Java as an incentive for buying servers and operating systems
Hearing all the frustration surrounding the unavailable JavaFX environment on Linux and Solaris, I remembered a time -- maybe a decade ago -- when Sun actually hoped it could produce the fastest, best Java for Solaris OS and Sparc hardware. The idea was that customers would actually purchase Solaris and Sparc if Java performed the best on those platforms. You can bet that engineers made sure that every Java feature worked perfectly on Solaris/Sparc back then.
It made sense really. Sun makes Sparc hardware, Sun makes Solaris, Sun makes the very popular Java platform. Sun had no trouble convincing the world that the world needed Java. Seems reasonable to think that customers would put up some cash to put a strong back-end together for their language and JVM. If Java runs best on Solaris/Sparc, then maybe they'd buy Solaris/Sparc. Both Solaris and Sparc hardware had a decent price tag too, something substantial enough to pay the bills and engineers.
Would the same strategy work now? If you just knew that Java would perform amazingly better on a Sparc with Solaris, would that convince you to include Sparc and Solaris in your technology stack? Maybe? As an engineer/developer, if you knew that Solaris ran perfectly on your Dell laptop, would you run Solaris there too? If you knew that the really fastest, best codecs for JavaFX were available on Solaris and not Mac OS X, would you give Solaris a second look? Maybe?
One, maybe two more questions. Do you get a sense that Java actually runs best on every other platform? Are Linux and definitely Solaris second class citizens compared to Windows and Mac OS X? These days, instead of making sure that Solaris hosts the best Java performance, does Sun target other platforms first? And if so, how does that make Sun better? How does a better Java experience on Windows or Mac OS X make more money for Sun?