McNealy paints a rosy picture of Java everywhere

From 100% Pure Java browsers to Java chips in jewelry, Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy extolled the virtues of the Java language and platform at the Java Internet Business Expo in New York this week, urging developers to write only certified Java applications so the language could reach its full potential. And, inevitably, he also made a bunch a jokes at the expense of Microsoft.

From 100% Pure Java browsers to Java chips in jewelry, Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy extolled the virtues of the Java language and platform at the Java Internet Business Expo in New York this week, urging developers to write only certified Java applications so the language could reach its full potential.

As evidence of Java's emergence as a computing standard to be reckoned with, McNealy said that Sun and Netscape will soon deliver a 100% Pure Java Web browser to run on Java devices, obviating the need for an operating system to reach and read HTML pages. The browser will have Sun's HotJava as its core, said McNealy in a speech that opened the first Java Internet Business Expo.

Sun and Netscape are also at work on a common HTML JavaBean that will render HTML pages on any computer with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in the same way so that pages will not be optimized for one kind of browser or operating system versus another.

"The page will look best on your screen, not an OS," McNealy said.

McNealy also said that Sun is partnering with IBM and Netscape to create a "Java tuning center" in California's Silicon Valley to deploy new Java technology quickly. The goal is to take new releases of Java code and features and build a common source base. This would allow finished products with the new technology to emerge "as close to simultaneously as we can," McNealy said.

Such a convergence to a common source base for Java should be possible with the delivery of the Java SDK 1.2. The Sun/IBM/Netscape trio, along with other partners, will begin tuning the 1.1 version of Java this fall, McNealy said.

As is his wont, the head of Sun took numerous jabs at Microsoft, which last month identified Sun as one of - if not the - top competitors for the future of its Windows dominance.

"I'm not sure whether we're pleased or nervous that we've been identified by Microsoft as 'ground zero.' I think we're flattered," said McNealy, who rattled off a fictitious "Top 10" list of what television shows will emerge this fall season on MSNBC. The shows included "Ballmer and Butthead," "Late Nights with Microsoft Support," and "60 Minutes: The Windows Reboot Story."

Sun has carved out a large presence at the first Java Internet Business Expo. Its JavaSoft division made a strong pitch for its technologies Monday.

McNealy presented a bevy of Java devices at his keynote speech, including a $60 ring users may wear to identify themselves via a Java chip embedded in it to open locks, for example. A Diba-designed set-top box was shown that allows Web pages to be browsed via a television. Sun recently acquired Diba, a privately held designer of consumer devices.

Among the other demonstrations: Smart cards using Java and the "Java Card OS 1" were shown that allow holders to transfer payments, goods, and services via readers or over the Web, and Siemens Electronics is at work on a silicon device that uses the Pico Java technology, McNealy said.

"This is Microsoft's Achilles leg," he said, holding up a credit-card-size smart card. "Can you imagine NT on a smart card?" He added that Microsoft's security and Windows model doesn't travel well in small spaces, an area where typical applications can take up only 6 to 8KB.

"You're going to see Java in devices you've never seen before," McNealy predicted.

On the enterprise scale, implementations of Java to date, said McNealy, include use by Bell Atlantic, AT&T, Chemical Bank, and the Nomura banking companies. They are "doing very significant things in Java," he said.

"The message here with Java is this is something beyond developers, and at this point is moving toward a tool to help companies get their job done," said McNealy, who said he uses a JavaStation and pure Java for all his computing needs. "Our role is one of stewardship, to keep the technology open ... and to build the test fixtures so we don't lose the cross-platform compatibility of Java."

Sun Microsystems Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., is at http://www.sun.com/.

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