Sun Microsystems boss Scott McNealy turned up the drama in his keynote speech during yesterday's JavaOne conference in San Francisco, urging Java programmers not to defect to "the dark side" or Microsoft.
Java, the programming software language that allows computing instructions to be understood irrespective of platform or operating system, faces major competition in the emerging battlefield of 'web services'.
"I need your help. Mankind needs your help," said a downbeat McNealy as he pleaded to Java programmers not to be tempted away to the .Net camp.
Web services are the functions which are made available from a business's web server for web users or other web-connected programs, and it is an area in which Microsoft's .Net environment, out later this year, has stolen at least a six month headstart on Sun.
"The first hit of heroin is free," McNealy added, in a swipe at Microsoft's attempts to plunder programmers.
The standards that form the core underlying infrastructure of the web are currently open, but McNealy fears that Microsoft is trying to change them to incorporate its own products into the fold.
"I want everybody to be aware of the opportunity for very large monopolists to hijack open APIs (application program interfaces)," he said.
Although Sun is facing huge competition in the server space from IBM, all eyes are on Microsoft.
Jokingly, McNealy referred to .Net as "dot not" and claimed that Java had over three million programmers.
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