Users lukewarm on Microsoft’s J# plan

Microsoft Corp. recently trotted out the newest tool in its development arsenal, aimed at Java development on Windows platforms. But the Visual J# beta release may be too late for some developers, who say they have already resorted to other options, and too limited for others, who don’t want to be tied to Microsoft’s .Net technology.

The tool allows developers to write native .Net applications and services using Java language syntax. But as Tony Goodhew, Visual J# product manager at Microsoft, pointed out, the new tool isn’t Java. “This is not about trying to develop some tool that supports some second-generation legacy Sun technology,” he said. “This is about giving Java language developers the ability to build great XML Web services on the .Net platform.” Using Visual J#, developers can create code that compiles into Microsoft Intermediate Language and executes on .Net environments. The beta version supports Windows 2000, but Goodhew said the final version, slated to be available in the middle of next year, will support all Microsoft operating systems from Windows NT forward. The .Net technology is expected to be available by year’s end.

AMD launches multi-processor Athlon XP

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) recently rolled out its first Athlon MP processors based QuantiSpeed architecture, the company said in a statement.

The Athlon MP (multi-processor) chips for servers and workstations are available in 1800+, 1600+ and 1500+ models, following the lead from the Athlon XP series, which uses the same model numbering. AMD, which calls the branding method ‘True Performance Initiative’ (TPI), is trying to move away from labeling its chips according to their clock speed and says the new measurement shows the performance of the chips compared to previous AMD chips and those of rivals, including chip giant Intel Corp. For example, while the 1800+ runs at a clock speed of 1.53GHz, AMD believes that the QuantiSpeed architecture allows the chips to be compared favourably to chips from the competition running at up to 1.8GHz.

Aerospace group backs new EDI-to-XML bridge

As technical standards bodies attempt to harmonize data sharing specifications in the Balkanized world of XML, an aerospace industry group is adopting a new approach that converts existing electronic data interchange (EDI) data formats and definitions into XML.

Announced recently by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Vitria Technology Inc., the Value Chain Markup Language (VCML) retains the structure, business terms and industry specifications of the x12 and Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT) standards and translates them into formats that can be understood by XML-based systems.

Transmeta unveils Crusoe TM6000

Transmeta Corp. has announced the Crusoe TM6000 processor, the company’s first system-on-chip designed for embedded devices and the ultra-dense server market. The Intel-compatible processor, which is expected to begin shipping in the second half of next year, will run at speeds up to 1GHz but also stick to Transmeta’s goal of low power consumption, according to David Ditzel, vice chairman and chief technology officer for Transmeta.

Transmeta is aiming the 0.13-micron Crusoe TM6000 at the gap it sees between low-end RISC (reduced instruction set computing) processors and high-end RISC processors.

IBM unveils power-paring chip

IBM Corp. has unveiled an ultra-low power chip that it said will reduce power consumption in battery-operated portable consumer electronic devices and improve power efficiency, both in active and standby modes.

The new IBM Power PC 405LP chip is the first in what will be a family of products developed in the company’s Low-Power Computing Research Center at IBM’s Austin Research Laboratory in Texas. By using hardware accelerators, the chip off-loads processor demands, enabling it to shut off parts of the device that are not in use. The 405LP also reduces active power by scaling back the processor performance to the levels required to support the application. Additionally, the chip also has a mode in which power is reduced to almost zero, but still provides an instant-on response to external stimulus, such as a stylus pen.