The editor's blog over at Java.net recently posted notes on a recent Q&A session with James Gosling, here are some of the more interesting responses from the Java pioneer.
* What is the most fascinating Java application you have ever seen?
In terms of changing people's lives, Gosling said he'd choose the Brazilian National Healthcare System. "It sort of sets my standard for 'Holy Crap!'" The system tracks every caregiver-patient transaction throughout the entire country, all of which propagate from village to state to national datastore. If you're in an ambulance in one city and say you had an X-ray in another city yesterday, they can pull it right up. On a tour, Gosling said that the system had paid for itself five times over just in the elimination of drug fraud. He also said that the JavaCard-based identification system made name records optional, a crucial trait in indigenous areas where people share their names only with family members, not with outsiders.
* Universities are teaching antiquated views on Java, focusing on old performance problems. What is Sun doing with universities to appeal to upcoming developers?
Gosling pointed out the specialized IDEs that target education, like BlueJ and GreenFoot. He also pointed out that Sun funds Curriki, a curriculum-building education site that's used around the world. There are also tech days, and evangelists going from school to school giving talks. He added that the big problem with schools and universities is that "there are so damn many of them."
* Apple support for Java has been lagging behind, with JDK 6 absent from Leopard. Is Sun working to improve this?
With a sigh, Gosling said that Sun has been working with Apple for years on Java for the Mac. "I'm fairly frustrated about it," he admitted, saying that "if any of you are members of Apple developer program, you know their support of developers is pretty shoddy." He says the problem may be one of development priorities, with Apple pulling developers off of the Mac and putting them on other projects. He said he'd been working on paging problems on the Mac, and when he contacted his friends in the company, they'd say they couldn't help because they'd been reassigned to iPod. Summarizing his feelings about Apple, Gosling said, "they're just difficult."
* What would be the impact of Sun if Java was moved to another company?
Gosling said "it depends", primarily on the kind of company involved. With a benign party, it would be fine, but could be nasty with "certain other companies." To express the potential nastiness, he told an anecdote about being at Carnegie Mellon, feeling it was effectively a research shop for the military, but discovering the military people were "really cool", and coming around to their outlook that their job was actually peace. "And then I went to IBM, and I was like 'holy crap.'" Having found that the military people really weren't interested in starting fights, he found that "in most capitalist outfits, the goal is total destruction." That said, he carved out an exception for Sun, which has always stayed small enough, adding that "Scott never had any delusions of grandeur."
Read the complete 11 Q&A post: http://weblogs.java.net/blog/editors/archives/2008/01/congratulations_1.html