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January 7, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:09pm

NETSCAPE AGREES TO TAKE WEBNFS FROM SUN MICROSYSTEMS

By CBR Staff Writer

The rumored acrimony between Sun Microsystems Inc and Netscape Communications Corp lessened somewhat last month when Netscape finally agreed to incorporate Sun’s next-generation WebNFS Internet transfer protocol into its product line (CI No 3,067). Netscape’s hesitation to adopt the protocol had been a sore point between the two since last June, when WebNFS was first unveiled (CI No 2,939). Netscape says it initially hesitated to jump on the WebNFS bandwagon because it was unsure whether Sun wanted to position it as the next version of the HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which apparently it now does not, and also because the protocol simply did seem to have a compelling intrinsic value. After all, the Internet already has a workable file transfer protocol known as FTP. SunSoft apparently wanted to delay the announcement until the new year to get maximum exposure, but Netscape prevailed. Back in June Netscape withdrew from the announcement of WebNFS at the last minute, as it said it wanted to kick the tires of the technology before taking the plunge. Microsoft Corp has also questioned the value of WebNFS. Product manager Gary Voth says Redmond doesn’t see a compelling technical benefit in adopting the technology. He suggests that the benefits of WebNFS could also be delivered through an improved flavor of HTTP, presumably helped along with Microsoft’s own CIFS Common Internet File, which seems to do many of the same things as WebNFS. The Santa Cruz Operation, a long time supporter of Sun’s Network File System, has already favored support for CIFS over WebNFS. Meanwhile, Netscape has also promised to ensure that Sun’s Joe object request broker works properly in the Netscape ONE environment. Netscape says WebNFS will be integrated into future versions of Netscape Communicator, but not the first beta release, launched at the end of last year. The company declined to mention other specific products targeted for WebNFS support.

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