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Java to run on Linux

An effort to tie together two Microsoft nemeses, Linux and Java, is nearing completion.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Stephen Shankland
3 min read
An effort to tie together two Microsoft nemeses, Linux and Java, is nearing completion. Meanwhile, other major computer companies are stepping up their support for Linux.

Sun has been supporting the work of Blackdown to get the newest version of Java--Java 2, formerly known as JDK 1.2--working on Linux. A spokesperson for Sun said Blackdown's effort could be done in a week or two and that Java 2 under Linux will be shown this week at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Jose, California.

But the port to Linux of Java 2 isn't done yet. Although Blackdown has completed a Java virtual machine and Java compiler--which have passed Sun's Java compatibility checks--other components haven't yet been checked. A compiler is a program that translates another software code into machine language so that it can be executed.

Sun provided Blackdown with the Java Compatibility Kit, which ordinarily costs a fee, and has given the project engineering help. Blackdown said the compatibility kit involves a collection of more than 16,000 tests.

In other Linux news, Intel is working with IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, and Silicon Graphics to assure that Linux works well on Intel chips, an industry source said. Intel wants "entire industry to come up with one solution that runs well and optimally on Intel architecture," one source familiar with Intel's plans said.

Intel isn't funding these other companies' Linux work, but is collaborating on solving technological with the hardware makers, the source said.

The collaboration is the latest news of Intel's backing for Linux. The company also has invested in Linux software distributor Red Hat and Linux computer maker VA Research.

Intel also funded Cygnus Solutions to make Linux programming tools capable tapping into the latest Pentium chip technology, a move that will benefit all Linux developers.

SGI, meanwhile, is backing the "open source" philosophy that underlies the Linux movement. In open source programming, any person can get access to the source code (the original programming instructions) for software, enabling programmers to modify it as much as they want.

SGI announced today it will make parts of its Irix version of the Unix operating system available under the open source model. "Throughout 1999, Silicon Graphics will migrate to the open source community key technology from its Irix operating system," the company said in a statement.

And in February, SGI made some of its OpenGL source code available to the open source community, which means the Linux workstations could be able to take advantage of the graphics description language developed by SGI.

SGI also is working to help universities develop Linux for the computers based on MIPS chips, the CPUs used SGI's servers and most of its workstation line.

Meanwhile, Cygnus Solutions isn't just giving Intel a helping hand with Linux, the company also has provided Linux software development tools to Oracle to help the company develop its Oracle 8i database.

Cygnus also will make its GNUPro development tools available HP's HP-UX version of Unix and for Windows NT.

In addition, Computer Associates, a maker of backup software and other programs, is scheduled to announce an agreement for Linux software with Red Hat tomorrow.