Sun Microsystems and IBM have confirmed they will work together on a Java-based operating system for business network computing.
JavaOS for Business will be co-developed, co-marketed and jointly supported by the pair and will be pitched to third-parties as an open platform for Java applications and compliant hardware. The operating system will be backwards compatible with current Java applications and is scheduled to be available to computer manufacturers by mid-1998.
IBM will offer JavaOS for Business on high-end Network Station NCs early in 1999 while Sun intends to migrate users of its JavaStations from JavaOS to JavaOS for Business over the next year.
JavaOS for Business is aimed primarily at line-of-business applications such as banking, ticketing or support infrastructure but Sun and IBM say the new OS will improve performance, ease manageability, support more foreign languages and simplify writing of new device drivers.
The Sun-IBM deal does not affect other JavaOS versions such as JavaOS for Appliances and JavaOS for Consumers, both of which remain under sole control of Sun. "There have been two major players in the NC systems arena: Sun Microsystems and IBM," said Julian Lomberg, product marketing manager for Sun Microsystems' software division. "Java development has gone from a standing start to 700,000 developers and this is a joint message from Sun and IBM that brings a powerful business focus. To the ISV community it should be pretty much a no-brainer to support. It is a true joint-venture: there will be IBM programmers and Sun programmers working on this effort."
Lomberg said he did not know how parts of the operating system effort would be allocated between the partners.