Suns Project JXTA Goes Over 1 Million Mark

Sun claims more than 1 million developers have downloaded its peer-to-peer technology.

Sun Microsystems Inc. Tuesday announced that its peer-to-peer technology, known as Project JXTA, has experienced strong adoption since its rollout nearly two years ago.

According to Sun, more than 1 million developers have downloaded Project JXTA from the Sun Web site since it was introduced in February 2001. Sun released the first full, stable version of the technology in November 2001, said Juan Soto, Suns group engineering manager for JXTA, in an interview with eWEEK. Soto and Suns chief technology officer of software, John Fowler, are scheduled to discuss JXTA in a conference call with press and analysts Tuesday.

In addition, Sun announced that the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Convenience Stores have implemented JXTA-based applications and that independent software vendors have released commercial products based on JXTA.

JXTA is a standards-based, peer-to-peer technology that supports collaboration and communication on networked devices, including cell phones, pagers, PDAs, PCs and servers. Sun released JXTA to the open-source community in April 2001. The technology runs across multiple platforms.

JXTA is short for "Juxtapose, as in side by side. It is a recognition that peer-to-peer is juxtapose to client server or Web based computing—what is considered todays traditional computing model," according to the Project JXTA Web site.

Soto said more than 12,700 individuals and organizations have signed on as members of the JXTA community, which also announced the release of Version 2.0 of the JXTA platform.

Meanwhile, InView Software Inc., of Newcastle, Wash., and Internet Access Methods Inc., of New York, have developed commercial products based on JXTA. InViews Momentum is a file sharing and collaboration system for Solaris, Linux and Windows. It uses JXTA as its peer-to-peer communications infrastructure. Internet Access Methods IAM-Developing is a Java Integrated Development Environment for collaborative development.

Aubrey Jackson, CTO of the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors, said the association has a JXTA-based solution that enables users to search a property listing for data sources without requiring the listing data to be contained in a single database.

John Hervey, CTO of the National Association of Convenience Stores, based in Alexandria, Va., said NACS looked at JXTA because of the wide variety of devices used in convenience stores and the need for peer-to-peer communication between the devices. He said JXTA enables the creation of reliable low-cost networks.

Speaking of the move to make JXTA open source, Soto said, "We thought it needed to be an open effort because no one company could do it [deliver an enterprise peer-to-peer solution] in a startup, which was who was looking at it" when the JXTA project originated at Sun. "The idea behind the original protocol has remained remarkably constant," he said. "It provides you with the opportunity to have a physical thing represented from a virtual address."

Soto said JXTA supports Web services with a JXTA pipe called SOAP that enables users to send Simple Object Access Protocol messages across a JXTA network. It also features monitoring capabilities via a protocol used to query any remote peer about its status. "This gives you a management channel to control a P2P network," Soto said. "And you can secure a network or get to a highly secure P2P network."

The day, the open-source organization that supports JXTA, was introduced there were about five JXTA projects, Soto said; today there are more than 80. "We believe with more and more devices in use—and the devices arent dumb devices—they demand a more dynamic protocol for interactivity, and thats what we hope JXTA will become."

The military has been looking at JXTA, Soto said, because "soldiers themselves are now networked devices" and JXTA could further enable that trend.

"Peer-to-peer is not just about people trying to swap music, but [its] an incredibly powerful technology for exchanging information," Soto said.

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