Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by [Sun Microsystems](http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/sun-microsystems). Java was originally called OAK, and was designed for hand-held devices and set-top boxes. Oak was unsuccessful so in 1995 Sun changed the name to Java and modified the language to take advantage of the burgeoning World Wide Web. Java is simplified to eliminate language features that cause common programming errors. Java source code files are compiled into a format called bytecode, which can then be executed by a Java interpreter. Compiled Java code can run on most computers because Java interpreters and runtime environments, known as Java Virtual Machines (VMs), exist for most operating systems, including UNIX, the Macintosh OS, and Windows. Bytecode can also be converted directly into machine language instructions by a just-in-time compiler (JIT). Java is a general purpose programming language with a number of features that make the language well suited for use on the World Wide Web. Small Java applications are called Java applets and can be downloaded from any Java-compatible browser.