Sun Professes Faith in Java for the Linux Community

NEW YORK — Sun Microsystems this week vowed more support for Java development tools running on Linux and discussed the potential for Linux at the desktop level.

Sun development tools group marketing manager Jeff Anders said at the LinuxWorld trade show that the Santa Clara, Calif. outfit sees opportunities for Linux and Java combinations on customers’ desktops as an alternative to Microsoft Windows.

The Linux on desktops concept was touted by Novell CEO Jack Messman in a keynote Wednesday. Anders said Sun feels Novell’s assertion that Linux on desktops will see a significant hike this year is accurate.

“We agree that 2004 will be a big year for Linux on the desktop,” Anders said. “We see it moving from such tasks as file and print serving to support mission-critical applications,” which may include enterprise resource planning software.

Despite the Linux legal mess between copyright owners such as SCO and vendors such as IBM and Novell, analysts have said Linux, by many accounts the fastest-growing OS in the world, could see tremendous growth because the economy appears to be on the upswing.

To wit, Anders said Sun sees its StarOffice productivity suite, version 7 of which is now available on Linux, as a key choice to curry favor for customers desiring a change from Microsoft Office, along with advancements in Java Desktop System such as central management of user settings for Gnome desktops.

Anders also said Sun will support its Sun Studio line of development tools on Linux by the end of 2004, as well as those for its C, C++ and Fortran development environments.

Anders said Sun is on course to offer developers a GUI-based debugger which provides full multithreaded debugging, including applications composed of both Java and C/C++ code; a performance analyzer to pinpoint bottlenecks and resource consumption; and the Native Connector Tool, which will bind Linux C/C++ applications and libraries as Java classes.

Sun also plans to polish its 3D Looking Glass project, a drag-and-drop tool that uses Java and OpenGL to help users can arrange application windows in 3D space. Sun Thursday previewed Looking Glass and the forthcoming management features for Java Desktop System at LinuxWorld.

In terms of Linux development tools, Sun introduced desktop software that combines Sun’s drag-and-drop Java Studio Creator (code-named “Project Rave”), with the Java Desktop System and Sun’s NetBeans development platform.

Sun’s Java Studio tools are based on the NetBeans, for which noted Java guru and Sun CTO James Golsing provided a roadmap last week. Sun Java Studio Enterprise and the Sun Java Studio Creator are expected to ship in mid-2004.

Lastly, the company launched a new Linux section on, a Java developer group with 32,000 members, with expanded support for Java development tools on Sun’s Solaris operating system and Linux and Windows platforms. for Linux will provide tools and services to Java developers who choose to develop Linux platforms.

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