· Naughties
· · 2005
· · · November
· · · · 30 (3 entries)

Office Politics and Profits · In recent weeks I’ve been spending quite a bit of time talking to journalists and analysts about the issues around office-document XML file formats in general, and the Massachusetts dust-up in particular. There’s one exchange that pops up in almost every one of these conversations, and it goes something like this. Journo: “Now, you guys are taking all these idealistic high-minded positions, but you know and I know that what we have here is a battle for market share.” Tim: “That’s part of it, but we think that our interests, and the customers’, are both best-served when there’s no file-format lock-in and there’s a wide-open competitive market.” Now it’s not entirely about business, because governments have policy objectives, for example transparency and freedom of information, that aren’t directly business-related. But indeed, there is a dollars-and-cents business dimension. And to help broaden the knowledge of those dollars and cents, I went and checked Microsoft’s Investor Relations page to look up the Office-related numbers. In the fiscal year that ended July 1st, they reported profit of $7.915B on $11.013B in revenue. The trend continues: in the most recent quarter (ending last September), it was $1.934B on $2.675B. Just FYI.
On “Beyond Java” · I just got around to reading Bruce Tate’s Beyond Java. I think that the senior people in the Java groups at Sun, and all the other Java powers, should read and think about it (and for that matter the CLR people over at Microsoft). The premise of the book is really nothing new: There are a lot of problems out there for which smart, senior people are reporting that there are languages and/or frameworks that produce solutions quicker and better than Java. Beyond Java assembles a lot of this testimony, claims that we’re at an inflection point, and goes on to speculate about what comes next. It argues interestingly by looking back at the history of Java’s explosive rise from nowhere to world domination; but at the end of the day I’m not sure the historical analogies are useful. In other gripes, the book’s structure is a little messy, and the kayaking anecdotes that introduce each chapter could have been dropped without loss of value. I also disagree with Tate’s argument that Swing and SWT are useless, part of the problem not the solution. I hear loud complaints about every GUI-builder; somewhat fewer about those in OS X; anyhow, as far as I know none of the beyond-Java alternatives are rich-user-interface champs. [Thanks to Sam Ruby for pointing out that I’d misread Tate’s argument on this, first time around.] Still, it’s a solid piece of work; see also Sam Ruby’s take and the discussion over at java.net. The book got me thinking about two great big important complicated issues: the future of the JVM, and the right way to build Web applications; but each of those gets its own essay.
On Beyond Java — the JVM · One of the subjects that keeps coming up in Bruce Tate’s Beyond Java is the parts of the Java platform that aren’t the Java language. In particular, the JVM. Is it still interesting, or will the JVM become like the mainframe: not going away, but old-fashioned and out of sight? ...
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