Microsoft Expects To Meet Java Deadline

Microsoft officials expect to have Java-less
versions for some of its popular consumer software ready by the end of
the year, internetnews.com has learned.

At the same time, officials announced the end to a slew of Java-related
downloads on its Microsoft Software Developers Network (MSDN).

The announcement, made in a Microsoft newsgroup forum Thursday, marks
the beginning of the end for Microsoft’s Java Virtual Machine , as well as Windows support for Java .

The roots of the announcement stretch back to 1996, when Microsoft
licensed the Java technology from Sun Microsystems. The Java creator’s
only stipulation was that the JVM it created be compatible with other
implementations.

Instead, Sun claims, Microsoft used an older Java Development Kit (v
1.1.4) and added its own extensions that made it compatible only with
Windows programs. The MS-JVM was then incorporated into Microsoft’s
software, notably those mentioned above.

In January 2001, Microsoft settled out of court for
$20 million
rather than go to trial over a lawsuit Sun
filed in 1997 over Java license violations.

But it also signaled the end of
Java
on Windows XP. Microsoft said it would include a JVM in the
operating system, but would not provide any support for the Java
technology after September 2004.

Now, the Redmond, Wash.-based software company plans to issue updates to Windows XP Professional (with FrontPage), Publisher 2002, ISA Server 2000, Windows NT 4.0 and Small Business Server 2000 to accommodate Microsoft’s current seven-year-old Java contract, all expected before Jan. 1, 2004.

Next Monday, MSDN download center techs are expected to take out the download links for some of its most popular software titles that are not compliant with the settlement terms. Many are software tools for Microsoft’s name-brand titles — like Embedded Visual Tools 3.0 and Office 2000/XP Developer — but some are full-out applications as in the case of Internet Explorer 5.5, SQL Server 7, Windows 98 (except for the Special Edition) and Windows NT 4.0.

Rather than spending time, effort and money on old(er) code that isn’t
used as much today, the decision was made to discontinue many software
titles, said Tony Goodhew, Microsoft developer division product manager.

“Products are retired as they get older, and for these products that
were at the end of their support life cycle and ran on the Microsoft
Virtual Machine, we made the decision not to re-release them,” he said.

Recognizing the need to provide a smooth transition for current users of
the MS JVM, Sun and Microsoft recently agreed to extend
Microsoft’s license
to use Sun’s Java source code and compatibility
test suites. The extension keeps lets Microsoft support the MS JVM until
September 30, 2004, and gives Microsoft the ability to address potential
security issues, effectively giving customers another year to manage the
transition.

“Even for security issues we can’t modify the virtual machines so we
will not be shipping any products that include a component that we can
not do security fixes on,” Goodhew said.


A spokesperson for Sun said the company is glad that Microsoft is
complying with the terms of the settlement but is disappointed that the
software giant is relying on seven-year-old Sun technology that can only
be refreshed with security updates. Sun is offering the latest version
of its JVM for all platforms (including Windows) on its Java.com site.

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