Although aimed initially at getting round the Java engine in Internet Explorer, a Netscape plug-in is due early next year for Navigator 3.x and 4.x - neither of which are fully compatible with the latest version of Java. While Netscape welcomed the idea of making its older browsers fully compliant, the reaction from Microsoft was less enthusiastic. "[It] sounds like Big Brother technology," said Tod Nielsen, Microsoft's general manager of developer relations.
At the Internet World trade show in New York last week, Sun Microsystems showed that it is willing to take practical initiatives as well as legal measures to ensure that its version of Java, and not variants such as that implemented by Microsoft in its Internet Explorer browser, is the one Web users use. It announced the launch of its Activator browser add- on - available both as an ActiveX control and a plug-in - which will check which version of Java is being run by a browser and offer the ability to update outdated or non-compliant versions with the company's most current version.