Java almost grown up, Says IBM exec

Java will fulfill its promise of being a 'write once, run anywhere' language by the end of the year, according to David Gee, IBM's program director of Java marketing. Despite Hewlett-Packard's recent decision to develop its own Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for embedded devices, and the reluctance of Microsoft to provide a truly cross-platform version of Java, Gee claims the language will reach maturity by the end of 1998. At that time, he says, Sun Microsystems should hand over management of Java to an independent third party

Java will fulfill its promise of being a "write once, run anywhere" language by the end of the year, according to David Gee, IBM's program director of Java marketing.

Despite Hewlett-Packard's recent decision to develop its own Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for embedded devices, and the reluctance of Microsoft to provide a truly cross-platform version of Java, Gee claims the language will reach maturity by the end of 1998.

However, at that time, Sun Microsystems should hand over management of Java to an independent third party, Gee said during a week-long visit to Australia.

Gee claims HP has been "outspoken about the Java standards process" under Sun's jurisdiction and HP's decision to develop its own JVM was an attempt to "force the issue."

But Gee stressed that HP's JVM has been developed solely for use in the company's printers. Provided it is truly Java-compatible, the development poses "no problem" for the standards process, he said.

Indeed, Gee said the competition for Sun is likely to drive down pricing, although he could give no indication of how low pricing for JVMs may be fixed.

Gee is visiting Australia to demonstrate the role of Java in IBM's ebusiness strategy, launched last week. IBM is incorporating Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) version 1.0 across its middleware range to give developers a common programming tool for building server applications. Gee expects the first releases of the EJB 1.0-enabled products to be available within 90 days.

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