I’ve been meaning to write something about the whole Microsoft foray into the Java language, and where we are today as a result. I know in 2012 it is hard to imagine a world where Java wasn’t just ignored or marginalized (don’t even pretend that Oracle buying out SUN didn’t drive people away) but rather there was a lot of excitement built around Java, and all the language companies were getting behind Java. Yes this included Borland, and of course Microsoft. And not to be left out of making a compiler, but Microsoft also wrote their own JVM, or Java virtual machine runtime. Even more un Microsoft like, is that they provided Internet Explorer and their java on the Macintosh!
“Microsoft is offering a real Mac program at an incredibly attractive price: free. Plus, it comes with a few nifty tools you won’t find at http://www.netscape.com/: A good Java virtual machine and just-in-time compiler, which allows you to run Java applets anywhere, not just in your browser, and even a small but robust Web server.”MacWEEK “Microsoft may have won the browser war”
Joanna Pearlstein February 28, 1997
So on the weekend I came across this book on “Web programming” which I’d usually laugh at for being obsolete and ignore, but it proudly mentions that the included CD includes the ‘publishers’ version of J++ 1.0! So I checked the book, and yes the CD is still there! So for the 2-3 people that care, I even packaged this fifteen year old oddity. It’s demanding requirements are NT 4.0, or Windows 95 with sixteen (Yes sixteen!) megabytes of ram, and 100MB of free disk space. Personally I just installed it in a blank NT 4.0 unpatched VM. It’ll install IE 3 along with it, and version 1.00.6211 of the Microsoft JVM.
Naturally even emulated, on a 3Ghz CPU with a gigabytes worth of RAM it runs and compiles quite quickly.
I know it isn’t much to look at, and the download is small it is quite neat for the age/size… But yes, even ‘modern’ java can run “well behaved” J++ apps..
As part of the trial though Microsoft had to pull everything with the JVM in it, and that included IE 3.0 “full”, 4.0 and 5.0/5.5 .. Even Windows 2000 sp3, and prior had to go. Yes this is also why Office 97 & SQL 7 are gone from the MSDN downloads. Maybe its my nostalgia but I really did like the 1997-1998 era and their applications. The only reason I “upgraded” out of Outlook 98 was that 2003 can connect to Exchange 2003/2007 servers with a built in HTTP connection so I don’t have to VPN to send/receive email.