Sun Microsystems Inc says it’s cautiously optimistic that its initial response to the objections raised to its application for Java to become an ISO standard will be approved by the international community. Sun, which must reply to the objections by September 17, says that although there are discussions underway with other organisations over possible standardisation routes, it intends to see its current standardization plan through to its eventual conclusion, whatever that may be. It does not plan to walk away now that its initial application has been voted down. Quite how Sun will be able to compromise on the main objections – its apparent desire to control future maintenance and development of the Java specification and the trademark – it isn’t yet prepared to say. What it won’t compromise on, it says, is Java’s write once, run anywhere capability. JavaSoft VP Technology Jim Mitchell says Microsoft’s attempts to subvert this functionality by tying Java extensions it has created to the Windows platform aren’t de-facto, but de-Gates. The extensions, including the AFC foundation classes Microsoft has created in opposition to Sun’s own JFC Java Foundation Class libraries for application developers is basic competition on implementation, he says What Microsoft cannot do under its Java contract is ship its extended JVM implementation to third parties, including its new partner Apple Computer Inc. It must ship base Java technologies with products such as Internet Explorer – it can ship extensions as well – so that write once, run anywhere, holds good. Reason is that if Microsoft had been shipping an extended virtual machine, and when its contract expired decided not to renew it and not to ship Java base technologies with its products, users of the extended product would be stranded in Microsoft-land. Whether Microsoft must ship JFC or other technologies Sun supplies as part of the basic Java licence agreement – including the forthcoming Corba Java IIOP protocol – still isn’t known. Sun points to the example of Java Beans, which at one time Microsoft was saying it wouldn’t support. In September, Sun plans to throw a whole new wave of Java technologies into battle.
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