Wednesday, June 4, 1997, page 14 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Don't Worship Java, Gates Says ---------------------------------------------------------------------- By Mitchell Martin International Herald Tribune ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ATLANTA - Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., said Tuesday that the computer industry would not adopt Java as the sole language of programming, putting him at odds with executives of other leading companies. Mr. Gates, speaking at the Spring Comdex trade show, said it was unreasonable to expect all existing programs to be rewritten in Java and that certain applications would continue to take advantage of features in other operating systems, including Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh and Microsoft's Windows family. On Monday, Jeff Papows, president of Lotus Development Corp., said the future of the computer industry depended on ''the religious insistence of 100 percent-pure Java'' applications. Java allows programmers to write software that can run on different operating systems. Mr. Gates's response was: ''I think it's a little strange to get religious about this; there are user requirements.'' He added, ''Whenever people want to write applications, they ought to have a choice.'' Lotus is a subsidiary of International Business Machines Corp., which is part of a loose alliance of companies that are seeking to wrest control of the industry's agenda from Microsoft. Because its Windows system is so pervasive in desktop computers, Microsoft has been able to dominate other parts of the industry. Mr. Papows had said that Microsoft had ''near-monopolistic'' power over desktop products. ''Java,'' he said, ''is the universal environment for an applications renaissance.'' The language, developed by Sun Microsystems Inc., occupies a niche similar to that of Unix, which was widely used in scientific and other high-end computing, but which suffered from having many different versions. ''If we screw this up,'' said Mr. Papows, likening Java to Unix, ''we've lost our last chance.'' Mr. Papows warned that Microsoft might develop its own version of Java. The debate over Java is related to the outlook for network computers, which would mainly be used for accessing the Internet or corporate systems known as intranets. Java is seen as the natural choice for network-based computing, and its widespread adoption would pressure Windows. Executives of several companies that make network computers, at a panel discussion Monday, identified Java capability as a key requirement of customers.