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Sun Microsystems Inc’s JavaSoft unit told us that it’s still testing Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer 4.0 browser for compatibility with Java and didn’t expect to have completed its tests by the end of Friday October 3 as we went to press. Sun publicly warned that if Microsoft breaks compatibility then it will revoke Microsoft’s Java license, though Microsoft denies Sun will be able to do that. At issue is Microsoft’s contractual obligation. Can it ship Java minus certain pieces and instead substitute its own features that tie Java to Windows – undermining Sun’s cross-platform claims – but perhaps improving Java’s performance? Sun is currently concerned with the JNI Java native interface and the RMI remote method invocation communication subsystems in Java which Microsoft said were not included in Internet Explorer. The bigger picture, according to Gartner Group’s David Smith, is whether Microsoft will commit to eventually supporting all of Sun’s Java code. Although Netscape Communication Corp’s Java code is less compatible with the Java specs than Microsoft’s – or even Sun’s own for that matter – Netscape has said it will support all of Sun’s Java work eventually. Smith thinks there’s probably room for interpretation in the license contract, meaning the matter could end up in court. When you have that kind of doubt, all bets are off as to what the legal system will do, he told the San Jose Mercury News.

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CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.