The latest tidbits on Sun deals and product news
The draft, released late last week, is an attempt to satisfy both the need to spread the Jini source code to a universe of developers while keeping the technology consistent, according to a Sun official.
Sun's Jini project is a broad plan to use core technologies based on the Java programming language as building blocks for large network systems.
Unlike traditional licenses that offer free source code with few strings attached known as open sourcing, the Jini license proposed by Sun attaches certain compatibility requirements and commercial use terms, according to the draft.
"Our view is that we are making Jini available to people and this provides them rights to use the technology but also (entails) certain responsibilities," said Bill Joy, Sun co-founder and chief architect of Jini in a recent interview. "Those responsibilities are to be compatible and obey the terms of the license."
Sun will offer a multi-level license depending upon how a licensee would like to use the Jini technology. At the highest level is the Commercial Distribution license designed for developers who plan to sell Jini-related products, according to the draft. The commercial tier requires that a developer's code meets Jini compatibility tests and that the developer executes a trademark license.
The other tiers, which have fewer restrictions, include one tailored to organizations using Jini internally and another for researchers experimenting with different implementations of Jini, the draft said.
Sun, meanwhile, retains intellectual property rights over the technology. The compatibility tests will administered by Sun, the draft said.
The Jini license appears to mark a middle ground between fully opening up the technology and the current licensing scheme Sun uses for the Java programming language, on which Jini is based.
Sun has been criticized for keeping what some critics say is an overly tight control over Java.
Joy said Sun is working on ways to bring Java closer to an open sourcing model but it will take time.
"We are considering ways of making Java more available," Joy said. He explained however there are two difficulties involved in doing that. One is that Sun has about 200 Java licenses which "limits our ability to make changes," and the company is also locked into a legal battle with Microsoft over the terms of the software giant's Java license.
"We're studying how to move in this direction (open sourcing) with Java and that's going to take us a little longer time because of all of the existing agreements," Joy said.
-- Rob Guth, IDG News Service
Bill Joy, Sun co-founder and chief architect of Jini, briefed executives in Tokyo and Osaka on how their companies could use the software in a range of devices that Sun says could include everything from PCs to automobiles and refrigerators.
The trip followed Sun's public disclosure in July of its Jini project, a broad plan to use core technologies based on the Java programming language as building blocks for large network systems.
"Java and Jini is our proposal for a distributed object architecture for the twenty-first century networked world," Joy said to a small press briefing last week.
Sun did not disclose who its co-founder visited but industry sources said the companies included Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corp. Joy and attendant officials held about five meetings each day during their one-week visit, according to Sun officials.
As home to some of the world's largest makers of peripherals, small computing devices and consumer electronics, Japan is fertile ground for Jini, Sun officials said.
The Jini vision is to equip all such devices with a set of Jini protocols that allow the devices to be represented on a network by an object. Jini objects interact over the network, offering "services" to each other that mimic any kind of service available in the non-networked world.
A disk drive, for instance, could offer a "storage service" to input devices like cameras or keyboards on a Jini network; an insurance company could distribute applications as an object on the network, Joy explained.
"It's now practical to build these kinds of networked devices and services that people have imagined for many years." Joy said. He added that the potential market opened by Jini could be vast. "Our view, and I think it's a widely shared view, is that the market for networked services and networked devices is bigger than the existing computer market, and it affects all industries."
--Rob Guth, IDG News Service
San Francisco (September 18, 1998) -- Sun this week declared itself the leader in Unix workstations for the second quarter of this year -- both in units sold and revenue earned -- based on a report from Dataquest, an IT market research firm. Sun attributes its leading position to its relatively new line of lower priced UltraSPARC workstations, including the Ultra 5 and Ultra 10.
According to the Dataquest report, in the second quarter Sun had total Unix workstation shipments of 89,118 compared with 23,496 units shipped by Hewlett-Packard. This represents 45.1 percent of all Unix workstation market revenues. In the second spot, HP and Silicon Graphics combined to account for 36.5 percent of Unix workstation market revenues.
Sun's Unix workstations account for 25 percent of the units shipped for the entire workstation market and 29.9 percent of the total workstation market revenues for the quarter.
--Stephanie Steenbergen, SunWorld
At a closed hearing in San Jose District Court, Northern District of California, attorneys from each side presented 45-minute oral arguments in which they attempted to tie together witness testimony presented to the court over the past two days.
The fact that the hearing took place behind locked doors prohibited either company from commenting specifically on what was said. But under Judge Whyte's order, an edited transcript of the hearing will be filed with the courthouse by 2 p.m. PST Friday.
Attorneys for both companies said the hearing went well for them.
"Sun argued extensively with respect to our motion for unfair competition, and made a number of points regarding the (licensing) contract," said Lloyd "Rusty" Day, outside counsel for Sun, in a brief teleconference after the hearing.
A Microsoft attorney said Microsoft attorneys emphasized that the sole focus of the case should be whether the software giant complied with its Java licensing contract.
"The unfair competition part we see as a side show issue to the contract. And we were entirely and indisputably within the terms of our contract," said Tom Burt, associate general counsel for Microsoft. Microsoft has "a library of reasons" why it thinks Sun's charge of unfair competition has no merit, Burt said.
Sun's lawsuit, filed in October 1997, accuses Microsoft of violating the terms of its Java licensing contract by using a version of Java in its products that does not pass certain compatibility tests referred to in the licensing agreement. In May this year Sun filed two motions for preliminary injunctive relief -- one based on copyright infringement and the other based on unfair competition.
If granted, the preliminary injunction would force Microsoft to halt shipment of Windows 98, Internet Explorer 4.0 and its Java development tools until it makes changes that bring them into line with Sun's Java specifications.
"If he (the judge) doesn't grant the injunction, we'll move it to trial as rapidly as possible," Sun's Day said.
Whyte has indicated that he will rule on the matter as soon as possible. A hearing for Sun's last motion for preliminary injunction -- to prevent Microsoft from using the Java logo on its products -- was held Feb. 27 and Whyte issued a ruling in Sun's favor on March 24.
Microsoft steadfastly denies the charges against it, and says that any changes it may have made to Sun's Java technology were legitimate and meet with the terms of the contract it signed.
"It was a very good three days for Microsoft," Burt said, referring to the duration of the hearings. "We believe we made our key points to the judge and now it will be for him to decide."
Today's arguments lasted about two and a half hours in all, Sun's Day said. After the 45-minute oral arguments Judge Whyte returned to the courtroom and asked three questions, which he allowed each company to address, Burt and Day said. They would not say what the questions were.
Whyte decided to close the hearing to the press and public because both companies told him they planned to cite from e-mails and documents in their closing arguments that had been previously sealed under a protective court order.
Looking back on the past three days, Burt said some of the most compelling testimony from Microsoft's point of view came from Robert Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's applications and tools division.
"Muglia was strong in establishing what this contract means and why Microsoft's interpretation is correct," Burt said. "And I think he showed effectively that by giving developers a choice to write specifically to the Windows platform is pro-competitive."
Muglia and Alan Baratz, president of Sun's Java software division, were the lead negotiators for Microsoft's Java contract. Earlier in the week, each offered the court a different account of what they had agreed the contract required of Microsoft when it was signed. (See "Baratz feels heat From Microsoft lawyers in Java case," below.)
In related news, a new special master was appointed to the case at the end of last week. The adviser will determine which documents submitted by the parties can be unsealed, said Sun spokeswoman Lisa Poulson.
Retired Federal District Court Judge Charles Renfrew replaces Judge John Flaherty, who recused himself last week when he found out his pension fund has a stake in Microsoft stock. (See "Court adviser in Sun-Microsoft case steps down," below.)
--James Niccolai, IDG News Service
In almost an hour of pointed cross-examination, Microsoft lawyers grilled Baratz on his negotiations with Microsoft executives over the final wording of a Java licensing contract that Microsoft signed with Sun in March 1996.
Microsoft's lawyers badgered Baratz over what they said are inconsistencies between remarks he made in a deposition statement filed with the court last week, and testimony he gave in court earlier today.
"That was not one of the most pleasant experiences I've ever been through," Baratz said afterwards, standing outside the courtroom here at the San Jose District Court.
Sun's lawsuit charges Microsoft with violating the terms of its Java licensing contract by creating Java products that do not conform to the specifications laid down in its contract with Sun. Sun's suit also accuses Microsoft of acting anticompetitively in its alleged bid to derail Sun's Java strategy.
Microsoft denies those charges vehemently, and insists that it has met its obligations to Sun as defined in the licensing agreement.
Baratz's testimony came on the second day of evidentiary hearings in Sun's motion for a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit, which if granted, would require Microsoft to stop shipping its Windows 98 operating system and Java development tools until they conform to Sun's Java specifications.
The hearings, which have involved highly complex discussions of both Java technology and the language used in the contract, are set to conclude today with 45 minutes of oral arguments from both parties. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte has called a hearing for 8:30 a.m. PST today, at which time he will decide if this final hearing will be open to the public.
Under questioning earlier yesterday by Sun's own lawyers, Baratz complained that Microsoft is "flooding the market with incompatible Java products."
"They have created a divergent version of the technology," Baratz told the court. "They have made that divergent version dependent on their tools, their run-time (Java Virtual Machine), and their operating system."
Contradicting testimony offered here yesterday by Microsoft Senior Vice President Robert Muglia, Baratz denied that Sun had agreed to allow Microsoft to define certain programming interfaces in its Java products without Sun's approval. Baratz also denied Muglia's claim that Sun gave Microsoft permission to add extensions to the Java programming language.
Muglia told Baratz that Microsoft wanted to license the Java technology "to be able to compete with Netscape, which had already incorporated the technology in their browser," Baratz told the crowded courtroom. Meanwhile, Sun would benefit from the deal by seeing its Java technology widely distributed with Microsoft's products, Baratz said.
Sun's counsel on several occasions asked Baratz what products Microsoft was required to deliver under the term of its Java contract. Microsoft's lawyers objected to the question each time, saying that Baratz was not entitled to offer the court his "subjective understanding" of the contract.
Judge Whyte agreed and told Baratz he could only answer such questions by reading from the licensing agreement or pointing to sections in it.
Under cross-examination, Microsoft's lawyers forced Baratz to admit to what they said were inconsistencies between a deposition he made last week and statements made in court today.
For example, Baratz said last week that he was unable to say whether handwriting in the margins of a draft version of the licensing contract belonged to Sun Vice President Jim Clary. But earlier today, Baratz identified a sample of handwriting he was shown as probably being Clary's.
In a brief meeting with reporters outside the courtroom afterwards, Baratz said that since making that deposition a week ago he had looked over draft versions of the licensing contract, which had refreshed his memory of the negotiations.
Testifying earlier today, Sun Vice President James Gosling, the man credited with creating Java, told the court that Microsoft has added extensions to the Java language that compromise the ability of its tools to write cross-platform applications.
Java software applications built using the company's Visual J++ development tool will only run properly on Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine, and not on virtual machines available from Netscape Communications Corp., Symantec Corp. and others, Gosling said.
Under cross-examination, Gosling acknowledged that Microsoft's development tools include a "mode switch," which allows developers to make a choice between writing applications using only Java and writing Windows-specific applications that use both Java and "C" code.
Microsoft attorney Karl Quackenbush asked Gosling if he didn't think that software developers are smart enough to make up their own minds about what types of applications they want to write using Microsoft's tool.
"Developers are a pretty savvy bunch, wouldn't you agree with me?" Quackenbush asked.
"Hmm, well," Gosling said, drawing laughter from the court. "I think savvy is saying a little much."
Gosling often declined to answer Quackenbush's directions directly, complaining they were imprecise. Judge Whyte intervened at one point and told Gosling to answer the questions more directly, noting that Microsoft had limited time to question its witnesses.
Sun was expected to call Lee Patch to the stand yesterday, the company's in-house attorney who helped Baratz negotiate Sun's Java contract with Microsoft. But Sun's lawyers had used up their allotted four hours questioning time, Sun counsel Day said after the hearing.
Lawyers for each side will try to pull together the evidence presented to the court in oral arguments before Judge Whyte today. It is not clear yet if these hearings will be open to the press, and Whyte has scheduled a hearing for 8:30 a.m. PST today to decide the matter.
--James Niccolai, IDG News Service
Also testifying at an evidentiary hearing today was Alan Baratz, president of Sun's Java Software Division, who complained that Microsoft is "flooding the market with incompatible Java products."
"They have created a divergent version of the technology. They have made that divergent version dependent on their tools, their run-time (Java Virtual Machine), and their operating system," Baratz said in the hearing that is part of Sun's lawsuit against Microsoft.
Baratz also contradicted testimony offered by Microsoft Senior Vice President Robert Muglia yesterday. In negotiating Microsoft's Java licensing contract with Muglia, Baratz said he never said that Microsoft alone would be able to define interfaces to its Java Virtual Machine. Muglia yesterday had said that Microsoft's contract allows it to define those unique interfaces.
Earlier today, Gosling told the court, "There's a tight interlock" between the Java technology Microsoft uses in its development tools and the software program -- known as a Java Virtual Machine -- it has developed to run those Java applications.
One of Sun's key goals with Java, Gosling said, was to develop a programming language that allowed developers to write a program once that would run on any platform.
When a software developer uses Microsoft's Visual J++ developer tool to write an application that uses both the Java and C programming languages it will run only on Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine, Gosling explained. This is because Microsoft has included compiler directives and keywords in its development tools that are not part of Sun's Java specification, according to Gosling.
Microsoft also acknowledged at a meeting in February 1997 that adding extensions to the Java language would be harmful to developers and end users, Gosling said.
"They said they would never be cowboys and go off and do such things because it would be harmful," he said.
Among its allegations against Microsoft, Sun claims Microsoft has added extensions to Java that violate its licensing contract with Sun.
In testimony yesterday, Muglia told the court Microsoft's licensing contract with Sun allows it to modify the Java language in the way that it has.
Sun has charged Microsoft with releasing a "polluted" version of Java in its Windows 98 software and Java development tools. The hearings this week are part of Sun's request for a preliminary injunction that would force Microsoft to stop shipping those products until it complies with Sun's Java specifications.
The two sides will present oral arguments tomorrow. Pending the outcome of a separate hearing scheduled for later today, oral arguments tomorrow may or may not be open to the public.
--James Niccolai, IDG News Service
Retired California state judge John Flaherty was assigned to the case last week with the task of determining which trial documents submitted by Microsoft and Sun can be unsealed and made available to the press and the public.
His decision to step down throws a wrench in the proceedings a week before the parties are due to appear before Judge Ronald Whyte to present oral arguments in Sun's request for a preliminary injunction against Microsoft.
Judge Whyte will have to appoint a new special master -- a kind of advisor to the court -- which means the process of unsealing documents will likely be slowed down, said Sun spokeswoman Lisa Poulson.
Sun filed the lawsuit against Microsoft last October in U.S. District Court in San Jose, claiming the software giant used a version of Sun's Java programming language in its products that does not meet with the specifications for the technology set down in Sun's licensing contract.
Microsoft denies the charges, and has since countersued Sun, claiming it has released products that do not meet with its own Java specifications.
--James Niccolai, IDG News Service
The UltraSPARC V, which Sun says will be ready in 2002, will run at 1.5 GHz. Sun says this is approximately four times faster than the fastest microprocessor currently available.
Sun's UltraSPARC microprocessor product offering falls into three categories. The "s" or scalable series is the fastest category of chips Sun sells. In this area, Sun currently ships a 360-MHz chip and plans to release a 480-MHz version in 1999. According to Sun, this will then increase to 1 GHz in 2001 and 1.5 GHz in 2002.
Sun also announced plans for its "i" or integrated SPARC microprocessors, which Sun calls its more cost-effective offering for single-processor systems. Sun plans, in 1999, to ship 400-MHz, 440-MHz, and 480-MHz versions of the UltraSPARC IIi. In the year 2000, Sun plans to have a 600-MHz version available and bump this up to 1 GHz in the beginning of 2002.
The third part of Sun's chip offering, the "e" or embedded series is created for thin clients and cable modems, and tends to advance at a slower rate than the "s" and "i" series. The current embedded offering from Sun is 100 MHz. Sun plans to produce a 300-MHz chip by the end of 1998; 400-MHz versions will be released at the end of 1999; and 500-MHz versions will be available at the end of 2000 or the beginning of 2001.
The UltraSPARC IV, which Sun has scheduled for mid-2000, will start at 1 GHz and will also be Sun's first copper-based chip. Mike Gallagher, Sun's SPARC marketing manager, says copper is a more efficient metal, and it increases the performance of the microprocessor.
Sun says the four-fold increase in chip speed that will take place over the next three to four years, and eventually appear in the UltraSPARC V, will be possible through rapid advancements in chip process technology. Sun is planning to shrink the wires in the innards of the chips. The current wires inside computer chips range from a width of 0.25 to 0.35 microns. Through a series of process technology improvements, Sun and chip making partner Texas Instruments plan to bring the width down to 0.07 microns.
Jeff Bates, director of the integrated media department for the Image Group, says, "I was hoping that the faster chips (1 GHz) would be coming out sooner, but I think the creation of a concise roadmap to the future is a good thing. Sun understands that they are in a battle to the death, effectively with Wintel, and by creating this road map they can point to it and say, `Here's where we are going. We have a mapped future.' This will create more stability and belief in Sun's ability to handle the changing future."
These announcements seem like a tall order for Sun to fill over the next four years, but Gallagher says, "We believe we can make these promises with confidence." Some speculate that Sun made these announcements because of rumors that Sun will abandon UltraSPARC chip development when Intel's Merced chip appears. Gallagher denies this; he says Sun made the announcement because, "there are a lot of people that have questions about SPARC, and we thought it was time to let them know."
--Stephanie Steenbergen, SunWorld staff
The demonstration will be part of two separate tutorials that Microsoft and rival Sun Microsystems Inc. have been asked to present to Judge Ronald Whyte, who is presiding over a lawsuit Sun filed against Microsoft here last October.
Sun, for its part, plans to demonstrate that the same Microsoft development tool, called Visual J++, encourages developers to write applets that run only on Windows, said Todd Nielsen, general manager of Microsoft's Developer Relations Group. The parties were required yesterday to reveal to each other what will be contained in their tutorials, he said.
In its lawsuit, Sun alleges that Microsoft violated the terms of a Java licensing contract by implementing an "impure" version of Java in Windows 98 and in its Java development tools. Microsoft did this, according to Sun, to disrupt Java's cross-platform capabilities, which Microsoft sees as a threat to the hegemony of its Windows operating system.
Microsoft's demonstration today is designed to show that Visual J++ is not a threat to Java's cross-platform development capabilities.
Visual J++ works in two modes: one that allows developers to build Java applets that run on any operating system, and another mode for creating applets that take advantage of features specific to Windows operating systems, such as its multiple font types and support for certain hardware products, Nielsen said.
Nielsen acknowledged that applets built using J++ in Windows-specific mode will not run on other operating systems. "If you're using Windows-specific features, (the applet) won't run on another platform," he said.
But because developers can use the same toolkit to build a cross-platform version of the applet, it does not threaten Java's cross-platform ability, Nielson said.
Microsoft supports Java's cross-platform compatibility, and expects developers to use the software tool to create both "generic" and Windows-specific applets, he said.
Sun has filed for a preliminary injunction requiring Microsoft to alter the Java products it ships in compliance with its specifications for Java. Hearings about that injunction are set to begin September 8.
Microsoft says all the Java products it ships comply with Sun's Java licensing agreement specifications and pass muster with Sun's Java compatibility tests. Windows 98 will run Java applets built using Sun's own Java tools, and Microsoft's Java tools can be used to develop applets that will run on any operating system that has a Java virtual machine that conforms to Sun's specifications.
Java Native Interface
At issue in the case is whether the technology in Microsoft's developer kit that allows developers to build Windows-specific applications is required to fall in line with Sun's specifications laid out in its licensing contract, Nielson said.
That technology is called a Java Native Interface (JNI) -- a software layer that sits between a Java applet and the operating system, allowing the applet to "tunnel down" and take advantage of functionality native to that particular platform, Nielson said.
"All the hoopla about whether Microsoft's Java is cross-platform compatible has gone by the wayside," he said. "Now everything is about native interfaces."
Sun offers its own JNI for Windows, but Microsoft says its own JNI, called J/Direct, is better, because it allows users to take a fuller advantage of the features in Windows.
Microsoft says the JNI was not specified in the licensing agreement it signed with Sun, and Sun should not be able to dictate how Microsoft's JNI works.
So long as Microsoft provides in Visual J++ the ability for software developers to build "pure" Java applications -- those that do not employ a JNI -- it should be free to include its own JNI that allows developers to take advantage of the Windows-specific features, Nielson said.
"That's what competition is all about," he said.
Today's tutorials are designed to allow the companies to present their versions of what Java is and how it works. However, it appears each side plans to use the time as an opportunity to bolster its case.
With its own demonstration of Microsoft's Visual J++, Sun plans to try to show the court how the software tool encourages software developers to write applications that are specific to Windows, according to Nielson.
The tutorials are each due to begin at 1 p.m. PST, and will last for two hours.
--James Niccolai, IDG News Service
San Francisco (August 28, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems Inc. waived its right to complain about Microsoft Corp.'s alleged breach of Sun's Java licensing agreement when it accepted a US$3.75 million [M] payment from the software giant for use of the programming language, Microsoft said this week.
Microsoft made its argument in court papers filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, opposing Sun's request for a preliminary injunction against Microsoft.
Microsoft also argues that granting a preliminary injunction will cause "immense harm" to distributors, retailers and manufacturers of Microsoft products; to software developers and end users, and to Microsoft itself.
The preliminary injunction would prevent Microsoft from shipping further versions of Windows 98 and certain software development tools that Sun says do not comply with its version of Java.
Sun declined to comment today on the arguments outlined in Microsoft's filing, an edited version of which was released by Microsoft late yesterday.
In its lawsuit filed in October last year, Sun claims that Microsoft implemented incompatible versions of Java in at least two of its products in an attempt to derail Java's fabled "write once, run anywhere" capabilities. Microsoft sees Java as a threat to the hegemony of its Windows operating system because of Java's ability to run on any software platform, Sun says.
Microsoft denies the accusations and has filed a countersuit against Sun.
Citing a legal precedent, Microsoft said in its filing that Sun's acceptance of the licensing fee from Microsoft -- at a time when it was aware the alleged breach of contract had taken place -- cancels its right to claim breach of contract.
"Sun cannot deny that it knew about Microsoft's alleged breach when it accepted the payment. Sun has waived its right to complain of the alleged breach," Microsoft said in the filing.
As part of its complaint, Sun says Microsoft's version of Java does not pass muster with test suites created by Sun to ensure proper implementation of its technology.
Microsoft counters in its court filing that its Java products comply with all the testing suites specified by Sun in the licensing and distribution agreement Microsoft signed. The tests that Microsoft products do not pass were created by Sun after the fact and are not specified in the licensing agreement, Microsoft says.
"Sun does not have unlimited power to force Microsoft to adopt any Sun technology -- Java-based or not -- just because a test can be devised to check for it," Microsoft said.
The sides are due to present oral arguments before District Court Judge Ronald Whyte on September 10 in regards to Sun's request for preliminary injunctive relief.
--James Niccolai, IDG News Service
If you have technical problems with this magazine, contact email@example.com