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The Death Of A Good Idea 30 January 2001 Edition
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It was a great idea and a lofty goal but greed and competitive pressure seem to have killed its viability as a standard element of our web-browsing technology.

What am I talking about?

Java of course.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)

From yesterday...

Pop Ups... - Jon

online shopping stuffs up banner ads... - David

Have Your Say

When Sun announced Java it made the claim that you'd be able to write your software once and run it on any platform -- something that was extremely attractive to many software developers who were otherwise faced with the costly task of producing multiple versions to support multiple operating environments.

The reality was, of course, a little less than the utopia that Sun described, but it was a whole lot closer than anything which had come before.

One excellent feature was that Java was a language which addressed many of the shortcoming of languages such as Visual Basic, C, C++ and others. It made the programmer's life a whole lot easier and that made the resulting programs cheaper to build and maintain.

One of the best things was that over 90 percent of all web browsers were able to run Java programs. With only a few annoying exceptions, it really was a method of extending a user's browser without annoying, frustrating and potentially troublesome downloads and installation processes.

Indeed, I used Java to create and build the 7am.com news-ticker network -- the largest web-based news ticker network in the world involving some 200,000 third-party web pages. No other technology could have delivered the functionality required to do this.

But now Java has been declared terminally ill as a generic web-based solution and it's Microsoft's doing.

Microsoft has decided that it's going to go its own way with its .Net strategy and it will no longer be including the Java engine as a standard component of its Internet Explorer browser as of version 6.0.

Instead we'll probably see Bill and his boys forcing the market to use their latest-and-greatest language C# (pronounced see-sharp).

Given Microsoft's proven bad track record and proven lack of understanding when it comes to providing safe, secure distributed code solutions (anyone care to count the security flaws in Active-X?), I believe this spells bad news for Net users.

The dream of being able to deliver a single piece of safe, secure programming code that will run across all major browsers is dying. A shame really -- but that's life in a market which has such a dominant player who's able to unilaterally call the shots.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that Java is dead -- it will continue to be the cornerstone of a large number of intranet and enterprise applications -- but we're not going to see it on the average websurfer's desktop in 12 months time.

Send me your comments.

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Security Alerts
Multiple Vulnerabilities in BIND (CERT - 29/01/2001)

Windows Media Player 7 opens system for hackers (IDG - 18/01/2001t)

Net worm hobbles Linux servers ZDNet - 18/01/2001)

Interbase Server Contains Compiled-in Back Door Account (CERT - 10/01/2001)

AIM Flaw Could Open Users' Computers to Attack (InternetNews)

Denial-of-Service Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Stacks: (CERT)

Virus Alerts
Melissa-X disguised as Mac doc (ZDNet - 22/01/2001)

Kriz virus makes return appearance (ZDNet)

Tool to beat killer Xmas virus promised (IDG)

Virus: Snow White not so innocent ZDNet

Wild Worm With Pro-Linux Message (Wired)

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Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

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