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JavaSoft Officials Talk Future and Fracture

JavaSoft's leaders spent most of their opening remarks at the JavaOne conference Tuesday talking about progress toward a more solid Java platform and most of the following press conference talking about the latest fracture.

Late last week, Hewlett-Packard said it had created its own version of Java for embedded systems and licensed it to Microsoft for use in Windows CE.

Alan Baratz, president of the Sun Microsystems Inc. unit responsible for Java, made only a passing reference to HP in his keynote speech as the conference began on Tuesday. In the process of praising JavaSoft's process for collaborating with partners on defining the Java specifications, he drew a contrast with the process advocated by HP and Microsoft.

He called ActiveX "something that was developed in a closed room and foisted on the industry with the promise that it would become open. When was the last time you heard anything about the standardization of ActiveX in the last year?

"Now, we have a Java platform that was developed in a closed room by one company and foisted on the industry with the promise that it would become open," Baratz said.

HP said it had developed a version of Java for use in small devices based on a subset of the published specifications for the Java Development Kit (JDK), without using any of the source code that it has licensed for use in its Unix ports of the Java virtual machine. HP said it decided to create its own compact implementation for use in printers, medical devices, and consumer products because it felt Sun was charging too much for and keeping too tight a grip on the PersonalJava and EmbeddedJava variants aimed at those markets.

HP officials said they might try to put the technology they had developed into a formal standards process, since they disapprove of the process Sun has proposed that would allow it to shepherd Java through the International Standards Organization approval process. Last year, JavaSoft won permission to submit Java to ISO over the objections of HP and Microsoft, among others.