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Here comes the Sun at JavaOne

Sun should pray that its investments pay off better than mine did. Last February, the company bought LongView Technologies, a tiny software developer with a half-dozen programmers and no product to its name. (The LongView folks were developing some sort of secret weapon for speeding up Java applications when Sun came along.)

    Forget Ralph Fiennes and Kirstin Scott Thomas, I'm the one who took a beating at the Oscars the other night. I bet heavily in my office Oscar pool that "The English Patient" leads would win; I'm still paralyzed with grief by the image of Fiennes carrying his dead mistress through the Sahara. Now, I'm paralyzed with debt and wishing I'd put my money on the guy who played the loco piano player.

    Sun should pray that its investments pay off better than mine did. Last February, the company bought LongView Technologies, a tiny software developer with a half-dozen programmers and no product to its name. (The LongView folks were developing some sort of secret weapon for speeding up Java applications when Sun came along.)

    But LongViewers' greatest asset may turn out to be their bluffing skills, not their technical wizardry. My spies tell me that they managed to convince Sun executives that Microsoft was also hot and heavy for them. Fearing the LongView Java juicer would head to Redmond, Sun went north on its bid, tripling its offer for the company. My agents are woefully silent on the final price.

    Rumors have been flying that Sun may continue its shopping spree for TJDs (tiny Java developers) and that the Sunsters are ogling app creator Cooper & Peters. One figure floating around for the C & P bid--$20 million--still has me choking on my liverwurst sandwich. Sun would be nuttier than David Helfgott to pay that kind of money.

    Money makes the world go around, but so does envy. Is there such a thing as VM (virtual machine) envy? If so, Sun suffers from it, according to Asymetrix. Execs from Paul Allen's historic money-sucking company say that JavaSoft initially banned Asymetrix from attending the JavaOne conference next week because the latter company offers a competing, ultra-fast Java engine. (Asymetrix was later allowed to attend, the company says.)

    I don't buy that story. JavaSoft has bigger fish to fry than Asymetrix. If the company was going to ban a competing VM provider it would be Microsoft.

    Speaking of JavaOne, not surprisingly Eric Schmidt is out as a keynote speaker after jumping ship to run Novell. JavaSoft was loathe to drop the ever-engaging Schmidt from its lineup of speakers, but apparently it could not risk offending its other Java partners by allowing a licensee to keynote at the event. The search is on for a last minute replacement. Does anyone have Billy Crystal's number? I get sweaty and pass out when I speak in public. What happens to you Email me your tales of public speaking horror and, of course, your rumors.