Sun plans event to detail Jini

The firm targets December or January for an event to unveil partners and plans for its Java-related technology for small networked devices.

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NEW YORK--Sun Microsystems is targeting December or January for a New York event that would unveil partners and plans for Jini, its Java-related technology for small networked devices.

"We'll be back in New York in December," Sun's director of science policy, John Gage, told an Internet World crowd today, sharing the stage during a keynote with Sun vice president Bill Joy, Jini's inventor. But Sun spokeswomen at the event backpedaled bit, saying nothing definitive is planned and that the Jini event might slip into early 1999.

"It's the first software architecture that's designed for the Internet, for computers to talk to computers," Gage said. "HTML is about computers talking to people, but we don't have software for computers to talk to computers. Jini is the first comprehensive design for these products."

Sun describes Jini as a companion technology to its Java programming language, designed to link a variety of handheld devices or computer peripherals on a network. The technology extends Java for devices that otherwise wouldn't have the ability to run Java programs, including printers, cameras, and mobile phones.

Jini was released in July and its source code has been posted at Sun's Web site.

"As long as what you're doing is free--given away, not sold--Jini is free. We charge a license fee for [commercial uses]," Gage said. Thus researchers, universities, and companies can tinker with Jini technology for free, but consumer electronics firms and peripheral makers that create commercial products using Jini will be charged.

Joy said today that he has been working on the Jini technology for a decade now.