Thursday, February 21, 2002

Sorry for waxing geek here but the circumstances of how I make a living are intricately tied up in all of this industry nonsense over Sun's J2EE and Mircosoft's .Net. These two "BigCo"s have been fighting over the hearts and minds of developers for decades now and I'm getting a bit tired of being fough over by people that couldn't give a shit about where they are leaving me in the process. Much like the used tissue I just tossed in the wastebasket under my desk just now. Yes I'm getting sick again. Sun has been championing their Java J2EE "platform" for a while now. I must say I'm comfortable here. But lately they've been getting into pissing matches over the protection of the J2EE Certification brand. To you non-industry types out there it means you product can't be called J2EE compliant unless you pay for all of the testing code and time to pass all of the test suites Sun requires you to pass for compliance. I'm not sure what Sun is thinking but maybe their falling stock price has something to do with it. Java may have not turned into the direct success Sun was hoping for but it sure helped sell a lot of servers. So what's up with this change of attitude to the people who have latched on to J2EE? The free software and open source communities have really run with Java these days. Free versions of many J2EE technologies are available today. This lowers the cost of entry and it hasn't erroded the market at all. Ask BEA. And isn't it about time sun loosened the grip a bit on Java? Why not open source it? Java could use some creative transfusions from the thriving always transmuting geek agora. This is not the time to move in the other direction. Don't tighten the grip on Java/J2EE now. It's no good for anyone. Microsoft on the other hand, in it evil intention to kill Java, has now releast .Net studio which includes C# (thats pronouced "See-sharp") a pure rip off of Java. But in true MS fashion they have not only ripped off the environment but they've possibly improved on Java by adding some really nice features we geeks love. They are also commiting heavily to web services which is very interesting but far from unique. Many companies, including Sun, have made similar bets. Everyone is doing web services. It promises to do for programs what the web did for information. It makes it easy for programs and systems made by different vendors to communicate and work together in hopefully meaningful ways. Sounds great, right? Yeah. The only problem is lock in. Microsoft will give you this and more but you have to stick with them. You can't run this stuff without Windows and well you know the story. I know both of these companies are fighting for their lives but I wish they would understand one thing. I don't need either of them to survive. I can't live exclusively with one or the other to survive. It's reality. A world dominated by Sun is no better than the current world dominated by Microsoft. Don't make me choose sides. Just give me good tools that I can use to get stuff done. Tools that I can take with me from place to place where it doesn't matter what operating system the company is running. Imagine carpenters who need a different brand of hammer when working for someone who is using different brand of nails. Give me tools that I can use for my smallest cost concious customers up to the other guys who will spend beaucoup dollars for big iron and software. I think you could do this if you guys would look at the world through my eyes. You know a real customer. A customer that generates demand.

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