[MUD-Dev] java clients

Christopher Kohnert chris at achaea.com
Wed Nov 12 23:19:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Nov 12, 2003, at 2:24 AM, ceo wrote:
> Christopher Kohnert wrote:

>> Hey, we work with what we've got. Java client developers would
>> love nothing more than to have a stable, working, featureful
>> version of Java on every user's machine. The reality is that most
>> users don't, and we've got to code to the lowest common
>> denominator in order to keep the barrier of entry low (in a
>> medium that is already pretty high). Even WebStart, which is what
>> the initial java release should have been, is annoyingly
>> difficult to get users to use.

> Right, lowest common denominator == no java installed. I'm not
> kidding, I'm serious - in percentage terms, it's true. MS's JVM is
> soon to disappear ENTIRELY (unless there's a change of heart in
> the legal wranglings), and it was *never* compatible with 1.1 java
> anyway, at least not until February/March this year. Anyone who
> didn't download it before the end of Spring is now not ALLOWED to
> download that update (due to court decisions).

> OTOH, if you look at only people who already have a 1.1-compliant
> version I would be surprised if 1.2 isn't the most
> widely-installed minimum version. It is now 5 years old, which is
> a long time for it to have penetrated via upgrades. Note also that
> nearly all java apps require 1.2, so the chances of someone having
> already been forced to upgrade by now are reasonably high.

I am soon going to have our javaclient report the breakdown of its
users as for OS, Java version, etc. I'll post the numbers here if
anyone would like to know what they wind up being. (Though I'm not
sure when I'll get around to actually doing this.) But as for the
lowest common denominator, we're talking java users here. And even
if we weren't, you're pretty guaranteed that any one with a
browser's got 1.1 (or close enough to 1.1 to count).

> As a separate issue, JWS is often difficult to get people to use
> because it often DOES NOT WORK under windows! This is a quite a
> major problem. I don't know yet what the conditions are that cause
> it not to work, but this affects a large number of windows users.

Yeah, another botched job by Sun. ;)

> How many people actually *want* new nVidia drivers? Certainly the
> hardcore gamers do, but most people couldn't care less except that
> their games aren't working - or in some cases their business apps
> / desktop keep crashing, or are going very slow.

I bet if the average user knew that his crashing was due to a broken
driver and he knew where to get it (and which one to get), he'd
happily download it, he'd actually REALLY want it. Sadly, he doesn't
and he doesn't.

> If you have some evidence to the contrary of this:

>   >> Downloads of technologies over the past decade have proven
>   >> time and again that if your content is compelling, people
>   >> will download.

Sounds like the chicken and the egg to me. ;) Try convincing the
average non-Mudder that a MUD's got great content. Especially if
you're starting your argument with: "AFTER you download and install
all this stuff, that may or may not break your machine, and could
take hours or days to do, ..." (assuming you don't have a swath of
pretty screenshots with lots of lens flares and whatnot of course).

> Some game developers have been trying to persuade Sun to move the
> JRE into a fully-modular system, where you download just the JVM,
> then libraries are added "on demand". This would make the basic
> Java install very small, probably less than a megabyte, but at the
> cost of weakening the "all pervasiveness" of the stanardard
> libraries.

Boy, that would've been pretty sweet. An easy to install, small
download, auto-updating, auto-extending, user-friendly application
framework? Sun's so far been the exact opposite on all counts when
it comes to Java. Nice to dream about though. ;)

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