gabriel rosenkoetter on Tue, 30 Jan 2001 01:27:06 -0500

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [PLUG] Plugins and Mozilla

On Mon, Jan 29, 2001 at 10:25:32PM -0500, Bill Jonas wrote:
> I don't mean to get into a fight ;) ,

Okay, how 'bout a discussion?

> but an interesting application of Java is at
> <>.
> Basically, it's a molecular search engine; you drag atoms onto it to make
> molecules, and it will then search the catalog for chemicals containing
> that molecular sequence.  Trivial?  Possibly.  Interesting?  Definitely.

I suppose. Unfortunately that particular Java applet proved my point
by locking up my netscape AND stealing keyboard input on my laptop.
(Fortunately, I could switch to a text virtual term and kill
netscape.) Maybe I just didn't wait long enough for my P166 to
process the applet... but considering netscape gives *no* feedback
that it's JVM is even doing anything, it's kind of hard to tell
whether something's actually hung or you just haven't waited long
enough. (I'll grant that I'm using the BSD/OS binary-linked version
of netscape on a somewhat aging NetBSD/i386 system, but considering
we really do emulate *all* of their syscalls, I'm pretty sure this
is a disagreement between their Java and my JVM, not between netscape
and my system that. Unfortunately, when the JVM gives netscape
problems, it throws its arms up and runs around like a chicken with
its head cut off.)

Despite even that, what about this required what of Java? Just the
fact that it was embedded in a web page, no?

My point (lifted straight from
is that there are four importantly different things implied by
"Java"... that is, the programming language, the virtual machine,
the security model, and the class library, which are pretty great,
a good idea yet to be implemented properly, basically good, and
incredibly shitty, respectively.

The only component of this that that Merck applet actually required
was the virtual machine (which is the second brokenest piece of the
behemoth known as Java, as noted already in this thread).

Had Sun release Java, the programming language, with a real compiler
to go straight to the local machine language for various
architectures, then taken the time to do the JVM right (as an
open standard to boot would have been nice) so that JIT worked right
off the bat, then people who wanted to do write once, run anywhere
could take the speed hit, and those of us that wanted to use Java
(really, a pretty well thought-out language) but actually wanted it
to execute quickly could compile local binaries.

The security model is just fine from what I've read, but not
something I've had much dealings with personally... and the class
library, well, just about all of my gripes with Java are with the
included classes, not with the language. There are some *incredibly*
boneheaded decisions, some ridiculous mismatches between things
you would expect to have the same signature, but just don't. And
don't get me started on all the stuff you can't touch because Sun
decided it should be marked final (see jwz's gripes about string and
character handling for details). The only way I could see Java as
being useful to me at this point is if the class librarly is
completely ripped out and put back in right, and I just don't see
that happening. Till then, C++ is still better, even if I do have to
deconstruct my objects manually.

> (Apologies for not having a link in English; this is one of my employer's
> clients (although we didn't write this particular application).)

As Martin pointed out, not a problem. (Anyway, "O", "N", and so on
are pretty universal...)

       ~ g r @

Philadelphia Linux Users Group       -
General Discussion  -