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Internet World opens with two Bills

Internet World 96 kicked off with keynotes from the two Bills: one from Microsoft and one from Sun Microsystems.

Internet World 96 kicked off today in San Jose, California, with keynotes from the two Bills: Bill Joy, co-founder and vice president of research at Sun Microsystems, and Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and CEO.

Joy outlined Sun's efforts to make Java a widespread Internet technology, a plan that received a significant boost today with the announcement that leading OS vendors will embed a Java engine directly into their operating systems. This, along with the existing Java technology in the popular Netscape Navigator browser and Sun's plans to embed Java directly into microprocessors and embedded systems, will make Java ubiquitous, Joy said.

"Our goal has been and continues to be that Java will run everywhere," he said.

Joy also gave a preview of a list of announcements Sun will make at its JavaOne developer conference in San Francisco at the end of May. There, Sun plans to unveil a broader set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for Java than currently exists, improving the ability of developers to write more sophisticated Java applets, as well as full-blown applications.

According to Joy, the APIs will include: Servelet APIs for writing server-based Java applications; Connect APIs for connecting Java applets to each other; Media APIs for writing video, audio, and telephony applications in Java; Crypto APIs for improving applet security; and Commerce APIs for writing electronic commerce applications in Java.

"We'll be moving Java beyond applets as we did with Netscape to writing full applications and even whole platforms," Joy said.

Although Bill Gates couldn't attend the show in person because of the recent birth of his first daughter, Microsoft's chief spoke via satellite to the Internet World audience.

In spite of Microsoft's agreement to integrate Java with Windows, Gates seemed to play down its importance during his speech. "We see Java as a great development," he said. "We think the number of languages that will be popular for application development will continue to grow."

Gates also described what he sees as a dangerous trend among Web browsers to grow in size and the demands the software makes on the PC.

"Internet browsers are by far the fastest-growing piece of software," Gates said. "In some ways, the browser has almost become an OS in itself. If we're not careful, we'll have a whole new operating system."

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