Sun's McNealy cites Java successes

Sun Microsystems chairman, president, and CEO Scott McNealy at the JavaOne conference here on Friday continued a week-long theme of "Java Everywhere," hailing successes in server, desktop, wireless, and consumer applications.

He stressed that the "Java Web services layer" has become the platform of choice for developers, displacing operating systems.

"It is no longer cool to write to the OS, you write to the Java Web services layer. You don't write to Windows, you don't write to Solaris, you don't write to Linux," McNealy said.

"It's so last-millenium to write to the OS. I think that's a big step forward," he said.

Java now is gaining traction on desktops and by consumers, McNealy said. The desktop was Java's initial target platform, but the programming language ended up gaining acceptance on servers first, McNealy said. He also said there were 2.5 million consumer downloads of Java in March alone.

McNealy said Sun in the past was accused of over-hyping Java when it first was introduced. He contended the opposite was true.

"If you look back eight years, we under-hyped it," said McNealy.

Java, which has spawned 20 application server environments, has "become the gold standard on the server environment," he said.

McNealy preached "rack-wrapped software," in which standard configurations for server deployments, based on reference architectures and the Java Web services layer, are provided rather than each shop having its own unique setup.

"People too often are building their own server rooms," McNealy said.

He also preached the "gift-wrapped" software model, in which companies such as salesforce.com and Yahoo provide outsourced services.

Responding to a question after his keynote presentation about what Microsoft's lack of support means for Java, McNealy and Sun's Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of the software group at the company, stressed that Java is becoming more ubiquitous. Schwartz cited plans announced by Hewlett-Packard and Dell this week to distribute Sun's Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on desktop personal computers sold by the two companies

"It basically guarantees that the rest of the community will follow suit and Java will be the prevalent run-time community on the desktop," Schwartz said

"Where Java won't be is Windows servers. It's on every other server," McNealy said.

"There's a very, very small number of equipment out there that won't have the latest, greatest Java environment out there. I think we're as close to getting ubiquity as any platform ever in the industry," McNealy said.

During his keynote, he criticized what he said was Microsoft's position that separating software from hardware is a positive development. "I kind of like the fact that I bought this cell phone and I didn't have to buy the OS," said McNealy.

"We call it systems for a reason. It's not Sun Microsoft, it's Sun Microsystems," McNealy said.

Later during his keynote, McNealy provided a report card on Java versus Microsoft .Net, which, naturally, had Java getting better grades than .Net in almost all areas including security and innovation.

With innovation, "We get an A and they do M and A," or mergers and acquisitions, McNealy said. .Net did get a better grade in marketing, a B as opposed to Java's grade of "F but getting better."

Two attendees at JavaOne said they were not bothered by Sun's emphasis this week on consumer applications for Java.

"In order for Java to keep going, it's got to make money," said Steve Levoe, senior technical staff member at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, Calif.

"I think that the enterprise support is still there," Levoe said.

"What's really evident is how much developers are using (J2EE)," added David Freda, software engineer at First Quadrant, an investment company also in Pasadena.

At the press question-and-answer session following his keynote presentation, McNealy said he did not think IBM would stop shipping its AIX Unix OS because of a pending lawsuit against the company by The SCO Group.

"If (the) AIX license gets pulled by SCO, I doubt they'll stop shipping," although the OS may then be unauthorized. Sun, McNealy said, has no such risk for Solaris because of its US$100 million deal for a Unix license from Novell when Novell owned the technology.

SCO sued IBM in March, charging that IBM used proprietary Unix code for the open-source Linux operating system, violating the Unix license agreement. SCO seeks at least $1 billion in damages and set a 100-day deadline for IBM to cease "anti-competitive" practices. SCO is threatening to revoke its license to IBM for the use of Unix next week.

McNealy also said there was no reason for Sun to not support the Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Opteron chip from a software perspective. He noted that Sun's LX50 server was based on an AMD chip.

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