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Both Sun and Microsoft have given us on the record responses to the Beast's latest Java provocation, Visual J#.

Microsoft has officially acknowledged that it exists, which will come as a major relief to those of you who downloaded the software on Sunday, when it was briefly available from the Microsoft download site. No, you weren't all suffering a collective, Vurt-induced hallucination. Microsoft has also confirmed that the launch date is tomorrow, as promised in the release note accompanying the beta.

On its part, Sun dismisses the move as "nothing new", and it may have a point, although it's a point Microsoft has made every effort to obscure.

At issue is whether Visual J# adds anything new to what Microsoft announced at the turn of the year as its JUMP initiative, which is a set of tools to help migration from Java to C#.

"J# appears to be nothing more than a release of the JUMP software announced in January after the settlement of the Sun Microsoft lawsuit," Sun told us in a statement, which points out the distinction between Java the language and Java the platform.

Evidence supporting the view that JSharp is JUMP, and no more and no less, comes from the home of Microsoft's JUMP team at its India Development Center in Hyderabad, India.

The project description mentions neither JUMP nor Visual J# by name, but the details mirror the release note accompanying the beta of Visual J# 6.0 that leaked out on Sunday.

Or is it?

Intriguingly, you'll also find that the Hyderabad team is actively recruiting for the Java project, which either suggests that the sits (ja)vac page hasn't been refreshed recently, or that there are continuing opportunities for Java-savvy developers who want to help screw Sun.

The page lists openings for Group Program Manager (based in Hyderabad), Lead Program Manager (based in Redmond) and Test Manager for the Java Language on .NET project. If these jobs are current, as it's only fair to assume that Microsoft keeps the page up to date, the latest Visual J# skirmish is only the start of the next phase of the war between the two over Java.

Customers and third parties briefed by Microsoft have been told that J# is emphatically much more than JUMP.

Sun said it viewed the announcement "if true, as more Microsoft F.U.D. and reaffirm our desire that Microsoft license the Java technology in good faith
and join the hundreds of other companies that participate in the Java Community Process that extends and maintains the Java technology," the company said yesterday. ®

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