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Re: Can Java just shoot me?

On Wednesday 21 November 2007, Chris G wrote:
> Then you should complain to the people who wrote the web page, not the
> implementors of Java.

So he's going to complain to his IT organization... this is the right way to 
get Linux in the enterprise, yes?!  (no.)  Chris, many users of Fedora are 
doing so in organizations where they have zero control of the infrastructure; 
Fedora needs to adapt to the infrastructure that is present, because the 
infrastructure that is present is not going to be changed just for little old 
Fedora's sake.  If you think the infrastructure needs to be changed just to 
accommodate an unsupported OS, well, you don't know what you're talking 
about.  Some IT organizations will work with you, unless you make yourself a 
pest: do that, and they may decide to intentionally make it difficult for 

> Personally I hate pages that use Java, it very, very rarely adds
> anything useful to publically available web pages and (as you have
> discovered) it isn't always easy to get the Java plugin (if that's
> what you need) working well.

We use a Java system for a remote controlled radio telescope here.  It works 
very well, and allows real-time control of the radio telescope, with 
in-browser spectrometer/radiometer control and graphing, along with telescope 
positioning and a webcam showing the telescope.  We make this telescope 
available over the internet to educators who complete our training program 
for the telescope; they can then use the telescope in-class to give hands-on 
education to their students in radio telescopy.  The students, using the 
radiometer and a servlet-driven mapping/deconvolution routine, can map the 
sky at 1.42GHz (the neutral hydrogen emission line).  The students, using the 
spectrometer function, can determine the doppler shifts of various portions 
of the galactic plane and can draw a curve of the galactic rotation (while we 
could calculate that for them in-applet, we prefer to teach them how to take 
the raw doppler frequency shifts and derive the galactic velocities by hand).

At the time we put this online, Java was the only option for this sort of 
control through a browser; it's been online for 5 years with a couple of 
systems upgrades in between.  As development of this size of system is 
expensive, we will continue to use Java applet control until something better 
comes along (and, while I can't tell you what it is due to NDA, I can say 
that there is something far superior that is coming along nicely; it did 
require a sizable grant to fund the development, though.  And, no, it isn't 
yet another AJAX hack.).

We do have Linux and Mac users; and, quite frankly, icedtea does not work with 
this applet at all.  I had it working fine in F7 with Sun's JRE, but haven't 
yet gotten it to work in F8.
Lamar Owen
Chief Information Officer
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
1 PARI Drive
Rosman, NC  28772

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