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Companies take interest in new Java

Sun Microsystems more than doubles the number of companies supporting the latest version of Java software since its release four months ago.

Sun Microsystems has more than doubled the number of companies supporting the latest version of Java software since its release four months ago, the company said today.

Because of contractual disputes, Sun signed only five partners when Java 2 Enterprise Edition was released in December. The company today said it has added eight companies to the fold, including e-commerce software makers BEA Systems and SilverStream Software and PC maker Compaq Computer.

Companies such as BEA initially balked at Sun's contract demands, which included royalty payments to the computer company. The contract stipulated that licensees use all technologies included with the new Java version for server computers in the software they develop, rather than piecemeal. Sun, however, recently became more flexible with the terms of its licensing agreements.

Still, only 13 companies out of a possible 60 software companies using Java have agreed to use the latest version in their products.

Java 2 Enterprise Edition is aimed at businesses that want to create e-commerce Web sites and compete against Microsoft's model of writing software, which targets the Windows operating system.

The new version of Java is a collection of nine Java software technologies that handle such tasks as running modules of e-commerce software, talking to databases, and automatically constructing Web pages. Unlike Microsoft's assorted Windows technologies, Java allows software programs to run on any computer and operating system.

The initial companies supporting the edition were Bluestone Software, Iona Technologies, Persistence Software, SAS Institute and the Sun-Netscape Alliance.

IBM supports the new Java technology, but it still objects to Sun's rules for using the brand name, "Java 2 Enterprise Edition" according to the company.

Signing BEA was important because it's one of the leaders in application servers, or software that uses Java to run the transactions on e-commerce Web sites. As reported earlier, new licensees include Sybase, Art Technology Group, InterWorld, Hitachi and GemStone Systems.