News and New Product Briefs (5/05/99)

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Sun is also looking at working with the Object Management Group (OMG). Both the OMG and ECMA are authorized to make PAS submissions to ISO.

Ken Urquhart, Sun's Java standardization manager, had a slightly different take from Baratz. "Reports of the death of Sun's Java standards efforts through ISO are greatly exaggerated. All roads lead to ISO, and Java specifications are moving down that road." He added, "It's a question of what route we're going to take. ISO is the final destination, but we're still considering other options for the best way to move forward."

ISO officials had no comments on Baratz's statements.

Microsoft's Standards Activities Group Product Manager John Montgomery said, "It's very much in character for Sun to lay the blame for everything at Microsoft's feet, but in this case, the facts do not support Baratz's statements." He added, "The reality is Microsoft did not change the process. We don't have the power. We didn't spend millions of dollars. This is a smoke screen. They're trying to back out and pin the blame on us."

Java Lobby President Rick Ross advocates a wait-and-see attitude for now, although he does note that among Lobby participants, "very few support Sun's position" on this matter. (According to Ross, more than 80 percent of the Java developers registered in the Lobby's Java Lounge Web site think Sun should open up Java or that an alternative standard to Java should be found.)

IT not critical to business success?

In a recent survey conducted by the London School of Economics for management consulting group Compass America, only 25 percent of the more than 650 CEOs surveyed (from 1,500 global blue chip corporations) think that IT makes a high contribution to business results.

Thirty-three percent of the CEOs surveyed considered IT's contribution to business low; more than 80 percent were disappointed in IT's contribution to a company's results.

Dick Arns, executive director of the Chicago Research and Planning Group (an association of high-level US IT professionals), says that this perception is driven, in part, by CEOs becoming overwhelmed by the increasing "Internetization" of business, and are expecting IT to solve this problem alone. He notes that this role is also new for IT, and that the marketing, advertising, and finance departments also have important parts to play in setting the "course for the next millennium."

Arns also said CIOs are having trouble keeping up with the increasingly rapid mutation of the CIO role. In the Internet age, that role changes monthly as opposed to yearly.

John Deere Insurance Group's Manager of Enterprise Information Gregory Kinman said, "From the CEO's perspective, a dollar spent on advertising may bring in 00 in revenue or an invested dollar will generate a 20-percent return. However, a dollar spent on IT may help an organization stay competitive or reduce expenses, but it is difficult to make direct comparisons to the bottom line and shareholder value."

Survey results also show that 48 percent of CEOs say that IT will be featured in a more prominent role in the future in defining corporate strategy. More than 54 percent had high expectations for IT's future contribution to a company's competitive advantage.

Final note on perception: The survey said that 25 percent of CEOs believe IT becomes a top contributor to the business when CIOs are made members of the senior management team.

Most Sun vs. Microsoft documents can be unsealed

The special master in the Sun vs. Microsoft Java lawsuit has determined that many documents in the case are not protected by law, and consequently may be unsealed.

Special Master Charles B. Renfrew wrote in his report and recommendation, "I found that, with only a few limited exceptions ... all of the redacted or sealed documents at issue should be unsealed." This includes various motions and declarations, including the Microsoft motion for a partial extension in order to comply with the preliminary injunction and Sun's memorandum that opposed the request.

Also look for various declarations that support Microsoft's motion for the extension to comply and a Microsoft motion to clarify or modify the injunction.

If the court agrees with Renfrew's recommendation, Sun and Microsoft attorneys will have to refile certain sealed documents.

Upgrade: Persistence PowerTier 5.0

Persistence Software's PowerTier 5.0 Web application server includes a new bit of technology called PowerSync, which enables each of several PowerTier servers in different physical locations to maintain realtime replicas of each server's caching data stores.

The caching data stores reside outside of the relational database. PowerSync uses distributed, synchronized caches that communicate via Web protocols, so each server handles most of the requests in its own local object store rather than passing them to the database. This reduces the load on the database, makes each transaction execute faster on the client, and also speeds server-to-server transactions.

PowerTier 5.0 also includes an RMI-over-IIOP implementation, so Java applications can communicate with CORBA components in the CORBA native protocol. Support for Java 2 is also new to this version.

PowerTier 5.0 is in beta, but should ship June 1999 for 0,000 per server license.

http://www.persistence.com/Products/ejb/index.html

Upgrade: GemStone/J 3.0

GemStone announced that it will ship GemStone/J 3.0, an upgrade to its Web application server that has gained a performance boost by adding support for multiple JVMs.

The GemStone/J 3.0 servers can be deployed in clusters, with each cluster running multiple instances of a Java servlet engine that can connect to Enterprise JavaBeans, CORBA components, and pooled relational database connections running on load-balanced JVMs.

The upgrade supports a variety of Web servers, as well as Java 2.

GemStone/J 3.0 will ship in May/June 1999 for ,000 per developer seat.

http://www.GemStone.com/index_gemj.html

ObjectWatch pronounces CORBA 3.0 dead

Roger Sessions has pronounced CORBA 3.0 and the Component Specification dead in "CORBA 3.0 Postmortem," an article in issue 19 of the ObjectWatch newsletter.

Sessions's main reason for calling CORBA 3.0 dead: He indicates that the Object Management Group has "officially embraced Enterprise Java Beans" as the middle-tier specification, the result of which would only allow Java in the middle tier.

Sessions notes that this means that hopes of a "vendor-neutral, language-independent, Component Oriented Middleware (COMWare) platform" are gone. He says that it appears that the OMG believes "all languages are equal, but Java is a lot more equal than any other language."

Sessions points to an OMG April 6 press release ("The OMG Outlines Application Server Standard"), which clarifies its position by claiming that the "middle tier belongs not to the language neutral Component Specification, but to the Java-centric Enterprise JavaBeans." OMG CEO Richard Soley was quoted from that release as saying, "We're pleased to recognize that the majority of application servers on the market today are based on a marriage of CORBA and Enterprise JavaBeans."

Sessions notes that he is not opposed to EJBs or Java, just to the idea that Java should be the only standard in the middle tier of a supposedly vendor-neutral CORBA. Sessions is a Visual Basic/MTS supporter.

Read the entire article: http://www.objectwatch.com/issue19.htm

The JavaOne conference schedule is available

The JavaOne conference is coming in June, and the schedule is currently available with abstracts of the Java University schedule:

  • Fast-Track Java Platform Certification
  • Java 2 Platform Enhancements
  • Optimizing Java Technology Code
  • Java Technology and XML
  • Jini Technology: Distributed Services Programming

It also includes abstracts for session tracks:

  • The Java 2 Platform
  • Java Platform Extensions
  • The Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition
  • Java Technology Computing for Devices
  • Jini Technology
  • Java Platform Industry Technical Papers
  • Java Technology Program Modeling and Development Tools
  • Java Technology in the World Today!
  • Industry Momentum

Abstracts for "Birds of a Feather" sessions are here, with nuts and bolts information (hotels, airfare, and so on), and a list of the more than 250 exhibitors already signed up for the Java Pavilion.

http://industry.java.sun.com/javaone/99/schedule/

A look at Java's future

Daryl Plummer, vice president and research director of applications-development tools at Gartner Group, predicted that as Java grows more mature, it will make its way into mission critical corporate applications.

At the recent Java Enterprise Solutions Symposium developers' conference (JESS 99) in Paris, Plummer predicted that by 2002, more than 90 percent of all desktop PCs and servers in the US will host a JVM.

Some other predictions from Plummer:

  • "Through 2001, pure Java applications will be limited in the amount of transaction support they offer for high-end computing, but they will provide mission critical support in more than 60 percent of deployed applications."

  • By 2004, more than 60 percent of large US corporations will use Java to develop critical applications.

  • C++, Visual Basic, and Java will be the three surviving programming languages in the near future.

Plummer seems to have missed on half of one of his predictions -- that Sun is releasing its control of the language as other companies increase their commitment to it. (See "Sun scraps ISO plans, holds Java tighter," in this section.)

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