Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, AppDynamics Blog, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Java

Java: Article

What, Where, or Who Is Java?

What, Where, or Who Is Java?

Ask most people on the street what Java is and they might tell you it's an Indonesian island. If you happen to bump into some programmers, they'll probably tell you it's a language that reads like C++ but has garbage collection and a virtual machine to make it portable. The connection is reputedly the syllogism where the island gives name to its coffee, people drink coffee while surfing the Web, and Java is the computer language of the Web.

Most folks don't mistake volcanic islands with programming languages and there's enough clear water between Jakarta and San Jose to avoid any confusion. What troubles me is that the adjective Java within IT itself is no longer as clear as it once was.

The words Desktop Java when browsed on java.sun.com, for example, talks very clearly about J2SE, with Desktop being a subgroup along with Core Java, Embedded, and Realtime. However, you'll also find hits around the Java Desktop System and stories of how it's going to be bundled with Linux and dethrone the Microsoft operating system and MSOffice. The Java Desktop System is a grouping of various apps such as a browser, office, mail, and other commodity programs that all run on Linux and, bundled together, provide a pretty solid operating environment. I take my hat off to everyone who works on it and wish them nothing but success; my fight is with whoever decided to give it the "Java" adjective.

A few weeks ago The Hindu, an Asian newspaper, ran a story that showed Scott McNealy unashamedly plugging the Java system for the desktop environment in India (www.hindu.com/thehindu/seta/2003/10/16/stories/
2003101600070200.htm). It's a fun read except that it horribly confuses the Java programming language with Sun's all-in-one Linux desktop program suite. To make things clearer to its readers in case any of them were confused about what Scott is selling, it has a paragraph authoritatively lifted word for word from the Computer Desktop Encyclopedia that extols the virtues of the Java language and its ability to run cross platform in applets.

At Java Developer's Journal I have the nice title of "Desktop Java Editor." I review and help to put together content related to J2SE, yet I get press releases from people wanting me to plug the "Java Desktop System"; recently I received an e-mail from an editor of another very reputable technology publication who asked me to comment on the recent news that the "Java Desktop system" now included StarOffice 7. He assumed, not unnaturally, that "Desktop Java" = "Java Desktop System."

There are countless other examples of where the Java desktop is being confused with the Java language, and I can't help but believe that this is something being deliberately done by the lad or lassie at Sun who named it in the first place. Did a desperate marketing person trying to come up with a sexy name for their desktop suite think that no confusion would exist, or was this Machiavellian move an attempt to deliberately confuse people and let the kudos, image, and good name of the Java language be used to market Sun's Linux desktop system?

In the guidelines on usage of their trademarks (www.sun.com/policies/trademarks/) it states: "Unauthorized use of Sun trademarks or of marks that are confusingly similar to Sun trademarks may constitute an infringement of Sun's trademark rights." This means that if you came up with, for example, a 100% Pure Java suite of desktop programs and wanted to call it "My super duper Java desktop," you couldn't unless you got a license agreement from Sun. Furthermore the site www.sun.com/smi/Press/sunflash/1997-10/ sunflash.971015.0001.tm-noindex.html states that to use Java branding, you must certify against the Java Test Compatibility Kit, something that most of the "Desktop Java" suite doesn't even come close to, given that parts of it are written in C++.

While I'm on my soap box, I'd like to mention Sun Java Studio Creator. I love the product, haven't a bad word to say about anyone who works on it, but on www.java.com/en it lists the creation of Sun Java Studio Creator in 2004 as one of the three most important events in Java's history that year - together with the release of Java 5 (aka Tiger) and the Mars Rover buggies being powered by Java (the bit about the rover's software crashing and crippling the unit for a month is left out). My memory may not be as good as the Sun employees who write the content for java.com, but in 2004 I also remember key events such as the incredible growth of JBoss and the release of Eclipse 3.0.

If Sun can't eat their own dog food when it comes to the usage of the Java brand, and repeatedly ignore everything else that goes on in the Java community that they don't control or are part of, then it is their loss. Java technology is big enough that it has, and will, continue to win over C# and Java is the language choice of three-quarters of the people building Web apps. There are millions of programmers who write Java programs, countless individuals who tirelessly create great and truly open communities based around Java technology, and thousands of successful companies that use Java technology effectively to solve their business problems on a daily basis. History books are written by the winning side, while propaganda can be written by anyone.

More Stories By Joe Winchester

Joe Winchester, Editor-in-Chief of Java Developer's Journal, was formerly JDJ's longtime Desktop Technologies Editor and is a software developer working on development tools for IBM in Hursley, UK.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Joe Winchester 11/25/05 11:23:11 AM EST

Interesting news Calum. http://www.sun.com/software/javadesktopsystem/index.xml. does indeed state that release 3.0 is only available on Solaris 10. Does this mean Sun is withdrawing support for Linux as a client ? How does this affect the much publicized news that WalMart were going to sell JavaDesktopSystem PCs ? A quick look on walmart's web site http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=3356857 shows the JavaDesktopSystem PC is out of stock. Not sure if this is cause it is so popular or that wasn't a big seller.

Calum 11/25/05 08:07:28 AM EST

Worth pointing out the Java Desktop System isn't just for Linux... in fact, the most recent (and, likely, future) versions are only available for Solaris.

@ThingsExpo Stories
GENBAND has announced that SageNet is leveraging the Nuvia platform to deliver Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to its large base of retail and enterprise customers. Nuvia’s cloud-based solution provides SageNet’s customers with a full suite of business communications and collaboration tools. Two large national SageNet retail customers have recently signed up to deploy the Nuvia platform and the company will continue to sell the service to new and existing customers. Nuvia’s capabilities include HD voice, video, multimedia messaging, mobility, conferencing, Web collaboration, deskt...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco and our partners are building the platform for the Internet of Everything by connecting the...
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things compatible devices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
The WebRTC Summit 2014 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting wearables as fashion accessories and moving away from the original clunky technology associated with t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make smarter decisions, faster.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the M2M space. This really allows some room for influential individuals to create more high value inter...
After making a doctor’s appointment via your mobile device, you receive a calendar invite. The day of your appointment, you get a reminder with the doctor’s location and contact information. As you enter the doctor’s exam room, the medical team is equipped with the latest tablet containing your medical history – he or she makes real time updates to your medical file. At the end of your visit, you receive an electronic prescription to your preferred pharmacy and can schedule your next appointment.
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on Twitter at @MicroservicesE
The list of ‘new paradigm’ technologies that now surrounds us appears to be at an all time high. From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), today we have to deal with what the industry likes to call ‘paradigm shifts’ at every level of IT. This is disruption; of course, we understand that – change is almost always disruptive.
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud.
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microservices, and more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Things. Akana enables enterprises to share data as APIs, connect and integrate applications, drive part...
Cloud is not a commodity. And no matter what you call it, computing doesn’t come out of the sky. It comes from physical hardware inside brick and mortar facilities connected by hundreds of miles of networking cable. And no two clouds are built the same way. SoftLayer gives you the highest performing cloud infrastructure available. One platform that takes data centers around the world that are full of the widest range of cloud computing options, and then integrates and automates everything. Join SoftLayer on June 9 at 16th Cloud Expo to learn about IBM Cloud's SoftLayer platform, explore se...