Father of Java Sounds Off

James Gosling reflects on everything from open source to state of development tools.

James Gosling, the father of Java and a fellow at Sun Microsystems Inc., graced the Software Development Conference and Expo East 2002 with his presence this week, addressing a wide range of issues from Suns software strategy to Web services to embedded Java to open-source software.

Gosling delivered an evening keynote address Wednesday at the show in Boston, but also spent a session with the press answering questions about everything under the sun.

With Web services a hot topic, Gosling addressed the issue and, in the process, gave credit to Sun rival Microsoft Corp. for its stewardship of Web services standards.

"Microsoft is in front of the game right now in that theyve made commitments to standards, and if they honor those commitments it will be good for the industry and for interoperability," Gosling said. "But if you read any of the e-mails from the court cases, its obvious that Microsoft hates interoperability."

Meanwhile, in response to questions from the press corps, Gosling defended Suns software efforts. He said Sun has basically received a bad rap for its support of XML in the Java 2 Enterprise Edition platform. Gosling said that the fact Sun got criticized for lacking XML support was based on a misunderstanding. J2EE 1.3 is out in the market, and "it runs on top of JDK [Java Devlopers Kit] 1.4 that has all the XML APIs in it. So its more a matter of naming," Gosling said.

He said "the Java system is architected to be very modular so you can drop things in."

Gosling later spoke of Microsofts .Net strategy and its Java-like C# language, saying C# and Microsofts memory model around C and C++ is unsafe.

"C# has this unsafe access facility," he said. "The C and C++ memory model strikes a bullet through the heart of Microsofts CLR [Common Language Runtime] strategy."