Could Python supplant Java?

Rex Ballard rballard at
Thu Aug 22 02:54:43 CEST 2002

netvegetable wrote:

> Not offering any personal opinion on this conjecture, but a lot of
> people are saying that java has failed to become a widely accepted
> cross platform language for applications.

Java is still quite popular, and has established a pretty 
substantial market share.  Microsoft is fighting Java and trying to 
Undermine Java 2 by bundling an older version of Microsoft's 
insecure JVM, but getting JRE is very easy, and even JDK is pretty 
easy to get if you want it.  And since JDK 1.3 have some execellent 
IDEs available, on both Linux and Windows, it's pretty easy to 
implement applications that work on Both Linux and Windows.

> These leaves the world defenseless against the Microsoft Borg.

PLEASE!!!  - Microsoft has no really good general purpose scripting 
languages, and no low-cost development languages.  PERL, PYTHON, 
JAVA, and TCL can all be downloaded for free.  Microsoft obviously 
doesn't pay $4 billion/year to promote these Open Source based 
languages which can create products and projects that can run on 
both Linux and Windows.

Of COURSE Microsoft is going to spend their $Billions promoting C# 
and Visual Basic, which run Exclusively on Windows and do not 
support comprehensive implementations on Linux.

Of course, if you want some heavy-duty portability, you have 
cygwin, which give you the ability to run Linux programs on 
Windows, including Windows NT, 2000, and XP.  Cygwin isn't as 
secure, stable, and fast as Linux (after all you are ultimately 
dependent on Windows infrastructure), but it's a nice way to make 
the transition.

> But could Python do the trick? The python interpreter is smaller
> than the JRE, and it's certainly a nicely structured language,
> with nearly all the coding features of Java.

Unfortunately, Python, PERL, TCL/TK, Ruby, and the other fine 
languages all have to be loaded AFTER the machines are shipped. 
Obviously, it would be nice if OEMs could install PERL, Java 2, 
Python, and others as part of their OEM installation, when it can 
be put on the master disk.  It would cost nothing, or extremely 
little, and would provide new capabilities not currently available 
to Windows.  It would also make hundreds of applications available 
as well.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has insisted on complete control of the 
preinstalled suite and is doing everything they possibly can to 
maintain that control despite the unanimous ruling of the Appeals 
court full panel that such exclusion of competitors is explicitly 

Sun is likely to be the strongest candidate to be prepared to fight 
this or have Microsoft cited for contempt.  Sun could offer Java 
JRE and/or JDK, Star Office, and other applications which could be 
installed by OEMs for prices that are very competitive with 
Microsoft's office, JDK, and IE/VBScript.

Red Hat could also press for the inclusion of Cygwin, in this case 
possibly even at no cost to OEMs.  Corporate customers could also 
begin using Cygwin - including Python, Perl, and TCL/TK.

These are "first steps" - steps that would create an application 
base that could lead to a marketplace in which both Windows and 
Linux compete in an open and equally accessible market.

For this reason, Microsoft will do everything it can to fight this 
technology, since it cannot be controlled.  Microsoft has even 
tried to force Corporations to agree to NOT use Open Source 
technology such as Python on their Windows desktops.  The DOJ has 
ignored this, the Courts have ignored this, and Microsoft has tried 
to divert attention by releasing a support pack that allows users 
to choose which web browser they want to use.

As long as Microsoft controls access to the OEM distribution 
channel, and has the ability to control what OS, Applications, and 
systems can be installed on PCs, they will do everything in their 
power to "Lock out" any technology which can be supported by both 
Linux and Windows.

> --
> netvegetable at

Rex Ballard
Enterprise/B2B IT Architect
Visionary for the Linux community

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