Subject: Re: Why Open Source Sucks for the Consumer
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 18:56:56 -0700 wrote:
> Tim O'Reilly wrote:
> [...]
> > Programming languages - while Java is starting to take the lead, Perl
> > and JavaScript are still incredibly important.  (Question:  why does no
> > one take JavaScript seriously?  It's becoming more and more important to
> > web-centric applications.  We see its importance growing as book sales
> > go through the roof, but despite the fact that it came out of
> > Netscape/Mozilla, the open source community seems reluctant to claim it
> > as its own.)  Even on the Java front, the work of the Apache group with
> > Sun is very promising.
> I have had this conversation a few times recently, with people from a
> number of backgrounds.  Is Java really taking the lead?

Based on info like book sales, absolutely.  Java book sales have taken
off like a rocket in the past year, while Perl book sales are relatively
flat.  And this isn't just for O'Reilly.  We do trend graphs based on
Amazon ranks and demand at Ingram, the largest book wholesaler, and Java
is on a very steep upward slope right now.
> The most interesting variation was an impromtu debate in the Denver
> airport waiting for a delayed flight.  The debate ended when two
> bystanders came in and said that they were in the process of throwing
> away Java initiatives and reimplementing in Perl.  (OTOH they had not
> heard of "use strict;".  This bothers me...)
> As for your question, a better one is why I find that good programmers
> inevitably develop a distaste for JavaScript.  True story from Randal
> Schwartz.  He was once on a panel with one of the founders of
> JavaScript.  Most of the panel was spent with the founder (sorry, I
> don't know who it was for sure) apologizing for the language.

I won't argue the technical merits of JavaScript, or the lack thereof. 
But once again, I'll point out that demand for JavaScript books, which
spiked upward significantly last year (such that David Flanagan's
JavaScript:  The Definitive Guide outsold Programming Perl for the first
time in the history of the two books, for the full year), suggests that
a lot more people are taking it seriously.  And I know a lot of
"weblication" type developments that are using JavaScript for a lot more
than the trivial applications (rollovers, etc.) that it was used for in
its first few years.

I'm just reporting on the news.  What it means deserves some more
serious thought.  I believe pretty firmly that Java is becoming firmly
entrenched now as the dominant programming language of the net, and that
JavaScript has emerged in the past year as a strategic language for many

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707-829-0515, FAX +1 707-829-0104,