With the launch of OS/2 Warp 4 this week, IBM becomes the first OS supplier to support the Java Virtual Machine. On hand in the US to display applications that take advantage of IBM's new open, network-centric operating system were Citrix Systems, Adobe Systems and J.Stream, a division of DataPak Software.
Citrix, in a deal signed with IBM, has agreed to support OS/2 Warp with a version of its multiuser application server software, WinFrame/Enterprise 1.6, which allows OS/2 Warp desktop users to seamlessly access 32-bit Windows NT and Windows 95 applications over a network. One benefit of the WinFrame product is that it lets users deploy 32-bit Windows applications across the enterprise from various locations and on different types of low-cost clients, such as IBM's AS/400 Thin Client.
Adobe has announced Adobe Acrobat 3.0 Reader beta software, which lets users view and print complex documents saved in the Portable Document Format. J.Stream has announced new class libraries for J.Press, a publishing engine that creates Java documents with embedded objects, text styles and formatting not possible in HTML.
With native Java support, OS/2 Warp 4 will now run Java applets and applications without needing a Web browser. Analysts say that native Java support will sustain OS/2 and reassure developers of its viability but not much more than that. "Everyone will have Java Virtual Machine in their OS eventually," says Jim Greene, a research analyst with Summit Strategies, in Boston. "But when class-specific libraries evolve, do ISVs then develop applications specific to Java for Microsoft, Java for Mac, or Java for Netscape? The proof in the pudding will be when the more robust Java apps arrive."