Microsoft and Java

Anonymous nobody at REPLAY.COM
Thu Aug 14 16:29:51 PDT 1997



The Paul Maritz interview that article links to has disappeared from
Computerworld's site, but a copy is appended.

Formerly at

     Microsoft Corp. last week indicated that it would essentially block
     efforts to make Java a cross-platform development language, stating
     that it wouldn't ship Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s Java Foundation Class
     Libraries (JFC). Computerworld senior editor Carol Sliwa caught up
     with Paul Maritz, Microsoft group vice president, at a company
     reception in Seattle and asked him to explain the software giant's
     Java stance.
     CW: There's nothing in the license that requires you to ship those
     JFCs with Internet Explorer?

     Maritz: Correct.

     CW: Is that a contentious issue?

     Maritz: No. The only reason I brought it up is just that some people
     like to play hard and fast with the truth, and they like to say,
     'Look, these JFC class libraries are going to be a standard because
     everybody has to ship them. Even Microsoft has to ship them.' And
     that's not the case. We were very careful when we did the deal to
     say that we could have the option of shipping them, but we do not
     have to include them in Windows.

     CW: Is there some reason you wouldn't want to ship them? Is there
     something inferior about them?

     Maritz: No. We don't want to put further bloat on top of the system.
     We think that basically there isn't a lot of end-user value in them.
     And Sun's trying to establish them as basically their platform. It's
     a competing operating system.

     CW: Do you feel your Application Foundation Class Libraries (AFC)
     are superior to their JFCs?

     Maritz: No. AFCs ... make it easier to write apps. But our real
     strategy is J/Direct. So our answer to JFC is not AFC. It's J/Direct.

     CW: It sounds like Microsoft is resentful at Sun for taking a
     dictatorial role.

     Maritz: The reason we brought it up is Sun likes to blur these two
     things together. They like to blur the notion of Java the language
     and Java the class libraries. They'd like to package them all into
     that concept. We're just saying, 'Hey, there is a difference between
     the two. Let's be clear on that.' "

     CW: Do you think you're going to end up fragmenting the language even

     Maritz: Not the language. You're making the mistake. You're falling
     into their mind-set -- [ignoring] the difference between Java the
     language from Java the class libraries.

     CW: But in the end result, a network manager will have to make sure
     he has both sets of class libraries.

     Maritz: Let me ask you this question: The fact that you can call
     Windows [application programming interfaces] from C++, did that
     splinter C++? It did not. It's the same issue.
     CW: But if Java's promise is that it'll be a cross-platform
     language -- 
     Maritz: No. No. Sun's trying to make it that.

     CW: But say there's an electronic-commerce application that somebody
     wants to run cross-platform, and that's why they picked Java. And
     they use the JFCs to write it.

     Maritz: Good luck.

     CW: It's not going to run in Internet Explorer.

     Maritz: It may or may not. But the point is, that's Sun's problem.
     It's not our problem.

     CW: Does it end up being companies' problems, too? Are you saying
     they're foolish for buying into the theory that there can ever be
     cross-platform language?

     Maritz: No. We're saying it's no different from any other
     cross-platform [strategy]. This isn't the first one -- [there was]
     CBT, Appware, etc. We're just saying that, 'Hey, you should realize
     that when you're doing that, you're dependent upon Sun to get it to

     CW: But if you bought into the JFCs, then you wouldn't be in this
     particular case. If you shipped JFCs, you'd help foster the idea of

     Maritz: And I don't want to ship another operating system on top of
     our operating system and burden every copy of Windows with all of
     that extra weight.

     CW: Do you agree that it makes developers have to make choices and
     it makes them have to do more work and it makes companies have to
     install both sets of classes? So in the end, it makes life difficult
     for everyone, doesn't it?

     Maritz: But we think that that's reality, because you either get this
     thing to become a heavyweight thing, in which case it's going to
     perform badly. Or you have to make it something very small. So we're
     not trying to be parties to perpetuating the myth.

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