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McNealy: Evangelize Java To Fight Microsoft

Sun Microsystems Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy devoted his JavaOne 2002 keynote speech to two things: thanking developers for their hand in Java's success, and beseeching them to evangelize the technology further to ward off "the evil empire" of Microsoft.

Sun Microsystems

McNealy kicked off his address on Tuesday by apologizing for his no-show at JavaOne 2001, joking that he "got a new haircut and put on a collar" to appear before developers this year because he was so excited. "Thanks to all of you for seven great years," he said. "It's amazing to see what you've done with the technology and what the power of community can do."

McNealy also took a new take on his usual Microsoft-bashing rhetoric by outlining how the developer community has split into two camps: Java and .Net, or "mankind vs. the other architecture."

"I think with the community aspects of mankind vs. the other architecture, mankind is going to win. So we appreciate your support," he said.

Sun's new investment in the open-source Linux operating system reflects its efforts to combat .Net, McNealy said. Unlike rival IBM, which last year launched a major investment in the Linux platform, Sun showed no interest in supporting Linux until about a month ago, when it threw its support behind developing Linux servers.

"Linux, I think, is outstanding, and we're pushing that aggressively," McNealy said. "That helps in the mankind vs. monopoly [fight."

The key reason Sun and developers should commit to promoting Java is that virtually any company can offer services using the platform, whereas Microsoft is the sole service provider of .Net via its Passport service, according to McNealy. "With Java, almost everyone can be a service provider. With the .Net model, I think the most important issue is Microsoft wants to be the service provider for .Net. In Java, we have a choice," he said.

McNealy said that's also the main reason why he remains at Sun and continues to battle Microsoft. "People say, 'Why haven't you retired?' I said, 'I can't leave my kids to a world of Control, Alt, Delete,' " he said, referring to the function in Microsoft Windows for rebooting after a system crash. "I can't leave my kids to MSN. I think you [developers should be out there helping your families [by spreading Java use."

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