Come on. I realize that it's popular now to bash Java, but remember 90-s.
Java was well worth bashing even then. As I said, it became popular only because Sun was flogging it to the suits. Eventually it had had so much money poured into it that it had to become a half-way usable language despite itself, but at least for the first five years of its existence it really, really sucked. Few technical people wanted anything to do with it if they could help it at all – the big use case it was being touted for (browser applets) never really got off the ground, and for most everything else, many folks thought of Java as a kind of C++ with non-removable training wheels and abysmal performance.
There was NO fast cross-platform language in 95-97.
That didn't really matter with respect to Java because Java at the time was by no means »fast«, either. In fact, compared to other interpreted languages of the time it was pretty slow. Just-in-time compilation for Java – which was the technique that eventually did make a difference – became popular only later.
Java provided a way to create programs that run without large changes pretty much on all major platforms (even classic Mac OS).
So? Other popular languages did, too.
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