Java and Oak
Folklore has it that when a decidedly uncreative software engineer on Sun’s programming team was asked to come up with a name, they saw a tall tree outside their office window and submitted ‘Oak.’
Unfortunately, a search revealed that a company named Oak Technologies had already trademarked that name for a language used to empower their semiconductor chips. Fighting for the rights to a name that had no prior brand recognition made no sense, so Sun scrapped the name Oak.
The Sun Microsystems development team brainstormed and submitted ten new programming language names. Three passed the trademark test: Java, DNA and Silk.
Other proposed names included:
- WRL, which stood for web-runner language
Oak becomes Java
As we all know now, the name chosen to replace Oak was Java. But a name is just a name.
Given its platform independence, object-oriented approach to development, and the write-once, run anywhere promise, Java has become the most popular programming language in the world, regardless of what Sun Microsystems decided to call it. As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
But yes, the original name for the programming language Java was Oak.