A procedural meeting on April 1 between Sun Microsystems and Microsoft on their Java licensing lawsuit could open the door to discussions of a settlement of the matter.
Sun and Microsoft representatives are scheduled to meet in Federal District Court in San Jose on April 1 to discuss the possibility of a technical understanding on the Java Native Interface (JNI) issue as part of the lawsuit, per the order of District Court Judge Ronald Whyte, said a Sun spokesman.
The meeting is standard operating procedure designed to bring the parties together on a technical understanding, in this case of JNI. But the magistrate at the April 1 meeting could also ask the two parties if there isn't room to settle the differences before they go further, according to sources close to the court case.
Microsoft argued that JNI should not be covered in the lawsuit because it was separate from the use of Java applets. The judge disagreed and ruled for JNI to be supported by Microsoft, but also urged the two parties to meet and try and resolve the JNI issue, which is the reason for the April 1 meeting in California.
Sun representatives declined to comment if they have any plans to settle the case. A Microsoft spokesman also declined to comment on any settlement. The April 1 meeting will be private, and the two sides may not even meet in the same room, according to sources close to the case.
Sun has sued Microsoft over its 1996 license of Java, saying that Microsoft violated several tenets of the agreement. Even though the case has yet to go to trial, the court awarded Sun in November a preliminary injunction, which among other things forces Microsoft to embrace JNI in its Java products.
Sun accuses Microsoft of "polluting" its Java technology in order to compromise the technology's ability to create programs that run on any operating system.
Microsoft denies the charges and has appealed the injunction rulings.