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March 3, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Lucent Technologies Inc says it has several venture capital firms interested in buying its Inferno distributed real-time operating system technology but wouldn’t say how far the discussions have progressed of what sums of money are being talked about. Inferno, which has several dozen employees, has struggled under the shadow of Sun Microsystems Inc’s Java even though Lucent has maintained that Inferno can take advantage of Java or any other programming model. Lucent yesterday announced that it would make its InfernoSpaces rival to Sun’s Jini distributed naming and lookup service available free of charge under the open source development model. InfernoSpaces is an implementation of Inferno’s Namespace technology for non-Inferno platforms. Lucent claims that it enables developers to create distributed applications – especially for embedded devices – without having to write network code. InfernoSpaces is currently available as a software component in C for VxWorks and as a class library in Java on Solaris and Windows. It acts like Jini and other ‘spaces’ technologies which are being developed to automatically make networked devices available to users. Applications developed in C, C++ and Java can take advantage of the Namespace technology with InfernoSpaces and will be able to interoperate with other InfernoSpaces and Inferno platforms, the company says. InfernoSpaces does not require use of Inferno however. Jini developers need to know Java, while InfernoSpaces is language- independent, Lucent notes. Moreover InfernoSpaces is free and is already in use in products including Lucent’s PacketStar IP services software and IP exchange systems on its distributed call processing technologies. Jini on the other hand is still a concept, Lucent claims, and costs $0.10 per device plus $250,000 for an unlimited license plus a fee to use the Jini logo. Jini uses objects where InfernoSpaces uses files. Jini is designed for consumer and small business devices while InfernoSpaces is designed to be used by all types of network elements. InfernoSpaces source code will be available in the third quarter. Test suites will be available.

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