Chuck's Java Pages


[Ed Note: -- Still working on these pages so not all the material is complete...]

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I worked for a company called Sun Microsystems. One of the things I did there was to join a renegade band of engineers who were off in Palo Alto working on a technology that nobody within Sun could see any possible use for. That technology was of course Java.

I joined the Java group as it was transitioning from "The Green Project" into "FirstPerson" a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun Microsystems. My job initially was to bring some sort of RPC into Java to support the efforts of a partnership with a major (at that time) games company that was looking to use the Oak language as part of their gaming platform technology. That project fizzled (couldn't agree on who would have exclusive rights to what) and so my efforts in the "Portable Operating Systems" group under Peter King turned to other challenges. Among them this notion of how one might actually build a completely secure language/system in order to safely deploy and execute content where you didn't trust the producer of the content. The company, FirstPerson, went through a couple of tumultuous years trying to find a reason for living, and eventually exploded and died leaving behind two groups; Sun Interactive and "the Liveoak Project." Further, the Liveoak project was destined to become the dead oak project as soon as the Fiscal year ended. Fortunately for us engineers (there were about 15 of us now) we had managed to get Sun to signoff on releasing our work as "open source" (before open source was a buzzword) so that our resumes would have something on them that someone might have heard about. We finally managed to do this technology release/dump on March 23rd, 1996.

We did not expect it to be front page news on the bay area San Jose Mercury News, I did not expect that at the WWW conference in Darmdtstadt Germany I would be beseiged by people wanting more information, Sun had not anticipated the response at all, and it was summed up by a comment Ed Zander made which was something like "If your going to launch a revolution, don't you think you should tell the f__king generals?!?" It was a heady time, it was a fun time, alas it didn't last. Sun, the body politic,  had awakened to the possibility that here was a weapon a great power. It almost immediately launched it at the heart of Microsoft's plans to become the dominant Internet software company (code named "Blackbird" inside Microsoft). That turned out to be both a good and bad move, Sun got what it wanted, mindshare and pressure on Microsoft. Java suffered however and the principals on which is was founded, simple, robust, secure, and portable all suffered. By December of 1996 nearly 1/2 of the original Java developers, including the "stars" had left to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Classic brain fart.


While I hold a number of patents on Java technology (some useful, some not :-) If you've "heard of me" it is probably through a column I wrote regarding Java back around the turn of the century. That column "Java in Depth" brings me email even today. Given the number of words/column inches its almost like I've written a book on Java (although I never have). I've collected the sources and links to the related articles in their own page.


I also have the dubious distinction of developing the first Java enabled home page on the Internet, not mine but Sun's. Once the excitement of Java became evident, Sun converted its SparcStation 20/Firewall One publicity launch into a Java/Firewall launch. To accompany the launch, on the same day that Sun "went live" with Java, the Sun home page switched to being completely written in Java.

COCA - A BASIC Interpreter

If Java was the hottest thing since a double-tall-half-caf-mocha-mix-with-whip, then writing an interpreter in it should be something more mundane, like hot chocolate.


JaDE (the Java application Development Environment) originated as an idea about what a workstation OS for appliance computers would be like if I still had a say in what Java was targeted for.

Back to my home page.