Threat to 10 million Java goal from Microsoft, says Gosling. (APP Dev News Review).
Gosling has also given a cool reception to Sun's plans for a planned worldwide branding campaign with partners, which is designed to attract consumers.
In a recent meeting with press, Gosling, a Sun fellow and vice president, said he believes his company's goal of 10 million Java programmers through simplifications to the language and programming tools is easy to reach.
Developers could scooped up via Sun's planned integrated development environment Rave, or those from partners, like BEA Systems Inc, Borland Software Corp or Oracle Corp. Sun could also factor in students at universities and high schools, Gosling observed.
"How we get to the 10 million is irrelevant. If it's our tools or other people's tools," Gosling said.
"The biggest problem is going to be competition from Redmond," he warned. Gosling said marketing, one of Sun's self-confessed weaknesses, was a key asset for Microsoft. He added Microsoft also possesses "good" engineers.
Sun has gamely set the bar for 10 million developers in a three-year timescale, but analysts are more conservative about Java's growth vis-a-vis Microsoft. Gartner has estimated there will be 2.5 million professional developers using Microsoft's C Sharp by 2006, the same number and date it gives for Java.
Gartner's figures suggest a faster rate of growth for C Sharp, unveiled in 2000, compared to Java, which was born in the mid 1990s and is now estimated to have 1.5 million professional programmers.
One way that Sun hopes to grow the Java gene pool is through branding. Sun plans a worldwide, Intel-inside-style marketing campaign for Java, which ensures consumers actively seek-out Java on devices like handsets. Consumer activity, Sun believes, will stimulate the supply side as ISVs work to meet demand.
While welcoming Java's pervasiveness, Gosling appears cool to a branding campaign. "There's a part of me that likes being taken for granted. One of the goals I had as an engineer was for the technology I build to be completely transparent.
"If I pull out a cell phone and have to boot-up the JVM [Java Virtual Machine], that would be bad," Gosling said
Branding, though, along with Sun's recent deals with Dell Computer Corp and Hewlett Packard Co for its Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed on their PCs could have greater relevance to end-users in the gaming community rather than business.
"For the business user downloading the JVM [part of the JRE] is completely trivial ... the place we had the most difficulty was in gaming. That was one of the pain points for them," Gosling said.