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MS to drop J++ from Visual Studio

Just like it said last December it wasn't going to do...

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So farewell then Visual J++ - at least as far as Microsoft Visual Studio.NET is concerned. The Internet-oriented version of the Great Stan's development suite will not include a Java tool, the company has admitted.

Surprise, surprise. The future Visual J++ has been in doubt since late last year, when Microsoft sources claimed the IDE had been licensed or even sold to Rational Software and would not be included in the next, Windows 2000-oriented version of Visual Studio.

Microsoft, of course, denied it. Then again, it denied it was developing a new programming language, but its C++ and COM-based Cool project nevertheless re-appeared recently under the official name C Sharp.

News of Cool emerged round about the time those MS sources said Visual J++ was for the chop, unsurprising since Cool - and now C Sharp - was designed to bring Java-style features to good old C and C++.

At the heart of all this is Microsoft's bust up with Sun over its extensions to Java which, according to Sun, put the mockers on Java's 'write once, run anywhere' strategy. That claim led to a contract violation lawsuit, launched by Sun three years ago to force Microsoft to adhere to the Java licensing terms, which it alleged the Beast of Redmond had broken.

"Visual J++ is not currently in the Visual Studio.Net package," Paul Maritz, Microsoft's platforms group VP said. "We have ongoing litigation with Sun, so we can't be [Java] innovators. But we would like to see Java supported in the .Net platform."

So it's not the end of Java on Win2k. Indeed, alongside the Visual J++ announcement Microsoft also said it will offer, later this year, a Java tool created by Rational Software. Yes, that's right - that is the same Rational Software whose name was associated with the sale of Visual J++.

At the time of the Visual J++ sale/license claims, Microsoft's Visual Studio Product Manager, Tony Goodhew, said that Rational was simply developing a compiler that would later be slotted into Visual Studio. How much of Rational's upcoming add-on to Visual Studio.Net is this compiler and how much is Visual J++ remains to be seen. ®

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