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April 17, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:27pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Sun Microsystems Inc has taken JavaOS away from JavaSoft and turned it over to Janpieter Scheerder’s SunSoft group. Scheerder told us it has little to do with long-standing reports that JavaOS’s performance is poor – the truth of the matter, as explained to us, is that JavaSoft simply didn’t have customers for it and therefore it wasn’t focusing much of its over- stretched resources on the operating system. JavaSoft OEMs get JavaOS as part of their Java licenses, but the OEMs we’ve spoken to over the last few weeks want the stuff to build embedded devices, phones, switches, game consoles, set-tops and other gizmos. That’s why JavaSoft will carry on doing the smaller technologies – embedded Java, Java Card (smart card), WebTop, Personal Java and the 3D, video and other APIs – while SunSoft will be doing JavaOS plus device driver work. JavaOS includes class libraries, HotJava Views, memory management and a scheduler where required. JavaOS executes the Java environment directly on hardware platforms, without requiring any other host operating system. Scheerder said JavaSoft badly needs the resources taking JavaOS off its hands will provide. Not that too much of this will ever be made public, and meanwhile, quite how JavaOS gets productized is still not apparent – except that it will feature in Sun’s JavaStation network computers. Everything was put on hold after Sun’s JavaOne jamboree a couple of weeks ago. Sun will try to ensure the move makes few differences to its 20 or so precious JavaOS 1.0 OEMs; we had heard JavaSoft would continue to license Java technologies though Scheerder said SunSoft would be licensing JavaOS. There will also be some complicated licensing back and forth between the divisions. Some observers even venture that Sun might be making a mistake in giving JavaOS to SunSoft – there has always been tension between the two – because SunSoft, which is in charge of Solaris, doesn’t have a vested interest in the new breed of Java devices. They think that it should be given to Sun Microelectronics, Sun’s chip arm, which, thanks to picoJava, microJava and ultraJava, among other things, is very much tied to the success of JavaOS. We’re minded not to pay too much service to voices blaming JavaSoft for holding up the network computer revolution even though we know that – much to its irritation – SMCC, Sun’s hardware arm, can’t get its JavaStations out the door in any volumes. We’re told Sun’s other divisions are after all jealous of the glory JavaSoft has gotten without having to pay too much attention to a balance sheet. We’re just lucky to have such a beautiful sister, says Scheerder, describing the transition of JavaOS to SunSoft as load-balancing. We couldn’t get anyone to comment further; we were told they were all off doing their taxes.

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