Network: The royal hunt of the Sun

The journey towards programs that will run on a variety of computer types - the promise of the Java language - has been diverted through a legal battle between Sun and Microsoft. Ian Grayson looks at Sun's campaign to reassure current and prospective users that Java will remain true to its word.

Like a protective parent guarding its offspring, Sun Microsystems has launched a world-wide campaign to counter what it sees as a significant threat to its Java programming language.

The campaign comprises a branding programme, a "how to" guide for businesses keen to try Java, and the establishment of a network of design centres around the world that will help companies create computer systems using the language.

When Sun launched Java little more than two years ago, it heralded it as a technological breakthrough that would enable the development of software programmes that could run on any type of computer platform. For example, a programme written in Java could be run on a personal computer, a Macintosh, a Unix system or any other type of computer without alteration. Prior to Java, such cross-platform moves would have required the programme to be extensively rewritten.

This idea captured the IT world's imagination to the extent that there are now almost 700,000 programmers using the language and more than 800 books to tell them how to do it.

However the journey towards this platform-independent Utopia has run into trouble. According to Sun, rival software company Microsoft has made alterations to the Java code to make it more compatible with its Windows operating system. Microsoft disagrees and the matter is now the subject of a legal battle between the two companies.

One of the primary objectives of Sun's campaign is to counter this move by Microsoft by reassuring current and prospective users that Java will remain platform independent.

In Berlin last week, Sun's chief executive officer, Scott McNealy, told a 5,000-strong gathering of computer programmers, Java users and prospective customers that Java would remain true to its original concept.

"The future of Java is secure," he said. "We are just concerned that people are going to wait for this court battle to be over before they get involved - that would be a great shame."

McNealy outlined Sun's new "100% Pure Java" programme, a branding initiative designed to ensure programmes conform with the language's strict rules. A new certification centre is being established in Europe that will provide a programme testing service to ensure compliance. Those programmes that pass will be allowed to carry the 100% Pure Java brand.

The European centre, to be based in the Netherlands, will be operated by Telefication BV, a hardware, software and telecommunications equipment testing company.

"Having accents in a spoken language is fine as people can still understand one another," McNealy said. "But you can't have them in computing. If you change the structure of the language even slightly it won't work." While ensuring that programmes comply with the rules of Java is the main reason for the campaign, it also provides Sun with a way of distancing itself from Microsoft's Java activities.

"What it comes down to is the fact that Microsoft has decided that it doesn't want to be compatible," he said. "It must feel that its customers do not want platform independence."

In an effort to maintain the Java momentum despite this very public battle with Microsoft, Sun also announced the establishment of a world-wide network of 200 Java Centres. The majority of centres will be owned and operated by Sun while others will be run in conjunction with partners such as service firms EDS and Cap Gemini.

Designed to meet what Sun claims is a growing demand from companies, the centres will offer access to Java experts who can offer advice on how the technology can be used. Advice will vary from simple explanations of the technology to design of new systems. The centres complement Sun's "Road to Java" programme, also outlined at the Berlin event. This programme sets out the steps companies should follow if they wish to begin using Java on their computer systems.

Sun is also practising what it preaches. The company is in the process of rolling out Java-based software applications throughout its operation.

"A year ago we put a stake in the ground and said that all computer clients in our company would be deployed with a Java browser," said McNealy. "We are now about half-way there and moving forward all the time."

Eventually all of Sun's 23,000 employees will use desktop devices running Java-based software. The company's 300 internal applications are being rewritten using the language.

As well as software, Sun has plans in the hardware arena. Its JavaStation network computer launched earlier this year will be improved with the release of a new model in early 1998.

The company is also working with other hardware vendors to encourage the use of Java in devices as diverse as telephones, smartcards and even rings. McNealy demonstrated a ring containing a microprocessor running Java that enabled its wearer to open a lock.

"Try doing that with Windows," he said.

Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Reach for the sky: there are around 250 new buildings of 20-plus storeys planned for London alone, some 80 per cent of them residential
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
filmReview: The ingenious film will intrigue, puzzle and trouble audiences by turns
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower