My first encounter with Java came as a PhD student in Spring 1998. I had been earning some extra money by helping a disabled student who couldn’t physically attend his first year Computer Science classes. I’d learned Dijkstra’s algorithm and enough graph theory to stay ahead of the class, and at the end of term, he came to me and asked if I’d sit in on another class for him—some new programming language called "Java."
At first I refused, but I eventually relented, and I clearly remember many a late night sitting by the Physics department printer, waiting for a print-out of some tutorials and early javadoc so I could read up before the class.
Little did I know that this language and environment would have the impact on my life and career that it has.
Thanks to my wife Anna Evans for the illustrations, to Samir Talwar, Helen Scott, and Gil Tene for technical reviews. To Dalibor Topic for correcting the timeline of events leading up to the release of OpenJDK. To the O’Reilly team: Nan Barber, Brian Foster, Heather Scherer, and Megan Blanchette. Finally to Mike, who was responsible for getting me into this industry in the first place (if you’re reading this, please contact O’Reilly, and they’ll reconnect us).