Sun tries to boost Java-on-Linux uptake

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Tuesday announced here at the LinuxWorld two agreements designed to expand the distribution of J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition) on Linux platforms. SuSE, in Oakland, Calif., and San Francisco-based TurboLinux have agreed to distribute the Java 2 platform to Linux customers.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun said that the broader distribution of Java on Linux would enable customers to take advantage of the increasing number of Java applications that can run on Linux.

“We haven’t had [Java] on Linux until recently, but now that we do, there are all kinds of applications for it,” said Blake Connell, the product line manager for J2SE. He pointed to the fact that there are now nearly 2.5 million Java developers, claiming that now most of the applications they develop in Java will be able to run on Linux.

SuSE and TurboLinux will distribute Java 2 Standard Edition, but not J2EE. Sun announced at the JavaOne conference in June that J2EE 1.2.1 had the capability of running on Linux.

“There’s a little piece of J2EE that we ported to Linux and it runs on top of J2SE,” Connell said.

Blake continued that Java 2 is a key piece of Sun’s strategy to make Java available on Linux. Other Sun products that are also part of that strategy include StarOffice and Linux versions of the Forte tools.

“You can get the entire Sun environment on Linux for a typical Java enterprise environment,” Blake added.

The announcements with SuSE and TurboLinux expand on similar Java distribution agreements that Sun has with MandrakeSoft, in Pasadena, Calif. and Caldera Systems, in Orem Utah.

Notably absent from the list is Red Hat, in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

“We’ve been talking with them, and there’s nothing in the pipeline in the next month or two, but we’ll continue to talk to them,” said Kristinn Thorleifsson, product manager for J2SE at Sun.

The next version of J2SE, 1.3, is currently in beta, and Connell said it would be available in early October. The version that comes after that, J2SE 1.3.1, is slated for March, at which point the versions for Solaris, Linux, and Windows will all be in sync as 1.3.1 Versions.