Java turns 25. A brief history of the platform

Java turns 25

«I broke up with my girlfriend the programmer. She doesn't know Java »I heard the joke for the first time on a radio program aimed at the general public. That shows that the popularity of this 25-year-old programming language exceeds the realm of computer science.

The term Java is used most of the time to refer to the Java platform, that is, a set of tools for the rapid development of multiplatform applications, as well as for the general-purpose programming language created by the Sun company to develop programs for this platform.

The difference of Java with respect to other programming languages ​​is that is designed so that the written code can run on any system that a virtual machine can run on Java (JVM).

Actually. Java was not born to be used in computer programming. In the 90s the media industry was betting on interactive television and developers thought that it would be useful for use in decoders and what would later be known as smart televisions. However, the cable television companies were not interested. FIt was Internet developers who saw its potential and Netscape, the pioneering browser, incorporated it.

Java turns 25. A little history

The beginnings of the project must be traced to 1991 when JAmes Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton formed the so-called Green Team within the Sun Microsystem company (green Team). Their goals were ambitious, they wanted to create a programming language that was

Simple, robust, portable, platform independent, secure, high-performance, multi-threaded, architecture-neutral, object-oriented, interpreted, and dynamic.

Originally the future language was called Greentalk and its files had the extension .gt but later the name Oak was chosen. The oak is considered a symbol of strength and chosen as the national tree in many countries such as France, Germany, Romania and the United States. Also, it was a registered trademark of another company.

Why did Java end up being called?

When the developers found out they couldn't call it Oak they shuffled other namess. They wanted a word that reflected the essence of the new language: revolutionary, dynamic, alive, cool, unique, easy to spell, and fun to say.

They tested dynamic, revolutionary, Silk, Jolt, and DNA. Finally, they chose a name that Gosling came up with over coffee. Java is not an acronym, it refers to the island of Indonesia where some of the best varieties of this infusion are produced.

In 1995 the first trial version of the developer kit was released and, that same year, TIme magazine named it one of the ten products of the year. Today the language used for creating desktop, mobile, web and embedded applications. Many popular open source programs are written using Java.

The controversy over their licenses

Most of the Java platform components are available under open licenses, and, those that are not were replaced by alternative projects that are open source. However, this is not a guarantee. Oracle (which bought Sun Microsystem) is suing Google for the re-implementation of Java application programming interfaces on Android. The result of this judgment will depend on whether the replacements can continue to be used.

Using Java applications on Linux

Many Java applications include a small module that allows you to use them without installing additional components. However, to run most need to install a Java runtime environment. Much of Linux distributions include a package called OpenJDK in their repositories which can be installed in the usual way.

You can also install the official Oracle runtime environment from your page. But it is licensed exclusively and has restrictions for its commercial use.

In both cases, you just have to place the mouse pointer over the application and with the right button choose to open it with the chosen Java environment.

Programming in Java

To make programs in Java only nWe need to have the aforementioned OpenJDK package installed and an integrated development environment like NetBeans, Eclipse, or Intellij Idea. TAll of them can be easily installed on our Linux distribution using repositories and the FlatPak and Snap packages.


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