Microsoft boosts tool set for .Net

Microsoft Corp. recently released two beta versions of its Visual Studio.Net tools aimed at easing the task of designing and creating applications that support Web services. Analysts said the beefed-up releases target enterprise architects and developers who plan and build Web services from scratch. But those who want to do so with existing Visual Basic applications will need to prep and migrate that code to the new .Net environment.

“There are a lot of changes in Visual Studio.Net that make it difficult to move Visual Basic code,” said Thomas Murphy, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn. He cited differences in syntax and data types between Visual Basic 6.0 and Visual Studio.Net that will make updating existing applications a complex chore. In part of its announcement, the company said that the feature list is now complete for .Net and that it will address bug fixes only from now until its availability, scheduled for year’s end. Tips for managing new and existing code are available at, Microsoft officials said.

RosettaNet to implement standards by 2004

RosettaNet, an independent consortium dedicated to the cause of developing and deploying open Internet-based business standards for high-technology trading networks, is trying to have its standards fully implemented by 2004. “With the Internet breaking down geographical barriers, organizations must have global e-business standards… They cannot afford to have regional standards,” said RosettaNet proponent Sandra Morris, who is vice-president of the sales and marketing group at Intel Corp.

Working towards its 2004 target, RosettaNet has committed to 10 production milestones this year. These involve the use of its standards in strategic e-business processes, such as supply and demand management and business-to-business integration with mid-tier partners.

IBM, NEC, Hitachi and Fujitsu team on Linux development

IBM Corp., NEC Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Fujitsu Ltd. have announced plans to begin working together on strengthening the Linux operating system.

The four companies will jointly commit several hundred researchers to the project, which will focus on enhancing the reliability of Linux to make it more suitable for use in large organizations and corporations. The results of the project, which is expected to last between one and two years, will be published to the global Linux community, the four companies said in a statement.

Productivity environment for Java available for free

HYWY Corp., a developer of software solutions designed to accelerate Java development productivity, has released its productivity environment for Java, POPE.J Basic and POPE.J Basic Plus. POPE.J Basic, the freeware version of the product, is now available for download at POPE.J Basic Plus, priced at US$99, will also be offered for download free of charge until July 31.

HYWY’s productivity environment for Java is designed to change the way businesses develop, test, deploy, and manage enterprise Java applications throughout their entire life cycle. POPE.J’s object-oriented modelling tools allow business decision-makers and application developers to map out applications and automatically generate the required Java code.

IBM invites Linux fans to come play on its mainframe

IBM Corp. is offering Linux developers free access over the Internet to one of its powerful mainframes, the company said. The move is part of IBM’s on-going embrace of the Linux operating system and the open-source development community.

Dubbed the Linux Community Development System, the program offers free accounts on an IBM eServer zSeries mainframe. Users will be given access for 30 to 90 days, and can choose between a SuSE Linux AG or TurboLinux Inc. zSeries distribution of Linux. IBM has partitioned the mainframe to divide it into thousands of “virtual servers,” allowing users to work autonomously while sharing the same machine. “Multiple thousands” of users can work on the mainframe simultaneously, said IBM director of Linux for the zSeries, Joann Duguid. During one test on a mainframe, IBM had 41,000 Linux images running at the same time – but standard usage won’t be anywhere near that peak, Duguid said.

Bluetooth products finally hit the market

The long-awaited and much-hyped Bluetooth wireless technology is showing signs of life as products and components begin to trickle into the market.

Last month, 3Com Corp. was to unveil Bluetooth PC cards and software designed to manage a personal networking environment. Meanwhile, IBM Corp. introduced the Bluetooth UltraPort Module, a clip-on device designed to add Bluetooth functionality to ThinkPad laptops. And Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. are readying Bluetooth-enabled systems for shipment in late summer. Touted for its ability to create a PAN (personal area network), Bluetooth is a specification for establishing short-range radio links among PCs, handheld computers, phones and a variety of other devices within a 30-foot range.

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