Sun, in promoting Java's ``Write Once, Run Anywhere'' philosophy, have amassed a tremendous amount of support. Without question, the level of support Java enjoys is unprecedented in this industry. Because of this support, organizations have poured resources into Java, resulting in a rapidly maturing environment. (I recently read that IBM has 2,500 developers working on Java, compared to Sun's 1,500.)
Does this mean that Sun alone should forever hold the Java specification? No! Java, if it is to be truly open, must be controlled by a standards body or consortium. Sun has shown itself to be deeply committed to delivering on the promise of Java. As a PAS submitter of the Java standard to the ISO, there are certain procedures which Sun must follow for their specification to be accepted by the ISO. To hand the control of the Java specification over to a standards committee now would be foolish. We have the same benefit--approval as a published ISO standard--without the same delays that a committee would inevitably bring about. (C++ didn't get through its standardization process until 1997. We don't have the luxury of waiting that long if Java is to fulfill its promise.) Having Java defined by a standards committee would only serve to provide a means for Java's opponents to break it and make it fail.
A sophisticated language like Java, after having time to mature, running in a secure and scalable environment like the Java Virtual Machine holds the potential to usher us into a new age of software. An age of freedom, where users can use whatever computers they want, without fear of whether applications will run. An age where information technology managers can intelligently provide for the needs of their users.
Allowing anyone to break ``Write Once, Run Anywhere'' would be a tragedy. Sun has an obligation to make sure that the investment in Java of organizations and individuals around the world is protected. Sun has an obligation to work to deliver on the promise it has made to us all.
It is important that users, technology managers, and others understand the potential of Java. It's important that these understand why Java holds the potential it does.
Recognize the potential of Java, support Java's development, and refuse to use software from vendors who claim Java compatibility without supporting ``Write Once, Run Anywhere.'' Hold Sun to its word. Hold Sun's partners to their words. Do not purchase or support nonstandard implementations.
``Write Once, Run Anywhere'' is achievable. We must have it. Do not accept anything less.