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McNealy derides government
meddling in Internet

Talk at Harvard alma mater touches
on Java, government, Gates

By By Sari Kalin

June  1996
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Government intervention will throw unwanted cold water on the Internet inferno, said to Scott McNealy, chairman, president, and CEO of Sun Microsystems, at a speech in Cambridge, MA. in late May.

McNealy warned that government intervention, which could include mandatory universal access to the Internet, will slow the growth of the Internet and Internet-based technologies.

"What we've got to do is grow hard, grow like crazy, and drive this thing through the private sector with as little government intervention as possible," McNealy said during a keynote address at Harvard University's Internet and Society Conference here today. "Eventually, hopefully, everybody gets access to this."

McNealy's speech was well-received by the audience. Afterward, however, one African diplomat pointed out that McNealy's anti-intervention message won't apply in developing countries.

"For young countries, the government intervention will be there more than in developed countries," said Anastase Rwegayura, minister plenipotentiary and head of chancery for the Tanzanian embassy. "We need to invest a lot in the telecommunications infrastructure if we are going to succeed in this."

During his speech, McNealy talked up Java, Sun's own object-oriented programming language, released nearly one year ago to the day. Recently, all major platform vendors agreed to embed the Java Virtual Machine in their operating systems, meaning that applications written in Java will be able to run on those systems without recompiling.

"Porting has got to go the way of the punch card," McNealy said.

McNealy also took his customary potshots at Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates, who gives his keynote address here tomorrow. Both McNealy and Gates started their undergraduate studies at Harvard, but McNealy, wearing a Harvard tie, pointed out to the audience that only one of them finished.

"I'd like it to be known that I graduated from here, I didn't drop out early," McNealy said. "I'm still trying to make up for that two-and-a-half year head start [that Gates] got."
--By Sari Kalin IDG News Service, Boston Bureau

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