IBM VisualAge for Java: Idiot-Savant at Large...
minus the "Savant" part.
Recently, the development team for
IBM's VisualAge for Java announced that they would no longer be developing their
product for OS/2. Here is an excerpt of a post sent to one of IBM's newsgroups concerning
this decision (this information was first reported on OS/2.org):
IBM won't ship VisualAge for Java 3.5 for OS/2.
This clarification was sent to the newsgroup
The OS/2 operating system is recommending that developers move to a platform
neutral environment for the deployment of e-business applications by mid next year.
Based on this decision, the VisualAge for Java team had very strong discussion about
developing a 3.5 for OS/2 or not. I was part of the discussion. It seemed reasonable
to not deliver a product that will be obsolete by mid next year. I am sure a lot
of you will disagree. What we want is for you to be able to work on your platform
of choice and to support you. If OS/2 decides you should migrate, why should our
team say something else. I understand you do not agree with the OS/2 decision of
asking you to migrate. What I do not understand is why are you blaming the decision
of not providing a tool.
Knowing that, I believe the OS/2 will help each of us successfully migrating
to another platform. And once again I will be frank. If you decide to migrate to
a non IBM development environment because of that, I will be sad, I will understand
your decision and I will wish you good luck in the future. If you decide to use
VisualAge for Java we will make sure we support everything you do. OS/2 is still
supported as a deployment environment with remote debug and EMSRV.
When I read this I found myself terribly
confused. IBM claims that it has said clearly that it continues to support OS/2,
only that it wants people to move to a "platform neutral environment."
Supposedly this means that it doesn't care about your operating system, so long
as you're using tools -- like Java -- that can run on all the platforms IBM supports.
This seems like a reasonable interpretation, even a logical one.
That's not the interpretation the
VisualAge team used, however.
What kind of interpretation did they
use? Well, I try to imagine the meeting that took place where this decision was
made, and in my mind, it goes a bit like this:
Manager: "Guys, IBM wants everyone to move to a platform neutral environment.
So we need to stop developing Visual Age for Java for OS/2."
Developer: "Why's that?"
Manager: "Because OS/2
is not a 'neutral platform.' If IBM is only supporting neutral platforms, then we
can't support OS/2, because OS/2 is not neutral, it's OS/2."
Developer: "But OS/2
runs Java, which is a neutral platform."
Manager: "Yes, but VisualAge
for Java doesn't run under java, it only creates Java programs. So it's not really
platform-neutral either, but I don't want to stop developing VisualAge for Java,
because that's my job. Instead, we'll just stop developing VisualAge for Java for
Developer: "But if we
stop providing that tool, OS/2 users won't be able to create platform-neutral applications."
Manager: "Then they'll
have to migrate to an environment that is platform-neutral, like Linux or Windows."
Developer: "But Linux
and Windows aren't platform-neutral! I mean, it's not like you can run a Linux application
on a Windows machine..."
Manager: "I don't have
time to listen to this. I have things to do. Right now I'm going to cover my ears
and run into that wall over there as fast as I can, over and over again, until I
Now I can't swear that the conversation went exactly like that -- but I'm almost
positive about that last line.