RealTime IT News

Sun Previews New Tools

Officials at Sun Microsystems announced updates to the company's developer platform and 64-bit computing at its Tech Days Conference in New York Tuesday.

Up first were beta versions of its IDEs , Java Studio 10 (JS 10) and Java Studio Enterprise 7 (JSE 7), which the company said are available today.

One of the biggest features of JS 10, outside of debugging and GUI improvements, is the 60 percent speed-up in compilation time with support for the C, C++ and FORTRAN programming languages. The full release is due later this year.

JSE 7, the full release of which is due sometime next year, includes full UML support , "code-aware" collaboration for distributed programming teams and an application profiler to monitor and correct performance-related glitches in Java code.

Java architects have been somewhat skeptical about the inclusion of UML in JSE 7, but Jeff Jackson, Sun Java tools and platforms vice president, said its inclusion is worthwhile.

"My approach, always, as the engineering guy is to take a practical view of how developers work and try and get their input," he said in a press conference Tuesday. "Yes, there's a lot of skepticism, so we have in the beta the practical approach of using UML with J2EE developers and getting some real useful feedback and getting that incorporated in the product. So far, the early feedback is quite positive."

Joe Keller, Sun vice president of Java Web services and development platforms marketing, also announced a Java Virtual Machine for AMD's 64-bit computing Opteron to be wrapped up with Sun's forthcoming release of Solaris 10 , the next iteration of its Unix-flavored operating system.

Solaris 10 will also include full support of J2SE 5.0 when it's released later this year, though Keller wouldn't elaborate on the timetable. Beta versions for the SPARC and x86 platforms are available here.

To complement the Solaris 10 release, Sun announced the Solaris 10 Developer Connection Web site, which features tutorials, tips and other documentation for developers to download.

The source code for Solaris 10 won't be available until several months after the release, which is a timetable similar to the source code release of J2SE 5.0 Friday.

Sun has been working with AMD to make some headway against IBM's and Intel's collaboration on enterprise computing, and 64-bit computing specifically, for nearly a year.

Keller refutes the reports that Intel-based machines on the Windows platform are cutting into the Unix market.

"I don't believe that's happening," he said. "I believe Unix is showing an increasing share and Sun is also increasing its share at the low end in terms of delivering Unix-based servers. We've improved market share the past couple quarters and in fact, we're the ones who started this move off of supercomputers onto lower-priced systems that are ganged together."

Margaret Lewis, AMD director of software strategy, agrees with that assessment and predicts even more market share when Solaris 10 is released.

"Everybody over here understands the value of 64-bit computing, and people like Sun have taken their Unix platforms to 64-bit computing back in the mid-90s," she said. "With Solaris 10 having support for AMD's Opteron 64-bit, you have a very tried, true, tested Unix operating system that can run either on a SPARC or Opteron platform.

"We're seeing customers that want the flexibility to have a variety of systems and operating systems," she continued, "and I think Sun is really stepping up to the plate."