Jxta Expands Software Compatibility

Early users of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Project Jxta said the peer-to-peer building blocks will help them open their applications to a wider audience.

Early users of Sun Microsystems Inc.s Project Jxta said the peer-to-peer building blocks will help them open their applications to a wider audience.

Andrew Grimshaw, chief technology officer of Applied Meta Computing Inc. and an alpha user, said his company is adding a Jxta adapter so its P2P components will be able to interoperate with other Jxta-enabled components.

"Interoperability between disparate components is a good thing," said Grimshaw, in Cambridge, Mass. "A number of companies are doing things [with P2P technology], and, right now, its hard to interoperate."

Grimshaw said Applied Meta Computing is also interested in Microsoft Corp.s rival HailStorm initiative but said he couldnt comment on his companys involvement.

Another early adviser for Jxta, short for juxtapose, is Tim OReilly, founder and CEO of OReilly & Associates Inc.

"More than 150 companies have been saying theyre going to build next-generation applications, and each has to reinvent the wheel," said OReilly, in Sebastopol, Calif. "Jxta is an attempt to define an infrastructure layer rather than everybody creating their own."

While Jxta at this point is primarily a research project and relatively immature, turning it into an open-source project gives it a good chance at widespread adoption, OReilly said.

Others said the platform will enable them to start using P2P capabilities.

"The whole paradigm is shifting," said Arun Shah, CEO of Diamelle Inc., in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. With Jxta, developers dont have to start from scratch, Shah said. "This makes it a lot simpler."

Sun late last month provided more substance for its Project Jxta, releasing on www.jxta.org the specifications for the protocols, source code to implement the protocols and binaries for different platforms. Also on the site are demos and a downloadable shell. The specifications focus on defining peers and the pipes as well as monitoring and security features.

While the protocols themselves are written in Extensible Markup Language, the first implementation written by Sun is in its own Java language. Sun partners are working on an implementation for C. Implementations for other languages are expected to follow.