I read the entry Pulp Dictionary: Top Ten Reasons to choose Java over um, C# about the advantages of Java. I admit absolutely with Evan Summer (the author). But from my perspective his arguments only consider the business side of live. From my perspective Java is so successful because it is also perfectly suitable as leisure activity. The big advantage over other alternatives is not the language itself (I have to admit: some C# or Ruby features are even more interesting), but the open and mostly free platform. In my leisure I wrote a complete heating control with internet access, rule engine, report generator etc (just for fun,...and I needed a sample application for my book :-). and I was from the beginning absolutely sure, that it will not be a "Mission Impossible" project. I used Maven, Continuum, Glassfish, Netbeans (Matisse)/Eclipse(Groovy Plugin, BIRT),HSQL (Database), JINI and Java's serial port access etc. I was able to deliver the first "release" in about 2 days - and I enjoyed it.
Shortly I bought a Nokia E70 series cellular phone - with full Java support. It comes with carbide-j and Netbeans, Eclipse, JBuilder plugins. I thinking now about remote-controlling ITunes and playing with JINI and JXTA (just for fun).
My brother - Michael, developes since about 2-3 years a 3-D Engine with OpenGL (JOGL). It is very fast (>100 frames/second), well designed and cool (but I have no idea how it works :-)). His only motivation -> fun.
Again: Almost everyhing in Java is OpenSource and free - this is really important for java-starters and leisure activities... At the other hand Java is a mature, rock solid and efficient technology for professional server, client side and mobile projects.
I described some even more interesting issues in the entry: "Why I like Java and do not hate other languages....".
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