Originally posted on zdnet.
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The tale also features his take on input from the web’s ‘father’ Tim Berners-Lee, Netscape co-founder, Marc Andreessen, who co-authored the first browser, Mosaic, Sun co-founder Bill Joy, and Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates.
“The trademark was originally registered by Sun Microsystems, and as of the date of this paper the registration is owned by Oracle Corporation. The trademark was licensed by Sun to Netscape and later to the Mozilla Foundation,” the pair write.
Java was created by James Gosling, also in 1995, while he worked at Sun. Two years after Oracle acquired Sun, he was nabbed by Google during its legal battle with Oracle over the search company’s use of Java APIs in Android.
Gosling joined Tim Bray, another high-profile former Sun engineer who helped open-source Java and would lead Google’s Android developer advocate team from 2010.
However, at the outset, Netscape saw Java as critical to the future of the web and its war with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and proprietary Visual Basic.
According to Eich and Wirfs-Brock, “The rallying cry articulated by Marc Andreessen at Netscape meetings was ‘Netscape plus Java kills Windows’.” In May 1995, as Sun announced Java, Netscape outlined its plan to license Java for its browser.
“Doubters, dominant at Sun and a majority at Netscape, questioned the need for a simpler scripting language: wasn’t Java suitable for scripting; would it be possible to explain why two languages were better than one; and did Netscape have the necessary expertise to create a new language?”
Another choice quote in the paper highlights Microsoft’s radically different approach to proprietary and open-source software in the year 2000 in the context of an “internet tidal wave” that Gates saw coming that was then dominated by Netscape.
“Microsoft, with Internet Explorer, had won and ultimately achieved over 90% market share. It had little ongoing interest in enhancing the web-programming platform over which it had no proprietary control,” the pair write.
“Internally, resources were redirected from enhancing open browser technologies such as ECMAScript to developing proprietary Microsoft technologies such as the Windows Presentation Framework, which it hoped would ultimately obsolete and displace open Web technologies.