-side than any MS offering. I know, .NET is young, but by the time it matures to a "real" power-house enterprise solution, J2EE will be way ahead (ok, that was a little rant).

I do have 3 qualms for Java though. As an audio/video enthusiast, Java is still too slow for real-time software such as audio/midi sequencers, real-time soft-synths and such. I also love video games and although JDK 1.4 brought about a new full-screen hardware accellerated API, there hasn't been much mention of any yet to be released 200fps 3D games! Lastly, I would love to see Java go open-source, so that all these great ideas just sitting out waiting for some release of JDK could be added as needed. Yeah, it may make the language bigger, but I sure like using my 20K xml parser that is 20x faster than JDOM for parsing XML and using TableLayout to easily lay out any Swing app far faster and easier with more dynamic control than any current Java layout manager! Open sourcing Java would allow for a much more rapid update process of the language, and all of us would benefit!

Alright, that was long enough. I got work to do.

Paul 08/29/02 11:53:00 PM EDT

I whole heartedly agree, just get over it!
Java is a great language, and has great features, it is not a religion and it is not a branch of politics.

I wish JDJ would concentrate on the language. I will not be re-subscribing to this trash.

Mike 08/29/02 11:47:00 PM EDT

Why does anybody believe that MS was under any obligations to support Java?
If you do not like MS why do you continue to buy/use MS products and be upset by what MS is doing?
Solaris, Linux, MacOS run nowadays on as inexpensive hardware as Windows. It is no longer a matter of cost.
It is so simple... Choose whatever you like!

Brad 08/29/02 11:17:00 PM EDT

Why in the world would you use line drawing to create menus? Swing has a fullset of menu functionality. I've developed applets with multiple windows (JInternalFrames), pop-up menus, and menus on menu bars. What's this about drawing menus with lines?

W. Nathaniel Mills, III 08/29/02 11:13:00 PM EDT

Rick's message seemed more about how slowly the consequences for illegal activities against Java have been doled out. In Microsoft's case, time has resulted in money in their pocket -- not in the pockets of many Java developers whose products have suffered due to the added burden on customers to establish the Java runtime environment. How to account for what could have been is difficult. But to hear the courts claim injustice but not take action has been very disappointing for me.

Chris 08/29/02 11:08:00 PM EDT

How is Microsoft killing Java? And don't tell me it's because you can't run an applet before downloading a JRE? So what if XP doesn't install it? You can go download it.

Can someone help me out please?

JavaProgrammer 08/29/02 11:07:00 PM EDT

If anyone has used Sun's JVM for IE6, you'll realise that they're doing just a good job of killing Java under Windows. Java is setting a new standard by where we are plagued by the interoperability problems of yesteryear. Where new APIs permeate unhindered throughout the development community creating big decisions out of problems that have already been solved.
If Sun wants to make Java work, it had best start proving it is committed to providing compatible solutions instead of reinventing the wheel which has taken so much time by Microsoft to get to somewhat of a standard.
While Microsoft may well be the evil corporation, at least I am content to design applications where I don't have to develop menus from the primitives of "draw line"...
Java has always had a history of "write once, run nowhere". Whoever you chose to blame for this shortcoming, the fact that it is that ineffective should leave the people supporting this product to begin working on alliances that make Java development superior rather than crying about big bullies.

Chris 08/29/02 11:07:00 PM EDT

How is Microsoft killing Java?

Chris 08/29/02 11:05:00 PM EDT

Are you for MS or not?

Chris Fleming 08/29/02 11:02:00 PM EDT

Hey Techno-Nudniks, MacroSquish Wonkees and Other Digital Alabatross:

NEWS FLASH: If MS succeeds in killing one of the few major open, standards-based, client-server technologies to seriously challenge Uncle Bill's Big Bamboozle in Redmond, the true losers aren't Scott McNealy and the other good folks at Sun. The True Losers are anyone and everyone who spends hours each working day either using desktop computers or developing code which runs on them.

Am I wrong? Why don't any non-wonk PC office productivity users know about Sun's StarOffice, which is a credible challenger to MS Office? Why is the largest-selling Macintosh application--yes, you read it right the first time--the largest-selling Macintosh application suite MS Office? Because it's a better product??!! Try again. Yeah, that's right, the old Dinosaur Dynamic, because it's the ONLY product...

Contrary to what the nasal-voiced billionaire likes to wheeze during press conferences, Microsoft does not make "great software for its customers..." It does, however, often make the ONLY software for its customers. There's a big difference. I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with Freedom, Competition and a Healthy Marketplace.

MS 08/29/02 10:34:00 PM EDT

I'm so sorry for all of you who don't respect other's opinion...Poor you...Get more mature...and try to see something out of your M$ box...try to find if there's anything on the market...other than M$...try to read carefully, to understand and be quiet when you don't know what are you talking about...It helped me !!!

Mike Hogarth 08/29/02 10:33:00 PM EDT

If Java is irrelevant to Microsoft and an inferior technology, why does it actively pursue strategies to block it from becoming easily useable on a Windows platform?

Actions speak far louder that words.

One doesn't take a bat to a fly. Microsoft's taking a bat to Java only verifies it is a great technology that can cause fundamental changes in the technology landscape.

Frank McGrath 08/29/02 10:30:00 PM EDT

This kind of fantasy world idiocy does not help Java in the least. Comparing Microsoft to a Murderer of Children is obscene.

Is Rick Ross saying that Java is dead? That it has lost the battle and has no useful future? I think not. Has it no place on the mid tier? No place inside databases? No place inside hand-held devices?

Some foolish Java zealots discuss Java as the be-all, end-all, the alpha and the omega. Obviously, if another language still lives, life is unfair. If all OS's are not relegated to being low-level filesystems, someone (probably Microsoft!) is cheating.

What does Rick Ross mean by Java anyway? Is it a language? Then it has serious competition with C++, Smalltalk, C#, VB and many other languages. In what way has Microsoft inhibited its use as a language? Because Microsoft tried to extend the core Java language? What is the harm in that? What foolishness. What other vendor in the history of software has tried as hard as Sun to prevent others from extending the core of a software language? Decreeing that such extensions are non-standard would be fine, insisting that the extensions be clearly described and documented as non-standard would be fine, but that should be the end of it. Comparing the effort to "extend and embrace" a computer language or environment to MURDER? This is insanity.

Is Java not just a language but a platform? Then it means to compete with Windows itself. If this is the case, what reasonable company could have expected its competitor to lay down and give up? If this is the case, what reasonable person could demand that Microsoft ship Java?

My own opinion: Java is a nice little language. It is a bit too complex for a novice. It is way too complex for simple scripts or macros. At the low-level end, where bits are bits and performance matters and the ability of your language to adjust to different architectures rather than dictate the architecture, it is not as good as C/C++. I don't know Smalltalk well, but I still hear the Smalltalkers touting their wares.

My own opinion: Java is a nice little environment, but one that does not play well with ANY OS. Java enforces its own little platform-independent world. If you want a program that needs to run on multiple OS's, and your program doesn't need to be optimized for any hardware, and doesn't need to be a good citizen of any particular OS, than Java may be a good bet. As long as performance isn't a big issue and you can afford a reasonable-size distributable (20 megabytes to get started).

Does Rick Ross actually believe that Java is the optimal language and platform for EVERYTHING? That it has better capabilities than C++ and Windows itself in all ways? That if it were not for Microsoft's ILLEGAL ACTIONS, all software would now be written in Java?

What utter nonsense.

So, a challenge to Rick Ross. What specifically do you think are Microsoft's illegal actions that specifically harmed Sun/Java? And secondly, what specifically do you imagine would have been the outcome if it were not for Microsoft's specific illegal actions? Somthing more specific than "Microsoft has continued to benefit from having used its monopoly power illegally to suppress the emerging success of Java".

In other words, what SPECIFICALLY are you talking about?

I cannot imagine what the specific illegal action and harm is. Is it that Microsoft confused the poor programmers of the world by adding "delegate" to the language? Is it that Microsoft confused the poor programmers of the world by adding or modifying a few classes? Is it your argument that this is heinous and insidious?

Do you believe that were it not for Microsoft's actions, most client-side software on Windows would now be written in SUN's Java (using JFC, not Microsoft's nasty, bad, non-portable WFC)? Would Windows just be a file system?

What utter nonsense.

What SPECIFICALLY are you talking about?

Andrew 08/29/02 10:12:00 PM EDT

J2EE: JBoss + Tomcat = Free

and a real programming language unlike the crap VB that MS uses. And don't talk to me about C++ either, seen enough Windows programs execute Illegal Page Faults to know that C++ is not safe or anywhere near safe to work with. Java is not dead, and it is by far the best choich for application server code development, unless you like unmaintainable code that is slow as a dog. When was the last time you saw ASP come back in a reasonable time (and without ODBC exceptions for that matter)

Chris 08/29/02 10:10:00 PM EDT

Expensive to deploy? JBoss is free. Tomcat? Free. Apache? Free. IIS? Linux? Free.

Microsoft, not so free.

Also, I am the architect of a fairly complex J2EE project and I don't use a single proprietary J2EE container API.

Jonathan Hujsak 08/29/02 10:09:00 PM EDT

I can't believe someone would compare Java to Microsoft and call it "obtuse"
and "downright awful". Just turn the clock back slightly and recall Microsoft
DCOM development - that defined really
horrific quality. And if they're the only choice? Try adding up the cost those wasted development hours and scrapped projects. Let's be realistic about true IT cost here.

Larry 08/29/02 10:05:00 PM EDT

this article was written by a 2 year old.

Jason 08/29/02 09:49:00 PM EDT

Instead of just shouting out "my platform is better than yours" and "my dad can kick your dad's butt", here's a novel idea: why don't we have an adult conversation about the issue?

Here's a company who used to put code in their Office products to disable the products of their competitors.

Now I'm not saying one is better that the other (I have been a developer in both camps), just that if you are going to play the game, at least play fair.

After all, if Sun used Java to intentionally screw up .NET, Microsoft would be hauling their arses into court faster than a cheetah on speed.

D.X. Nguyen 08/29/02 09:18:00 PM EDT

Unprocessed Java Beans!

XmlViking 08/29/02 09:10:00 PM EDT

Java is NOT better than anything MS has produced. What kind of arrogant statement is that!

Oh well I should really not even bother with Zealots like your selves...but look in the mirror you could be looking at a dinosaur here in a year or two.

FACT:

J2EE is one of the most expensive enterprise deployments out there.

We are in hard economic times. History shows that under tough times IT departments go with the 'best value for there money' and folks it is not Java.

Java is obtuse when it comes to configuration and deployment. It's down right awful!

There is NO standard. For the most part the "portability" of java enterprise code is a myth. Vendors are in it to make money and if they did the minimum J2EE standard how they distinguish them selves from the completion? Hence proprietary API's that are most definitely NOT portable.

Get over it you lost...

XmlViking 08/29/02 09:10:00 PM EDT

Java is NOT better than anything MS has produced. What kind of arrogant statement is that!

Oh well I should really not even bother with Zealots like your selves...but look in the mirror you could be looking at a dinosaur here in a year or two.

FACT:

J2EE is one of the most expensive enterprise deployments out there.

We are in hard economic times. History shows that under tough times IT departments go with the 'best value for there money' and folks it is not Java.

Java is obtuse when it comes to configuration and deployment. It's down right awful!

There is NO standard. For the most part the "portability" of java enterprise code is a myth. Vendors are in it to make money and if they did the minimum J2EE standard how they distinguish them selves from the completion? Hence proprietary API's that are most definitely NOT portable.

Get over it you lost...

Dave Berkheimer 08/29/02 09:05:00 PM EDT

Put two horses in a 1 mile race. The one horse gets a 1/2 mile headstart because the jockey tied the other horses legs to the starting gate. And then you expect the other horse to compete to a win? Not impossible but not probable unless someone steps in to level the playing field. I think that's all that Sun can expect and it's all they want.

David M. Greer 08/29/02 08:28:00 PM EDT

Microsoft is blessed by its competition, including Sun. There are many competitors capable of challenging MS but refuse to really battle in the marketplace and in the standards arena, self-fulfilling monopoly maybe. JAVA is better than anything MS has ever done and probably will ever do. Put it out there in the big, bad standards arena and let it kick some butt. Market Star Office not as an alternative to MS Office but as a competitor to MS Office. It’s ok to complain about anticompetitive behavior but at the same time you at least have to try to compete or your just whining.

Brian Kiser 08/29/02 08:10:00 PM EDT

How can you publish such trash?

Microsoft killed Java. Boo hoo. If Java isn't strong enough to survive the onslaught, then maybe it doesn't deserve to survive.

It's survival of the fittest, baby.

Chris 08/29/02 07:52:00 PM EDT

Poor, poor Sun. I weep for the state of Java. No one ever gave them a chance to succeed. Certainly not IBM or WebLogic. They never put their stake behind Java and started releasing products like WebLogic, WebSphere, or Eclipse. It's pratically a miracle that Java survived because of evil ol' Microsoft.

I think it's time we, the Java Community, need to get over our inferiority complex. Yes, Microsoft has done some things that were illegal, yet products like Unix, Linux, and Java have still been able to start and flourish under Microsoft's supposedly harsh reign. But as a community, we need stop looking at Microsoft and it's languages as the enemy. I for one am tired of it. There's really no point. Microsoft is always going to exist because, frankly, they do a lot of things right. That's not going to change. However, Java has had a several years to grow and mature and become a major industry player. Microsoft couldn't kill that.

Let's not forget that Microsoft tried to support Java with J++. While J++ was not the best product, it is a pretty good IDE for Java. It blows away Forte without trying.

The claims that Microsoft killed Java on the client side are ridiculous because Java's clientside technologies are pretty weak when compared to the competition. An Applet is cool, but products like Flash or Shockwave are much more suited to the type of interactive web applications that the Applet tries to create. So really, if we want to start pointing fingers, make sure you include Macromedia, too.

I see all of this debate as a pointless attempt to sell magazines. It's counterproductive and wasteful. There's no reason to keep hyping Microsoft's ills and to whine about what an unfair shake Java has been given. If you are really, truly worried about Microsoft's market dominance, go check Monster.com. As I write this, there are currently 948 Java jobs under all states for Computer Software. That's less than the combined total of 932 jobs open under searches for .NET (27), Visual Basic (611), and Visual C++ (294). There are only an additional 81 jobs open for C# developers. Further, go read the Garmin Group's report about not using Microsoft's .NET until it fixes security holes and how it advises everyone to go use J2EE.

Java is here and it's here to stay. So, can't we end this pointless bickering?

William Volk 08/29/02 07:51:00 PM EDT

What's worse than killing Java, is how some of the XP systems are LYING about the presense of Java.

To be specific ...

We test for Java via this Javascript statement (after FIRST checking that Javascript is there):

if (navigator.javaEnabled())

What happens on some XP machines is that they will tell us they DO have Java ... when they DON'T ... and then they will prompt the user to see if they want to download the Java plugin (sometimes). A bad thing.

This is WORSE than killing off Java

Marie 08/29/02 06:37:00 PM EDT

Yea and Amen!!

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