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Inferno marketing vs. Java marketing

Check <www.byte.com> for Bute January cover story on Java! Byte people are
pretty much convinced that the Java is the future of computing. I am
personally convinced that Inferno + Tk etc... + Limbo are much better
technology than JavaVM + Sun class libraries + language.

I think there are two ways to prove this to the world: you can either get
the message through by marketing and open communications, explaining it to
everybody. But a better way is to release a few practical, ground breaking
mass market applications and give them away for free. After all, people
take an actual working program as an argument over hype anyday.

What I am afraid is some kind of big corporate niche attitude Lucent seems
to be taking. As though they would see Inferno as some kind of a saviour of
the old world non-IP telecommunications technology and pathetic Bellhead
ivory tower attitudes. Their Inferno customers seem to be few, albeit big.
Now, if 100 000 young enthusiasts play with Java and few hundred believers
with no matter how big projects work with Inferno it will be buried.

I am especially worried by the Lucent non-Internet, non-Web and non-PC
attitude. Give us a roadmap of Internet/Inferno/PC future plans! Do you
envision IP over or under Styx in the future evolution of intranets and
extranets? What is the relation of Styx to ATM, RSVP, Winsock 2 and
quality-of-service issues?

How are you going to integrate with SMTP/FTP/HTTP, with gateway machines
mapping them to higher abstraction Styx services or each program client at
TCP "connection" level? How about caching, proxies, firewalls? Set up a
public Styx server to connect, with some interesting example functionality!

How about multimedia data format standards? What is the role of MIME, OLE
and other data object standards in Inferno? Do you have any framework for
real-time communications? Streaming? How is Inferno going to integrate to
Web? Where are the long promised Web page embedded Inferno code/data
objects? How do they interface with other Inferno programs launched outside
a Web browser?

What about for real support for mainstream PCs? Will we have anything like
Java Abstract Windows Toolkit which allows programs to use the host OS user
interface functionality? How about scalable fonts and PostScript support?
OLE objects? Jeez, just give me even a clipboard to paste text between
Inferno applications as well as through to non-Inferno applications and back.

To establish a new future of computing you can not solve these issues one
at a time, because they all support each other in the marketplace. The Java
bandwagon is at least trying. The Microsoft bandwagon is trying, too. They
actually have it already, implemented with old technology and lacking the
hardware independence. Remember that endless amounts of money can make any
stupid technology work.

Lucent, go for it, the world deserves Inferno!

Anssi Porttikivi
a long time Plan 9 / Inferno / Brazil believer