Calling Jonathan Schwartz…

Matt Mullenweg (the guy who started Automattic, which produces WordPress, which runs this blog and many others) tells Jonathan Schwartz that Sun Microsystems isn’t there for startups.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Sun can improve its approach to startups. LAMP is sure getting traction — I’ve stopped asking entrepreneurs what infrastructure they are using since the answer was so consistently LAMP.

Sun has done a great job of stopping the bleeding and getting some interesting new products out (Black Box, for instance) but for Sun to dramatically increase its relevance it needs to convince Steve Jobs to put Java on his new products and needs to build something that really shakes up the Web 2.0 industry.

That’s why I asked Jonathan what Sun’s iPhone was. I notice Jonathan didn’t have a good answer to that question.

Oh, and someone asked why would Steve Jobs put Java on the iPhone? My answer: it’s dramatically easier to write applications for a runtime-compiler system like Java or .NET. Because Steve Jobs refuses to go with Java (putting .NET on iPhone doesn’t make sense for Apple’s business) it means that developers on Apple’s iPhone will need to work a lot harder to get apps out. Translation: fewer apps.

I remember back in 1989 that Apple was six years ahead of the industry with its Macintosh II. Remember, it took until late 1995 until Microsoft was able to match the innovations Apple shipped in 1989.

So, why did Apple only end up with a small sliver of market share? Developers, developers, developers.

Oh, sorry, I’m channelling Steve Ballmer again.

Aside: I’m posting this from the Golden Gate bridge. I love Verizon Wireless!!!

81 thoughts on “Calling Jonathan Schwartz…

  1. Pingback: Manish Jethani
  2. While it’s true that Cocoa is firmly based on technology which originally debuted on the NeXT cube, much of Cocoa’s platform independence is due the OpenStep specification created by NeXT and Sun.

    [Having said that, I'd still love to get my hands on a black NeXT cube to go along with my blue BeBox development system from Be, Inc.]

    OpenStep was a significant in that it separated the NeXTStep API from the core OS and refactored it into separate Foundation and AppKit frameworks. It also added important features, such as retain/release memory management and low-level objects for basic data types and conversion. This resulted in a relatively ‘endian-free’ API that could run on nearly any platform, including Solaris running on Sun’s Sparc CPUs.

    Since Mac OS X is based on NeXT’s implementation of OpenStep, Apple was able to bring Cocoa to the iPhone’s ARM processor with relative ease. Non-Cocoa based technologies, such as Java, would require more effort to port and a significant increase increase the iPhone’s OS footprint.

    Before losing interest in OpenStep, Sun purchased a major NeXT development company, Lighthouse Design, for it’s internal OpenStep development group in 1996. Jonathan Schwartz was the CEO and cofounder of Lighthouse and joined Sun during the acquisition. Lighthouse was moved into the Javasoft group when Sun shifted it’s desktop application development effort to Java.

  3. While it’s true that Cocoa is firmly based on technology which originally debuted on the NeXT cube, much of Cocoa’s platform independence is due the OpenStep specification created by NeXT and Sun.

    [Having said that, I'd still love to get my hands on a black NeXT cube to go along with my blue BeBox development system from Be, Inc.]

    OpenStep was a significant in that it separated the NeXTStep API from the core OS and refactored it into separate Foundation and AppKit frameworks. It also added important features, such as retain/release memory management and low-level objects for basic data types and conversion. This resulted in a relatively ‘endian-free’ API that could run on nearly any platform, including Solaris running on Sun’s Sparc CPUs.

    Since Mac OS X is based on NeXT’s implementation of OpenStep, Apple was able to bring Cocoa to the iPhone’s ARM processor with relative ease. Non-Cocoa based technologies, such as Java, would require more effort to port and a significant increase increase the iPhone’s OS footprint.

    Before losing interest in OpenStep, Sun purchased a major NeXT development company, Lighthouse Design, for it’s internal OpenStep development group in 1996. Jonathan Schwartz was the CEO and cofounder of Lighthouse and joined Sun during the acquisition. Lighthouse was moved into the Javasoft group when Sun shifted it’s desktop application development effort to Java.

  4. “Cocoa was actually born as the OPENSTEP API – a joint project between Sun and NeXT.”

    No. Before Openstep existed, it was Nextsep and it began life at NeXT on the black cube.

    Once NeXT decided to get out of the hardware business, it ported Nextstep (renaming it OpenStep) to Intel, etc. Later came a runtime environment that allowed OpenStep applications to run unmodified on Sparc and Windows NT.

  5. “Cocoa was actually born as the OPENSTEP API – a joint project between Sun and NeXT.”

    No. Before Openstep existed, it was Nextsep and it began life at NeXT on the black cube.

    Once NeXT decided to get out of the hardware business, it ported Nextstep (renaming it OpenStep) to Intel, etc. Later came a runtime environment that allowed OpenStep applications to run unmodified on Sparc and Windows NT.

  6. “Oh, and someone asked why would Steve Jobs put Java on the iPhone? My answer: it’s dramatically easier to write applications for a runtime-compiler system like Java or .NET. ”

    Actually, the advantage of a virtual machine is portability. Java and C# just happen to be high-level languages with garbage collection and ship with a large collection of libraries. It’s these features that allow developers build apps quicker.

    Cocoa was actually born as the OPENSTEP API – a joint project between Sun and NeXT. When used with Interface Builder, it’s very easy to put together a Cocoa application with just a few (or even zero) lines of code. Before being ported to Power PC by Apple, It ran on Sparc, 68k, Intel, and even Windows NT. This allows Cocoa applications to be ported to other platforms, such as the ARM processor on the iPhone. with little difficulty. Essentially, Cocoa is the “VM” that powers both Mac OS X and the iPhone.

    Objective-C is very similar to Java and C# in that it’s a high-level, object oriented language based on a C like syntax. By the time the iPhone ships, Objective-C 2.0 will be released with optional garbage collection and support for class properties. Developers coming from a background in Java (as I did) or C# should find it relatively easy to move to Objective-C and Cocoa.

    As for it being difficult to develop on the Mac, Mac OS X really isn’t Mac OS anymore – it’s essentially OPENSTEP version 7 in Mac OS clothing. If opened to third-party developers by Apple, the iPhone has the potential to expose significantly more developers to Cocoa and Objective-C which, in turn, could create more applications on Mac OS X.

  7. “Oh, and someone asked why would Steve Jobs put Java on the iPhone? My answer: it’s dramatically easier to write applications for a runtime-compiler system like Java or .NET. ”

    Actually, the advantage of a virtual machine is portability. Java and C# just happen to be high-level languages with garbage collection and ship with a large collection of libraries. It’s these features that allow developers build apps quicker.

    Cocoa was actually born as the OPENSTEP API – a joint project between Sun and NeXT. When used with Interface Builder, it’s very easy to put together a Cocoa application with just a few (or even zero) lines of code. Before being ported to Power PC by Apple, It ran on Sparc, 68k, Intel, and even Windows NT. This allows Cocoa applications to be ported to other platforms, such as the ARM processor on the iPhone. with little difficulty. Essentially, Cocoa is the “VM” that powers both Mac OS X and the iPhone.

    Objective-C is very similar to Java and C# in that it’s a high-level, object oriented language based on a C like syntax. By the time the iPhone ships, Objective-C 2.0 will be released with optional garbage collection and support for class properties. Developers coming from a background in Java (as I did) or C# should find it relatively easy to move to Objective-C and Cocoa.

    As for it being difficult to develop on the Mac, Mac OS X really isn’t Mac OS anymore – it’s essentially OPENSTEP version 7 in Mac OS clothing. If opened to third-party developers by Apple, the iPhone has the potential to expose significantly more developers to Cocoa and Objective-C which, in turn, could create more applications on Mac OS X.

  8. Remember (or, if you’re too young, research) the early history of Apple’s relationship with developers…they sued them out of business if they didn’t do exactly as they were told. They don’t act much like they want to be a development platform – they seem to only want a small cadre of “Apple Approved” apps. Microsoft isn’t the only “Be quiet – we know what’s best for you” major player.

  9. Remember (or, if you’re too young, research) the early history of Apple’s relationship with developers…they sued them out of business if they didn’t do exactly as they were told. They don’t act much like they want to be a development platform – they seem to only want a small cadre of “Apple Approved” apps. Microsoft isn’t the only “Be quiet – we know what’s best for you” major player.

  10. Scoble, just by asking the question about Java on the iPhone shows a true misunderstanding about Apple. They don’t do lowest common denominator technology and in this context, that’s what Java is.

    Anyone developing for this device knows that whatever they develop will be specific to the iPhone. But that’s okay, because they’ll be able to make apps that could not exist on any other device anyway. Not to mention, this is the first of a family of devices and Apple is going to sell many millions of them. Just like the iPod.

    People seem to forget that Apple has been making developer tools since Woz created Integer BASIC. They already have great technology (QuickTime, Core Animation, Quartz, etc.) so there’s no need to run someone else’s stuff.

    As someone mentioned, Objective C 2.0 now has garbage collection and some other new features. Existing Mac OS X developers will feel right at home. And developers that know C/C++ can learn Objective C in a day or so.

    The opportunity will be great, once Apple announces how developers can join in, as there will likely be lots of different devices running OS X. It won’t be a free for all–I don’t hear the folks participating in the $1 billion add-ons market for the iPod complaining.

  11. Scoble, just by asking the question about Java on the iPhone shows a true misunderstanding about Apple. They don’t do lowest common denominator technology and in this context, that’s what Java is.

    Anyone developing for this device knows that whatever they develop will be specific to the iPhone. But that’s okay, because they’ll be able to make apps that could not exist on any other device anyway. Not to mention, this is the first of a family of devices and Apple is going to sell many millions of them. Just like the iPod.

    People seem to forget that Apple has been making developer tools since Woz created Integer BASIC. They already have great technology (QuickTime, Core Animation, Quartz, etc.) so there’s no need to run someone else’s stuff.

    As someone mentioned, Objective C 2.0 now has garbage collection and some other new features. Existing Mac OS X developers will feel right at home. And developers that know C/C++ can learn Objective C in a day or so.

    The opportunity will be great, once Apple announces how developers can join in, as there will likely be lots of different devices running OS X. It won’t be a free for all–I don’t hear the folks participating in the $1 billion add-ons market for the iPod complaining.

  12. Sorry for an off topic question, but I’ve been subscribed to Robert’s RSS feed via Sage in Firefox for a while now (love it!). Recently, all the videos he posts start playing simultaneously from within Sage. How can I stop that?

    Thanks

  13. Sorry for an off topic question, but I’ve been subscribed to Robert’s RSS feed via Sage in Firefox for a while now (love it!). Recently, all the videos he posts start playing simultaneously from within Sage. How can I stop that?

    Thanks

  14. I didn’t ask Jobs to tell me about the iPhone before he released it. You DID ask Jonathan Schwartz what his iPhone is. See the difference?

    Apple now has garbage collection. Catch up with the times.

    So now we are down to just reusing code. Do you want iPhone apps that do not have the native UI and no means currently to access the UI through gestures?

    Do you really think that interest in the iPhone as a platform is limited by the ability to re-use existing Java apps? Or do you think developers would be willing to adopt new methods to get onboard?

    (If you provide rational answers to those questions, I can ask again: why is Java superior to Apple’s own APIs.)

  15. I didn’t ask Jobs to tell me about the iPhone before he released it. You DID ask Jonathan Schwartz what his iPhone is. See the difference?

    Apple now has garbage collection. Catch up with the times.

    So now we are down to just reusing code. Do you want iPhone apps that do not have the native UI and no means currently to access the UI through gestures?

    Do you really think that interest in the iPhone as a platform is limited by the ability to re-use existing Java apps? Or do you think developers would be willing to adopt new methods to get onboard?

    (If you provide rational answers to those questions, I can ask again: why is Java superior to Apple’s own APIs.)

  16. Did Steve Jobs tell you about his iPhone before he was ready to? No.

    Why is Java superior? Developers tell me they don’t need to worry as much about managing memory as they do with non garbage collected languages and platforms. They also like being able to reuse their algorithms on many different platforms, not just one with 5% market share.

  17. Did Steve Jobs tell you about his iPhone before he was ready to? No.

    Why is Java superior? Developers tell me they don’t need to worry as much about managing memory as they do with non garbage collected languages and platforms. They also like being able to reuse their algorithms on many different platforms, not just one with 5% market share.

  18. Scoble, what if we know of everything you mentioned (1938Media, Steve Gillmor, Jason Calacanis, Eric Rice), and we are still wondering what PodTech’s “iPhone” is? I don’t see anything that’s going to save you yet.

    You still haven’t explained why Java is superior to Apple’s own development tools.

  19. When you don’t just write for the tech savvy person interested in tech you should explain what LAMP is with first use of the acronym.

    It’s common courtesy to do so, particularly when the meaning of such an acronym has a lot to do with what the writer’s talking about.

    A reader shouldn’t have to look up in Wikipedia or elsewhere what LAMP is.

    This blog isn’t just for people like Goebbels, after all, Robert’s family reads the blog. How many of them, other than me, do you think know what LAMP means, other than it’s a device that illuminates a space, usually while sitting on a DESK or TABLE.

  20. Scoble, what if we know of everything you mentioned (1938Media, Steve Gillmor, Jason Calacanis, Eric Rice), and we are still wondering what PodTech’s “iPhone” is? I don’t see anything that’s going to save you yet.

    You still haven’t explained why Java is superior to Apple’s own development tools.

  21. When you don’t just write for the tech savvy person interested in tech you should explain what LAMP is with first use of the acronym.

    It’s common courtesy to do so, particularly when the meaning of such an acronym has a lot to do with what the writer’s talking about.

    A reader shouldn’t have to look up in Wikipedia or elsewhere what LAMP is.

    This blog isn’t just for people like Goebbels, after all, Robert’s family reads the blog. How many of them, other than me, do you think know what LAMP means, other than it’s a device that illuminates a space, usually while sitting on a DESK or TABLE.

  22. Dave: Steve Jobs already said that all widgets that run on OSX won’t run on iPhone. So, what does the API really look like on the iPhone? What percentage of desktop OSX is on the iPhone? Desktop OSX widgets should be able to call into Java libraries, no?

    Simon: PodTech’s “iPhone?” You should watch 1938Media. Or, watch for what Steve Gillmor and Jason Calacanis are up to. Or follow Eric Rice.

    Lots of surprises and thrills ahead.

  23. Dave: Steve Jobs already said that all widgets that run on OSX won’t run on iPhone. So, what does the API really look like on the iPhone? What percentage of desktop OSX is on the iPhone? Desktop OSX widgets should be able to call into Java libraries, no?

    Simon: PodTech’s “iPhone?” You should watch 1938Media. Or, watch for what Steve Gillmor and Jason Calacanis are up to. Or follow Eric Rice.

    Lots of surprises and thrills ahead.

  24. Sure, Michael, I agree that they continued to target the sector. But I think there were already the seeds for seeing the market differently in the timespan you are talking about. Of course, at the time you are talking about, depending on your business, Apple did have a compelling small office ecosystem. I suppose what I’m realling talking about came a couple of years later as DTP really started to take off. (And, again, I’m not suggesting that from a marketing and sales perspective they weren’t attacking a larger market… Simple that it was clear technologically and strategically they were serving a smaller but still profitable market.)

    The point being: it wasn’t lack of developers or quality applications that limited Apple for two decades. It was the fact that the PC industry, from the business market on down, grew faster by commoditizing hardware.

  25. Sure, Michael, I agree that they continued to target the sector. But I think there were already the seeds for seeing the market differently in the timespan you are talking about. Of course, at the time you are talking about, depending on your business, Apple did have a compelling small office ecosystem. I suppose what I’m realling talking about came a couple of years later as DTP really started to take off. (And, again, I’m not suggesting that from a marketing and sales perspective they weren’t attacking a larger market… Simple that it was clear technologically and strategically they were serving a smaller but still profitable market.)

    The point being: it wasn’t lack of developers or quality applications that limited Apple for two decades. It was the fact that the PC industry, from the business market on down, grew faster by commoditizing hardware.

  26. I’m actually really surprised that people keep harping on the whole ‘iPhone doesn’t support java’ thing. For me, the big development platform for the iPhone is Widgets. The iPhone comes with safari, supports widgets and is running osx (or some derivation of it). Thus, I would imagine that just about every widget that currently runs on OSX will run on the iPhone. That means that developers will be able to develop widget based applications now, for OSX, that will migrate easily to the new platform when it comes out and will work on the existing OS.

    Desktop app and mobile app from the same code base with no migration and no need for emulation software at dev time? That sounds pretty cool to me.

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