* Java was conceived by James Gosling, Patrick Naughton, Chris Warth, Ed Frank, and Mike Sheridan at Sun Microsystems, Inc. in 1991. It took 18 months to develop the first working version. This language was initially called “Oak” but was renamed “Java” in 1995. Between the initial implementation of Oak in the fall of 1992 and the public announcement of Java in the spring of 1995, many more people contributed to the design and evolution of the language.
* Although it is possible to compile a C++ program for just about any type of CPU, to do so requires a full C++ compiler targeted for that CPU. The problem is that compilers are expensive and time-consuming to create. An easier— and more cost-efficient—solution was needed. In an attempt to find such a solution, Gosling and others began work on a portable, platform-independent language that could be used to produce code that would run on a variety of CPUs under differing environments. This effort ultimately led to the creation of Java.
* As mentioned earlier, Java derives much of its character from C and C++. This is by intent. First, Java was designed, tested, and refined by real, working programmers. It is a language grounded in the needs and experiences of the people who devised it. Thus, Java is also a programmer’s language. Second, Java is cohesive and logically consistent. Third, except for those constraints imposed by the Internet environment, Java gives you, the programmer, full control.
* The first public implementation was Java 1.0 in 1995. It made the promise of “Write Once, Run Anywhere”, with free runtimes on popular platforms. It was fairly secure and its security was configurable, allowing for network and file access to be limited. The major web browsers soon incorporated it into their standard configurations in a secure applet configuration. popular quickly. New versions for large and small platforms (J2EE and J2ME) soon were designed with the advent of “Java 2”. Sun has not announced any plans for a “Java 3”.
* In 1997, Sun approached the ISO/IEC JTC1 standards body and later the Ecma International to formalize Java, but it soon withdrew from the process. Java remains a proprietary de facto standard that is controlled through the Java Community Process. Sun makes most of its Java implementations available without charge, with revenue being generated by specialized products such as the Java Enterprise System. Sun distinguishes between its Software Development Kit (SDK) and Runtime Environment (JRE) which is a subset of the SDK, the primary distinction being that in the JRE the compiler is not present.
Reference : Complete Reference : Java, Wikipedia