News and New Product Briefs (10/01/97)

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With the newly revised Enterprise Manager, users can manage databases over the Internet with a Java-enabled browser, accessing via a URL from an NC or PC. The product includes a runtime version of Oracle's Web Application Server to run Web-based software. It also will have a Java agent that resides on the database. The capacity planning module will follow system usage and prompt the user as to when to replace a disk or add new capacity to the system. The change manager module will update applications when changes are made between the developed and deployed systems.

Enterprise Manager is due in beta in October '97; Oracle hopes to ship it (and the various modules) by March '98. Although it now executes only on NT systems, soon it will support Unix platforms. The console will be bundled with Oracle databases, and the modules will cost extra (a departure from Oracle's usual bundling scheme).

Oracle's new OO tools strategy is Java

Now that Sedona is buried, with what will Oracle replace the object-oriented tools project? According to Sohaib Abbasi, senior VP of Oracle's tools division, it will be a set of class libraries for building Java objects, called Java Business Objects.

The Java Business Objects will be a set of class libraries for capturing definitions, methods, rules, and validations of objects that can be reused. They will function with Oracle tools, such as the new Java IDE and Designer/2000 toolset, as well as third-party Java or HTML tools. Java IDE (shipping by the end of 1997) is designed to help developers write Java code for clients or servers.

Java Business Objects is due in beta by Spring 1998. The planned shipping date is sometime in Summer 1998.

It's "Java Everywhere" news from Oracle's OpenWorld

Java seems to be the topic of the day in announcements from Oracle OpenWorld 97, which took place in Los Angeles from September 21 through 26.

The Oracle8.1 version of the company's database will include a Java virtual machine by late 1998, so Java applets can be executed in the database server.

Oracle will release an object repository to provide Java Business Objects definitions, facilities for impact analysis, and mechanisms to merge multiple versions of objects. The repository will come with the Java Business Objects. Oracle plans to integrate it with Developer/2000 by early 1999.

Oracle announced the availability of Java Database Connectivity drivers, used to build Java apps that support access to the Oracle database.

Also from the show:

  • The company plans to license Tibco's Tibco/Rendezvous publish-and-subscribe technology for Oracle8.1. With Tibco/Rendezvous, Oracle's products will be able to publish notifications of events to subscribers based on database events.
  • The Sales and Analyzer and Oracle Financial Analyzer OLAP for Sun Microsystems servers is now available at a starting price of 2,500.
  • The Procedural Gateway for IBM MQSeries is available. The product is used to integrate Oracle applications with IBM's MQSeries messaging system.
  • Oracle Applications Release 11 is planned for release in early 1998. This version features self-service Web support, globalization, and networked chain-supply support.
  • In October 1997, Oracle plans to release Developer/2000 2.0, which will feature dynamic Web publishing support.
  • Open Gateway for Windows NT is available now. It is used to access multiple-platform data from an NT machine.

Umax and NCI plan Intel-based NCs using NC Desktop

Umax Data Systems plans to build and sell network computers based on x86 Intel microprocessors; the client software, NC Desktop, will be licensed from Network Computer Inc. (NCI).

Umax plans to ship the NCs in November 1997. The NCs will be available first in Europe, then distribution will extend into North America.

First off the line: a 200MHz Pentium for less than 00. This will include a built-in Ethernet interface, graphic and sound cards, smart card readers, and a standard PC keyboard and mouse.

Umax considers the NC a strong market segment in the near future. "The network computer is a tremendous productivity, communications, and information access device for corporate networks and intranets," said Karen Tsou, sales and marketing VP of the Umax Communication Business Group. And NCI has every confidence that the experience Umax brings to this deal will enable the company to deliver an excellent NC device. "Umax's manufacturing experience in the Macintosh compatible market," said Bonnie Crater, NCI strategic marketing VP, "will help deliver affordable, reliable, and easy-to-use network computer products to our corporate customers."

No substantive information was available on the individual sites at press time.

Netscape's new JavaBeans client one of thinnest ever

Netscape is developing an HTML-rendering JavaBean, a container for JavaBeans that will render images and content based on the types of data being accessed. And officials call it one of the thinnest Web clients designed.

Netscape's strategy with the slim Bean is to be able to offer a Web client that can run on any hardware -- even old PCs. The HTML-rendering Bean (think of it as a browser-lite) will be able to run on 486 machines with only 8 megabytes of RAM. The client downloads only the Beans with the code necessary for the specific type of information the user is accessing.

The various Beans with the datatype code will be stored in an open library on the new Netscape Netcenter on Netscape's site. "99 percent of the stuff you want is on the network. Netcenter is the aggregation point for Beans that come down on the fly as needed," said Marc Andreessen, Netscape's senior technology VP.

Don't confuse the new slim client with the Javagator 100 percent Java browser that Sun and Netscape are developing. The small browser is due as a pre-release by the end of 1997. Javagator isn't due until April 1998. For continuing information, check out Netscape's site.

Computer Associates will integrate Java into Unicenter

Computer Associates (CA) has decided to integrate Java features into its Unicenter TNG systems management product. CA's first foray -- its Web browser interface -- is going beta.

The browser interface, available four months from now in beta release, allows Java-based browsers to be a console for Unicenter, letting the user access all Unicenter functions to monitor and remotely manage all the systems covered by Unicenter. Currently, that includes about 40 different platforms, such as desktops, Windows NT, NetWare, and Unix environments. Soon, Java-based machines and applications will be added to the list when CA finishes work on its series of Java agents.

CA's plans to divide the agents into three management levels, said Anders Vinberg, senior development VP. The first Java agent, the systems agent, will be out soon and will allow Unicenter to monitor and remotely manage Java servers and machines.

The second level is the API agents. CA is developing Unicenter APIs so third-party developers can construct Java application agents that will give Unicenter remote control abilities over specific applications at a granular level. Release timing on the APIs are not determined.

The third management level is Java virtual machine agents. These agents will let Unicenter watch and control Java operating systems events (like multiple threads) at a granular level. The company expects these agents to be available before 1999.

Sybase's complementary DB products get Java support

Before the end of 1997, Sybase has promised to offer Java support for its Adaptive Server Anywhere mobile desktop software to make it easier for application developers to program and deploy Java apps.

How? Developers normally couldn't reuse the server business logic (written in SQL) on the clients without having to rewrite the logic in Visual Basic or C. With Java support, business logic modules become reusable, similar to component-based logic.

Java support for the Adaptive Server Enterprise and Adaptive Server IQ is expected by late 1998.

The Java announcements surrounded the Sybase launch of its Adaptive Server 11.5 database during the week of September 19, 1997.

What will Microsoft's alternatives to Java mean for Sun?

Microsoft detailed its approach to Web-based applications development at its recent Professional Developer's Conference. It seems the company plans to stroke Java lovingly with one hand while pulling Redmond-friendly alternatives out with the other hand.

And the alternatives that Microsoft pulled out for creating Web-based content include HTML, Dynamic HTML, and Extensible Markup Language (XML) technologies. Officials debuted HTML-based scripting tools, at the same time stuffing Java into the Microsoft toolbox as a high-level alternative to C++. Only advanced programmers need apply.

Java may be too much for some applications, intimated Tod Nielsen, Microsoft developer relations marketing general manager. "Dynamic HTML, along with XML, coupled with scripting, is by far the most pragmatic way to write cross-platform, client-side applications," said Nielsen. He also proposed Microsoft's COM-based scriptlets as an alternative to Java.

Tom Johnston, Microsoft group product manager for platform marketing, added that performance and compatibility issues will slow Java's acceptance. "The promise of Java is to write once, run anywhere. We can prove that that's not true, and it will get worse, not better," said Johnston.

Rockwell readies a Java processor

Rockwell Avionics & Communications has developed the JEM1, a low-cost microprocessor that directly executes Java code, with no need for interpreters or compilers.

Initially designed for advanced avionics, the JEM1 is 0.5 microns thin, 6mm-squared, and requires relatively low voltage, making it ideal for hand-held devices, such as mobile NCs. The CPU includes an interrupt controller and two programmable timers with support for 32-, 16-, and 8-bit external data bus support. Pricing and ship dates were not available at press time.

Sun to yank Microsoft's Java license?

On September 22, 1997, another shot was heard in the Microsoft/Java wars as Sun threatened to pull Microsoft's Java license.

Sun CEO Scott McNealy told a CNBC correspondent that Microsoft was close to violating its Java license agreement. Sun spokesperson Lisa Poulson said Sun is studying how Microsoft is using Java in its Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0 browser, to determine whether a violation to the licensing agreement exists. She wouldn't speculate on whether the only recourse would be to cancel Microsoft's license to Java.

According to Poulson, Sun would know about violations sometime next week. IE 4.0 is scheduled for release on September 30.

Finjan receives 0m from data security companies

Finjan has garnered 0 million in support from investors to help it educate the market about Java/ActiveX security issues and to develop security products. The investors include Security Dynamics Technologies, RSA Data Security, Bessemer Venture Partners, Apex Investment Partners, RRE Investors, and CSK Japan.

"This financing will fuel our campaign to educate the market about Java and ActiveX security, and provide our partners in the Java Security Alliance with multi-layered solutions to secure enterprise intranets," said Shlomo Touboul, Finjan's CEO, president, and founder. "We now have the resources in place to distribute our software to an industry waiting to unleash the power of Java and ActiveX."

Finjan's Java Security Alliance (JSA) is a coalition of high-tech companies with the common goal of secure deployment of Java Internet technology for the enterprise, founded in January 1997. The JSA has as its members Cisco Systems, Raptor Systems, Trusted Information Systems, CheckPoint Software, Digital, Network-1, Milkyway Networks, Secure Computing, ANS Communications, and Aventail.

Borland and Microsoft settle lawsuit

Borland International and Microsoft have settled a Borland-launched lawsuit that started on May 7, 1997, in Santa Clara County, CA. In the suit Borland alleged that Microsoft had hired 34 Borland employees over the past 30 months in order to steal Borland trade secrets.

This sort of lawsuit is not unusual in today's competitive world, but the scope of the charges is. In the suit, Borland claims Microsoft offered and delivered expensive lures to Borland workers. In two cases, incentives topping million. The suit also claimed that Microsoft used ex-Borland workers to lure more Borland employees.

According to the suit:

  • Among the defecting workers were Paul Gross, Borland's senior R&D VP, and Anders Hejlsberg, a major player in the development of Borland's technology.
  • Microsoft offered Paul Gross a million signing bonus, stock options, and title to real estate near Microsoft's headquarters. He left Borland for Microsoft in September 1996.
  • Microsoft offered Anders Hejlsberg a signing bonus of .5 million and stock options. Microsoft doubled the bonus to million after Borland made a counter-offer. Hejlsberg left Borland in October 1996.

The market in question is software development tools: Microsoft owns about 60 percent of this market, and Borland is its closest competitor.

In a joint statement, Borland and Microsoft said, "We believe this settlement is in the best interest of both our companies. This settlement resolves any legal questions surrounding the lawsuit and allows both companies to move forward."

With that short statement, both companies have agreed to make no further comments on the settlement. Details of the settlement are confidential.

DLT Solutions and NCI to resell NCI NC Server to Feds

DLT Solutions, an Oracle VAR, has announced it will work with NCI to resell NC Server software to the federal government. Its program is called the "NC Network in the Box."

NC Network in the Box consists of

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