Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
When Java first started gaining popularity, it was loudly hyped as the end all language. It was expected that Java would take the “rich client” by storm, and applets would be the go to solution for enhancing web pages. What happened was a bit different.
In my opinion, the open sourcing of Java during its early infancy would have had little impact on most of the teething issues. The Virtual Machine, JIT, and Garbage Collection required many years of tuning to get acceptable performance and Sun did an acceptable job keeping it under wing. The relatively limited CPU and RAM of the mid ’90s also made these concepts a bit ahead of their time. Somewhere in the 1999-2002 time frame, though, Sun really dropped the ball. An Open Source Java would have led to ubiquity on the booming Linux platform and a chance for all sorts of cross-platform software.
Open Source matters, and not just for the source code.