Microsoft, Sun Extend JVM Support

Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are making nice and agreeing to extend the period through which Microsoft will support its Java Virtual Machine.

Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are making nice and agreeing to extend the period through which Microsoft will support its Java Virtual Machine.

Under the agreement announced Tuesday, Sun and Microsoft have agreed to extend Microsofts maintenance agreement for its Microsoft Java Virtual Machine (JVM) until September 30, 2004. This move enables users of the Microsoft JVM to have more time to transition their applications off the Microsoft Java platform.

Microsoft has been phasing out its support for the JVM. And in a settlement agreement reached in 2001 following a Sun lawsuit against Microsoft, the companies agreed to limit the period where Microsoft would support the JVM. But Sun officials said many developers have asked for more time to make the transition.

"Were working together to serve the greater Java community," a Sun spokeswoman said.

Yet, while the two companies are obviously got along well enough to make this announcement, Suns current lawsuit against Microsoft remains in place. In fact, the agreement regarding Microsofts support of the Microsoft JVM has been a point of conflict in the case. This settlement does nothing to change the status of the case, Sun said.

"The suit and the decision from the suit are not changed by this new license," said a Sun spokeswoman. "The antitrust case is proceeding on course and were not commenting further on the antitrust case at this time."

Meanwhile, Sun and Microsoft said they will include links on Microsofts Java Web site that will feature upgrade information for developers who use the Microsoft JVM.

In addition, Sun announced a new program and Web site to take advantage of the opportunity to attract developers making the transition off of Microsofts platform. The site features diagnostic tools to help developers ensure they are using the current version of the Sun JVM and Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Sun recently announced agreements with several leading PC manufacturers that would ensure distribution of the most current JVM and JRE on all more than 50 percent of PCs shipped. Rich Green, vice president of the Sun Developer Platforms Group, said Sun has distribution deals with companies such as Apple, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Toshiba, among others. And Green said he expects Sun to reach agreements with more PC manufacturers so that the Unix system vendor can have distribution through companies that cover up to 90 percent of PC shipments.

Sun also has seen 18.8 million downloads of its JVM through its Get Java Desktop Upgrade program since January, the company said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Monday released its J# Controls for download. The J# Browser Controls "provide developers with a way to migrate their existing Java applet source code to run within the context of the .Net Framework," a Microsoft description of the technology said. "J# Browser Controls have full access to the .Net Framework, including the ability to access native support for XML Web services. They also provide J# developers with a way to enable rich, client-side functionality within a Web-based application."

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