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December 8, 2003

Look for the Java Label

Posted by Mike on December 8, 2003 12:17 PM

I'm beginning to think that the worst mistake Sun made in the past few months was naming its "Mad Hatter" product the Java Desktop System. Why? Because, I suppose, Java has next to nothing to really do with the product. It's a SUSE Linux system using GNOME, Mozilla, and StarOffice wrapped up with a little bow. They bundle a current Java runtime with it, sure, but the whole system isn't "java-based." If anything, it's Linux-based.

That doesn't, however, deter eWeek's intrepid (but not particularly curious) Peter Galli, who should know better, from quoting and not qualifying an "analyst" who says "in terms of how well it can do, I believe 100 percent that a Windows-powered device would do far better than a Java-powered device" when referring to a potential WalMart deal that would put Sun JDS-powered PCs and laptops on the shelves. Nor does he qualify the comments of an "IT manager" who prefers to go unnamed when that source says:

"I personally keep Java off my computer because it crashes the system," he said. "If Sun had the interests of the customer in mind, then the Sun desktop would be written in C and donated to Linux. Sun is no better than Microsoft."

Bwah? GNOME is pretty much "written in C," and while it hasn't been "donated to Linux" I'm fairly sure the kernel isn't the place for desktop environments.

Sun has only itself to blame, though: "Java Desktop System" sounds like it means "Java-based" at first blush, and it's the first blush reaction you'd better count on when the coverage starts.