James Gosling: Bitter Old Man

In my college days I used to send up daily supplications to the creators of Java for making such a kick ass language especially after having to work with Squeak Smalltalk (Uuurghhh!!), C++ and C. Later on I found out that the creator of Java was also the author of the insightful and still relevant paper Phase Relationships in the Standardization Process which brings to mind the slightly mangled Mark Twain quote
People who love sausage and respect the law technology standards should watch neither being made.
Recent comments by Gosling have made me lose my original reverence and instead this feeling is slowly being replaced by bewilderment. Over the past year, every article I've seen with comments by Gosling has had a simple theme; "C# sucks, Java rocks". He has repeated this message on eWeek, Computer World and C|Net. Each time he makes bogus claims and ends up sounding like a jealous school girl complaining about her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend. The last time his comments were linked from Slashdot there were quite a number of people who were similarly put off by his blatant partisanism which eschewed objectivity for spewing the party company line.

Slashdot posts such as Hi kettle, my name's pot!, Interesting, how?, Disappoining and SUNW against the wall, this time for keeps, "imitation" flows in both directions and Gosling's and Sun's markting fluff show how much most people saw such comments as unbecoming and consisting mostly of marketing fluff. It's depressing to see someone who you viewed as a technical giant turn into a FUD spewing PR flack. What's next, Dennis Ritchie dissing Bjarne Stroustrup on Infoworld for biting his style? Sad, indeed.

The most irritating piece of FUD is probably questioning the security of the .NET Framework by calling attention to the ability to work with pointers in C# via the unsafe facility but then conveniently forgets JNI. Specifically I'd like to point out Eric Gunnerson's Unsafe at the Limit article which points out
When you use the unsafe keyword, the resulting IL is marked as unsafe and can only run in a fully trusted environment (usually, security policy only trusts local assemblies). In the current version of the runtime, unsafe is defined at an assembly level, so having any unsafe code in assembly makes the entire assembly unsafe.
which doesn't strike me as any different from when I used Java APIs that used JNI under the covers.

Coincidentally, I was quite surprised when I visited the weblog of Graham Glass, a noted Java-head and bringer of JGL, and noticed that he expressed similar sentiments about Goslings recent comments. It looks like even the Java community isn't being fooled by the empty vitriol. One wonder's why Gosling and crew don't just work on making Java a kickass language and platform then let the code talk instead of sullying themselves by getting in the kind of mud slinging matches best reserved for US politicians during election season .


Nigeria: From Frying Pan to Fire

As if things couldn't get any worse, according to Reuters a fatwa has been issued against the reporter whose article kicked off Miss World riots. It's quite depressing to not be able to watch the news, go to work or even read kuro5hin without seeing references to the turmoil back home. Particularly irritating has been the common gaffe (even made in the K5 Nigerian Bloody Friday article) of stating that Nigeria is a muslim country when in truth it's split about 50-50 Moslems to Christians.

I remember mentioning a few weeks ago that people were suggesting impeaching my dad because he travelled to much even though his trips were all related to bringing in foreign investment. Finally we get a coup like hosting the Miss World pageant and this is how people fuck it up. My dad, he can't win for losing. And you think you have a tough job.


Slashdot Attention Whores

I recently noticed that there are people who are really into the Slashdot Friend or Foe feature. Posters like FortKnox and ekrout brag about their list of fans , 361 and 350 respectively, in their sigs. Methinks there is much a psychology major could deduce from such behavior.

Even though I should be used to it by now I still can't get over how less technical the Slashdot crowd compared to a few years ago. I recently looked at the highly rated comments in a story about Linus on Linux 2.6 and most of them were jokes, flames or just plain cluelessness. Given that K5 turned to a politics and current affairs flame board a several months [or is it years?] ago I now satisfy my need for technical discussion mostly on the Joel On Software Discussion forums which for now have an excellent signal/noise ratio. I'd love suggestions about any more similarly technically oriented discussion forums online.


Disclaimer:The above comments are my opinions and do not reflect the opinions, plans, strategies or intentions of my employer


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