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Challenging The OEMs on Java

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the throw-it-in-the-pot dept.

Java 181

There's a great Dan Gillmor article, from his blog [?] regarding the challenge issued by Tim O'Reilly and Clay Shirky to the computer OEMs, asking them to include the latest Java JRE. As Microsoft has said they won't be including Java in WinXP, but are cool with "letting" OEMs put in other programs, let's see the manufacturers strike a blow for competition, and compatibility, and including a non-"extended and embraced" JRE.

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Re:Or... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#72923)

Nope, no one. Not for JBuilder, or TogetherJ, or WebLogic Console. Not at all. Ever. Or Forte. In fact, I don't think anyone has ever downloaded the Swing classes.

Yes, C# just got a boost (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#72924)

I just really hope that this move doesn't convince good Java developers to switch to C#...

That is in fact happening. I can tell you firsthand that at one of the top companies working on client-side Java, senior management just sent out an e-mail saying that if Java doesn't come bundled with new browsers we will start porting to C#.

Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#72925)

I agree with Bjarne... Java IS a platform. And a good one for deploying web applications that generate dynamic content from server processing. But NOBODY uses Java client applications, or Java applets.

Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#72926)

That's one thing I don't understand about the American psyche - surely, in a court case, an out-of-court settlement is a tacit admission of guilt? The one I _really_ don't get is when they settle to avoid admitting guilt in a court of law. Surely they've just effectively admitted guilt anyway? And yet the general public in america then seems to think treat them as innocent, when they're patently not, while in Europe we throw up our hands at the insanity of Americans....

Not considering settlement-admitting-guilt in later cases seems to me to be a bit like the patent office not considering prior art that wasn't in their own database...

Re:Boycott (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#72927)

Since 90+% of the "end user" machines out there run Windows, just use the java plug-in. It is a ONE TIME 5MB download. This download will get you a 1.3 JVM that works great. Sun also includes the plug-in for Linux and Solaris. I am not sure what the status is for the Macintosh, but either way that would give you 95% of all the Internet connected client machines in the world. If they do include one for the Macintosh, or one is allready bundled with OSX, then that would give you around 99% of the worlds Internet connected computers.

The download and install are a joke in Internet Explorer, and it provides Applet cacheing! So after your first run, no more slow downloads.

It also makes it easy to update your code across all machines.

However, if you are looking to run full blown applications (no more sandbox)then look at Java Web Start. I have only worked with it for a little bit, but it seems cool.

Having said all this, I would still love for the OEM's to preload the Java runtime 1.3. If the 5 major OEM's did this then it would save the users the 5MB download. With hard drives over 20GB on new systems, who cares about 10MB more storage.

What percentage of users will ever do anything with it? Who knows.

Steve Michael
Network Architect
Performance Strategies Inc
Indianapolis Indiana

It's not as easy as it sounds. (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#72930)

Dan appears to be under the delusion that a 'free to distribute' license actually holds any water when you're a bigger company.

I happen to work for one of said OEM's, and was part of the discussions to do this very thing. Suffice it to say, it's never as simple as 'just include it in the image, it's free dummy - look at the license' - not when we've both got lawyers and marketing and executives, etc. Not only that, Sun directly competes with the OEM's in a good number of cases (especially on the server, appliance server and storage side) - it's akin to Gateway asking Dell to put a piece of (albeit industry-standard) software on their systems with their name all over it. That just doesn't happen.

Obviously we decided not to include the JRE. FYI, Microsoft played no role in the decision that was made.

Re:Opera (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#72931)

While Opera's a great program (though I've found the 5.11/5.12 versions to be doggy), there's a better reason for not including it: It's not free. Consumers are going to balk at even a reduction in the typical opera price ($40 IIRC) that an OEM might get for licensing, knowing that IE and NS (both well known names in browsers) are free.

Mind you, I'd like to see OEMs put a demo version of Opera , or a link to O's homepage, with the looser terms, on the desktop. Offer the consumer the choice. Of course, now that I think about it, most OEM's have everything default to 640x480; I dread to imagine all the icons that might be on the screen at once!!

Including Java is good, but one improvement (5)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#72932)

The JRE is only around 8 to 9 megs of compressed disk space, so compared with the XP bloat, a user's not going to notice that Java's installed or not.

The JRE is an intelligent DLL under Windows in that it is not loaded until it's needed, unlike the underlying IE DLLs which are loaded at the start and take up memory even if not used. So it's not going to slow the user or comsume memory until it's needed.

The critical thing that needs to be done by Sun with regards to Java support is to have something like Windows Update or the Quicktime Updater: the ability to run one program that will grab the newest and latest files and install them, using a diff-like method instead of downloading *everything* again. If you tell a user that they can upgrade for a quick 500k download and to just press 'here', as opposed to telling them to download the newest JRE by going to some site, and downloading ANOTHER 8meg file, you'll have more people that stay current.

Why only Java? (4)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 13 years ago | (#72937)

We should also demand that manufacturers ship a copy of Cygwin with each Windows PC. It costs them nothing but makes it much easier to download and run lots of free software ported to Windows.

Heck, while you're at it, why not 'demand' that they include a Linux partition? Hard disk space is cheap these days.

two problems with link given (2)

cabbey (8697) | more than 13 years ago | (#72938)

for starters you didn't even link to the current level... that's 1.3, not 1.2 as you're linking.

But far more importantly you only linked to one option, Sun... as if they were the only game in town, or even the best game in town. Try [] if you want a serious JVM.

IBM's JVM is the fastest JVM on Linux that is (1)

Trith (10719) | more than 13 years ago | (#72940)

Sun's JVM does beat IBM's on Win32


Slackware (1)

jscott (11965) | more than 13 years ago | (#72942)

No Sun's JDK isn't installed by default but it is included in the CONTRIB directory (on the extras CD). Saved me from yet another huge download.

Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

Os (13332) | more than 13 years ago | (#72943)

Uh... Microsoft's version of Java was faster and less broken than any other JRE on the market for quite a while. As for completeness, it was *too* complete, adding extensions that would undermine cross-platform compatibility.

Actually no, it wasn't complete. It didn't include JNI, for example, instead using MS's own JDirect. That among other reasons was why Sun sued MS. And won, in case you've forgotten than. It was a fast interpreter, though; MS used a different GC system to that of Sun derived VM's of the time, and it did pay off in terms of speed.

But of course Sun wanted to keep everyone playing in their little sandboxes and sued MS to take those things out. So now Java has been taken out.

No, MS were not allowed to create anything beyond JDK 1.1.4 level (as I recall) by virtue of the court judgement. Sun generally don't object to extensions to the JDK, as long as the whole JDK is included. For example Apple's JDK for OS X has extra libraries for native access to Cocoa, but it still fully supports JFC/Swing.

Re:Boycott (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#72945)

  • The /. crowd doesn't have a lot of sway with OEMs because most people here don't buy straight OEM machines, or at least don't use it with the software it comes with. We're in the difficult position of arguing as "expert" witnesses in the best interest of customers who themselves don't really care one way or the other.
  • How many OEMs have pre-installed Perl on their Windows machines ever? I take it you don't buy OEM machines very often...

Re:latest? (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 13 years ago | (#72948)

Particularly as version 1.4 is currently in beta, available for download from

Release is scheduled for fourth quarter of 2001, ie RSN now :)



Stealth install via a Java3D game (3)

DGolden (17848) | more than 13 years ago | (#72949)

One way to get massive client-side deployment of the JRE would be for Sun, or a third party, to release a killer game that uses Java3D...

This would also be cool for Linux people, since the game would run unchanged on linux :-)

Re:Boycott (4)

Quarters (18322) | more than 13 years ago | (#72950)

Yeah, that'll work... I'm sorry, but Slashdot's record on activisim is pretty damn weak. For instance, Slashdot tried to institute a boycott against the MPAA and all of it's products. Yet, every week we have JonKatz acting as a paid wind-bag and reviewing every piece of tripe that is coming out of Hollywood.

I wouldn't expect Slashdot to support a boycott of anything.

Apple already does :) (2)

magic (19621) | more than 13 years ago | (#72951)

OSX ships with the latest Java runtime... and it is better than the other versions because it has hardware accelerated graphics and provides separate, external JARs for accessing all OSX functionality.


Java Web Start does this. (1)

lonely (32990) | more than 13 years ago | (#72957)

This is new in JRE 1.4 that uses a XML file to define packages that a full up application might need. As part of this it can automatically pull the latest required JDK if it is required.

A really good way to deploy java to the client side.

Re:Including Java is good, but one improvement (1)

lgraba (34653) | more than 13 years ago | (#72959)

Actually, the JRE is only about 6 Meg.

JRE is NOT freely redistributable! (5)

west (39918) | more than 13 years ago | (#72963)

People might like to look at the JRE license agreement before they talk about free redistribution. The agreement *clearly* states that it's *only* allowed to be redistributed for the *sole* purpose of running the *accompanying* Java program. (JRE 1.2 and above)

In other words, you can't give JRE to somebody else to allow them to run their program.

How do I know this? I've been trying to get permission from somebody at Sun to redistribute the JRE with our educational Java IDE [] for months. So far, no go. Even worse, you can't even purchase a license to redistribute it because it's "freely redistributable" and there is no provision at Sun for licensing it :-(.

My sales guy at Sun has tried heroically, but the lawyers have the final say.

Now, we're just small (well, miniscule) fry compared to the manufacturers, but it certainly means prolonged negotiation with Sun before obtaining permission to put it on their machines.

Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

Kingpin (40003) | more than 13 years ago | (#72964)

Bloated useless applets - I agree. Off the top of my head however, I can come up with several
good uses for applets:

Invisible applet web bugs with the ability to open sockets to the server from which they came.
This still has lots of potential.

Intranet "fat" clients. Give you a manner to distribute the client from a single source, no
need to run all over and update software on the client machines.

Units in a distributed system. No fancy GUI, just the real deal. This gives ease of access, people
can join eg. with literally only a click in their browser - no installation needed.

Having said this, I also agree that applets are not the killer application they were made to be
6 years ago. I believe Flash makes a better frontend for GUIs, I believe RealPlayer is a better
streaming media client. Why should a JRE be treated differently from another pluggable
browser element? People will need to get as used to upgrade their JRE as they are to upgrading
their Flash/RealPlayer/Whatever.

OEM's should - for their customers (2)

laetus (45131) | more than 13 years ago | (#72970)

Many non-techs couldn't tell you what JRE stands for, much less why they need it while browsing the web.

I think any computer distributor who really had their customers' interests in mind would distribute a JRE, given the volume of web pages their customers will encounter that needs one.

Erm, why the change of heart guys? (3)

pondlife (56385) | more than 13 years ago | (#72973)

Several points here... First, why all this pleading that Java should be considered a vital part of the OS? Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the question, and even given the prevalence of Java on the Internet, this does rather come across as a bunch of Java guys whining about why their favourite language is really important and everyone should have it whether they want it or not. Why not also plead for the installation of Perl, Python etc. on all new PCs? It would make just as much sense...

Second, /.ers habitually slam Microsoft for including components in the OS that aren't a core function, and yet aren't optional (ie IE). Yet here is Microsoft removing the JRE from the OS ('unbundling', if you will), leaving you free to install any version from any vendor, and everyone is complaining about it. You can't have it both ways, guys...

Finally, isn't this how Microsoft's much-hyped new OEM licensing should work? While I admit it's a bit of a sop to the antitrust lobby rather than a serious concession, surely removing Java is completely in line with this? By removing Java, OEMs who believe there is a market for a PC with Windows 2000/XP and Java are free to include the JRE.

All in all, this is something that's more in line with the philosophy that /.ers support - you only have to install what _you_ want, not what the OS vendor wants - but everyone here is complaining about it. It seems to me that the consistency of arguments on /., such as it is, goes out the window when a chance to bash Microsoft appears...

Re:On a related note... (1)

corby (56462) | more than 13 years ago | (#72974)

Closer, danov, but that's not a JRE. This is the JRE link []

Ha! Believe it when you see it. (1)

jimfrost (58153) | more than 13 years ago | (#72975)

If I were Microsoft I'd give financial incentives to the PC vendors to not include Java. They've used Windows pricing as a lever in many cases before (look at what they did to IBM) and there's nothing stopping them from doing it again.

While they are restricted against denying the manufacters the right to change the desktop, they aren't restricted in how they can price things, nor what they can do with marketing money. And money is a huge bargaining chip.

As a result I would be surprised if any of the large PC manufacturers ended up bundling the JRE.

I also don't think it much matters, Java is terrible in the browser (this from someone who has been writing Java almost exclusively since 1995). If I'm writing applications rather than applets I'll just ship the JRE with the installer.

jim frost

Not really a surprise (5)

Smilodon (66992) | more than 13 years ago | (#72978)

They (Microsoft) are aggravating their loyal developer base as well. I attended last year's (7/2000) Microsoft PDC (Professional Developer's Conference) where the .NET "initiative" was rolled-out. It soon became obvious that Java was a non-starter in the .NET vision of the future. "What about Java?" questions were pretty much ignored by the Microsoft presenters, and the tone of the questions got more and more heated as the conference progressed. One person asked during a C# (C-sharp) presentation, "Isn't this Microsoft Java?", which obviously angered the presenter.

Remember, most of these folks are die-hard Microsoft developers, who have been using MS J++ to develop enterprise applications (and yes, applets). I think Microsoft hopes that in a couple of years, everybody will be using C# and this whole Java thing will have been a bad dream. The most recent move of not including the JRE is no surprise, considering this strategy. Next will be not making it available from Microsoft at all.

Of course, Sun could have won the day by announcing during the conference that they were releasing Java to a standards committee, but that was just wishful thinking. I imagine that Cold Fusion will be the next target, XP somehow causing CF pages to be mysteriously broken or a "security risk" (hint: Use ASP+ instead).

I'm not a big Microsoft "conspirist". Frankly, a conspiracy implies some sort of subterfuge or cleverness in my opinion. Microsoft is far too heavy-handed to rate that title. They're just bullies, nothing more.


Re:On a related note... (1)

xemacs (79360) | more than 13 years ago | (#72981)

you mean this one? [] :)

Re:Opera (1)

kelzer (83087) | more than 13 years ago | (#72982)

Just a couple of quick points to consider. Yes, they could have attempted to achieve a high degree of Windows integration, but:

1. They certainly would have risked the moving target API that Microsoft has so successfully employed in the past, where every service pack breaks their code.

2. None of those changes would have been cross-platform. Netscape seemed fairly committed to delivering a single development platform that worked the same whether on Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, etc.

Re:Opera (2)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#72984)

As has been pointed out before, Opera and Netscape and other browsers have been crying in their milk for years about the level of IE integration, when they could have been doing something about it.

Internet Explorer is two parts: a bundle of COM objects that adhere to a public and fixed com interface, and a bundle of glue that uses those COM objects together to make it a single application.

Netscape could have implemented these same COM interfaces, and have gotten at least half of the integration that IE did. By depending on the APIs, Microsoft would have likely cleaned it up to allow more seamless replacement, as they have cleaned up DirectX about eight times.

But no, Netscape sued Microsoft (oh, wait, Netscape asked the Feds to sue Microsoft), so of course the IE COM interfaces are still a little rough and incomplete.

Remember when Lotus bitched and moaned about how it was impossible to write a "real" program on Windows, because their 1-2-3W version 1.0 sucked bigtime? Remember how Philippe Kahn, hardly the friend of Redmond, told him to shut up because he didn't know what he was talking about?

Obligatory Slashdot Disclaimer: yes, Microsoft is vicious, ruthless, and large. It is exactly for these reasons that they often lose in court, and in many cases, they deserve to lose. I don't work for them, nor do I care what OS is monopolistic in ten years.

Don't win by litigation, win by quality products. Netscape, Adobe, Sun, they may win little battles with the help of a judge. You're not going to win a court war against a multi-billion-per-quarter revenue machine. You're going to win a war by making Microsoft irrelevant, one market at a time. But Microsoft is more vulnerable if you just write better code and use every interface they expose to integrate and replace their features.

Yes ofcourse (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 13 years ago | (#72985)

let's see the manufacturers strike a blow for competition, and compatibility

Yes competition is good.

...and including a non-"extended and embraced" JRE.

Yes. God forbid there be any compeitition and innovation in the Java marker.

Why not include Python and Perl interpreters? (1)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 13 years ago | (#72986)

In my experience, both can be as portable as Java. If they install the activestate versions, it makes both languages available for web programming, so you could use Javascript, VBScript, Python or Perl for writing web based applications.

That way we get real competition, not just a p1ss1ng match between two monopolists (or one monopolist and one that is willing to do anything to be the next one.)

XP and Java (1)

haeger (85819) | more than 13 years ago | (#72987)

I really have to agree with one of the first sentences of this article:
"Microsoft is trying to reduce diversity in computing. Java is one way to maintain the little that's left, and maybe grow it."

I know it's good business for MS to lock the users into whatever MS wants them to run, and I'm sure any company would do this, given a chance.

I really REALLY hope that both US and EU sides with the little guy (and I mean users, not SUN) to make sure we have a choice in the future too.

And no, there are no real alternatives to Windows on the desktop, not yet, not for the average user.
(No, I'm not trolling, I'm just observing people around me)

windows distro (1)

bhny (97647) | more than 13 years ago | (#72992)

Why doesn't some company put together a windows distribution with added goodies like a JVM.

Re:Java - Gone forever? (5)

bflong (107195) | more than 13 years ago | (#72995)

This is how it goes:

Sun creates a cross platform language called Java.
Microsoft does not like cross platform becouse it != WIndows!
Microsoft "supports" Java becouse people want it and it's a buzz term that gets press.
Microsoft's version of Java is left incomplete, slow, and broken.
Users blame Java and Sun for how much Microsofts Java sucks.
Microsoft removes it's broken software from Windows siting "Security Concerns".
Users don't care becuse "Java sucks anyway"
Microsoft crushes a another competitor.

Yeah. Boy, I'm sure glad MS did the "right thing" because no one enjoys "webpages with Java"

You mean latest? (1)

krokodil (110356) | more than 13 years ago | (#72996)

Link in the article points to JRE 1.2 while
latest is 1.3.

Re:Depends on consumers demand for java. (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 13 years ago | (#72998)

Come to think of it, what are the details of the greater flexibility for OEMs? Is that real, or will MS play games as with per-processor licensing? "Oh, you want to add Java? OK, that will be an extra $50e6 for Windows...."

Costs for computer makers (2)

kill_9_1 (123711) | more than 13 years ago | (#73002)

What's being asked is that the computer makers thoroughly test and understand the workings of the JRE being packaged. Then what? Incure the cost for this themselves? It was easy when Microsoft included the software and something broke -- microsoft tech support is more than willing to assist you with your problems.

Re:not just applets (1)

abiogenesis (124320) | more than 13 years ago | (#73003)

Also take the IE's HTML extensions out. Take ActiveX out. Take smart tags out. Take autocomplete out...........

Re:Costs for computer makers (1)

Digital Mage (124845) | more than 13 years ago | (#73004)

Insightful? This needs to modded as funny.

Microsoft will not tech support their software when you purchase through an OEM. All tech support for bundled software goes through your OEM, not the company that developed the software. This would include the JRE that the OEM bundles with your computer.

Opera (5)

Doctor Faustus (127273) | more than 13 years ago | (#73005)

Brett Glass asks: "Why not ask manufacturers to bundle Opera? It comes with the latest JRE."

Like it or not, Opera really isn't a maintstream browser. If the PC is shipped with anything other than Explorer, the PC maker is going to have to deal with the expense of a lot more tech. support calls from people asking what happened to Explorer.

Java support, on the other hand, just makes thing work that wouldn't have, and doesn't change the rest (except for taking up 0.05% of the hard drive space). If somebody hits a web site that tells them they need Java, and they have to download it over a dial-up, they're going to be mad at the PC maker for giving them an incomplete system. Since it's free, on top of all that, there's really no reason for any PC maker not to include a JRE.

I think Microsoft has just given themselves a black eye for no good reason here. They get another round of bad PR, but Java support will still be put on the PC's by Dell, GateWay, Micron, IBM, etc., plus AOL.

Re:Boycott (1)

SLi (132609) | more than 13 years ago | (#73007)

At least I know Debian [] isn't going to include Java until there's a decent open source JRE available, and we're just not right there yet.

And, you know, the more people think Java is necessary, the happier I become that Debian maintainers do not bend and pollute their magnificent distribution with non-free packages.

How about boycotting any OEM that _does_ include Java? :-)

Next: Include Open Office! (3)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 13 years ago | (#73008)

If the OEMs start to include the JRE why not also include the OpenOffice office suit. It doesn't cost them anything and will amke it possible for them to sell a office suit to theirs custumers without.

If its good anouth most people would even have to get MS Office and could put a big dent in MS sales.

Java not gone... (2)

CptnHarlock (136449) | more than 13 years ago | (#73009)

I can't say I enjoy webpages with java.
Then you probably haven't been to [] ... :) ... Now that computers are getting faster Java speed is not that much of an issue IMHO.

$HOME is where the .*shrc is

Start the campaign today (1)

fleener (140714) | more than 13 years ago | (#73011)

If you bought your PC whole, e-mail the company today asking them to support java in XP.

Re:Depends on consumers demand for java. (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 13 years ago | (#73012)

If you have not noticed the news on the sales of new computers being very low as of late then it might suprise you that OEMs will do anything to cut costs and unless there is a huge public outcry they will not bother with it.
I'd think the support costs would justify the inclusion of the JVM. I imagine all sorts of people calling to ask why certain web sites are broken.

Re:Depends on consumers demand for java. (2)

Prior Restraint (179698) | more than 13 years ago | (#73017)

Sorta like the gimmick .99 cents added to the end of any price on sale items.

First, I think you meant the gimmick 99 cents, or .99 dollars. I'm not trying to give you a hard time; it's just a pet peeve of mine. Next, it's really more like a gimmick 1 cent that's subtracted. Psychological studies have shown that when dealing with numbers, most people don't want to bother with more than a couple of digits of precision, and prefer to truncate, rather than round. Thus, a lot of people see "5.99" and think "5". If you're mathematically inclined, this sounds crazy, but I've seen it in action. Most of the people I know generally don't fall for this, except with gasoline prices. They see "1.379" and think (and say) "1.37".

"Baby Billy want his bottle?" (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 13 years ago | (#73018)

Its amazing, and tell to see what happens when M$ gets defeated in their stragegy.
M$:"You won't let me win!"
Java(Sun):"No I made up the game, and I want everyone to play as fair as possible"
M$:"But I'm bigger I should be allowed to make my own rules"
Java(Sun):"No, Billy you can't everyone has to play fair"
M$:"Well then I'm not playing anymore, and I'm not helping you play on my field, I'm taking my Ball and going home, Your game is dumb anyway, I'm gonna make up my own(C#), and its gonna be better, and everyone is gonna play my game instead cause I'm bigger and I have more fields.
Sound about right?

Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

shokk (187512) | more than 13 years ago | (#73021)

I have no problem with this. Java on the web sucks for the most part. For corporate applications where you have to use Java, the latest JRE or JDK comes bundled anyway so nothing is lost there. All you have to do is include the JRE in the next version of Netscape, Mozilla, AIM or RealPlayer, which everyone installs anyway and everything is back to the status quo.

Even if it fades away on the desktop, Java is still useful in the backend on the server side, so it will live on as many other old languages have, being fruitful and all. How many Internet users out there really keep an eye on whether the servers driving their favorite Internet application are written in Java, C, or Cobol anyway? They just want to surf over to it and use it.

At any rate, this is the fault of Sun for not standardizing it as they should have. We don't see Javascript (or whatever its called these days) going anywhere.

Re:You mean latest? (2)

shokk (187512) | more than 13 years ago | (#73022)

All Sun needs is an auto update tool that gets run every month or week to let you now when a new version is out. Every other little tray icon application does something like that, so no reason Sun can't include a little something that does the same.

On the other hand, you have Java apps that might work with 1.1 and not with 1.4. Having end users casually perform upgrades may not be something developers want, which could cause more headaches than its worth. Updating the JRE could be left to individual developers and as long as its in a common place (C:\jdk, C:\jre, etc) they won't need to duplicate work.

Re:Nobody Wins (1)

SpankTech3000 (194420) | more than 13 years ago | (#73024)

I disagree that it would take any appreciable amount of time for MS to preinstall a JRE, but let's say it does for argument's sake.

Aren't you making their case for them not doing it?

Re:Depends on consumers demand for java. (2)

nuser (198161) | more than 13 years ago | (#73025)

It also means the person taking the money has to open the till for change. Makes it harder for a shop assistant to simply pocket the money.

Re:Costs for computer makers (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 13 years ago | (#73027)

microsoft tech support is more than willing to assist you with your problems.

You mean OEM tech support. I haven't seen an OEM version that Microsoft was willing to support.

Re:Opera (1)

joshstaiger (213677) | more than 13 years ago | (#73029)

If somebody hits a web site that tells them they need Java, and they have to download it over a dial-up, they're going to be mad at the PC maker for giving them an incomplete system.

I think that it is much more likely that the majority of users would just choose to go without Java rather than expend the energy that it would take to be mad at their PC-maker for not including it.

Like it or not, Java isn't exactly the most mainstream technology when it comes to desktop applications.

JRE is not a language (2)

brlewis (214632) | more than 13 years ago | (#73030)

The JDK is arguably an installation of the Java language. The JRE is just a virtual machine. Some of us like to have it around in order to run the same compiled Scheme code [] on Linux and Windows.

Re:Erm, why the change of heart guys? (3)

brlewis (214632) | more than 13 years ago | (#73031)

something that's more in line with the philosophy that /.ers support

There's one consistent philosophy that all /.ers support? Could somebody write it up and put it on a web page? How am I supposed to know what to think if nobody tells me?

On a related note... (5)

danov (215996) | more than 13 years ago | (#73032)

Other Java proponents have asked Hemos to include the latest Java JRE link [] in his /. posts.

New Product, Old Parts (3)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 13 years ago | (#73034)

I think Microsoft has just given themselves a black eye for no good reason here.

According to the settlement with SUN a little while back, M$ is not allowed to update any of their existing Java JVM technology, only to use what they wrote a few years ago. Under these conditions it seems reasonable that they do not want to include these old (incompatible?) DLL files with the new OS.

~~ the real world is much simpler ~~

Re:Opera (1)

shibboleth (228942) | more than 13 years ago | (#73036)

At least for Linux there is an advertiser-supported free version of Opera (the last time i downloaded it was ~2mo. ago). I liked it; the ads don't eat much real estate.

Re:Opera (2)

shibboleth (228942) | more than 13 years ago | (#73037)

I've used Opera for Linux intensively for months. About 5% of the time it doesn't show something that Netscape 4.77 can, but it's easy to copy and paste the url to Netscape browser (i had both apps running).

Opera is good for opening alot of browser windows while only taking up one task's worth of my taskbar. It also has a nice builtin google search field. It's pretty much better than Netscape in all ways except the aforementioned. (As of yesterday i just use Mozilla 0.9.2, though, because it includes an email client and is nicer than Netscape 4.77.)

Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 13 years ago | (#73038)

Embedding in web pages is just one thing that is popular to do with java. It is not it's sole purpose. You could actually embed any kind of 'applet' in a browser (flash, for example...or mp3 players...avi's...etc.)

Java is used quite extensively on the backend of many web pages (server side). In addition, many appliances/firewalls use a java application to manage them...that way it works on whatever OS your management station happens to be running.

IBM and Sun (of course) use java for the configuration of their firewalling and IPSec products, and it works very well for that task. it's that whole "write once, run anywhere" thing that actually does work if you use the proper class libraries and compiler.

Hidden fees, Java uses (1)

behindthewall (231520) | more than 13 years ago | (#73039)

Sure, you can include the JRE, but your Windows licenses will cost you $50 more per pop...

Best use I've seen for Java on the client: Conway's Game of Life [] .

Re:Hidden fees, Java uses (1)

behindthewall (231520) | more than 13 years ago | (#73040)


Was a joke. As in, what kind of pricing will a "JRE-enabling" vendor get from MS. Wouldn't be the first time...

Surely Sun wasn't surprised by this.. (2)

SirFlakey (237855) | more than 13 years ago | (#73041)

...what with the lawsuit that MS had to pay to settle.

And afaik IE5.01 and 5.5 as a standard install don't install the JVM either but will prompt you with the option to download it if needed.

I doubt this will affect Java much - considering it seems to be moving into the embedded space in any case =).

Why not have OEMs install Python, Perl, TCL.... (1)

Numen (244707) | more than 13 years ago | (#73049)

Why Java? Why not any number of other languages? Who anointed Java? I understand that lots of people like Java... good for them, they can go install it. I personaly don't like Java (I'm allowed to dislike it =), and really don't care if it's not installed on a new system I buy. Java on the client just sucks real bad... if you feel otherwise I'm pleased for you.

not just applets (3)

HaiLHaiL (250648) | more than 13 years ago | (#73050)

From the article:

What if I said the best thing that could happen to all of us is a complete backoff of all the bundling beyond what's specified in the W3C definition of the Web. Take Flash out. Take Java out...

Are we sure that we're just talking about the web here? The JRE gives the ability to run both applets [] in browser and normal Java apps... and it's not like there's a shortage [] of [] those []

Re:JAVA needs its own OS (2)

CrazyLegs (257161) | more than 13 years ago | (#73051)

You make some good points. I would tend to disagree on the whole Swing performance issue, though. True, Swing is piggy in its cycle consumption, but this is being offset by beefier hardware to the point where I'm not sure I care about this too much anymore. At my company (large N.A. bank) we run quite a number of Java client apps (e.g. a call center desktop) and performance is fine.

Anyways, the real point of my note is regarding the demise of JavaOS. I happened to be working with IBM labs at the time IBM had pitched in to bring JavaOS to market. The reason JavaOS died (according to my peers at IBM) were:

  • JavaOS was targetted at network station types of devices (IBM was developing their own) and not home-computing devices
  • IBM came 'round to thinking the underlying o/s did not need to be Java - just a really peppy *nix variant with really good Java support
  • Sun did not (or does not) have the client o/s experience and needed IBM to pull it off. IBM's vision of *nix-powered NCs (which they brought to market) effectively killed JavaOS.

Of course, there were likely other political intrigues here...

Depends on consumers demand for java. (3)

Xcom (262429) | more than 13 years ago | (#73053)

"This is a move with little or no cost for the OEMs but tremendous potential benefits for their customers."

If you have not noticed the news on the sales of new computers being very low as of late then it might suprise you that OEMs will do anything to cut costs and unless there is a huge public outcry they will not bother with it. Some might just do it to make it seem like they are adding features that others do not. Sorta like the gimmick .99 cents added to the end of any price on sale items.

Or... (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#73054)

We could strike a blow for choice and give users a CD with the JRE on it instead. NO ONE uses Java for anything on the client side on Windows.

If a user really needs it, they know where they can get it.

Leave Java to the developers who need it. They'll put it on their target systems if they have to.

Dancin Santa

Re:Boycott (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#73055)

I'd sooner boycott any OEM that didn't preinstall Perl than one that failed to install Java.

What is your fascination with Java that makes you think it should automatically be installed everywhere? How many users will actually need it?

Dancin Santa

Re:XP and Java (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#73056)

there are no real alternatives to Windows on the desktop, not yet, not for the average user

No? What does the average user do? Word process? Budget? Play games? Create presentations?

The Mac does all these things and more. Some say it does it better than Windows. Don't complain that you are trapped in darkness if you have merely not opened your eyes.

Dancin Santa

Re:Boycott (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#73057)


Actually, I only buy OEM machines (well, except for a barebones piece of crap that I picked up in the boonies of Maryland... but's that's another story).

Point 1: Yep. Spot on.

Point 2: It is futile to expect every piece of useful code to be preinstalled on an OEM system. Bleating for Java to be installed without also bleating for Perl or Python or the latest VB runtimes to be included as well is short sighted and borders on hypocrisy.

Thanks for the thoughtful response!

Dancin Santa

Re:You mean latest? (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#73058)

So if the developers would update the JRE manually, why wouldn't they install it for the user at the time of installation (of the app)?

As for the auto-update, I'm not sure that would be a good idea for the backward compatibility issues that you brought up.

Dancin Santa

Re:You mean latest? (2)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#73059)

Which actually brings up another problem. Which JRE will be distributed as the standard? How often will users need to update the runtimes?

Dancin Santa

Boycott (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#73060)

How about /. readers boycott any OEM that doesn't include Java in their new computers?

Serious applications include it anyway (1)

teambpsi (307527) | more than 13 years ago | (#73064)

Beyond the browser toys that blowup every browser I've used on just about every platform I've used, the serious Java based applications all include the latest JRE with them on the CD.

Beyond the tech side of this, what M$oft is doing is more of the FUD they're famous for. Talking with one MicroSerf already about this issue, he loudly proclaimed, in his typical smug way, "Did you hear that Microsoft XP won't support Java" -- and what followed was a thin justification for developing all future applications in Visual Basic

I'm beginning to think that the road to MSCE includes some kind of secret ritual where they ask you to drink koolaid and purify yourself in some electric chamber ;)

VMs -- idle thoughts... (1)

Balinares (316703) | more than 13 years ago | (#73068)

Well, alright, MS won't ship XP with their proprietary VM based on Sun's Java [] .

Instead, they'll ship it with their proprietary VM inspired from Sun's Java [] .

Alright, I have to admit I'm not entirely fair here; the whole C#/.NET thing is a little more than a ripoff of Java, but still. :)

Anyway, maybe we're just seeing a turning point in the history of compilation... Who knows, maybe in the future, we won't compile stuff for a given architecture, but for a given VM. That's the way Python [] , among others, was already headed with its Java implementation [] . Now it's also supported in .NET [] . Yep, there's in .NET's CLR native support for a lot of languages [] , which proves at least that MS means business, for real.

The big question is, I guess, will we be able to choose the VM we prefer, like we can currently do for Java? Knowing MS, that's unlikely. I suspect that there's a catch, and that the key components will remain in MS' possession, so that they don't give a darn about what OEMs install or don't install. Could a more MS-informed reader provide more information?

... Geeze, was that off-topic... Oh, to hell with it, it's only karma.

-- B.

Not for free... (1)

why-is-it (318134) | more than 13 years ago | (#73069)

"microsoft tech support is more than willing to assist you with your problems." Provided you have your credit card handy...

Re:JAVA needs its own OS (1)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 13 years ago | (#73070)

Very informative article: but just a few notes:

1) IMHO, Java's USP till date has been its platform independence.. A Java OS defeats this idea. The only reason Java has penetrated this far, is its capability to run on current platforms.

If the application is targeted at more than 1 platform, you are better off with Java.. Otherwise, chuck that JDK out, get a decent native-mode compiler, IDE and GUI toolkit..(and go for C++ , it's pretty cross-platform too :-)

Re:Who Needs This? (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#73071)

I don't know of anybody who uses any java application on a regular basis. In fact, most of them run their browser with Java turned off.

Don't get out much, do you? I would say that most people don't even know what java is, and they leave it turned on in their browsers because they wouldn't know how to turn it off. They run java applets frequently without even realizing it. You need to think globally, dude.


Re:Hidden fees, Java uses (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#73072)

Was a joke. As in, what kind of pricing will a "JRE-enabling" vendor get from MS. Wouldn't be the first time...

Aha. That falls into the evil category (my last option). Actually, I agree that something like that will probably happen.

Now I just need to reprogram my slashdot preferences so that the HUMOR tag is displayed from now on. :)


Re:Hidden fees, Java uses (2)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#73073)

Sure, you can include the JRE, but your Windows licenses will cost you $50 more per pop...

Instead of just making a statement like this, could you provide a little more information? Why would it cost another $50 per license? Are you referring to labor for including the JRE in the image? Some sort of hidden license fee that nobody knows about? Some sort of evil action you expect M$ to take in response?


Re:Next: Include Open Office! (2)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#73074)

If the OEMs start to include the JRE why not also include the OpenOffice office suit. It doesn't cost them anything and will amke it possible for them to sell a office suit to theirs custumers without.

This idea is interesting... with one change. Most people buying a computer right now get a choice between Microsoft Office or Microsoft Works. It's rare for anybody to buy a new system with no office software at all. Based on this, OEMs may now have the incentive to provide a slightly lower-cost package to the user (assuming that Microsoft Works has a per-license cost). They could perhaps shave another $50 or $100 off the cost of their computer if the user chooses Open Office instead of the other two. But in order to know whether that will fly, you must find out what kind of wierd license agreements OEMs have with Microsoft.


Re:Boycott (5)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#73075)

What is your fascination with Java that makes you think it should automatically be installed everywhere?

Name one other VM language that has been, up to this point, included with every mainstream browser install. That's where the loss is. I honestly don't care whether or not all browsers come with Java. But I can write currently write applets that will work on almost any browser since V 3.0 of Netscape and Internet Explorer. And it'll even work on Opera.

Having a JRE available as an option works fine if the browser will always be downloaded in the first place. But users who can download and install a new browser aren't the ones I worry about. It's those that buy their computer with Windows pre-installed and don't know how to really change anything. If I design web pages with java applets, I want to be sure that pretty much anybody can see them. (with the obvious exception of Lynx users)

Like I said, I don't care WHAT the language is, but it needs to have most of the same capabilities as Java. And it needs to be multi-platform, multi-browser capable. Oh, and it needs to ALREADY be installed and running on the older browsers. Let me know when you figure out how to solve that problem.


Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

stfrn (411214) | more than 13 years ago | (#73076)

I'm going to have to agree with you- i've just started working with java, and applets suck, and so does javascript. unfortunatly, sun has nothing to do with javascript, it was netscape's invention. i've been hopeing for a while that AOL would drop the name, so that a real java variant could be called JavaScript.
But anywho, java apps are auesome. they're getting too much drag from all the hype tho. maybe this will be just the thing to get people to concentrated on what java is really good at? i can only hope...

Is this really a problem? (4)

PeteSlater (412250) | more than 13 years ago | (#73077)

From my point of view, as a full time Java developer, this is more of a blessing than a curse.

When developing applets for clients I will no longer need to explain to them that IE has a JVM that is 5 years old and that they need to download a new one - I simple have say, visit Sun [] and get the latest JVM.

This is what I have to do when developing an application and people seem fairly happy with that.

I just really hope that this move doesn't convince good Java developers to switch to C#... there really is no need unless you want to stick with MS .NET strategy.

I think O'Reilly has the right idea though - have OEMs include the latest JRE on any machines they distribute - that way customers will have a reasonable up to date runtime which they can use as they see fit.


Re:Including Java is good, but one improvement (1)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 13 years ago | (#73078)

The critical thing that needs to be done by Sun with regards to Java support is to have something like Windows Update or the Quicktime Updater: the ability to run one program that will grab the newest and latest files and install them, using a diff-like method instead of downloading *everything* again.

So long as the process isn't automatic, this is a great idea. I just don't want my JVM upgraded without my permission.

Re:XP and Java (1)

minghe (441878) | more than 13 years ago | (#73079)

And no, there are no real alternatives to Windows on the desktop, not yet, not for the average user.

Well then, what does it take to satisfy the average user?

1. Ease of use: Id say that the latest editions of the big distributions are all quite easy to use and to maintain. My mom actually runs Linux, she tried it at my place and liked the GUI better. She might run into problems configuring drivers and such, but the average user doesnt do that too much, and calls support anyway.

2. Reasonable pricing: Well, that battle is already won, wouldnt you say?

3. Lots of useful programs to run on it: Here Linux still have a disadvantage, but not by much. There are excellent (and cheap, if not free) replacement for almost all common Win apps. They might be hard to find for the average bloke though.

4. Games: Yup. A home PC is pretty much about entertainment. More and faster porting is needed.

5. Availability: Lets face it. Most pepole dont care or dare enough to replace what came preinstalled in their box. And that is Windows, and soon enough only Windows XP. But that might start to change. Dell just started shipping workstations with Red Hat 7.1 preinstalled. What if they extend that to consumer desktops? It could be the start of something interresting...
Heres Dells page about it. []

Re:What about Linux? (1)

minghe (441878) | more than 13 years ago | (#73080)

Already being done. Latest mfg to preinstall Linux is big-ass computer giant Dell.

Now THAT means impact.

Bundling the JRE is an excellent idea! (1)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 13 years ago | (#73082)

I'm reading a lot of articles here today that question the value of Java on the desktop. The first versions of Java were slow and not that functional. Over the last several years, giant strides have been made in speed and other important areas like GUI functionality. Java really is ready for prime time across the board, and offers C like performance in most cases.

Plenty of vertical apps have been implemented using Java. Now its getting good enough for horizontal apps as well. It is also a nice and very productive programming language. I don't care too much about applets (this could change if Mozilla and NS 6 are truly stable) but Java applications are great! With JDK 1.4 (now in beta) things have progressed enough to make high performance 3D apps a reality - see the Grand Canyon Demo [] .

Java still promises freedom from Windows lockin - you can develop on Windows, Mac or Linux and deploy to any of them. These days, most things work fine cross-platform. I regularly test my Java app both on Windows and Linux (no Mac yet, but soon..;). So, do your part for freedom of choice - start programming in and advocating Java! Its a clean environment, and way ahead of .NYET.

186,282 mi/s...not just a good idea, its the law!

Who Needs This? (1)

Obelisk1010 (451553) | more than 13 years ago | (#73083)

I don't know of anybody who uses any java application on a regular basis. In fact, most of them run their browser with Java turned off. Applications requiring Java on the client side should be able to include the latest JRE on the CD. Now, if Sun would package up an install of Java without AWT or Swing and I'd be very happy. If they really want to play with GUI applications they should take a look at the native compilation method used by TAOS and .NET, it beats JIT

Re:You mean latest? (2)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 13 years ago | (#73086)

For all practical purposes, 1.3 is the latest. There was a maintenance release just recently put out - 1.3.1. Also released was 1.4 beta, with gold master expected in November.

Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

lurvdrum (456070) | more than 13 years ago | (#73087)

I suspect I'm not going to like add-ins written with C# and .NET also; could MS please make that an optional download too so we can all choose if we like to see it or not?

Re:Java - Gone forever? (1)

l0wland (463243) | more than 13 years ago | (#73091)

Since 95 percent of the Windows-users doesn't choose but eats what's served, I don't think this is the right option.

Who cares? (4)

javabandit (464204) | more than 13 years ago | (#73093)

As a Java developer. I can't really say that I care.

First off, I don't think everyone will be running out and buying Windows XP anytime soon. Why? Because it really is unnecessary for most. The expenditure isn't justified.

Lastly, I do agree with the person who said that its a matter of choice. If the JRE is needed to be installed, then it can be downloaded and installed. That's it.

Forcing a company to include anything in their distros really violates the very priniciples that most "freedom in software" people (including myself) uphold.

Trust me, people. Microsoft is going to dig their own grave... soon enough. Just a matter of time.

But wait!.... (1)

neflyte (466835) | more than 13 years ago | (#73097)

...will OEM's choose to use an older version of JRE over the latest? I mean, are we gonna see another Microsoft-like move here? Personally, i'd rather see the latest JRE (1.4 beta....yes, i know its beta..), over 1.2....mainly for compatibility reasons.

...just as long as they use a more deprecated 1.1

Long Live JAVA!!!

Correction: Applets gone forever (1)

JavaPriest (467425) | more than 13 years ago | (#73098)

Applets won't run on an XP browser unless the user downloads and installs the plug-in (from Sun or whatever). Java applications won't run on an XP platform (or any platform) unless a VM is installed. So with eitehr the plug-in or the JRE on the desktop, is Java's death imminent? No way.

Java shines on the Server side, where people run whatever OS they want, whatever appserver they want (I recommend JBoss) and whatever Java VM they want. That MS stops "supporting" Java in XP is not going to change that at all. XP won't be used on many servers anyway, I guess.

Applets or Java (client) applications are mostly used in intranet environments. Installing a plug-in or a VM should be a breeze in such an environment. And then there's always a tool that can install the VM with your application (see the Sun [] site).

Bottomline, this doesn't hurt Java, but probably will eliminate most (future) Applets. But then again, they have been dead since 1998. Installing a JRE by an OEM isn't going to change this. I am just surprised that anno 2001 a lot of people still belive that Java's only use is to run or write Applets.

Buliding your own not what it used to be. (1)

madman2002 (468554) | more than 13 years ago | (#73099)

Bulding your own computer used to insure you got a system that fit your needs and was generally cheaper. This isn't necessarily true anymore. I'm getting a decent sum of money pretty soon and plan on getting a system with dual 1.2Ghtz Athlon MPs, 1GB of DDR ram, a ATI Radeon 64MB ddr video card, etc....Now I started pricing parts not too long ago on , in the end the system I wanted would cost me about &2600 total (includes S&H), then I went to , On their site they have one of those custom system builders. $2699 for the same system and a 1 year guarrunty, also it won't take me weeks to get all the separate parts in the mail, I'll get the wholething at once. It also allows you to save some money by not having an OS installed (they only alllow have winblows anyway).

What about Linux? (2)

LanceSchumacher (469458) | more than 13 years ago | (#73101)

If Microsoft is letting the OEMs put custom software on the PCs, will they also allow having Linux pre-installed?

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