Is MS Java better than Sun version? Judge queries Gosling
Judge Jackson might just be zeroing-in on an embarrassing Sun secret
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson yesterday showed signs that he might be prepared to buy Microsoft's claim that it was improving Java, rather than simply mounting a cynical campaign to destroy it. It's actually doubtful that the good judge will accept the whole story, given that Microsoft documentation (produced at the Sun-Microsoft trial (Microsoft sought to pollute Java)) clearly indicates a plan to grow a "polluted" Java, but it looks like he might be zeroing in on one of Sun's big problems with early versions of Java. It was bigger and slower than anticipated, and this caused real problems for companies who'd intended to be early adopters, particularly for low-resource platforms. Microsoft's pitch is that its implementation is faster and better than Sun's and with the introduction of the new injunction-compliant version (Microsoft 'compliant' Java tempts Sun to sue some more), it claims it's got even better. You don't need to believe absolutely everything Microsoft says in order to accept that there's a certain amount of truth in this. And there's also quite a lot of truth in Microsoft's claims that Sun is big on promises and short on delivery (but it takes one to know one). Judge Jackson suggested to Java inventor James Gosling: "Didn't what Microsoft do was grasp the significance of the work you were doing, and then run with it and produce a better version of it? They simply couldn't wait for you to catch up." Gosling responded that Microsoft's version was tied to Windows, but that wasn't an entirely adequate answer to the question. Being able to show that Microsoft did intend to fragment Java in order to preserve its own dominance is important to the prosecution, but if Microsoft can successfully suggest that Sun's 'standard' Java gives consumers a worse deal than Microsoft's Windows-ised one, the case blurs more than a little. ® Complete Register trial coverage
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