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JavaOne: Vendors debate Java vs .net

Executives from several tools vendors argued the merits of Java's chances against the rival Microsoft .net platform, as well as the existence of multiple open-source efforts in the Java community, during a panel session at the JavaOne developer conference.

Following a keynote session that featured discussion of Java on the desktop, tools vendors offered varying perspectives about Java's chances against .net.

Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) success at the enterprise level can be assessed through everyday use at the desktop, suggested Tyler Jewell, director of technical evangelism at BEA Systems.

Jewell added that Microsoft tended to measure desktop experience at the enterprise level.

Borland Software's Ted Shelton, senior vice-president of business development and chief strategy officer, countered that both environments will co-exist. For this to happen, he added, vendors needed to help customers make their systems work rather than impose ideas on them.

"At the end of the day, it's a heterogeneous environment and we need to ensure that customers get their work done," Shelton said.

IBM WebSphere Studio market manager Adrian Mitu, said it would be "myopic to think we will not have .net in the enterprise".

Mitu also touted IBM's open-source software initiative, Eclipse. Saying that "the idea behind Eclipse is creating an open environment", and inviting broad participation, he said.

However, Simon Phipps, Sun Microsystems' chief technology evangelist, asked, while referring to the Sun NetBeans program: "Does the world really need two open-source Java tools initiatives?"

Mitu responded that the world always needs a choice.

Peter Young, Forte Tools' vice president, was all for peaceful co-existence. "The ball's in our court to find out what grounds there are for reconciliation," he said.

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