Sun plans N1 developer kit, defends Java process

Sun Microsystems plans to release a developer toolkit tailored to Sun's N1 architecture for IT infrastructure management.

Company officials last Friday afternoon also defended the process for publicly submitting improvements to the Java programming language.

During a Software Developer Chalk Session at Sun offices in Menlo Park, Calif. , Sun officials touted the Java Community Process and plans for an N1 toolkit. They also discussed improvements to informational Web sites for Sun developers.

The N1 toolkit is intended for use with Sun's N1 architecture, which is Sun's virtualizing and provisioning technology intended to provide for unified management of data center resources. "We're working on an N1 software developer kit, which would greatly extend an IT developer's ability to interact with components of the system," said John Fowler, Sun's CTO for software.

The kit would, for example, enable a customized control system to be implemented within N1, Fowler said.

Sun wants to encourage developer participation in N1, according to Fowler. "In general, it's to our best interest and our historical interest has always been to encourage developers as much as possible," he said. No date has been set yet for release of the kit.

Sun officials defended the Java Community Process (JCP), through which proposed improvements to Java are submitted for consideration by JCP participants. IBM's Bob Sutor, director of WebSphere infrastructure software at the company, has charged that Sun controls the JCP. IBM is a member of the JCP.

"What we would hope is eventually we would get to a point where there's no single company that has main control over it," Sutor said during the IBM developerWorksLive conference in New Orleans last month, referring to Sun as company in control.

But Fowler on Friday said Sun's control is limited to the trademark of the word, Java. "The reason we control the word [is] we want to be sure when we use the trademark, Java, it's compatible."

Fowler also said Sun could not offer Java under an open-source format because this could result in a fracturing of the language, with multiple versions arising. "It would be very difficult to maintain compatability," Fowler said. Sun does not want to see 20 incompatible flavors of Java, as has happened with the Unix operating system, he said.

"We have not chosen to go do a direct open-source development model with [Java]. However, we allow anyone to develop compliant implementations," Fowler said.

Fowler also said IBM and Microsoft have been putting forth Web services specifications to the industry without seeking input from other vendors.

"IBM [and Microsoft have] participated in more than a dozen specifications in which nobody participates. They don't go to anybody's standards committees."

IBM and Microsoft in April did submit the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) specification to OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), eight months after announcing the Web services proposal. Fowler said it was disappointing that BPEL was not submitted to W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).

"They did not submit to W3C, in which there was already a working group," looking Web services orchestration, Fowler said. "We think that is just a very poor move on their part."

BPEL and Sun's own Web Services Choreography Interfaces (WSCI) specification are intended to provide automation of back-end interaction of Web services, considered critical for e-business via Web services. WSCI has been submitted to W3C, but BPEL has much greater industry support.

Sun recently joined the BPEL Web services working group at OASIS, known as the WSBPEL technical committee. In joining, Sun is looking for a compromise on the issue, Fowler said.

Asked if WSCI is effectively dead, Fowler said, "I don't think so. Sun and Oracle are working together [on WSCI]. We'll make sure there's something good there."

Sun also is improving its informational Web sites for developers, said Paul Pangaro, senior director of the Voice to the Developer program at Sun.

Sun developer resources are found online at www.sun.com/developers. Sun plans to allow developers to get a wide variety of content through a single portal, featuring content and community areas and subjects such as Web services, Panjaro said.

Content syndication, or sharing of content with other organizations, also is planned.

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