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Sun program designed to spread Java software

With updates and technical support, Sun's new plan encourages PC manufacturers to distribute Java Standard Edition.

Sun Microsystems plans to announce on Tuesday a new program to expand distribution of its Java software.

Sun's program will let PC manufacturers apply online for a distribution license for Java Standard Edition. Once approved for participation in the program, manufacturers will receive licensee updates and technical support, in addition to initial installation, configuration and distribution advice concerning the platform and programming language.

Sun already has distribution agreements with Apple Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, Sony, Samsung and Toshiba, among others.

In early May, Sun announced changes to its licensing to allow Java Runtime Environment (JRE), a platform needed to run Java applications on PCs, to be bundled with Linux.

Anyone who purchases a personal computer without the latest edition of Java software may download it for free.

Sun's JavaOne Conference, the largest Java developers event, starts Tuesday in San Francisco.