JavaSoft last week candidly admitted that Java's write once run anywhere philosophy is more an ideal than a reality.
The company also conceded that only a minority of third-party Java applications comply with the official compatibility programme today.
"Write once, run anywhere is a promise not a guarantee today," said Jim Mitchell, vice president of technology and architecture at JavaSoft.
Last April JavaSoft established the 100% Pure Java specification and compliance programme for guaranteeing Java applications can be written once and will run anywhere.
Yet last week the company said just 65 third-party Java applications have so far attained 100% Pure Java status. It is impossible to put an exact figure on the number of Java applications out in the market but JavaSoft estimates there are 400,000 Java developers worldwide.
Mitchell defended the 100% Pure Java initiative, saying another 100 applications were currently going through the compliance process.
But analysts immediately pounced on the revelations, which come at a time when Java is facing severe criticism from the industry for failing to deliver on its promise. They accused JavaSoft of over playing Java's capabilities.
Neil Ward-Dutton, senior analyst at Ovum, said: "100% Pure Java is a long way from reality because (Java) enterprise services do not yet exist."
However, BT Research Laboratories, which is using Java to build virtual reality applications, said the language had solved a particular problem for the company.
Graham Walker, telepresence campaign manager at the BT Labs, said: "One of the appeals of Java is that it is cross platform."
Java technology is only two years old and still maturing. Yet developers expect far more from it because JavaSoft has sold them an ideal which it cannot yet deliver.
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