Hollow Victory for the Java Faithful

A federal judge ruled that Sun's version of the Java Virtual Machine must be included in future shipments of IE.

February 3, 2003

2 Min Read
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Marking a rare win for Sun Microsystems in its battle with Redmond, a federal judge ruled late last month that Microsoft would have to include Sun's version of the Java Virtual Machine in future shipments of Internet Explorer. The ruling may be overturned on appeal,

but even if it stands, it probably amounts to nothing more than a feel-good victory for the ABM (anyone but Microsoft) crowd.

Microsoft did the damage when it decided to deviate from the Java specification and write its warped version of a JVM. The company's aversion to Java has resulted in Java being largely ignored when an application or Web site is designed for the general populace.

Java has grown to be a favorite as a server-side application-implementation language. For all of Microsoft's apparent dislike of Java as a language, the recent reappearance of Java, I mean C#, within the .Net framework indicates that the real source of irritation was simply that Microsoft could not control and manipulate the Java spec as it does other standards and specifications.Including Sun's JVM in Windows XP is unlikely to undo the damage wrought by Microsoft. The differences in versions of Java used across the Web make it nearly impossible for a single JVM to handle all applets properly, and Web developers have long since turned to alternative technologies, such as Flash and Shockwave, to deliver rich, interactive sites.

Software vendors requiring a specific version of the JVM have long since distributed the correct JVM or directed administrators to the correct version for download during the installation process. We have grown comfortable with this process, and if a Java application or applet is the means by which we interact with a device or manage an application, we'll deal with the additional installation if necessary rather than trust that the version installed and distributed with the OS is the correct one.

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