However, non-GUI applications are not nearly as slow. The ongoing improvement in performance has made speed a non-issue, particularly on the server side. All modern implementations feature a "just in time" translation mechanism whereby Java bytecode is converted at startup into native code, and thereafter, runs at the same speed as native code. Indeed, some studies reported in Info World showed Java to be within a few percent of C++ in some number-crunching applications. For web servers, it's a no brainer. Java is easier to write large, scalable, maintainable, commercial-grade applications in, and runs as fast as anything.
Look at how Sun handled NFS, the Network File System (documented from the earliest days, and made an RFC internet standard), RPC (same, plus the source code freely available on the Internet), and how it's handled Java so far (documented, and library source code included from the beginning; full source code for internal use free on only a non-disclosure agreement).
Friends and enemies? No. Sun works with its licensees. Netscape have been co-operating in moving toward full compliance (and, for the record, shipped an almost-fully-compliant 1.1-based browser before Microsoft did, though it was a production browser with a Beta add-on). Microsoft has ignored Sun's warnings that they stop tinkering with the public API so soundly and for so long that Sun had to resort to getting an injunction to get MS to uphold the contract.
In summary, Sun have a better moral position in all this.
Microsoft's Crimes: Promised to fully support Java, recruited developers to use Microsoft Java tools, then put those developers at risk by mounting a campaign to divide Java into two incompatible flavors, thereby ruining Java's promise of "write once, run anywhere."
It's pretty simple what's going on. And pretty sordid. Microsoft is the current dictator.
If you look at how Microsoft has comported itself over the years, vs how Sun has, you'll know how absurd that is. Certainly Sun wants to remain a dominant player in the computing industry beyond the lifespan of its UNIX products, and it has ensured this by introducing Java. If you look at Sun's history (NFS, RPC and Java, above), you'll know. When was the last time Microsoft offered you, for free, the source code for one of their key technologies?