SUMMARY - Java questions

From: Kim Linkins (
Date: Thu Jan 25 1996 - 11:30:43 CST

Thanks for the many responses. The information was certainly helpful.

My original post:
Hello all.
>Thanks to Jack Reiner, we may all have a better understanding of what this
>Java basically is. I agree that the marketing hype is terribly thick, which
>brings me to my question.
>Has anyone used Java enough to tell me what the big deal is about? What new
>functionality does it provide? Is it really all it's "hyped up" to be? What
>flaws should users beware of? Basically, what are the pros and cons? I will
>Kim Linkins

The general consensus of the respondents was that though Java has the
potential to turn the computing paradigm upside down, we will all have to
wait and see how things really shape up. Respondents agreed that advantages
include portability to many OSes, possibly less need for local storage,
automatic updates to applications. The many disadvantage is the security
risk of downloading applications on your machine when you don't know who
wrote them.

Michael Ramchand ( explains:
Well it could POTENTIALLY turn our existing computing paradigm upside down.
At the moment, we buy a machine, choose an OS, by an application, and then
get the data we want to manipulate. Java essentially allows one to access
data, and get an applet to manipulate it at the same time which is not
dependant on machine or OS.

At the moment, a lot of Java apps just make home pages look nice, but we
should soon see applets at web sites which inlcude tools to view the data
in a more interactive way. More importantly, when used in an "intranet"
Java could (and I again use the word) POTENTIALLY allow a WWW browser to be
the ONLY application an employee would ever use, with full access and
manipulation of corporate data etc. no matter what machine he runs (once it
has a Java interpreter).

Mark Lamourine (mlamouri@BBN.COM) also explained:
This is really a much bigger win for software companies than it is for you.
It means that they no longer have to write a seperate version for PCs, Macs
and Unix (or whatever). It means that they no longer have to put software
on floppies, in boxes on storeshelves to sell it to you. This will save
software companies a LOT of money.

There are a number of implications for the software and hardware
industries. You will no longer need to consider the software you intend to
run when picking a system. If you like Macs, buy a mac (or not). It doesn't
matter. The software will run. It may end the use of an "operating system"
as it is currently defined. This is the perfect tool for creating "set-top
boxes" that are a hybrid of computers, telephones, cable TV and video
games. Computers could become much less complicated to set up and use for
commmon tasks. (Special tasks will still require special hardware and

It will allow a new form of software sales. A "subscription" for software.
You will give a software company your credit card number. They will give
you a phone number and an account. Each time you want to use a program, you
will access the software vendor and download the application you want and
use it. When you exit the application, it will notify the software vendor
with billing information and delete itself. The next time you want to use
the same package, you do it all over again.

This way, you will always have the most up-to-date version of the software.
You will not need to have an enormous disk drive to store all of your
software. Each use will be much less expensive than the purchase price of
the software. (Rest assured, in the end you will pay more. Like leasing a

The problem is that you do not necessarily know who wrote the software
you're running. If you are accessing a reputable software vendor, it will
be no worse than today. If you are spelunking the web, you may invite
unknown people to run software on your system. They can do anything they
want. (Sun has done a lot to insure that this is not true. Believe me,
crackers *will* find a way in, and Sun will patch the holes, ad infinitum)

Rico Jansen ( also included a good description of HotJava,
Sun's Java Web browser:
HotJava literally works like this : HotJava loads an HTML page, it sees a
link to a picture, it loads that picture, but it is of an unknown format,
like ermm 'npg'. It gets an unknown content-type exception, so it tries to
load the content-handler from the site the picture came from, if it exists
it loads it and uses it to display the picture. The URL uses will look like

You can try this yourself by making a page with an unknown picture type in
it and look closely at what the progress monitor shows (or your httpd

Thanks to:
Michael Ramchand (
Mark Lamourine (mlamouri@BBN.COM)
Rico Jansen (
Rick Leir (
Jack Reiner (

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