The LispOS Project: a position paper, part 1

Scott L. Burson
Mon, 26 May 1997 00:48:02 -0700 (PDT)

   From: Chris Bitmead uid <> (x22068)
   Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 10:32:27 +1000

   >Once the technology establishes itself, *then* it can begin to spread.  People
   >who have started using it because they *had* to may discover that its virtues
   >extend beyond its initial sine-qua-non application.
   >Case in point: Java and Dylan.  I gather Dylan existed before Java (at least,
   >I heard of it some time earlier).  The two languages have some very similar
   >goals and design philosophies.  But Java is apparently going to make it in the
   >marketplace while Dylan appears to be dead.  Why?  Applets.  Gosling
   >identified and targeted an application for which no existing technology was
   >acceptable.  There was no such "killer app" for Dylan.

   Of course Java wasn't built as a platform for applets. It was built by
   some Sun engineers who felt it was the Right Thing, and then someone
   discovered later a "killer app" for Java.

I guess you must mean that the specific application of Web browser applets
wasn't thought of until later.  I'm fairly certain that the idea of sending
executable code across the network was part of the design from the beginning
(that being something Gosling, who previously created NeWS, has been into for
a long time).  So it was a very small jump from there to applets.  I would say
that really, he did identify the general region within which the "killer app"
would fall, even if its exact form wasn't immediately clear.

Which is not to say that it never happens that the "killer app" isn't
discovered until after the technology is introduced.  But it becomes something
of a matter of luck at that point.

-- Scott