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Is Java 10 yrs old, or 15 yrs old?

Posted by robogeek on February 7, 2006 at 2:11 PM PST

In this weeks javaposse podcast they expressed confusion -- Happy 15th Birthday, Java! (javalobby, and computer history museum), but wait, didn't we just celebrate the 10 year anniversary last summer? What's going on.

Well, what's going on is there's two dates to consider.

One date is when they began creating the Java language. Except, it wasn't yet called Java, but called Oak (supposedly when James began the project, he wondered what to name it, looked out the window, saw an oak tree, and said "what the heck" and typed "mkdir oak"). Also the original purpose for Java/Oak was for settop boxes because there was an RFE floating in the cable TV industry for fancy cable tuners which could perform neat tricks. Java, and Duke, was Sun's attempt to pull some neat tricks. The settop box product was called "Star Seven". And the javaposse gang got that pretty much correct.

The other date to consider is when Java was officially unveiled to the public. That, as I recall, is what we were celebrating last summer. It's either that or, as the javaposse guys suggested, we were celebrating the 10th Java ONE. I coulda sworn we were celebrating the 10th year after Java's unveiling, but now that I think about it I remember John Gage talking about 10 years of Java ONE and having the audience stand based on which was their first Java ONE. I happened to attend the first Java ONE, not because I was on the Java team, but because a then-coworker at Mainsoft (where I worked at the time) was intrigued by Java and arranged for some of the Mainsoftees to attend. That first Java ONE was very small.

They also wondered about this book: Hello World(s) -- From Code to Culture : A 10 Year Celebration of Java Technology. Yes, it does exist and you can even buy it in book stores. I saw it in a Barnes and Nobles the other day. It's a glossy coffee-table style book that describes the evolution of Java, and of course it gushes with positive things to say. In the back there's page after page of names of those of us who have been involved in creating Java. Somehow my name ended up next to Josh Bloch. Sometime in early 2005 an email went around saying something vague about a book, and if you wanted your name in it to send a reply.

And while I'm here posting about the javaposse ...

I really appreciate their mention of the Mustang Regressions Challenge. They said a lot of nice things, and even dispelled some of the misinformation I've seen about this.

It was amusing to realize the word "regressions" doesn't mean to everybody what we're meaning. As one of the javapossean's said, there's some kind of statistics process called Regression Analysis. Again, what we mean is when a feature works in one release of a software product, and is broken in a later release. We really dislike regressions, and we want to weed out as many as we can.

And if that helps you guys do your Regression Analysis for Java to have fewer Regressions, then that's so much better.

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