Netscape Communications Corp eventually got back to us to say it is 100% committed to Corba IIOP (CI No 3,193), but explained that it doesn’t expect IIOP to become widely used for internet applications for two or three years. It says its current IIOP interest – and most development activity – is centered on intranets and developing IIOP-enabling technologies over the next 12 months for use on extranets/internet. It contrasts IIOP’s achievement with Microsoft Corp’s rival DCOM distributed object technology which can’t go on to net-based systems today because it is dependent on COM, which is not cross-platform. In any case DCOM requires Microsoft’s Viper transaction technology which means it can only be used in conjunction with NT 4.0.
Not secure enough
Netscape’s current implementation of Corba IIOP extends as far as bundling Visigenic Software Inc’s VisiBroker ORB object request broker run-time with its new front-end, Communicator, and supplying VisiBroker with Enterprise Server 3.0. Netscape doesn’t regard its current Corba offerings as secure enough for intranet/internet uses because SSL Secure Sockets Layer security won’t be supplied until Visigenic delivers version 3.0 of its ORB due later this quarter. It’s also working with IBM, Sun, Oracle and others on implementing Corba security services. In addition to SSL Netscape will also supply a set of low-level Corba services it calls WAI Web Application Interface, including Visigenic development tools and IDL compilers, which will extend Enterprise Server for Corba in the same way it can be extended for Java and CGI programming now. A 3.0.1 iteration of Enterprise Server is due within 90 days. Netscape had pulled WAI from Enterprise Server 3.0 because of scaling issues. Netscape, which also took Sun Microsystems’ RMI remote method invocation Java-to- Java distributed connectivity mechanism out from Communicator (CI No 3,193), says it doesn’t yet know what it will end up supplying for that purpose in its place now that Sun has decided to support a Java version of IIOP in a future version of RMI.
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