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Exciting News from JavaOne 2000 

Wow! The JavaOne 2000 Developers' Conference is an amazing testament to the power and popularity of the Java platform. This year's conference saw an unprecedented number of developers flocking to the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. While attendance was anticipated to be over 20,000, significantly more people turned up. An estimated 25,000 Java developers visited the conference, making it the biggest JavaOne yet!

This year marks a special event in the history of Java - its fifth anniversary, and over 2.5 million downloads of the Java Development Kit (JDK). Over 175 sessions on a huge range of Java topics were available, and during the conference more sessions were added. Inside the Java Pavilion, over three hundred exhibitors demonstrated the latest in Java product and services. Though the crowds made getting around the conference a little slower, it was gratifying to see the enthusiasm of fellow developers to learn more about Java.

Keynotes Speakers

While the various technical and business sessions catered for very narrow and specific interests, the most popular part of JavaOne is the keynote presentations by industry leaders. Even several hours before the keynotes, at six in the morning, queues were fairly long outside. The first of the keynotes was delivered by Scott McNealy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Tuesday Keynotes

Scott McNealy is known as an enthusiastic and entertaining speaker, who likes to give "Top Ten" lists. Though not as funny as Dave Letterman, his lists are very topical and technology oriented. This year, Scott couldn't resist poking fun at Microsoft and the Department Of Justice anti-trust trial and Outlook's I-Love-You virus, with his "Top 10 new slogans proposed by the DOJ for Microsoft Outlook". Some of them were funny, others real stinkers (though this was planned, and a crashing sound accompanied them)

  • 10. Look out, here comes Outlook
  • 9. Hey, where did you want go today, anyhow?
  • 8. I can't believe it ate the whole thing.
  • 7. Call 1-800-CONTROL-ALT-DELETE
  • 6. (Parodying AOL) You got nailed
  • 5. You deserve a break today. Oh excuse me, that one's for Windows
  • 4. (Parodying Nike) Just don't do it. Even if it does say, 'I love you', Just don't do it!
  • 3. "Got data? Are you sure?"
  • 2. "So, punk, do you feel lucky today?" And the number one slogan, sung to the Barney theme song:
  • 1. "I love you, you love me, look what happens with VB"

Scott was an interesting speaker, and covered the reasons why he believed Java had been so successful in the last five years. Safety, scalability, network connectivity, productivity, and inexpensive licensing of Java technology (after all, JDK is free, along with IDEs like NetBeans/Forte Community Edition), and the growth of the network are all contributing factors. He stressed, however, that the most important reason was the enthusiasm and passion that developers have for Java, and the sense of community that has developed.

Steve Jobs announces Java 2 for in MacOS10
Courtesy Sun Microsystems
Next, came time for the big announcements. Sun Microsystems typically holds off the big news until the annual JavaOne conference, so there's always something exciting going on. The first, and for a large number of developers the most important, was made by a guest speaker, no other than Steve Jobs. Steve announced a major commitment by both companies to support Java, and that Java 2 Standard Edition will be bundled with every copy of Mac OS10 later this year. A new Swing Look-and-Feel (L&F) called Aqua will be available. During a brief, but visually spectacular, demo of a Swing applet whose GUI was specified by server-side generated XML, the Java 2 JVM for the Mac was shown. Previous Mac support of Java, left a lot to be desired, and the new Java 2 support is an exciting prospect for developers and end-users. Even if you hate Macs, a large number of users will now be able to run your software applications.

The other major announcement from Scott was support for Java on another major platform. What's that you say? There are only three major platforms (PC, Mac, and Unix), and they're already covered? Wrong! You've forgotten gaming.

Dreamcast does Java
Courtesy Sun Microsystems
The sales of gaming consoles make them a very serious platform for developers. It has, however, been an untapped market. Sega's Shoichiro Irimajiri announced that the Dreamcast, arguably one of the most advanced gaming consoles available on the market, will now run Java. Java gaming is set to be an important new field of development. Already there are commercial games out there on the market, such as "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" by Jelly Vision, is written in Java (with JNI used to display the graphics and sound). Furthermore, Sun Microsystems is looking into supporting gaming even further, with the possibility of other consoles supporting Java. This is exciting times for developers, and the emergence of a Java gaming industry.
Magic Johnson
Courtesy Sun Microsystems
The rest of the keynote session covered the success of other Java topics, such as the Java 2 Micro-Edition platform (J2ME), Java TV and Jini. The final big announcement came from American Express, which have launched the Amex Blue Card. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it contains a JavaCard chip inside. American Express, and Sun Microsystems, are running a competition to generate ideas for applications that use the Blue Card. To launch the competition, they invited Magic Johnson on stage (who graciously signed autographs after the keynote). First prize is $50,000, second prize is $25,000, and third prize $15,000. For those who want to enter, details are available at

Wednesday Keynotes

Wednesday's keynote speakers were two of the most important Java visionaries, having contributed to and shaped the direction of Java. The first, Bill Joy, is known as the father of Jini and a strong advocate for this technology. The second, James Gosling, is heralded as the father of Java, having created the original Java language and written the Java language specification. 

Bill Joy
Courtesy Sun Microsystems
Bill Joy talked about technology in general, and the limitations in miniaturization technology that threaten the continuation of Moore's law of computing (computing power doubles every 18 months). He speculated about recent advances in nanotechnology and quantum computing that might allow the expansion of computing power to continue indefinitely, and was careful to reassure the audience that we can still expect about a hundred-fold increase in computing power before we start hitting brick walls. 

Bill Also talked in general about the web, and presented his "six webs" theory. His view is that there are at least six views of the web now: -

  • the "near" web: computers and desktop machines that are near to users
  • the "far" web: set-top boxes for television (ala WebTV) that are out of reach of users, and are accessed using a remote control
  • the "here" web: PDA's, mobile phones, wireless devices, that are always here on-demand
  • the "weird" web: non-standard input devices such as speech recognition and speech synthesis to facilitate web access
  • the "e-commerce" web: automated business to business (B2B) transactions, and consumer transactions between business and shopper
  • the "pervasive" web: a web where environmental sensors and controls are present all around the home, and linked together by Jini

Bill Joy's vision was interesting, if not particularly Java-orientated. Java and Jini will likely control all of these webs, if Scott McNealy and Bill Joy have their way, but it was more of a vision than a reality, and very short on technical details.

James Gosling, on the other hand, took a very Java-oriented approach. The main focus of his talk was on real-time Java, a very practical application in stark contrast to Bill Joy's talk.

Courtesy Sun Microsystems
Gosling talked about the need for accuracy in real-time systems, as a single mistake might cause death if it occurred in a critical system. He also described how he wrote the Real-Time Java Specification using the Javadoc tool. Following the talk was a demonstration of real-time Java in action, with two robotic hands that played chopsticks on a piano. Not a mean feat, considering that both needed to be synchronized in real-time to perform the keystrokes. Even a slight delay would have caused a problem (special care has been taken to prevent the garbage collector jumping in at an inopportune moment).


Java developers have a lot to be excited about this year. With a slew of new and exciting announcements about Java, there are plenty of opportunities for developers out there to "cash-in" on the Java wave. Scott McNealy emphasized in his keynote address that new Java startups are placed to win big, and that Java was a profitable business. While the managers, analysts, and business gurus will no doubt be excited at this prospect, for the average developer the most important thing to come across from McNealy's talk is the support of Java on major new platforms, from the Macintosh and Dreamcast, to the humble credit card. While Bill Joy and James Gosling's talks were not, perhaps, as exciting, they were nonetheless inspiring in their outlook for the future of technology and Java.

About the Author

David Reilly is a software engineer and freelance technical writer living in Australia. A Sun Certified Java 1.1 Programmer, his research interests include the Java programming language, networking & distributed systems, and software agents. He can be reached via e-mail at or his personal Web site.


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Last updated: Monday, June 05, 2006