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Apache Web Server Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Janakiram MSV, Gil Allouche

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J2EE Journal: Article

Sun Takes Microsoft's Advice on Java

Sun Takes Microsoft's Advice on Java

It looks like Sun has taken Microsoft's advice and has started hitting up its fellow OEMs to handle Java. Sun said from JavaOne the other day that Microsoft buddy HP, typically dissed by Sun as "the printer company," will ship the latest Sun-pure Java Runtime Environment - the thing that Microsoft is under a stayed court-ordered injunction to distribute with Windows and IE - with a "broad range" of its business and consumer desktops and notebooks starting in Q3. 

Ditto Microsoft loyalist Dell, which says it will make Java standard on its Windows and Linux kits.

There's no indication of who's paying who in this deal. 

Sun is giving the stuff away at http://java.com and according to testimony that came out at a pre-trial Sun v Microsoft hearing Sun calculated that if it paid the top OEMs a mere $4 million a year to distribute Java, it would reach 70% of the market. 

It was Microsoft's contention, who learned of the computation during discovery and surfaced it in court when it was trying to ward off that unprecedented injunction, that any poor Java distribution that Java was experiencing was Sun's own fault and that it really didn't need Microsoft as a vehicle.

Besides HP and Dell, Sun now has Apple, Red Hat and the upstart Lindows.com on its Java team. The new LindowsOS 4.0, due any second, will include Java, the company said. 

One wonders whether the HP-Dell deals will ensure that Microsoft wins its appeal and escapes the hated injunction. Sun called the pacts "wide-ranging" and an "enormous scale of opportunity."

Needless to say, client-side Java has been a disaster. Sun, however, is currently bent - for good or ill - on raising Java awareness among consumers. (Seems Sun did a survey and found that 85% of the people had heard of Java, but only 20% knew what it was or did.)

So it's gonna be going around stamping Java-based products like cell phones and set-top boxes "Java powered" in a borrowing from the great "Intel Inside" campaign, though whether that makes Java any more understandable remains to be seen. Sun's also gonna be spending half of its total fiscal '04 ad budget, it says, without saying how big that is, advertising Java in print and on TV - even though Java is a, well, at best a lost leader. It's supposed to be unified branding and not show any of Java seams.

Apparently it's hoping to get Java OEMs to kick $500 million into a promotion fund. Microsoft, meanwhile, is supposed to spend a lot on advertising trying to keep developers away from Linux. (The media will be ever so grateful for both spends.)

Sun is dreaming about increasing Java's reach from a purported three million developers, a number Microsoft claims is terribly inflated, to 10 million in opposition to Visual Basic and .NET, of course.

At JavaOne, it trotted out a number of products or would-be products that are supposed to entice seven million developers including:

  • Project Rave, a lightweight environment for corporate Java development that won't be available until fall and then only in early access. It won't be out out until next year. It's supposed to make Java programming accessible to Java neophytes, and J2EE is after all very complicated. Microsoft calls Rave and its like a "band-aid" and contends it'll never replace solid architecture;
  • The next-generation Java 2 Standard Edition 1.5 and Java 2 Enterprise Edition 1.5, which is supposed to make development easier. Microsoft would claim the 1.5 specification is behind;
  • Scripting Java Specification Request (JSR), which is supposed to bridge scripting languages like PHP (think Linux) and Java;
  • Project Relator, a new content development tool for the Java 2 Mobile Edition that won't be available until the middle of next year

    Sun's also making nice-nice with the open source contingent and has set up an open source development site called java.net that its buddies CollabNet and O'Reilly & Associates are contributing to. The site's software infrastructure is based on CollabNet's SourceForge-competitive SourceCast environment.

    Sun says it will open source "million of lines of code" on the site like "key XML technologies" such as JAX-RPC, the Java API for XML-based Remote Procedure Calls so apps can be built with SOAP, JAXB, the Java Architecture for XML Bindings to generate Java classes from XML schemas, sort of a map between XML and Java code, and SAAJ, SOAP with Attachments for Java 1.1, providing fundamental support in the Java platform for building basic SOAP messages. 

    Sun is also gonna throw its hard-to-sell Jini, JXTA, and NetBeans efforts, already open sourced, on to the java.net site as well.

    Trying to make up for all the lost time, it expects the site to be a gathering place for the Java Desktop community, such as it is, that uses the Java desktop platform to produce apps with rich client interfaces.

    As part of the push, Sun says it's simplified the Java Research License for universities and researchers in particular. java.net will support any Open Source Initiative-approved licenses for developing source code and is pre-configured, it says, to support the BSD, Apache, SISSL, GPL, LGPL, and MPL licenses. It'll also support a bunch of document licenses.

    Sun is also seeking to identify Java with Web services, claiming that "There is no line of demarcation between Java technology and Web services. It is not Java technology or Web services. It's Java technology and Web services."

    So, the upcoming J2EE 1.4 SDK, it says, will deliver the Basic Profile specification of the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) Organization that Microsoft and IBM set up - supposedly a first though don't hold your breath J2EE 1.4, the Web services version, has been delayed three times now and the specs aren't even expected until fall at this point. 

    Anyway, Sun's also claims to have an enhanced Java Web Services Developer Pack (WSDP) 1.2 - for which it alleges 800,000 downloads since its inception. WSDP includes updated messaging APIs, an XML Data Bindings API, Web services security and interoperability, and Java ServerFace technology for server-side GUI development.

    By the way, the SDK - and Sun claims 3.5 million downloads of the thing to date - will be licensed for both development and deployment use, not just development and letting developers use any J2EE application server they like. (These app server thingies like IBM's and BEA's tend to be, hum, well, hum, differentiated and now Sun's stuck an app server in the SDK.)

    Sun also recently kicked off an effort to define and deliver a new Java infrastructure with next-generation business integration capabilities based on Web services technologies and standards. It wants to get to the space where individual Web services can be hooked together into business processes.

  • More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

    Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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