I wrote this a few weeks ago:
I guess if it's not Java, it's not Java. However, something could be "mostly" Java and work more like Python. Would it be optimized? No. Would it be for the hard core geeks? No. Would be useful? Yeah, I think so. But I don't want some random OSS project that no one takes seriously, I'd like a sactioned Sun-backed spec like JSP.
I was sort of mulling this over the other night just before going to bed when I realized a couple things, and I'm surprised no one mentioned them to me via a comment or an email or even on IRC.
What I was talking about is exactly what VB.Net is to C#. This is patently obvious... I didn't realize it at the time because I'm a brain-washed Java head and was deep into Python, but all I was looking for was a way to create .class files yet not have to deal with many of the burdens of full-on Java. This is what Microsoft has done (or is at least attempting to do) with the CLR. I honestly don't have the slightest clue of what VB.Net looks like, to tell you the truth, but if they haven't messed with old VB too much, it would pretty much fit this picture of a simplified language that produced the same bytecode as a more powerful version. I seem to remember screaming from VB folks a few years ago, however, so I'm not sure if this is true or not.
Anyways, Sun is not competing with MS where they should. They're messing with some of the syntax for Java 1.5 and trying to extend the horribly bloated NetBeans into some sort of VB-like IDE (good fucking luck, Sun, you'll need it). But Sun needs a completely new way of thinking of the JVM as a platform and as Java as just one of the ways to develop for that platform. I'm *sure* that someone else has said this before, but my brief experience with the joys of rapid development with Python has convinced me that Sun needs some paradigm shift of this magnitude to keep momemtum.
I *won't* use MS tools and tech, but I better get a bit more acquainted with their tech again... Ignoring the 500 pound gorilla doesn't make him go away.