Geek Trivia

What Was Sun Microsystems’ Java Software Platform First Designed For?

Mobile Phones
Financial Servers
Web Browsers
Smart Appliances
If You Want a Fresh Can of 1990s Energy Drink "Surge" You'll Have to Visit Where?

Answer: Smart Appliances

Java began at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s as an internal project intended to provide an alternative to the C++/C programming languages. The project, originally called the Stealth Project and then the Green Project, was focused on creating a new generation of programming language for smart appliances.

The first demonstration of the Java Software Platform in action, then called Green OS, was September 3, 1992. The development team showed off a home-centric PDA that would control and automate settings around the house. The device was dubbed Star7 and sported an animated mascot named Duke. The Star7 project never saw the light of day but Duke stuck around as the official Java mascot.

The Java team went on to develop and pitch a computer-based set-top box to Time Warner which, although Time Warner had put out a call for such a device, was rejected by the cable giant because it gave too much control to the end user. After failing to generate interest in the television industry for a set-top computer, Java found its niche: web browsers.

The team had originally wanted to work with set-top boxes because they were interested in working with highly interactive medium across a broad network; clearly the internet was much more interactive and much further reaching. They wrote in in-house prototype browser called WebRunner, which was later renamed to HotJava. By 1995 Sun had partnered with Netscape and Netscape Communicator began shipping with Java support. The rest is history and Java Runtime Environment is now found on hundreds of millions of computers and mobile devices.