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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

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Dynamic developer

The father of Java, James Gosling believes in evolution yet emphasises on retaining originality

BEING CALLED the father of Java again and again can get pretty irritating. Apparently it doesn't for the father of Java, James Gosling. Recently in Hyderabad for the annual Java Developer Conference, Gosling, who is now the Chief Technology Officer of Sun's Developer Platforms Group, played host to some 2500 Java developers from all over the country.

In a keynote address, members of the press got to see the other side of James Gosling, when he answered questions that weren't related to his field of his work, namely programming. When asked if he had any hobbies, Gosling admitted that if it can be called a hobby, then raising his two children was the only hobby he had time for. This being his second trip to India, the first was some 19 years ago when he had come down for the marriage of his best friend. He was very generous with his recollections of the trip, which included a visit to the Taj Mahal. When asked about the changes that he has observed since then, Gosling said that India has changed dramatically and the IT spurt has been phenomenal, given the influx of IT companies flooding the Indian economy.

Gosling has explained how technology has evolved by making certain comparisons between his mother's toaster and the computing world in general. He is of the opinion that we need to think of computers and networks and all sorts of intelligent devices in the same way as we would of a toaster that has evolved but has stayed true to its original configuration in spite of all the changes. When asked what he thought was the next big thing in the computing world, Gosling was of the view that questions such as this have no meaningful answer given the constantly evolving future of electronics. It's really anybody's guess.

With regard to certain questions about the open sourcing of Java, Gosling felt that the only way for a network to evolve is if it's open to constant change and simulation. Open Sourcing is the concept where anybody can download the tools of Java and write a programme to run on any type of hardware. This concept has come under quite a bit of scrutiny because it requires that if any changes are made to the source code, then it needs to undergo testing by the company to ensure its reliability. This is considered by many to be a derivation from the original concept of Open Sourcing. James Gosling feels that in the emerging world of billions of connected devices, we need to shift our focus a bit and let reliability and security take precedence over performance.


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