Sun CEO lashes out at Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat

Sun CEO Scott McNealy pulled no punches during his JavaOne keynote Tuesday, connecting solid blows to the chins of three of his biggest rivals.

SAN FRANCISCO -- During an otherwise sedate keynote address Tuesday at Sun Microsystems Inc.'s JavaOne conference, Sun chairman and CEO Scott McNealy openly criticized the security of Microsoft's products, IBM's insistence that Sunopen source Java and Red Hat's refusal to participate in Java.

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McNealy saved his venom for the close of his discussion with a segment he called "Where's the outrage?" McNealy wondered why there was not more concern over viruses, citing the "$300 billion" lost to viruses in the first quarter of this year. He then corrected himself, calling the viruses "Microsoft viruses."

"Java is as ubiquitous as Microsoft, name a Java virus," said McNealy.

Developers in attendance did not dispute McNealy's assertion that viruses do target Microsoft operating systems, but they were more forgiving. "The criticism of Microsoft is valid," said James Velasco, director of software development for INT Inc. of Houston, "but Microsoft was never trying to write secure code; they were trying to make applications that were easy to use."

Meanwhile, Sun released version 4.0 of the NetBeans project, an integrated development environment for building J2EE applications. NetBeans 4.0 will also support Enterprise JavaBeans and Web services. It features a new Java performance profiler, as well as giving developers insight into CPU and memory usage data.

Vendors like AccuRev Inc., Enerjy Software, HiT Software Inc., Hewlett-Packard, InsiTech Inc., Iopsis Software, Ivis Technologies, Nexaweb Technologies Inc., Nuance Communications Inc., RefactorIT, Make Technologies Inc. and Quest Software Inc. have already announced their support for NetBeans 4.0, which will be available in beta in July.

Version 4.0 will also allow developers to build J2EE apps for the desktop, mobile applications and Web services from the same Integrated Drive Electronics.

Sun also announced that it would release the source code of its Project Looking Glass application to open source. Looking Glass is an application that creates a stylized 3D desktop environment. On Monday, Sun released its Java3D application to open source.

The controversy over whether to open source Java swirled during McNealy's keynote. He urged IBM to do more than just chip away at the "proprietary wall" and railed at IBM chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano's assertion that "Sun should open source more."

Some developers were able to see through McNealy's rhetoric. "I think it goes both ways," said Derek Terawaki, a software developer at Referentia Systems Inc. of Honolulu, a learning and training software provider. "IBM and Sun should both communicate better with their users."

Red Hat did not escape McNealy's attention either. While discussing Sun's commitment to community, he singled out Microsoft and the Linux distributor -- Microsoft because of the wealth of information that it possesses and Red Hat for its inability to participate in the Java community.

But again, Terawaki forgave Red Hat and was slightly critical of Sun. "I think Red Hat would be more interested in Java if it was fully open sourced."

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