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Week of March 8, 2000

Paul Thurrott of Windows NT Magazine used to be a reliable authority. Paul Thurrott used to be capable of writing thoughtful essays full of insight on happenings in the world of MS Windows. That his particular sphere of interest happened to be MS Windows was no compromise: Paul Thurrott used to tell it like it is. As recently as a month back, Paul reported on the deplorable state of Win2K in clear language.

Now suddenly the tone has changed, and Paul's currency is losing its value. That Microsoft might be 'betting the bloat' on Win2K is one thing, but to think that Paul might be doing the same comes as a shock.

By way of contrast, Radsoft deals primarily with MS Windows platform issues too, but has ostensibly not been bought, has always told it like it is, and will of course continue to do so. There is no reason for anyone, Radsoft, Paul Thurrott or anyone else, to do otherwise, as credibility is the overriding currency here, without which words become worthless. The only possible explanation for any deviation from this rather obvious strategy, as has been noted time and again, manifests itself when vested interests take hold.

One month ago the tune was 'Win2K beta testers are suddenly going to find old NT 4 very attractive'. Now suddenly it's 'Win2K has all these cool user enhancements, like rolling tool tips', and this week's newsletter definitely passes the point of no return, declaiming that Windows is the only platform worth developing applications for - including Java.

At stake here is the exact gist of the DOJ case against Redmond and the core strategy of that company in brutalizing the market. Middleware is a threat to the domination of Windows, a way for developers to find a means of writing applications that work on any machine, and not just those running MS Windows. Middleware is the single most tangible threat to Redmond, one which they found no expense too great to suffer in crushing, which set in motion everything leading up to Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's Finding of Facts.

Java, like the Netscape API, is middleware.

Now we see Paul Thurrott playing right into Redmond's hands. Because he too, like Redmond, seems to be 'betting the bloat' on Win2K after all. As he reveals in the same newsletter, he has a number of web sites of his own, all geared towards MS Windows, which he has recently succeeded in selling to Windows NT Magazine. Ironically, it's almost as if he's begging us to see through him.

You be the judge: decide yourself if Paul Thurrott is capable of telling you the truth anymore, or if he, like so many others, now that Microsoft has rolled out a new money maker with its concomitant potential for so much financial osmosis, is prepared to twist you in any direction which ultimately turns down the road to Redmond. No claim or accusation against Paul Thurrott is made here; read the following from his newsletter of March 7, 2000 and decide for yourself.

The Java 'write-once-run-anywhere' slogan hasn't been bandied about much lately, but I've always thought something about the whole 'Pure Java' issue was fishy, though I could never explain why. This week, however, I was researching object-oriented programming (OOP) theory for an upcoming book on Visual Basic (VB) 7.0, and I found this quotation from Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the C++ programming language; his words really hit home.

'Java isn't platform independent; it is a platform,' says Stroustrup. 'Like Windows, it is a proprietary commercial platform. That is, you can write programs for Windows/Intel or Java/JVM, and in each case you are writing code for a platform owned by a single corporation and tweaked for the commercial benefit of that corporation.'

Sun Microsystems is no longer pushing Java as a platform competitor for Windows, so the point might be moot. Still, I was amazed to see this statement, which completely explained away my disconcerted feelings toward Java. And as I note in a news item in this issue about Sun Microsystem's determination to work outside of standardization, when it comes to developing for closed platforms, sticking with the platform that has the most users makes sense. Guess which one that is? (Hint: It's not Java.)

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