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HP alliance throws down Java gauntlet to Sun

The formation of a new industry group is calculated to loosen Sun's control of Java

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In what will inevitably be seen as a direct challenge to Sun, Hewlett-Packard yesterday emerged as the ringleader of a group of companies pushing "an open, vendor-neutral standards process for real-time extensions to Java". HP also rolled out a new family of Java products for the embedded market, which are available for licence under the 'Chai' banner. The formation of the Real-Time Java Working Group certainly isn't good news for Sun, but for the moment falls some distance short of a full-scale breach with the company on HP's part. The Group's membership consists largely of embedded systems specialists, the big names apart from HP being Siemens and Microsoft, and of necessity it will concentrate on defining standards for the embedded market. This quite possibly puts it on a collision course with Sun, which takes a Microsoft-like 'we define the standards' view when it comes to Java, but whereas Microsoft has consciously attempted to fragment Java, HP's policy is considerably more Sun-friendly. HP wants the Java standards processes to be open, but it also wants to retain compatibility. At the same time there are enough major Java supporters out there who agree with HP (IBM, Intel, Novell) to make it more realistic for Sun to negotiate than to start a war. The Group intends to "accelerate the use of the Java programming language in real-time embedded systems by allowing any company to participate in the creation of real-time extensions". It intends to work with "all participants in the embedded industry -- RTOS vendors, appliance and device manufacturers, ISVs and virtual machine vendors". The Chai product family meanwhile positions HP nicely to benefit from the process. HP is offering ChaiServer and a Chai Developer kit for embedded systems developers, and has also announced the availability of ChaVM Version 2.0, a virtual machine that complies with the Java VM specification. The ChaiVM is available from ISI, Lynx, QNX, Microware, Microsoft, Aplix and Enea OSE for their operating systems and from HP for other environments. Real-Time Java Working Group members Access, Aonix, Cyberonix, Enea OSE Systems AB, Hewlett-Packard, Intermetrics, Lynx Real-Time Systems, Microsoft, NewMonics, OMRON, Plum Hall, Rockwell Collins, Siemens, TeleMedia Devices and Yokogawa Electric. ® Click for more stories Click for story index

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