Ravings of the insane: Sun's Java version numbering

Sun: JavaTM SE 6, Platform Name and Version Numbers

Wherein we learn that...

  • "J2SE 5.0" is followed by "Java SE 6".
  • "1.6.0 refers to exactly the same platform and products numbered 6".
  • "The number 6 is used to reflect the evolving level of maturity, stability, scalability and security of Java SE." (Is that some sort of superstitious Chinese numerology? I thought the devil is 6.)
  • "JDK" is not an abbrieviation for "Java Development Kit", but "Java SE Development Kit". (Where did the 'S' go?)
  • "Java EE Development Kit" is abbrieviated "SDK". (Aha, there's the 'S'.)
  • "Java SE keeps the version number 1.6.0 (or 1.6) in some places that are visible only to developers, or where the version number is parsed by programs." (Oh, except for the filenames and install directory of every Java download non-developers might use.)
Whoever decided and approved this crazy scheme is obviously a Microsoft sleeper agent devoted to the destruction of the Java platform. Sun, kick them upstairs quick, before they do any more damage.

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DearAOL: You go, girl! DearEFF: WTF?

EFF Fundraiser: "Email -- Should the Sender Pay?", a debate, Thursday April 20th at the Roxie Film Center, San Francisco
In light of AOL's adopting a "certified" email system, EFF is hosting a debate on the future of email. With distinguished entrepreneur Mitch Kapor moderating, EFF Activist Coordinator Danny O'Brien and renowned tech expert Esther Dyson will discuss the potential consequences if people have to pay to send email. Would the Internet deteriorate as a platform for free speech? Would spam or phishing decline?

I'm disappointed with the EFF's participation in the DearAOL whiny-letter-campaign against the AOL/GoodMail sender-pays anti-spam initiative. There are plenty of big threats to our online freedoms; a private experiment in using micropayment postage to deter spam shouldn't rate for any of the EFF's limited attention. So I'll be attending this debate, curious as to how the EFF got enlisted in such a dubious campaign.

A version of Esther Dyson's case for trying sender-pays:

Esther Dyson in the NYTimes: You've Got Goodmail

I also go over some of the reasons I support email postage as a worthwhile tactic against spam in comments at EFF Chairmain Brad Templeton's blog.

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Immigration reform angles

Debates over immigration are so hackneyed I usually find it hard to pay any attention. So I felt lucky to come across two pieces with well-reasoned, subtle, important points in the last couple of days.

At The New Republic, the staff editorial That's Hospitality makes a persuasive case that the "guest worker" provisions of recent proposals are un-American:

The problem with Bush's plan lies in the term--and the concept of--'guest workers,' because there is little that is more antithetical to the American ideal than a guest worker. While there are dangers in romanticizing this country's immigrant heritage, it is an unmistakable part of the national ethos. For generations, immigrants have come to the United States in search of a better life. In the process, they often remake themselves--as Americans. Even those who are here illegally, and whom we call illegal immigrants, can transcend that identity--or at least see their children who are born here transcend it.

But a guest worker and his family have no such opportunity for transcendence. They are slotted into a caste, with no real hope of ever rising above it. Indeed, Bush's guest-worker program would codify a large group of people in the United States as second-class citizens. Although they would enjoy many of the same legal protections as American-born workers, they would never be viewed by Americans as equals. Instead, they would be seen as transient figures here only to make a buck. They would not be immigrants or future Americans. They would merely be janitors, construction workers, and housekeepers.

TNR also mentions the cautionary experience of Europe and a better alternative, sponsored by Ted Kennedy and John McCain, which ensures any temporary workers have a path to citizenship.

The second piece -- a blog entry Immigrants and "Low Wage" Jobs (HT: Marginal Revolution) -- is a cynical and economically-literate take which doesn't fall neatly into the usual pro- or anti- immigration poses. A sample:

There is another side to this debate that gets less attention. The fact that immigrants are mostly less-skilled is not an accident. The current "die at the border" policy (so-called because you get the opportunity to work in the United States if you are willing to risk death in a dangerous border crossing) ensures that the flow of immigrants will be primarily less-skilled workers. Workers in developing countries with few employment opportunities might be willing to take this risk, in addition to the risk that they could be subsequently deported if they get picked up for a traffic ticket or some similar offence.

However, an established doctor, lawyer, or economist in the developing world will not try to slip over the border to work off the books in the United States. This fact ensures that the highly educated people who design immigration policy, and their professional colleagues, will not be subjected to the same sort of competition as less-skilled workers.

This post made me think anew about the shape of immigration policy, and that's saying something.

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