Thread Subject: Re: Concerns about our current definition of a "platform"
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From: Sean Hayes
Date: Tue, Aug 21 2007 3:35 AM
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I think the difference here is in the mode of deployment. When Java is being used as an Applet runtime for random internet code, JNI is not available as I understand it. In that mode it is acting as a platform (Note 3); whereas in the case where the applet is signed code that is user installed and JNI is available, Java is essentially being used as a programming language like C++ (albeit with a somewhat stronger discipline). It is still able to access the entire system, and in this mode Java is not acting as a platform
Isolation (like pregnancy) is a binary condition, you either are, or you are not. Non isolated systems can make it arbitrarily hard to get at the underlying features, but this doesn't make them isolating.
If Swing provides access to the underlying requirements within the platform (i.e. its available to unsigned applets), then great, that is exactly what we are trying to promote. The applet is isolated, but responds to its platform in an appropriate manner.
We are using the term platform here in a very narrow sense, and although in common parlance one might say many things are 'platforms', including for example C++. This definition is intentionally stricter. If there is confusion, perhaps we need to use different terms e.g. isolating runtime (platform) and non isolating runtime.
If there is direct access to the underlying system, then while superficially a system might appear to be a platform, it is in fact just a non isolating runtime, in which case applications written on top of it can be made compliant by directly accessing the features they need. It is important that we retain this distinction, otherwise every runtime library will have to provide these features.
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