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Java GOOD -- Fire BAD

It's pretty easy for all of us to ding Java since we've all been exposed
to lots of languages that are objectively better in many ways.  However,
as someone who went from several years as a Common Lisp programmer to
a few years doing C++, the arrival of Java came as a godsend.  Sure,
it has lots of flaws, but it has a very special role.  It's the best
language out there that most people will ever be allowed to use on the
job. (Okay, let's say optimistically that "ever" is an overstatement,
but certainly for the near term).  Somehow, the Java folks managed
to make heap allocation, runtime type safety and GC acceptable to the
mainstream.  I still don't know how that happened even though I lived
through it.

Lots of people have been exposed to some new ideas and programming
paradigms that they might never have picked up on, thanks to Java.
It might be interesting to discuss the path to a better Java.  Given
that it's the mainstream, what should be the next step for the
language?  What would improve it the most with the least disruption?