Prior to its announcement of K Virtual Machine (KVM)at JavaOne 1999, Sun had steadfastly held to the “Write Once, Run Anywhere” mantra associated with Java. Make software portable to any computing platform, they said, and its value will be increased many times. True enough. But overlooked in that argument is the fact that the majority of computing platforms are inside products with only limited resources.

Trying to run a Java program written for a desktop computer on one of these systems is a fool’s errand. “Write Once, Run Anywhere” doesn’t acknowledge that fact or offer would-be Java programmers any other option; KVM, however, does both.