Monday, April 24, 2006

Changing of the guard

Looks like Scott McNeely is stepping down as CEO of Sun and leaving Schwartz in charge. This is kind of weird, because, a few days ago, he joked about that particular ages-long rumor (his leaving) still going strong and still just being a rumor.

This could be very interesting. Good interesting or bad interesting is yet to be seen, but it could be interesting if nothing else. Hopefully Sun won’t nosedive after this (yes, I know that a lot of you are screaming that Sun’s been sinking for years).

Call me weird, but I’m rather fond of several of the company’s products. Their hardware is insanely great, Java is nice, and anyone who uses Linux or Unix-like operating systems has to like NFS (yes, you have Sun to thank for that). I would include OpenOffice in that list, but it was initially the result of the acquisition of Star Office, so it only sort of counts.

I think it’s funny that people seem to hate Sun for no real reason. I honestly think that it’s envy.

They complain about the boxes being too expensive - they are expensive, but they’re really worth it and run like tanks. What can I say? I WANT a Sun box at some point.

They complain about Solaris being flaky - not really true. There is the occasional bug or the one release of the operating system (which will remain nameless) that *ahem* didn’t perform that well, but on the whole, it’s an incredibly solid platform.

They cry bloody murder about Java (usually pulling out chestnuts that may have been true 10 years ago, but often weren’t even then) –
• “It’s not free! The information wants to be freeeeeee! (People who know me can insert the bird-like arm flapping here)” – They gave you the language. They document the whole thing. The only things that aren’t “free” (in the way you want it. It doesn’t cost you anything) are the JVM and the JRE. Get over yourself. Standards and languages should be open and well-documented (and this is something that Sun does remarkably well), but not everything has to be “free as in speech”
• “It doesn’t have pointers” - It’s not C++, people. That was part of the POINT of Java. Languages are tools. You use the one that best meets your needs. Part of the reason Java was created was to help prevent a lot of the common problems that occur in everyday C++ style code (memory leaks, referencing null pointers, etc).
• “It’s a memory hog” - it’s a little resource intense, but it’s not really that bad, honestly.
• “It’s SLOW!!1oneoneone!” - Slow? It takes a few seconds to initially load the VM, but after that, it’s about as fast as a native app. It’s not meant for an app that you open and close all day. It’s meant for medium to long term use applications. This is why they stress the garbage collection so much.
• “It’s ugly!” – Has anyone ever told you that you can make Swing apps look native? It takes a couple lines of code. Try cracking open a book sometime.
• “Swing sucks!!1oneoneone!” – Nice troll. I admit that when it came out, Swing wasn’t that great, but it’s gotten a whooooole lot better.
• “Write once, debug everywhere! Harharhar I’m so clever!” – You know, if you stick to the core libraries and don’t do anything stupid, there’s not a whole lot (if anything at all) that you need to change in order to run it on different platforms. The problem is that people seem to love using non-standard libraries or (even worse) some lame, half-assed third party JVM. Have you ever seen what you need to do to C or C++ to get it to run other places if you’re doing non-trivial things? They actually make programs and scripts to help automate the changes if that tells you anything.

Java was a big enough threat to Microsoft that MS decided to release their own version of it back in the 90’s in an attempt to fragment the community and break the battle cry of “write once, run everywhere.” After they found out that they couldn’t kill it off, they decided to make C# (which, if you look at it, is a whooooooole lot like Java).

I don’t want this to come off sounding like I’m a Sun fanatic. I’m not a fanatic of anything, really (except maybe usability). I believe that languages and platforms are tools and should be viewed as such. I just dislike when people try to trash things that they know nothing (or very little) about.

I just hope that Sun is able to stick around for a long time to come. They make good tools =]

Current mood: neutral
Current music: Dirty Vegas – Days Go By

1 comment:

Karyl said...

*charges up the spam atomizing ray gun*

Where are all the live people to comment? I know I'm not the only one reading this journal... and I certainly don't have anything intelligible to contribute most of the time. lol