"There've been three styles of computing. One was the centralized, corporate hair-ball style, where you put all the data, all the applications, all the transactions on one big accelerator on a raised floor in an air-conditioned, locked glasshhouse. You ran dumb terminals to everyone and had a single source of failure. You had 1,000 people hitting on a 50 MIPS processor. "The second model was, 'Let's give everyone their now personal mainframe, their own personal telephone switch. Let them program that switch, configure, load software, administer and then make a 911 call to somebody who's done the same thing on their own personal switch,' and we get suprised that attachments aren't readable or that something crashes or doesn't work. "This new [third] environment is more of a utility model: use the network, use the pipeline. You don't have a well in your backyard, you don't have a nuclear power plant delivering power." * * * * * * Will it be possible for Microsoft to steer this movement in its direction, and if so, to waht extent will that derail the beauty of Java? "They've provided a bunch of booby traps, trap doors, trick mirrors and all the rest, so that when you develop your app, all of a sudden it has these captive Active X wrappers around it. Suddenly you've got write once, run only on Windows. I think it does destroy one of the interesting and compelling advantages of Java. We put together test suites to make sure the virtual machines are compatible, and a certification program so you can build a 100 percent pure Java applet. As a developer, you can write once and run only on Microsoft, or you can write once and run on every computer if you go 100 percent pure. Regardless of what they do, we're going to continue to push 100 percent pure, and we're not going away. There are two answers: freedom of choice or freedom from choice. It's up to the developer and the customer to decide." If Sun owned as much of the desktop market as Microsoft does, -- with the same hope of owning the server market to the same extent -- of course you're not going to be all that thrilled with the new model. "If you have delusions of world domination, you may not want it. If you're Kleenex, you don't want a cure for the cold, right?" Isn't that almost natural for them...
"I suppose. But at some point, don't you want to make the world a better place to live?" * * * * * * "...Java computing is all about the computers you use and don't realize you use them. Every time you turn on your car you're turning on 20 microprocessors. Every time you use an ATM you're using a computer. Every time I use a settop box or a game machine, I'm using a computer. The only computer you don't know how to work is your Microsoft computer, right? The only time you can't send a mail message is when you did it in something other than ASCII. The only time you can't read your e-mail is when somebody sends you a non-ASCII e-mail. These are self-inflicted wounds. I banned PowerPoint at Sun nine months ago, and our earnings skyrocketed. I'm trying to ban e-mail attachments. I just want an ASCII e-mail. If you want to show me something, put it in a Web page, publish it, give me the URL, and I'll look at it. That's the new model." * * * * * * "Never lock your information up in a proprietary format like PostScript, Frame, Interleaf or Word because you need a special application to view it, which probably means you need a special operating system to view the application, which probably means you need an Intel chip to run that application. I tell every CEO, 'Do not let any document of yours be locked up in anything other than HTML.' Because every computer, browser and desktop can unlock an HTML doument and share it with your company. The same is true with an application. Don't ever lock it up in a proprietary environment. Lock it up in Java becasue every computer can unlock a Java application. "These are fundamental statements. I was talking with a big New York bank today, and I said, 'Nobody ships a computer that can't handle ASCII. Right?' Can you imagine a computer that couldn't handle ASCII? Well, that's going to be the same with Java and HTML. So the answer is, all CEOs ought to [decree] that their information can be locked up in ASCII, HTML and Java because then they can get at it from every other computer -- going forward or looking backward. They can unlock that information. That's very powerful; they've never had that flexibility." -- Scott McNealy CEO of Sun Microsystems interviewed in Upside May 1997
Last updated: 25-Jul-97.