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Oak is the original name for the programming language that later became Java. Developed in the early 1990s by James Gosling and colleagues at Sun Microsystems, Oak was initially designed to provide a platform-independent environment for embedded consumer electronics. It featured an object-oriented approach and syntax similar to C++. After being rebranded as Java, Oak was released publicly in 1995 as part of the development of the Java runtime system. The language has since evolved through multiple updates.