1996-04-27 - Re: The Joy of Java

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From: tcmay@got.net (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 4a1fab6e8aa446fe2f0fb97883a8f97aac6f336725f184ded43bf0a0f7af05e3
Message ID: <ada79e9200021004908e@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-04-27 22:43:50 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 28 Apr 1996 06:43:50 +0800

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From: tcmay@got.net (Timothy C. May)
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 1996 06:43:50 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: The Joy of Java
Message-ID: <ada79e9200021004908e@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 7:51 AM 4/27/96, Dan Busarow wrote:

>At Usenix 96 in San Diego it was pointed out that applets are an abberation.
>This is a complete language designed to displace C++, Visual Basic and
>other OO languages.  Thinking of Java as simpy a Web enhancement tool
>is short sighted.
>Personally it is more attractive than C++ for product development and
>we are trying to get it on FreeBSD, SCO UnixWare and SCO OSR5.  Using
>Java for applets _only_ is like fucking your mother... Most of us are
>not into it.

Ignoring the gross violation of the CDA, I agree.

I think of it (and so do a lot of others) as:

- a cleaned-up C++, with features of Smalltalk, Objective-C, and Lisp

- a tool with built-in hooks for Net-centric computing

- some safety features that distinguish it from C++ and the like

- a bytecode/virtual machine approach that means the same code can be run
on any platform for which a VM exists (the key to applets, but also the key
to portability...what the world might have looked like for the past 15
years has the UCSD p-system succeeded instead of MS-DOS)

Is it safe to run untrusted applets on your machine? Probably not. Running
strange programs probably is never safe.

I don't view this as something any new language is likely to solve, unless
it's a language with such limited expressability as to be "safe and

As Perry has noted, financial institutions can ill afford to have applets
being dropped into their main computers unless they are safe and secure.
Not too surprising. But, then, they also have other security issues they
constantly have to deal with that others don't.

I suspect the safety issues will continue to crop up, but will be dealt
with in other ways. The signed classes approach, the approaches used in E,
etc. Netscape's limits on what applets can do, for example, may be extended
in other ways (a kind of firewall approach?).

To borrow a viewpoint, I don't expect the Java-based gargoyles in "True
Names" to be "trustworthy"...TANSTAAFL.

--Tim May

Boycott "Big Brother Inside" software!
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, we know that that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
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