Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 01:44:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: Java Lobby Members
Subject: JAVA LOBBY Members - Stand together for Java portability!

Dear Friends in the Java Lobby,

Today Microsoft released the final version of the Internet Explorer 4.0 web browser. This browser, as expected, does not contain an implementation of Java that is fully-compliant with the Java core platform. It may have a compatible JVM, but it does not contain the full class libraries of the JDK 1.1 implementations of Java. The omissions seem to be intentional.

Let's be clear, Microsoft is deliberately trying to destroy the chance for Java to fulfill its "write once, run anywhere" promise. Java portability is the single most attractive and critical of its features, and Microsoft wants to nip it in the bud. Microsoft wants to prevent Java from successfully reaching maturity because Microsoft cannot control Java.

No longer should we hope for or debate the desirability of partnership in Java with Microsoft. They do not want our partnership, they do not want Java to succeed, and they do not want us to succeed in our efforts with Java. It is no longer time to "wait and see", for we can now see Microsoft unequivocally in its true colors.

In contrast to its oft-stated position that it will listen to the developer community, Microsoft has chosen to thumb its nose at us in the Java Lobby, and I strongly suspect at most Java developers at-large. I would challenge Microsoft to prove otherwise.

I would like to share with you a quote from an article in today's ComputerWorld. This is the first hint I have seen of a response to our "Open Letter to Bill Gates and Microsoft." The full text of the article can be found here.

Cornelius Willis, director of platform marketing at Microsoft, said he plans to respond to Ross, but his message probably isn't what Ross wants to hear.

"This guy is hanging on a limb," Willis said. "Anybody riding on Java is, and that's very sad ... and there will be lots more disappointed as they realize how bad it's going to get."

We should not be waylaid by efforts of highly paid marketing gurus and professional spin-doctors. These people may preach as though they understand the issues, but we know that most of them have never even written "hello, world" in Java. They are not our peers, they are not developers, they are mouthpieces. They are paid to disinform, and to try to cast doubt on the viability of the emergent platform that we have collectively decided to support.

I will oppose them, and I will oppose Microsoft's attacks on Java, vehemently.

I will not refer to what Microsoft has delivered as "Java". They may call it "best of breed" if they wish, but the species to which they refer is clearly not Java.

I will speak against Microsoft disinformation about Java at every opportunity.

I will not use Internet Explorer 4.0, and I will not recommend it to anyone. In fact I will advocate against its use.

I will be able to explain, in plain terms, why I feel Java portability is so important. I will know how to discuss the subject politely and intelligently, and I will exercise all persuasion to win support for Java portability.

I will take every chance I get to make it clear that I believe Java represents our best hope for freedom of choice in the future of technology, and that I feel Microsoft is trying to kill it.

These are practical measures I can take. I formerly had Internet Explorer 4.0 beta installed on my machine, but I have now deleted it. I will not re-install any Microsoft browser until I have reason to believe that it includes full support for the Java core platform.

I hope each of you will stand with me in opposition to this Microsoft attack on Java portability, and that our unity will inspire others to join us. The Java Lobby is about all of us, together. I firmly believe that together we can accomplish what none of us could do alone.

Ask your friends and colleagues to join us, it is now more important than ever!

The half-truths Microsoft is spreading about Java will never convince me, and I will try in every way to prevent them from convincing others. If you will do the same, then we will prevail.

I have no fear, and I will not back down. The Java Lobby is doing the right thing and it needs your help. Please visit our website at once a day if you can, participate in the dialogs and share your ideas there. Ask your friends to join us. Together we can figure out how to overcome Microsoft's flagrant attacks on Java portability. If I can prevent it, then I will never let them succeed.

I will leave you with another quote from Cornelius Willis, the very same. This time it is from an article that was published in OneMind a little over a year ago.

"He (Cornelius Willis) swallows hard and says if they get what they want in negotiations with Sun, they will become a leading vendor of Java developer tools based on their C++ product, like Borland and Symantec. I can print that, he says. He wants the world to know that Microsoft thinks Java is cool and he wants to empower developers, he wants them to be free. Free to build Java or Visual Basic applets, free to use Internet Explorer or Netscape. Free, free, free, he wants to free the 4.5 million Windows developers that Microsoft views as its market."

"We want developers to know that we are going to give them a choice with safety. We will enable everything for both Java and Visual Basic, JavaScript and VBScript. Everything will run in Netscape, we will be browser independent."

"We are going to give developers maximum opportunity to take advantage of everything out there on the Net even if it doesn't belong to Microsoft. And we are going to provide maximum leverage for developers to use the tools they know and love on multiple platforms."

After reading such amazing hypocrisy I ask you: "Where do you want Microsoft to go today?"

Best regards,
Rick Ross
The Java Lobby
Unite for Java! -