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July 17, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:30pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Patriot Scientific Corp, the prospective Java chip maker, has changed its mind over Java operating systems and gone back to Sun Microsystems Inc for its much-maligned JavaOS. Patriot had previously licensed a clean-room Java operating system from small Florida start-up NetWise Distribution Inc to port to its PSC1000 Java processor, previously code named ShBoom. But NetWise was going so slowly, according to Patriot, that it decided to give Sun a call and see what kind of licensing deal could be struck. NetWise was held up by acquisition talks with Citrix Systems Inc a few months back, which came to nothing and Patriot said nothing has been heard from the president Don Davis for weeks. Patriot says it will have demonstration version of its chip running JavaOS and the Java virtual machine by early August – the deal was inked six weeks ago – and it will build a demo version of a network computer by the end of this quarter, which it will tout around all the shows, as proof of concept. At the time Patriot struck the deal with NetWise, Patriot cited cost as the main reason for choosing NetWise over Sun. And then a whole crowd of JavaOS licensees got on to us to tell us that they too thought JavaOS to be not only too expensive to license, but it was too cumbersome to be used in embedded applications. Patriot was mum as to the terms of the new deal, but its thought that Sun gave a little – its business model is thought to have changed since the criticisms. It is also in the process of handing over future development of JavaOS to the SunSoft division. The interesting aspect of course is that Sun Microelectronics is developing its picoJava core CPU and microJava chip. Patriot said the JavaSoft people acknowledged that it would be first out with a chip, ahead of Sun. Patriot is doing all the porting work for the OS and the virtual machine, but it is working on two Just-In-Time (JIT) compilers; one with Sun and one of its own to see what’s faster. This is not the announcement many observers had been expecting from the San Diego-based company. It is still due to announce a raft of motherboard manufacturers that are going to use its Java chips on their boards however. Patriot began contacting them yesterday to tell them of its new direction and the timeline for development, and the three or four that it had talked to already were pleasantly surprised, apparently.

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