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Project Indiana: Could Sun outshine Microsoft's Silverlight?

At its JavaOne conference, which kicks off in San Francisco on May 8, Sun is promising a major technology unveiling, code-named "Project Indiana." It sounds like at least part of Sun's announcement could involve a deal with Adobe, via which Sun will be distributing the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) as part of Adobe Flash.

At its JavaOne conference, which kicks off in San Francisco on May 8, Sun is promising a major technology unveiling, code-named "Project Indiana."

My ZDNet blogging colleage Ed Burnette is speculating that Sun might unveil a head-to-head competitor to Microsoft's Silverlight, a k a "Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere."

Sun still isn't talking. But its execs are dropping hints all over. And it sounds like at least part of Sun's announcement could involve a deal with Adobe, via which Sun will be distributing the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) as part of Adobe Flash.

This could shape up to be an interesting battle: Silverlight becomes Microsoft's way to seed its Common Language Runtime (the heart of the .Net Framework) across multiple platforms -- starting with non-Microsoft browsers like Firefox and Safari on Windows, Mac OS X and possibly other platforms. And (perhaps) Flash becomes Sun's way to distribute Java across multiple platforms, including Solaris and Linux.

The big difference, of course, is Flash already owns the rich-content plug-in space; Silverlight is the up-and-commer.

At the CommunityOne keynote kick-off on May 7, Rich Green, Sun's Executive Vice President of Software, when responding to a user question as to why Flash isn't using Java, looked at his watch and said Sun would have more to say "in about 23 hours."

Green and other Sun execs also hinted that Sun is just as attuned to the need to make Java the VM more accessible to other (non-Java) language developers.

Does that mean Sun also has an equivalent to Microsoft's recently announced Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) environment? I wouldn't be surprised....

Sun's also using the same lingo as Microsoft, in terms of wanting to target not just traditional developers, but also content designers, with its tools.

Is there a Sun equivalent of Microsoft Expression waiting in the wings, as well? Guess we'll hear more tomorrow. In the meantime, anyone care to speculat on Indiana and other potential Sun JavaOne announcements in the pipeline?

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