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Sun updates Java for servers in the home

The company releases version 2.0 of its Java Embedded Server software, a program designed to run on central servers that connect home gadgets such as PCs or stereos to the Internet.

Sun Microsystems has released version 2.0 of its Java Embedded Server software, a program designed to run on central servers that connect home gadgets such as PCs or stereos to the Internet.

The software, part of Sun's Java software initiative, is designed to run on these servers, called "gateways," that can handle tasks such as controlling a house's lights, piping music from the Internet to a stereo or hosting a Web site. While these gateways are expected to be used initially in homes, other markets include cars and large companies, said Raj Mata, senior product manager for consumer technologies.

The biggest new feature of version 2.0 is full compliance with the standard set by the Open Services Gateway Initiative (OSGI), an industry group trying to make it easier for software companies, hardware makers and Internet service providers to develop and use gateway servers. OSGI is run by board members from Sun, Cisco Systems, Whirlpool, IBM, Verizon Communications, Nokia, Motorola, Oracle, Ericsson and Echelon.

The new edition of Java Embedded Server includes a copy of PersonalJava 3.0.2, one of the stripped-down versions of Sun's Java software. Java allows programs to be used on any Java-enabled device, regardless of underlying hardware such as CPU type.

To try to spur developer interest, Sun lets programmers download Java Embedded Server for free and bundles programming tools along with the product. However, commercial users must license the technology, Mata said.

Sun also announced two new licensees of Java Embedded Server. Invensys Control Systems and ServGate Technologies will use the software in their gateway servers, and Invensys will collaborate with Sun to develop and market "smart home" technology.

Earlier licensees of JES include Cisco, Siemens and Echelon, all of which offer or will offer home gateways, Mata said. There are other licensees as well that haven't announced their support yet, he added.