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The Independent Culture
JAVA PURITY and control of standards were issues at stake in a San Jose, California, courtroom last week as Sun Microsystems accused Microsoft of being in breach of a licence it signed for Java technology in 1986 and asked for an injunction to stop it distributing its version of Java.

Sun's Alan Baratz accused Microsoft of trying to "flood the market" with its own "polluted" form of Java, that undermined Java's ability to run on any operating system or hardware platform. According to Sun, Microsoft illegally altered Java code and encouraged developers to design products for its Windows-only version of Java, a move that amounted to hijacking the "platform" away from its open standards.

Microsoft said that if an injunction were issued against it distributing Windows 98 with Java technology, it would suffer significant harm. Microsoft also said that Sun was trying to deny other companies proper access to the Java market.

IBM UNVEILED the world's smallest and lightest disk drive last week. Weighing less than an AA battery, the Microdrive could be used in car- navigation systems to store maps, or in handheld computers to store addresses, schedules and other data. The new drive could also pose a threat to the flash memory data storage now used in digital cameras as it is faster, has a greater storage capacity and lower potential storage costs.

The drive, due to go on sale next year, can hold up to 340Mb of data, the equivalent to more than 240 floppy disks. The new drive could also be a threat to companies like Iomega that make removable data storage devices such as Zip drives. Estimates on price suggest that the Microdrive will be launched at $1 per Mb, with prices falling as production is geared up.

LARRY ELLISON, Oracle's chief executive officer, said that he would now be the owner of resurgent Apple Computers if it had not been for the advice of lawyers. Ellison announced his plan to buy the company last year but never said why he changed his mind until last week.

"I wanted to buy it at $13 a share but my lawyer said I knew too much," Ellison said, referring to his friendship with the current interim Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, who at the time was working as a consultant to Apple. Ellison said his lawyer advised him that if he proceeded the Department of Justice would investigate. Ellison is now a board member of Apple.

A FLAT-SCREEN display at a resolution virtually indistinguishable from the printed page has been developed by IBM researchers. At 200 pixels per inch, the prototype display, code-named Roentgen after the inventor of the X-ray machine, has four times the pixels in the same space as cathode- ray tube desktop monitors. "We are right at the point at which human vision ceases to notice any distortion", Robert Wisnieff, leader of the research team, said.