Comparison of the Java and .NET platforms

The two platforms, their programming libraries, their binary formats, and their runtime environments have largely been governed by very different means.

The .NET platform as a whole has not been standardized. International standards organizations Ecma International and ISO/IEC define the standard for the .NET executable environment (known as the Common Language Infrastructure, or CLI), and .NET executable format (known as Common Intermediate Language, or CIL), but excluding most of the foundation classes (the Base Class Library, or BCL). This formal committee-based standardization process is in keeping with the way very popular languages like COBOL, Fortran and C have been standardized in the past.

The standards do not include many new libraries that Microsoft has implemented on top of the standard framework, such as those for accessing databases, or building GUI and Web applications, such as Windows Forms, ASP.NET and ADO.NET.

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To date, no part of Java has been standardized by Ecma International, ISO/IEC, ANSI, or any other third-party standards organization. While Sun Microsystems has unlimited and exclusive legal rights to modify and license its Java trademarks, Sun voluntarily participates in a process called the Java Community Process (JCP) that allows interested parties to propose changes to any of Sun’s Java technologies (from language and tools to API) via forums, consultation exercises and expert groups.

The JCP requires a membership fee for commercial contributors, while non-commercial contributors and individuals can join for free.

Within the rules of the JCP anyone can bring forward a proposal for a new Platform Edition Specifications or suggest changes to the Java language. All proposals are reviewed and voted on by interested JCP members at various stages throughout their lifecycle, however when it comes to including changes into the standard reference implementations (Java SE, Java EE and Java ME) modifications may be subject to rejection by Sun, who retain ultimate power of veto.

Java standards are maintained by a suite of test applications which examine every aspect of a given Java implementation against a rigorous specification. Only if an implementation passes the tens of thousands of individual tests can it use the trademarked name “Java”, and associated logos and brands.

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