Monday, September 12, 2011

Network computers part 2

More JVM discussed below, but it must be said that the developers in Sun made an effort to make this machine a very real and not just virtual. May 29, 1996 declared the operating system Java OS (the final version released in March next year). According to a press release, it was "probably the smallest and fastest operating system that supports Java". Indeed, developers have sought to ensure the ability to execute Java-based applications to the broadest range of devices - network computers, handheld computers (PDA), printers, gaming consoles, mobile phones, etc. It was expected that the Java OS will be implemented on all hardware platforms. It was necessary for the original purpose of the creators of Java - ease of adding new functionality and compatibility of all electrical appliances used by the modern consumer.

It was the first step, promoter of the Java platform down one level - the level of operating systems. Supposed to take the next step - to create a hardware architecture, the CPU, which would be directly performed without any manual Java virtual machine. A device with such a realization would be a full-fledged Java-device.

In addition to household appliances, Sun has positioned this decision and for the computer industry - networked computers have been replaced by diverse platform of personal workstations. This approach fits well into the basic concept of Sun, expressed in the motto "The Network - a computer." The possibilities of a computer will never be compared with the possibilities of a network linking all the resources of the company, and even more - around the world. Perhaps today it is obvious, but in times when the WWW is not entangled planet, the idea was revolutionary.

If, however, to build multi-functional network, to its workstations are presented very different requirements - they should not be a particularly powerful computing tasks can be shifted to servers. This is even more advantageous as it allows to centralize support and software updates, and does not force employees to be tied to their jobs. Simply log in from any terminal network login - and you can continue from the point at which it was abandoned. This can be done in the study hall for presentations, cafe, chair plane home - anywhere!

Besides the obvious convenience, this initiative was enthusiastically supported by the industry and the fact that it was a powerful weapon in the fight against the largest software vendor - Microsoft. Then (and now) was the most common platform for the Windows operating system for processor-based Intel (with someone else's hands now many easy-called Wintel). These companies have managed to create a vicious cycle that ensures success - all of them used the platform as it is written under most programs, which, in turn, forced the developers to create new products for this platform Wintel. Because Microsoft is always very aggressively expand their advantage in the personal computer (remember, like Netscape Navigator hopelessly lost competition MS Internet Explorer), this could not cause great concern other members of the computer industry. It is clear that the concept of networked computers would negate the benefits in case of Wintel widespread. The developers have simply ceased to wonder what is inside their workstation, as well as home users have no idea on what chips assembled their mobile phone or a VCR.

We have already talked about how and why Microsoft has licensed Java, although it would seem that this step only contributed to the spread of a dangerous new technology, because Internet Explorer is gaining in popularity. However, it soon broke judicial scandal. September 30, 1997 was a new IE 4.0, but already October 7 Sun announced that this product does not pass tests for compliance with the specification of virtual machines. Sun November 18 appeals to the court to prohibit the use of the logo "compatible with Java" ("Java compatible") for MS IE 4.0. It turned out that Microsoft has a slightly "improved" the language of Java, adding a few new keywords, and libraries.Not that it was super-expanding, but very attractive to a significant part of the developers start to use it. Fortunately, Sun quickly realized the gravity of such a step. Java might lose the title of a universal platform for which the faithful famous slogan "Write once, run everywhere" ("Written once, run everywhere"). In this case, it would lose the basis of his success, becoming just "another language".

Sun's managed to defend its technology. March 24, 1998 the court agreed with the requirements of the company (of course it was only a preliminary decision, the case ended with a January 23, 2001 - Sun received compensation of $ 20 million and has made the implementation of the license agreement), and already May 12 Sun reappears, demanding to oblige Microsoft to include a full version of Java for Windows 98 and other software products. This litigation is still ongoing, with varying success sides. For example, Microsoft has excluded from the virtual machine library Internet Explorer java.rmi, allowing you to create distributed applications in an attempt to attract the attention of developers to DCOM-technology platform is tied to Win32. In response, many companies began to distribute a special supplement (patch), eliminates this drawback. As a result, Microsoft has stopped its support for Java 1.1, which is currently outdated and has many useful features. This, in turn, effectively ending the widespread applets, except a very simple functionality (such as scrolling text or dialogue with several input fields and buttons), or applications for internal networks of corporations. For the latter case Sun has released a special product Java Plug-in, which integrates into MS IE and NN, allowing them to execute Java-based applet of the latest versions, and full compliance with specifications is guaranteed (the original product called Java Activator, and was first announced December 10, 1997 .) At the moment, Microsoft is included, it excludes from its Java operating system, Windows XP, apparently trying to find the most advantageous variant.

As far as network computers and Java OS, then, alas, they have not yet found their customers. Apparently, the usual personal workstations in conjunction with the JVM requires much less technical and marketing efforts and at the same time quite successfully cope with applied problems. And Java, in turn, was positioned to create sophisticated server applications.
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