The final keynote address of last month's JavaOne developer conference in San Francisco had three overarching themes: Linux is good, Microsoft is evil, and appliance computing is here to stay. This is the message that over 20,000 Sun Microsystems technology devotees will take home after attending the fourth annual gathering of Java developers, arguably the biggest event of its kind in the world.
"Java was a vision last year, this year, it's reality," said John Arnold, Sun's technology manager for Asia-Pacific, referring, among other things, to Motorola and Palm devices powered by the K virtual machine (KVM) that created all the buzz at the site this year.
The unveiling of the KVM, a key element of the Java2 Platform, Micro Edition, delivered good on Sun's promise last year to take Java down the consumer devices path.
As an end-to-end Java technology, Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition, has been envisaged as the technology for the high-volume consumer space that will target products such as pagers, mobile phones, screenphones, digital set-top boxes and car navigation systems.
The announcement of the redefined Java 2 Platform was used by Scott McNealy, chairman, CEO and president of Sun Microsystems, as a prelude to his address that discussed the new computing model in which software will become a commodity and will be replaced by appliances and services.
Under this new appliance/services model, McNealy said that only three architectures will continue to thrive: Linux, Wintel, and Java/Solaris/Sparc/ Jini. "What used to be software applications will become features accessible from a Java browser," he said.
Meanwhile, the demonstration of the commitment of major vendors to core standard technologies such as Linux, Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Java was spearheaded by Patricia Sueltz, general manager for Java at IBM, who pleaded with the audience to "refuse to conform to proprietary development models".
"Throw them out! Subvert the forces that would fragment Java! Continue to fight for open standards," she shouted. In response to a petition signed by almost 1000 developers, IBM itself last week released VisualAge for Java.
Among other initiatives aimed at speeding up the uptake of Java, Sun announced Sun Developer Essentials hardware, a software and tools package that, according to the company, will deliver up to 75 per cent discount on the purchase of equipment and software needed for commercial application development for the Java and Solaris platforms.
Numerous announcements, 600 speakers and squillions of Microsoft insults were all part of the conference that will go down in history as the biggest show of support for the Sun technology to date.