Java plays catchup?

Sun Microsystems plans to have a version on Java, termed Java Kernel, to be hosted in browsers, have the ability to download various pieces as needed etc. Basically, I guess, to have a small footprint, be host-able in a more efficient manner. Found here, via a link on CodeProject.

There is more detail at link here, from one of the devs trying to get this work. The primary point to note is that this is not a version of the Java runtime that is different from what is possible already for applets. It is more a slimming effort to reduce the baggage Java has been made to carry.

I don’t mean to belittle the contributions of the Java platform, but I think they are playing catch up to the MS platform, at least on the rich client-side experience side of things, which I would acknowledge they brought first via applets. And they just talk about the small size being the primary factor here. No talk of a dedicated initiative like the DLR for supporting scripting languages.

Of course there is a profusion of languages supported via the Scripting APIs on the Java platform, but I really don’t get a sense of how much traction these have in the real world. Perhaps the tyranny of choice is at work here?

All said, I think Microsoft has an edge in gaining developer mindshare with its latest offerings.

What do you think? Does Java have something to counter Silverlight, DLR, LINQ etc? Do these have tool support? Is it blessed by Sun?

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