I love those Java guys at Sun - they're kind of cute when they try to talk smack:
Scripting languages are ideal for smaller programs but Java is the choice for larger programs, he said. "As your program grows in size, the lack of strong typing basically kills your ability to handle a very large program and so you don't find the million-line Perl program," he said. One-million-line Java programs are plentiful, Click said. Strong typing refers to the capability of knowing the type of memory objects.
First, most million line programs are a mistake. The fact that Java has lots of them says nothing good about the language; the fact that it takes that much code to achieve something useful says something else entirely. Second, most of the large applications they are talking about are database bound - meaning that the raw execution speed of the code is mostly irrelevant.
Take a live example of a big app written in one of the languages these guys are throwing rocks at - Twitter. Everyone knows they had initial scaling problems, but those have gone away - and the app is still written in Ruby. Gee, why do you suppose that is? Could it be that they went and tuned the database layer, and got their load balancing situation under control? I Rather suspect that a Twitter on J2EE wouldn't exist yet, because some of the million lines of code required would still be being written.
Here's another small clue for those guys - most of the containers floating around the planet are shipped with Smalltalk code. A large proportion (possibly a majority) of the chips being built are in factories controlled in large measure by Smalltalk systems. A ton of the more profitable trading on Wall Street, by one of the most prestigious (and successful) firms there is done in Smalltalk. The firms that haven't been able to catch them? Yeah, those guys use J2EE, mores the pity.
Micro-benchmarks are pretty irrelevant, and you would think Sun's big honchos would know that. However, when you realize that J2EE is a huge pile of steaming manure weighing down the people unfortunate enough to be using it, I guess it makes sense to shout "but our arithmetic is really fast!".
java, j2ee, smalltalk, scripting languages, ruby