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MBCG3AM (Monopoly Best Chance Game 3.0 At McDonalds) update:

Envelopes out: 327
Envelopes in: 0

Dang, here is a perfect opportunity for you to learn how to turn a complete non-event into something huge. Everybody speculated about the whole Google Office shtick. Finally Sun did a big simulcast press announcement and a dense-looking press release.

And what's the big announcement?

. . .brace yourself. . .

When you install the Java VM on your machine, there'll be a checkbox that'll also install Google toolbar on your machine.

[John swoons]

Dang, that's certainly Earth-shattering.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much. There's been talk about some kind of online office suite for a while, but I didn't figure it'd be some kind of StarOffice-based solution, and for one simple reason. . .

. . .get close to your monitor. . .

. . .this is confidential. . .

StarOffice/OpenOffice is written in C++!

That's right, that evil memory-leaking slower-than-Java (ref: JavaPro magazine) unportable programming language that Sun insists is deader than Julius Caesar is the code-base for their premier productivity suite.

I was an early licensee of the OpenOffice framework back around 1995 when it wasn't owned by Sun. StarDivision had a big Java push back then, but they abandoned it because there was really no advantage to it. They already had a cross-platform C++ framework (StarView) that worked on every platform that supported Java, so the only thing they'd really get out of a full Java port was a huge speed hit (or a huge SPEED INCREASE ref: JavaPro magazine).

Fast-forward to today, and StarOffice is still written in C++. If Google wanted to run it in a browser, the following would need to happen.

(1) The suite would need to be converted into a browser plugin that'd store stuff on a server somewhere rather than on the local hard drive.


(2) The suite would need to be rewritten in Java.

While item one wouldn't be all that difficult to do, it'd also be completely pointless. It'd be platform-dependent, a huge download, and wouldn't have much advantage over the existing solutuion (i.e. installing it on your computer).

Item two is also doable, but would take lots and lots of time. Having the equivalent of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, apps that have been written and polished over the course of DECADES, rewritten for the web to the current feature set would take years, so any "look what we've got in store" announcement would be pretty pointless. It'd go over as big as the dozen previous times that companies have proudly announced that they'd have an Office-compatible suite running in Java.

Plus, you'd get the fun wrinkle of. . .

"Sorry, but my internet connection is down, so I don't have access to any of my documents. I'll be able to get to my documents as soon as I find an AOL 30-day trial CD."
For the 32nd time this year, I am less-than-whelmed by Sun. Next week they intend to announce a grand partnership with a major soft drink vendor. Or, in English, Scott McNealy will buy a Pepsi from the machine down the hall from his office.

Really, I can't be surprised. Remember JavaOS? That was the Java-written OS running on thin-client machines that run the Java VM on a chip with blinding speed. It took years for that thing to gel with more false-starts than MAC OSX. Finally it got quietly released as Solaris with a Java skin and the Java VM built in.

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MBCG3AM (Monopoly Best Chance Game 3.0 At McDonalds) update:

Envelopes out: 327
Envelopes in: 0
I must be too new...

Whats up with this? ;]

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Minor correction: Java Desktop (at least the stand-alone version) ships with Linux not Solaris.

Quite honestly I wished Sun had pushed StarView over Java. At the time is was by far the best cross-platform gui. And you know it might still be.

BTW, I'm going to reinstall Java on my machine so I can get google toobar the best way.

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