John Chamberlain
Developer Diary
 Developer Diary · You Heard It Here First · Wednesday 3 March 2004
Sun's Java Home Site Goes Down
A web disaster is unfolding at Sun Microsystems as key Java resource site which is the global linchpin for Java information has been down for over a day and a half. Sun is apparently not taking it or its users seriously. As of 5:00 pm EST has been down for well over 24 hours with no explanation or notice from the company. Ironically Sun's main site,, is currently featuring the slogan "We make the net work." It looks like they cannot even make their own web site work, much less the rest of the net. No announcements have been made on or on federated sites like so Java developers all over the world are currently clicking in confusion trying to figure out what is going on.

The has a spotty continuity record already, but nothing on the scale of this crash has occurred before. The only known communication is from a content writer at the site who has posted the following message to the developer boards: is currently experiencing networking problems.
We are actively exploring solutions and will have the site 
restored as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Dana Nourie
Sun Microsystems
The few developers who have seen this non-response are miffed because it neither explains what the problem is or gives a timeline for it to be solved. Additional calls to Sun have gone unanswered or resulted in verbal variations of the above message.

Many critical resources such as standard DTDs are located at the domain and these resources are necessary for compiling some EJB and web services implementations. Also, many programs depend on these DTDs. This means that right now tens of thousands of developers have not been able to compile their work for almost two days and many users are unable to use applications which are crashing for lack of a DTD. These applications may include public safety, banking or other mission critical functions which are now blocked.

Another key loss is that millions of users around the world are currently unable to access or download Java runtimes which are necessary for many browsers and standalone applications to work. This means that for the last day and half many people have been entirely prevented from installing Java-based programs.

The overriding cause of the problem is that the Java team is attempting to switch their web server(s) over to run iPlanet (their product) instead of the old Netscape server (not their product). It is of course unbelievable that they did this without a tested assurance that the new servers would function. It is believable but highly unfortunate that Sun is choosing to leave its developers in the dark about what is going on even as these developers can no longer compile programs or access other critical Java resources on the Sun site.

A bad omen for Java.

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