Java History                                     P.Komisar

reference: 'Core Java', Horstmann & Cornell                                     minor revision April 10 / 2001

In 1991 a group of Sun engineers led by James Gosling and Patrick Naughton set out to create
a small computer language for consumer devices. Because different manufacturer's CPU's would
be used they wanted the language to be platform independent . The project was code named
Green. They resurrected USCD Pascal, pioneered by Niklaus Wirth. This language generated
intermediate code for a hypothetical machine, often called a virtual machine, (hence the JVM or
Java Virtual Machine). The intermediate code could be used on any machine that deployed the
interpreter. It was advantageous that both the intermediate code and the interpreter could be kept
quite small. Because the Sun people were from a C/Unix background, they based their language
on C++. Gosling at first called the language 'Oak', but having discovered another language named
Oak the name was changed to Java.

The Green project developed a 'smart' remote control no one wanted. The group dissolved in
1994. Meanwhile, in 1994, Mosaic was the most popular browser, a non-commercial browser
developed at the University of Illinois.  (Mosaic was partly written by Marc Andressen  for $6.85
an hour while he was an undergraduate student. He later cofounded Netscape.) Gosling realized
they had a lot of code adaptable to building a browser so they decided to create one. The original
was built by Patrick Naughton and Jonathan Payne and evolved into the ' HotJava ' browser we
know today. The browser was given the ability to interpret the intermediary bytecode of applets
written in Java. The demo of applets being displayed in the 'HotJava' browser at 'SunWorld' of
1995 is thought to have begun the Java craze.

The breakthough in Java's use is attributed to Netscape' adoption of Java in their 1996 version
2.0 browser. The technology was licenced by IBM, Symantec, Inprise and Microsoft.Release of
Java proceeded from version 1.x to 1.1.x to the release of 1.2.x in 1998. Currently, (July 2000),
there are three releases of the the JDK, Enterprise, Standard and Micro, the most current
version is the newly released 1.3 standard edition.