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Sun tries to head-off HP real time revolt

Is the great Java standards schism upon us?

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In what looks remarkably like an exercise in shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, Sun has announced "the intent to develop real-time extensions to the Java platform". On Monday HP, Microsoft, Siemens and 12 other embedded companies formed a breakaway group to push for ""an open, vendor-neutral standards process for real-time extensions to Java" -- strange coincidences R US… When the Real Time Java Working Group was announced (see HP alliance throws down Java gauntlet to Sun), HP said it hoped Sun would join. This is possibly a forlorn hope, as the Group is a further manifestation of HP's determination to open up Java standards and loosen Sun's control over them. Sun's latest announcement meanwhile looks rather like a refusal. Says Mark Tolliver, president of Sun's consumer and embedded division: "Sun's goal is to provide the highest quality implementation of real-time for the Java platform, providing the industry with a standards-based product they can count on for flexibility, performance and interoperability." Which is also what the HP Group intends to do. Sun's initiative does however have the support of IBM, up to a point. Says Jan Jackman, IBM director of Java software: "We think it is critical that Java continue to evolve with input from the industry. IBM has worked closely with Sun on this process, and will continue to support an open forum for the development of the Java platform." Nice fence Jan -- you comfortable? Sun has also announced it has completed version 1.0 of the EmbeddedJava specification, and has shipped the development release based on it to its licensees. This will compete directly with HP's Chai family of products, around which the company's fans seem to be clustered. So the battle is hotting up. Somewhat humorously, Sun's announcement bends over backwards to stress how pure the development process is under its custodianship. Here's a good example: "The EmbeddedJava specification has undergone a stringent creation process with Sun's partners in the embedded systems industry. Input from Sun's licensees and the public has resulted in an open specification that addresses the needs of embedded developers and manufacturers." So that's all right then. ® Click for more stories Click for story index

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