A Brief History of Java

James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton initiated the Java language project in June 1991. Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it was too advanced for the digital cable television industry at the time. The language was initially called Oak after an oak tree that stood outside Gosling’s office; it went by the name Green later, and was later renamed Java, from Java coffee, said to be consumed in large quantities by the language’s creators. Gosling aimed to implement a virtual machine and a language that had a familiar C/C++ style of notation.

Hence Java is a programming language originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which has since merged into Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems’ Java platform. The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++ but has a simpler object model and fewer low-level facilities. Java applications are typically compiled to bytecode (class file) that can run on any Java Virtual Machine (JVM) regardless of computer architecture. Java is a general-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented language that is specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is intended to let application developers “write once, run anywhere” (WORA), meaning that code that runs on one platform does not need to be recompiled to run on another. Java is currently one of the most popular programming languages in use, particularly for client-server web applications, with a reported 10 million users.

The original and reference implementation Java compilers, virtual machines, and class libraries were developed by Sun from 1995. As of May 2007, in compliance with the specifications of the Java Community Process, Sun relicensed most of its Java technologies under the GNU General Public License. Others have also developed alternative implementations of these Sun technologies, such as the GNU Compiler for Java and GNU Classpath.

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