IBM Corp’s wish is for control of Java to ultimately pass from Sun Microsystems Inc into the hands of a third party process which will enable other companies and organizations to contribute to it, but will more importantly remove Java’s Sun prefix. Whether that process is the ISO standards group to which Sun has submitted […]
IBM Corp’s wish is for control of Java to ultimately pass from Sun Microsystems Inc into the hands of a third party process which will enable other companies and organizations to contribute to it, but will more importantly remove Java’s Sun prefix. Whether that process is the ISO standards group to which Sun has submitted much of the Java language remains to be seen. It looks likely that Sun will retain control of Java’s fundamental specifications even if and when ISO eventually ratifies the language as an international computing standard. Sun CEO Scott McNealy, who says there has to be a steward for Java, left this week’s JavaOne attendees under no illusion that Sun has the last call. IBM’s participation in JavaOne as a ‘gold’ level sponsor rather than at the highest ‘platinum’ level of contribution which Hewlett-Packard Co, Novell Inc and others have paid testifies to IBM’s desire to see some of the Sun taken out of Java. JavaOne is too much of a Sun product demo for its liking. That’s why it’s floating the notion of a non-partisan worldwide Java developer’s conference it hints might make its debut in 1999. But take the Sun out of JavaOne and would 14,000-odd developers show up like at this week’s event? Probably not, IBM admits. That’s why it thinks a series of more focused developer events might best co- exist with JavaOne, such as a stage for financial industry Java developers. It’s confident the process stuff will be worked out, although it will take time.
But it has other issues too, such as Java’s performance for enterprise computing, where IBM’s Java efforts are focused and where it expects to make most of its Java cash. Conspicuously absent from JavaOne – bar a lot of talk – is the HotSpot dynamic compilation technology which is to be supported by the 1.2 version of the Java Development Kit due in the summer. HotSpot itself isn’t due until the fall. It’s not clear how much of the go-faster HotSpot virtual machine technology JavaSoft will make available in 1.2, or how much of the technology customers will have to buy separately from Sun over and above the VM, nor how much opportunity developers will have to use alternative virtual machine plug-ins from Borland or other JIT companies to speed the processing on Java applets. Moreover IBM fears there will performance and time penalties porting the HotSpot-enabled JVM to non-Intel architectures, such as its PowerPC RISC. HotSpot was developed and has been optimized to run on Intel platforms. Relations appear somewhat strained at some levels between the Java pals. IBM declined to say whether it was still participating in the development of the JavaOS operating system now that SunSoft is moving the system software on to the ChorusOS real-time kernel. IBM has a licenSe to the 1.1 cut of the software it helped JavaSoft to develop before it was sold over to SunSoft. It hasn’t yet licensed the ChorusOS-based work and declined to say whether it eventually would.