Can Java just shoot me?

Lamar Owen lowen at
Sun Nov 25 03:03:45 UTC 2007

On Saturday 24 November 2007, Chris G wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 24, 2007 at 09:49:33AM -0800, Knute Johnson wrote:
> > >Chris G wrote:
> > >> OK, you have a case where Java is useful/necessary, that doesn't mean
> > >> that *many* (or even most) uses of Java in web applications are good
> > >> and necessary.

> > >I disagree.  Usable java is the way out of monopoly control of web
> > >browsers (and hardware as well).  It's unfortunate that alternative
> > >operating systems haven't worked to provide it.

> But Java doesn't have very much to do with 99% of what a browser shows
> you.  It's just a way of running client side applications.  At least
> that's what the Java plugin (which is what provoked this whole thread)
> is for.

The telescope control system I mentioned is end-to-end Java.  A Java servlet 
system running under tomcat drives the entire application, including sending 
a few applets to the browser for the interface.  The backend uses a 
PostgreSQL database for triple-a (including the mandatory scheduling for 
first-come first-served exclusive (but metered) access).  But it's otherwise 
pure Java.

Sure, the plugin only impacts the applets the servlet sends to the browser; 
but that is a critical piece of the pie, being the entire interface to the 

We have found that the version number of the JRE has far more to do with 
whether Smiley (the name of the telescope) will run on a particular browser 
or not than the platform.  We test many versions from 1.4.2 on up, and there 
are too many version-specific hacks to be at all funny.

The system is, let's see, a 2.5MB war.  The applet aggregate jar is only a 
little over 500kB; most of the logic is in the servlet.
Lamar Owen
Chief Information Officer
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
1 PARI Drive
Rosman, NC  28772

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