Fri, 2 Feb 2001 12:44:31 -0500
> Sun had people working the Java project who knew about these serious
> problems, yet virtually nothing was done about them.
This has to do with how Java _really_ originated.
I'm not making this up: One of Sun's Java champions said this in a
thirty-minute info-mercial I watched when I was part of Jersey Shore
SIG-Ada. I suspect the story was altered slightly for public consumtion,
but here it is as I remember it.
Sun assigned a small team to develop a "set-top appliance" (which I assume
was something like either WebTV or TiVo). After a certain amount of
coding time had gone by, they said, "Hey, several classes of bugs we are
finding are very similar to each other. Why don't we make a new
programming language that prevents these?" So, they got a copy of a C
textbook, crossed out everything that was 'dangerous' in their opinion,
and turned the rest into a language. Then added the OO concepts. The guy
even held the book up to the camera and showed how much was lined out on
That's what was on the video. Now here's the part I speculated on after
learning a little about Java: If anybody ever said, "But what about this
feature?" then the answer must have been, "Well, it hasn't caused us as
many problems, so let's leave it in there." For example, since these guys
were all experienced C programmers, for every time they forgot a break
statement, they walked off the end of an array ten times. So they fixed
arrays, but left "break" as it was.
Evidence that they didn't even bother to look at other languages is that
they rejected features as "impossible to do safely" that Ada 95 (and
sometimes Ada 83) had already figured out how to do safely.