Sun Attacks Release of Java.NET

As first reported by UK-based news outlet The Register, an early preview of Microsoft's version of Java intended to run in tandem with .NET headed out of the stables at Redmond. Although the 7 megabyte file as pulled from Microsoft's download site almost as soon as it make its brief appearance, enough time elapsed for a small number of fortunate souls to get their hands on it.

In essence, Microsoft has created its own cloned version of Java while circumventing Sun’s stringent compatibility requirements and downgrading Java's role to be merely a programming language instead of a platform. Although the product dubbed, Visual JSharp .NET version 7.0, is by definition an unfinished work, Sun is already pacing itself to make the distinction between its own offerings and what its calls "Microsoft FUD."

Sun Spokesperson David Harrah expressed the company’s viewpoints in a frank response issued to BetaNews.

"First, we need to keep in mind that we're still in the rumor stage on this, but
from what we've seen, which includes the Microsoft Web site page prior to its
removal, we think it looks like nothing more than a release of the JUMP software
announced in January after the settlement of the Sun Microsoft lawsuit," said Harrah.

"If the download page's description is correct, the Microsoft software addresses only the use of the Java programming language, not the Java Platform. This is a crucial distinction as the platform incorporates the use of the Java Virtual Machine and this is what gives the Java technology its cross-platform compatibility and support, which is Java's fundamental value proposition. Microsoft has always tried to position Java as just another language, but the IT world knows better."

Harrah continued, "As described on the page, Microsoft Visual J# .NET is not a tool for developing applications intended to run on a Java Virtual Machine. Applications and services
built with Visual J# .NET will run only in the .NET Framework." This means the
Microsoft technology remains locked into the .NET framework and does not operate
in the system-agnostic world of the Java Platform. Thus, applications developed
with this rumored technology will not enjoy the cross-platform benefits of
applications built with the real Java programming language that run with the Java

"Microsoft also says, 'It integrates the java-language syntax into the Visual
Studio .NET shell. Microsoft Visual J# .NET also supports the functionality found
in VJ++ 6.0 including Microsoft extensions,'" said Harrah. "This means the technology is
probably the "bridge" software Microsoft announced in January that provides a
minimal migration path for those developers who used VJ++ 6.0 thinking it was compatible with the Java Platform. VJ++ 6.0 and its "Microsoft extensions" were the basis for Sun's lawsuit against Microsoft because VJ++ 6.0 was not compatible with the Java platform, a violation of the licensing agreement."

Summing up Sun's feelings, Harrah downplayed the value of J#. "We view this rumored announcement, if true, as more Microsoft F.U.D. and reaffirm our desire that Microsoft license the Java technology in good faith and join the hundreds of other companies that participate in the Java Community Process that
extends and maintains the Java technology.

"The rumor also is indicative of the pervasiveness that Java has attained in the
past 6 years and the increasing demand from users that Microsoft products provide
true interoperability with the Java platform. Last week's SQL Server/J2EE connector announcement from Microsoft can be inferred as a realization by Microsoft that they need to supply technologies that connect their software with Java. Full support and interoperability should begin with a license," stated Harrah.

According to product documentation, "Microsoft Visual J# .NET is a development tool that developers who are familiar with the java-language syntax can use to build applications and services on the .NET Framework. It integrates the java-language syntax into the Visual Studio .NET shell." Microsoft also acknowledges that applications authored with the development tool will not be compatible Java Virtual Machines (JVMs).

Microsoft is touting Java-like languages as viable alternatives to Sun that offer the full advantages of the .NET framework. Redmond is not the first company to attempt a cloned version of Java, however it is the most outspoken critic of the tight control Sun has exercised over the technology.

When asked for comment, a Microsoft Spokesperson told BetaNews, "Unfortunately we have limited spokesperson availability and are unable to provide anyone who can comment on this issue."

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