I had lunch with Mike and Christian of Make Technologies here in Vancouver, and in my new capacity at Sun got my ear bent about the Java value proposition. Their key point was: probably more half of the data being crunched out in the business world is being crunched by COBOL programs on mainframes. When these systems really finally can’t be lived with any longer, the CIOs who have to replace them notice that they’re decades old. They’re smart guys who try to learn from what they observe, and they deduce that the next big piece of infrastructure is apt to be with them for a long time. “So,” they wonder, “this JES stuff (or .NET, or whatever) they’re trying to sell me, will it still be a viable platform in 25 years?” Put that way, it sounds to me like a damn good question. I think the Java answer is about as good as anyone’s at the moment, but I suspect it’s something that none of us on either the vendor or customer side have been putting enough thought into.