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Microsoft Ordered to Carry Java 831

An anonymous reader was the 17,232th person to submit that "Microsoft has been ordered to include Sun's Java runtime in Windows. Coverage from AP (via Yahoo), Reuters (via, and, let's say, the BBC."
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Microsoft Ordered to Carry Java

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  • I dont get this... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 )
    I really don't get this. Why is MSFT forced to include a piece of software written by their competitor into their Operating System ? I know that having a monopoly places restrictions on what you can and can't do, but I was not aware they can go THAT far.
    • by geek ( 5680 )
      I think it was an "all or nothing" solution. MS wants to include a broken Java, SUN says no, they have to carry a real Java VM.

      I think what the decision means is that if MS is going to include Java in it's OS's they have to include the OFFICIAL Java from SUN and not the broken one they released.

      I could have read it wrong tho
      • JVM Not Optional (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zipwow ( 1695 ) <zipwow@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:54PM (#4948321) Homepage Journal
        Here's how I understand it:

        Sun is suing MS in a civil case, saying that Microsoft used their monopoly(1) on desktop operating systems to illegally compete with Sun's Java, in the form of a browser plugin. MS used their OS to hinder Sun by including an out-of-date and broken JVM version for many years, despite better software available (for free) from Sun.

        The judge agreed that this was likely an illegal use of their monopoly(2). MS already attempted to say that browsers (and their plugins, which Java is in this case) are part of the operating system, but that was already rejected in the DOJ case. Because of this precedent, the case looks very strong for Sun, so...

        As a preliminary injunction, the judge ruled that Microsoft has to include the latest version of the JVM from Sun, so that as the case is argued in court (no doubt over a period of years), further damage is avoided.

        I don't read it that Microsoft can 'opt out' of carrying any sort of JVM, especially since that's already their tactic with WinXP.


        1: Monopoly, not illegal in itself. MS has argued that no monopoly exists. The DoJ case's findings of fact specifically described MS' hold on Desktop OS's as a monopoly.

        2: Using a monopoly in one area to hinder competition in another is illegal, and is what Sun is complaining about. Using your desktop power to break into the web-plugin market (and hence the related server market) is what's illegal.
        • I'd heard somewhere that there was also a contractual dispute, where MS had violated an agreement that they had made with Sun, though I'm not
        • Gotcha, that does make more sense.
        • In MS's favor? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by InnovATIONS ( 588225 )
          This to me seems like one of those 'losses' that is really a win.

          The remedy essentially costs MS nothing. They were going to be burning the CD's anyway. I am sure that there were a few extra bytes available on them.

          It means that MS can skip trying to make a good JVM and put those resources elsewhere and nobody will have cause to complain.

          If the JVM for Windows is buggy or slow it is Sun that catches the flak, not MS. Nobody can claim (as it is essentially was done in the suit) that MS is intentionally making the JVM bad because it is no longer Microsoft's JVM. On the other hand MS will no longer have to worry about having to jump through hoops when Sun ammends the Java Specification.

          If then Microsoft makes their .NET clr run rings around Sun's JVM then it will be a matter of the products winning on their own merits, not a matter of MS putting more resources to one than the other. And frankly the odds are pretty good that MS could outprogram Sun. Dislike their business practices all you want but the programmers there are a fairly sharp bunch.

    • by jjohnson ( 62583 )
      Did you miss the whole antitrust trial where Microsoft was found to be, not just a monopolist, but an abusive, predatory monopolist (and then upheld on appeal)? That's why they're being forced to include java: it's called punishment for past wrongs that are about to be repeated.
    • it's because there are no good precedents for the computer industry, especially as far as operating systems go. Where does the operating system and the programs/runtimes/etc. begin and end? where does an OS become unethical and/or abusive? where is the line that must be crossed before an operating system is. With the courts trying to prevent this abuse, the problem is that there is no good line. Due to the existing monopoly, there's no way to do anything that won't totally screw Microsoft unjustly that will make a real dent in their power to abuse their position. The best they can hope for is to preserve competition outside the operating system market itself, and to keep the path clear for Java and any of dozens of other things that aren't standard on Windows without allowing them to be negated by Microsoft products that clone them and won't allow the original to be even realized by the user, much less the original creator have any power over their creation. So, since the only true answer is making it all free as in beer (since otherwise, it'll always be a fight for profit rather than just credit), all we can do is pray that they don't screw too many things up with court precedents.
    • The part you're missing is that MSFT agreed to provide Java in Windows in a contract between it and Sun. They're in court now because Sun says that MSFT's Java VM did not properly follow the standard as the contract said they would, and therefore violated the contract.

      What the court decided is that while they hold this trial, it's clear that if MSFT's Java is violating the deal, every day this would be allowed to continue would just make the situation worse. So, for the time being MSFT must distribute a Java VM that nobody disputes is true to the standard, Sun's own VM.

      In the end, this could end up being the final solution... but it's not because the government is inflicting Java on MSFT. It's because MSFT agreed to put in a true version of Java and then tried to break the agreement, and the government is now trying to make MSFT take its medicine.
    • >Why is MSFT forced to include a piece of software
      >written by their competitor into their Operating
      >System ?

      Because, Microsoft Windows is not just their operating system. It is the basis for a market and as such there are many other people involved than just Microsoft. If you own a market then you have more responsibilities than if you were just merely a player in a more open market.

      Sun, who wants to participate in this market, is having to compete against the OWNER of the market. The OWNER of the market has an unfair advantage in that they can and will build thier competing offering right into the OS to crush Sun. Sun merely wishes to be a player - Microsoft owns the ball.

      Get it?
  • That's ludicrous (Score:2, Insightful)

    What's next? Should Microsoft be forced to include Mozilla with every copy of Windows? How about Linux? Should they have to include 1 copy of FreeBSD, Linux, BeOS and QNX with every sale of their Windows software?

    Now, don't get me wrong, I hate MS as much as the next guy in the open source community, but doesn't this open up a slippery slope? Where does it stop?

    • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:39PM (#4948202) Homepage
      Not really, since Sun/Java was directly named in the findings of fact. The only other entity that might seek similar relief is Netscape. I wouldn't cry over the forced inclusion of that, either.

      The judge isn't forcing Microsoft open to competition generally, he's remedying a situation in which a company was wronged in the past, and (successfully) claimed they were about to be wronged again. This pretty significantly limits the number of companies with a claim.
    • by limekiller4 ( 451497 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:49PM (#4948286) Homepage
      First, I honestly feel bad for ya because you're going to suffer the "Slashdot Death by Disagreement" fate. I disagree with you, but that does not, in of itself, make your post bad. It should be moderated, IMO, merely by how it contributes to good discussion.

      To answer, however, I think that the Reuters article [] covers that question well by quoting the judge:

      "'It is an absolute certainty that unless a preliminary injunction is entered, Sun will have lost forever its right to compete, and the opportunity to prevail, in a market undistorted by its competitors' antitrust violations,' Motz wrote in his decision."
    • by valisk ( 622262 )
      but doesn't this open up a slippery slope?
      Not really, imho its a justified punishment, MS deliberately built an incompatible Java substitute and shipped it with windows, which discouraged users from downloading the multi-platform Sun offering, thereby stifling it's potential to unite various OSes (however dubious that potential may have been). It also didn't help that it gained a reputation for being highly buggy and causing browser crashes ad infinatum. Then when Java was considered an dying backwater they decided to remove support altogether, no doubt in favour of VBscript and those awful Active X insecurity applets, yuk :(~
    • What's next? Should Microsoft be forced to include Mozilla with every copy of Windows?

      If AOL/Netscape/Mozilla can prove harm? Abso-fuckin-lutely!
    • It's a big CD, so why the F*CK not?

      They've got a free playground to do pretty much anything they like. Why not impose this upon them since they are a convicted monopoly.

      Any "extension" or "middleware" or "bundleware" product that Microsoft provides as part of it's OEM OS distribution should be accompanied by products from any compeitor that chooses to ask.
    • by for(;;); ( 21766 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:16PM (#4948488)
      > What's next? Should Microsoft be forced to include
      > Mozilla with every copy of Windows? How about
      > Linux? Should they have to include 1 copy of
      > FreeBSD, Linux, BeOS and QNX with every sale of
      > their Windows software?

      Yes...these are nightmare scenarios...

      > Now, don't get me wrong, I hate MS as much as
      > the next guy in the open source community, but
      > doesn't this open up a slippery slope? Where
      > does it stop?

      It stops when Microsoft stops being a predatory monopoly. It stops when there's competition in the computer industry again. The systems (Mozilla, the OSes) you mention, as well as Java, are at a competitive disadvantage not because of technical or corporate incompetence (generally) but because Microsoft, as has been upheld by the courts, illegally leverages its monopoly to crush competiton.

      Microsoft makes some good stuff. It would make better stuff if it had to compete fairly. My industry, and the world's economy, would be helped by not allowing Microsoft's unlawful strangulation of technology's progress. So anything that helps competition's return helps me.
    • Re:That's ludicrous (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gss ( 86275 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:59PM (#4949087)
      What's next? Should Microsoft be forced to include Mozilla with every copy of Windows?

      In a word yes! That is if Microsoft shipped with Windows say a 5 year old version of Netscape and modified it only work for websites running IIS. (Not the best analogy but the best I could think of right now :)

      This is what essentially Microsoft has done with its bastardized version of the Java VM. Microsoft's VM is an old version of 1.1 modified with it's extensions which enabled developers to lock themselves to the Windows platform. Now of course most developers learned this early on and avoided the lock-in, plus most of Java development is done on the server now, but Mircosoft continues to provide their old VM. This alone has pretty much killed off most client side Java.

      I believe Sun made the first big mistake years ago by not providing the definitive Windows VM. You didn't see Macromedia giving Microsoft the right to implement Flash anyway they saw fit way back when.

      I don't necessarily agree with this ruling either, I actually would have been happy if the ruling was to force Microsoft to eliminate their old VM from existence.
    • Re:That's ludicrous (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper ( 135110 )
      but doesn't this open up a slippery slope? Where does it stop?

      No... and wherever the courts say it stops.

      When you are a monopoly, you no longer have total authority.

      For instance, because utilities are monopolies, many areas have regulations that individuals can pipe their excess power into the grid and get paid the wholesale price for power...

      Local telcos are forced to allow other DSL provides (or telephone service providers) to use their lines at wholesale costs.

      Think of any other monopoly, and there are similar circumstances. Monopolies are allowed to exist only if they serve the public good... They are not allowed to use their monopolies to challenge the competion as any other company could.
  • Well, I can't see how this could be considered "bad" news by those of us who would like to see Microsoft lose their strangle hold on the industry, but surely I'm not the only one thinking this is too little too late.
  • by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:30PM (#4948114) Homepage Journal
    Now all Sun has to do is change their EULA to conflict with Microsoft's EULA. Hilarity ensues.
  • Of course, they were ordered to pull it out because they modded the java code, in an attempt to improve performance.

    Too bad this broke stuff.

    What are the odds this happens again?

    It has just occurred to me that this sort of result is what you get to see with script kiddies and regular code.

    script kiddie as a company policy. who would have thought?

  • So does Microsoft have to include an up to date version of Java, or can they continue supplying the crippled, out of date 1.1, like they've been doing for years?

    Microsoft's dropping Java with XP might almost have been a blessing -- most users would have downloaded it anyway, therefore getting an up to date version.
  • Nice. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Squidgee ( 565373 )
    Nice. Java is a good concept. Slow, mind you, but good, since what runs on Windows (written in Java) will run on Linux will run on Mac OS X. It makes the OS world a better place.
    • Nice. Java is a good concept. Slow, mind you, but good
      It really isn't that slow anymore. I wrote an MD5 implementation in Java [] and when I tested the performance recently I was shocked that my Java implementation was significantly faster at checksumming a large file on my Linux system than the native md5sum binary. Now, Java wasn't entirely responsible for the speed increase (because I later rewrote parts as a native method and this was even faster still, so my optimizations had a lot to do with it), but my point is that JITs have gotten so good now that even computationally intensive Java code can run with comparable speed to native apps and sometimes with superior speed.

      Now if only they would reduce the memory footprint of things like Swing.

  • I made a virtual machine in college. It is based on an LL1 type language and the language is compiled into an intermediate byte code, and then executed on a virtual machine that is platform specific. It's a little buggy, and it crashes the machine occasionally, (hey, I only had one semester in my compilers class to finish it!) Maybe I can force Microsoft to carry it....after all it is a competing technology.

    • Get MS to license a cross-platform standard you created for that VM, then watch them break the cross-platform feature by releasing a moddifed VM that has Windows-only calls (breaking the concept of a VM) and releasing programming tools that claim to be for your standard, but really is their modification of your standard.

      At that point, you can force MS to carry your VM.
  • by 00_NOP ( 559413 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:34PM (#4948159) Homepage
    Those posters who suggest that the courts getting involved might not be good have missed the point: MS is operating an (illegal) monopoly. 98% of the world's computer users are using their software. If MS don't like you, you get screwed, so the courts' intervention can only be a good thing. In a future world where we using all sorts of different OSes and relying on standards to interact then maybe court intervention might be problematic. But we aren't there and we aren't geoing to there for many, many, years to come.
    • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:04PM (#4948747) Homepage Journal
      Right on! Not only should Microsoft be forced to include Java, they should also include Python, Haskell and Tcl/Tk. Make them ship with Navigator AND Mozilla. But icons for both MSOffice and OpenOffice on the desktop. Heck, throw in a loopback distro of Linux while you're at it.

      After all, if Sun cannot compete because Windows doesn't ship with Java, then neither can anyone else who doesn't have their software shipped with Windows.

      Hee, hee. Since Microsoft has been declared an illegal monopoly, they're fair game. Make them do whatever we want. Make them give away MSOffice for free! Make them give all of us a rebate whether or not we've even used their stuff! Make them replace their desktop with GNOME! They're evil so anything the government does to them is justified...
  • Duopoly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hebble ( 35128 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:34PM (#4948165)
    Wait, so let me get this straight:

    If Microsoft bundles its own add-ons into its OS, that's monopolistic and bad; but if Microsoft bundles someone else's add-ons into its OS, that's competitive and good?

    So now instead of one gigantic corporation controlling what's on your computer, there will be two. Ah, so much better.

    • Re:Duopoly? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shelled ( 81123 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:43PM (#4948642)
      Close. When a DOJ-confirmed abusive monopoly bundles an intentionally crippled version of a competitor's add-on into its OS, that's bad: but if, forced by the courts to adhere to a prior contract in good faith, Microsoft bundles the correct add-on, then yes, that's good. Well, for everyone but the monopolist.
  • Seriously, considering the history of this trial, Sun should be able to integrate a ham sandwich with Microsoft's OS if they want to.
    I do hope this is the beginning of a "death of a thousand paper cuts". Microsoft truely does deserves it. From the looks of it, there's already other lawsuits in line for early January.
  • by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:39PM (#4948205) Journal
    An anonymous reader was the 17,232th person to submit...

    17,232th? What the hell? No, no, no... you see this is the reason that Microsoft didn't want java included in the first place... stupid syntactical errors like the above can be generated quite easily using java, but asp libraries prevent such mistakes, and would have genereated '17,232nd' as the proper response.

    Well, unless of course a human wrote that... in which case, shame on you... proof read dang it!

    But on a serious note (to help save my karma), putting aside that this is microsoft, and they are evil, doesn't imposing the will of SUN onto microsoft violate something? or at the very least lower them to the same level? Microsoft wasn't preventing java from running on their os, they simple did not BUNDLE a competing product. What the hell? I don't see the problem. What next? DVD manufacturers have to bundle competing (free) DVD player software with their drives? I think not! Although MS deserves it... as a whole, this is not the right thing to do.
  • hehe (Score:2, Insightful)

    MS is being forced to carry and install software they don't want and won't use. They've been doing that to us for years, now let's see how much they like it!
  • by El ( 94934 )
    Yes, but have they been ordered to make it work properly in Windows???
  • by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:41PM (#4948230) Homepage
    It's interesting to guess whether others are submitting a given story. I guess this was a no-brainer.

    Coercion: the power to require Microsoft to include Java is the same that allows the gov't, or any successful antitrust plaintiff, to force them to do anything different. Because of their market power, which puts them on nearly every desktop in America, their default config has a lot of promotional influence. Up to now, that influence has entirely favored Microsoft, which sounds appropriate ... until you get back to that monopoly abuse.

    Whether THIS particular coercion is a good idea, we'll see. Whether coercion is never the right thing, well that's much broader.

    A partial analogy would be Microsoft owning the default Yellow Pages distributed to everyone's door and selecting who can be in it -- say, virtually everyone but "Sun." Now, anyone can go get one of the other free directories, but will they? Advantage: Microsoft.

    Also, Java isn't exactly a competitor's product; it's also an attempt at an industry-wide open standard that Microsoft wants to subvert, dominate, and exploit. Hey, they already tried.

    It's a difficult problem to set things right in the wake of antitrust problems. Market forces generally do a decent job of figuring these things out (the "invisible hand"). But when some clever party makes the market its own, and then abuses it, the rules have to change, and gov't regulation, or a breakup, are the most common remedies.

    If you don't think MS should have been sued in the first place, you will not believe any of these rationales, and probably not that antitrust is necessary in the first place. Many think some market failures need correction, but not everyone.
  • This is more or less a good thing, but I don't like the precedent.

    Why should Sun get special treatment? Does this mean that every Joe, Dick, and Harry, gets to include his platform independant runtime with windows?

    And how is Java different from, say, Mozilla or Phoenix? It's simply another application that Microsoft is using its monopoly powers to crush.

    With the conditions as they are, all Sun is doing is grabbing onto the coat-tails of Microsoft's monopoly. The only way this is good, is if Microsoft is Sun's only competitor. Otherwise you have just created a second monopoly where there was only one at first.

    If this isn't overturned, get ready for about 1,000,000 lawsuits from software makers clambering to get their product included with Windows. Worst case, I can imagine a future where the government decides which software companies survive and which don't, all by deciding who gets to be included on the common platform.
  • Hello people? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by graveyhead ( 210996 ) <fletch.fletchtronics@net> on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:45PM (#4948258)
    Is it just me, or is this thread boiling over with ignorance?

    This is *exactly* what MS did to Netscape a few years back, and a court found them guilty. They bundled their own technology and made it inconvienient to use competing products. *cough* .NET *cough*

    It seems to me that this judge is basically just upholding that ruling and *not* allowing MS to do the same thing to Sun.
    • Re:Hello people? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mrkurt ( 613936 )
      It's more like, if Judge Motz hadn't ruled in Sun's favor, what you're talking about is a distinct possibility-- .net is still new and hasn't received the level of adoption from Windoze customers that MS would like. And from this developer-- not at all. :) If they were to continue to peddle the POS they call the MS VM, that would be trouble for Java. And as far as putting .net on Win XP, that would be prima facie evidence for Sun that they were trying to drive them off the Windows platform. Hence, it's not included. We'll see whether they can now bundle .net with the OS-- it'll probably require another legal proceeding to decide that matter.
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:47PM (#4948275) Homepage Journal
    The Judge's opinion is available as a PDF [] obtained via the C|Net article [].
  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:50PM (#4948290) Homepage
    A lot of posters have gone on about the pros and cons of this as a victory for sun. But remember, Sun will benefit very little from this. In the Java software space, they're nowhere. They don't sell the language. They have next to nothing to offer for development tools at a price. About all they get is bragging rights.

    It's IBM who's probably tipping the bubbly right now. And, a lot of Java developers.
  • Microsoft has been ordered by the court to ship Java with their OS(s) as a remedy for their past performance.

    Remember: Microsoft contracted with Sun to ship untainted and current versions of Java with their OS products. Microsoft then corrupted their version of Java in order to make it no longer cross-platform compliant. Then they quit updating their version. The result was that many, who think that Microsoft keeps them up to date with the latest and best, came to regard Java as buggy, incompatible with other platforms, and out of date.

    Sun sued Microsoft for breach of contract for developing the corrupt version and then stopping updates. Microsoft retaliated by pulling Java completely.

    Sun is suing Microsoft to live by the terms of the contract. The court has ordered Microsoft to do so as the legal process continues.
  • by bluestar ( 17362 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:55PM (#4948332) Homepage
    ...why Microsoft is being required to carry a competitor's product.

    Microsoft is now competing with Java (with .NET).

    Microsoft has a monopoly in a different market.

    Using a monopoly position in one market to influence another is illegal.

    Microsoft has been distributing an incompatible version of Java.

    Monopolies are required by law to play by different rules.
    • Fair enough, so I can force MS to bundle my text editor program with Windows.
      • Fair enough, so I can force MS to bundle my text editor program with Windows.

        You sure can!
        Just so long as you had a CONTRACT with microsoft about them distributing your text editor. And just so long as they VIOLATED that contract. d+contract []

        The first step was to prevent Microsoft from distributing Java, the second step was to force them to distribute Java. Does that sound contradictory? It isn't.

        The first step was to prevent microsoft from distributing a broken and incompatible version of Java in violation of the contract. The second step was to force them to include a correct and compatible version of Java. Like they agreed to do when they signed the contract.

    • You left out the bit about Microsoft having a contractual obligation to distribute the current untainted Sun Java with their product (something that MS has been violating for years now)
  • by b17bmbr ( 608864 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:59PM (#4948363)
    a long time ago, a company named reynolds was the only producer/developer of aluminum. not only that, but they were going around the world buying up all thye bauxite mines they could find. the feds stepped in and the final decision forced them to set up a whole, new company, (ALuminum COmpany of America, or ALCOA), give them plant and equipment, AND had to forfeit to them some bauxite mines. one of the motivations for this was that aluminum was considered a necessary material, not just for war, but for manufacturing.

    while i don't like government intrusion, there is a very important issue to consider. with its already established monopoly, and many abuses thereof, microsoft has gone way beyond the scope of normal business activity. this is not only a case of insuring competition, but prevents control of the market in a vital sector. economists from all sides, in particular free market champion milton friedman, argue that the role of government in the economy is to prevent monopolies and protect the market system. this doesn't pick winners and losers, just makes sure that the odds are even.
  • From Reuters

    Sun contends Microsoft sabotaged its Java software in order to fend off a threat to its Windows monopoly. It has asked Motz to impose the "must-carry" Java provision to remedy Microsoft's antitrust violations.

    They violated the law. This is their punishment. Please read the article :-/.
  • Doesn't that give Sun an opportunity that would be unavailable to its competitors? Mandating that the monopoly-holder must include a product in its own product stifles competition even more. well, maybe not more, but just as much. they might as well be required to include everyone's programming language into Windows. I think we should tread lightly when we deal with this monopoly. Just because something might hurt microsoft or help one of its competitors, it is not guaranteed to be beneficial to the industry.
  • Slow down... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pb ( 1020 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:31PM (#4948567)
    I'm still trying to figure out why Outlook Express is a required part of Internet Explorer!
  • not good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:34PM (#4948584)
    I don't like Microsoft, but this is not the answer. Sure, Microsoft's Java runtime seemed designed to create distrust in Java's capabilities and security and was damaging Sun's trademark. But the remedy for that is to require Microsoft to stop shipping their broken Java runtime, not to require them to ship Sun's products.

    Beyond that, the failure for Sun to make Java ubiquitous on clients is simply poor marketing and technology on the part of Sun. AOL has managed to get their coasters into every household. If Sun really wanted to, they could do the same thing, and if Sun actually created some compelling Java apps (games, productivity apps, etc.), end users would even have some motivation to install it. But Sun is taking the easy way out by sueing Microsoft because they can't market themselves out of a paper bag and just don't have a product that's compelling to end users.

    It's too bad that software that would be much worthier than Java for forced inclusion in Windows distributions neither has people as shameless as McNealy behind it, nor the legal staff and resources of Sun.

  • by fizban ( 58094 ) <> on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:37PM (#4948605) Homepage
    I've seen a lot of comments here about how this is government intrusion and has no place in a free market.

    That, dear friends, is complete bullshit.

    People seem to equate "free market" with "freedom for companies to do whatever the hell they want." But it doesn't work that way. A free market is a market in which there are multiple companies all competing on the same level with the same rules. And it provides consumers with multiple choices so that they have the power to decide what's the best product to use.

    The key point here is that if the product is a foundation for other products, such as telephone lines, cable service, computer hardware or computer software, you need to set some rules so that everyone has the chance to compete on the same level.

    Think of it like a football game, where one team provides the playing field, the locker rooms and all the other assorted stuff that goes along with a normal game. The visiting team plays at a disadvantage because most of the fans are rooting for the home team, but they still play with the same rules, independent referees, the same size goal posts and end-zone. The home team doesn't get the ability to have things however they want it just because it's their field. There are rules, and they must be adhered to.

    Remember, a free market economy's prime benefactor is the consumer, not the company. When companies become so large that they can influence the consumer's choices no matter what, you lose the benefits of free markets. That is why anti-trust laws were created and one of the reasons you need governments in the first place.

    So, don't think that a free market economy needs no supervision. It needs lots of it, for the benefit of the consumer. In the end, everyone wins, not just one producer of products.

    (BTW, on a completely different note, this is partly the same argument that can be made for affirmative action and programs like it, in order to create a level playing field so that everyone progresses and moves forward, rather than just a select group).
  • Go get them! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@g m a> on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @04:39AM (#4950711) Homepage Journal

    They are still at their best shoddy practises. I say sue them into limbo for whatever stunt they pull. Microsoft have shown us time and time again that they themselves doesnt believe in their own offerings since they go to such great lenght to artificially stifle all and every sign of competition.

    If Microsoft doesnt think their products is worth a rats ass, why should we?

    Im totally "Anything But Microsoft" and my decision seems better and better each day.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @04:54AM (#4950754)
    After reading the judges decision from the PDF helpfully linked elsewhere, I found what I was looking for - the judge does not just generically demand that any .Net implmentation must also ship with Java, but also that in particular IE must ship with the Java Plug-In and Windows Update must notify MS users of Java to make it availiable for install.

    That is huge. If the Java plug-in really is everywhere, it might well help stamp out crappy java programs everywhere that are forced to run in the shadowland between IE's VM and all others. It means that with a modern Java VM everywhere, you really might be able to develop and distriibute a nice Java application for web distribution much easier. Corperate developers do not have to weigh the choice between a good UI and features with a lengthy plugin download vs. just making do with a very limited interface, either AWT or pure HTML/DHTML.

    Although this has nothing to do with my main point, I really liked this quote from the judge:

    If, as Microsoft asserts, the granting of preliminary relief is extraordinary, the short answer is that extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary remedies.

    Another very interesting point the judge makes is that (and this is the exact wording from the descision):

    "Sun has no control over the JCP"

    All of you out there who keep claiming Sun controls Java ponder that. The injunction would have Sun provide MS a VM to ship along with .Net (sorry for the buzzword bingo there), but that VM must pass tests from the JCP to insure the distrubited VM is valid (de-facto standard) java!!! (my own wording there). Repeat after me - the JCP defines what Java is, and sun does not control the JCP. Sorry for repeating that, but I thought it would be helpful as few seem to believe it and perhaps having a federal judge pointing it out to them will help. Responses arguing against this point will have to study the workings of the JCP and then provide specific examples of how sun "controls" the JCP or they will be ingored.

    This is also a judge that knows what he is talking about, just reading the document he issued supporting the injunction provided a number of points that no poster here has managed to make in the course of 500+ comments, and also addressed a number of the arguments against the injunction that posters here have raised. After reading the PDF about 499 of the 500+ posts could probably be removed without any overall loss of content.
  • by slantyyz ( 196624 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @06:40AM (#4951026)
    I'm not siding with Microsoft per se, but what is the point of including the Sun JVM with Windows?

    I don't think the masses are buying Windows to write their own Java programs, are they? The main benefit to the average user to have the Sun JVM would be what? To run some ugly Java applet? Don't even get me started on Swing applications.

    Regarding Netscape, I would argue that this was Netscape's downfall as well. (Everyone knows how big a piece of crap IE3 was, and everyone knows how big a piece of crap Netscape 4 was. Netscape 4 was Netscape's downfall. Coming out with a competent browser now isn't enough to break the multiyear stranglehold given to Microsoft by Netscape 4.) In the earlier days of the browser wars, people were smart enough to pick the browser that did a better job. Today? I don't know.

    Let's be realistic - most users don't need or care about Sun's JVM at this point in time.

    In the grand scheme of things, I think most end users have more need for the Macromedia Flash plugin than the Sun JVM. Of course, The Register [] has a story talking about Microsoft making a hostile bid for Macromedia.

    Ultimately, forcing Microsoft to add Java to Windows accomplishes little, since Joe Average won't be impacted in any meaningful way. This is as empty a moral victory as Sun can possibly have. And for the users who actually use Java, it will probably end up being more of an inconvenience, as they'll be upgrading to a more recent version of the VM anyways.
  • by ONOIML8 ( 23262 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @09:11AM (#4951301) Homepage
    In a story about any other company I could see this being an important story. And I could discussing it on /.

    The court orders Microsoft to do a lot of things.


    The court doesn't follow thru with anything directed at Microsoft. There is no enforcement, no actual punishment.

    You wouldn't raise your kids this way. You wouldn't tolerate this kind of behavior from your neighbors. You would expect/demand that the courts stand behind what they say in any other case.

    But this is not what happens with Microsoft.

    So some lawyers and a judge got their chests all fluffed up and announced that Microsoft will carry java.

    If you think that actually means that Microsoft will include java....well, I've got some great real estate deals for you.

    Wake up people!

Why won't sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.