Java: The Messy B i rth
Of a New Language
JOHN GAGE JUST HAPPENED BY THAT FEBRUARY AFTERNOON IN 1995 with a few innocent requests. He poked his head in the office door and asked for some computer cable and things. James Gosling rummaged around to get Gage what he wanted, but he then became curious: why did Gage need all this gear? Gage explained that he was giving a speech at a conference the next morning, and he wanted to finish with a flourish of high-tech flash. He planned to show off the software project Gosling had been working on for years at Sun Microsystems, a project that had never been shown in public. The software was in pretty solid shape, Gosling thought, but he was aghast at the prospect of Gage wrestling with it on his own in front of 500 people - a show that would depend on smoothly working Internet connections among other vagaries of technology.
"This had disaster written all over it, so I just got in the car with John," Gosling recalled. He went off to the conference in Monterey, over the hills and south of Sun's Silicon Valley offices, with no change of clothes, no toothbrush. He called his wife to tell her he wasn't coming home for a couple of days.
John Gage has the resume of a 1960s renaissance man - an All-American swimmer and lapsed math major at Berkeley who got enamored of the Free Speech Movement, made the Nixon White House "enemies" list, became deputy press secretary for George McGovern's quixotic presidential bid, attended the Harvard Business School and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and