October 1999 Java News

Saturday, October 30, 1999

Sun's released version 2.0 of the Java Shared Data Toolkit (JSDT). The JSDT is a development library for adding multi-user networked collaboration features to Java applets and applications. This release fixes some bugs and changes the API in some significant ways. It is not fully backwards compatible with JSDT 1.5.

Sun's also posted pre-release 2 of the Java 2 Enterprise Edition specification (PDF and PostScript only though).

Friday, October 29, 1999

Jenssoft CodeCompanion is a software analysis tool that checks Java source code against thirty customizable style rules (e.g. public final static field names must be all upper case). I wish my students would use something like this before handing in their homework. Unfortunately it is $199 payware, so I can't really ask that of them. A demo version that only works on the first 100 lines of a file is available. Java 2 is required.

Thursday, October 28, 1999

Zero G Software has released InstallAnywhere Enterprise Edition, its $1995 (No, I didn't leave out a decimal point) payware installer program.  This version adds a new plug in API, pre-built custom actions such as checking for existing versions, checking disk space and/or performing serial number/password protection, support for more JVMs and improved support for the Mac and Linux.

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

Apple's released version 6.6 of MacsBug, an extremely low-level debugger for the Mac that's occasionally useful for debugging Java programs on the Mac (especially ones that crash).

Tuesday, October 26, 1999

The IBM/ACM Quest for Java 2000 applet development competition is now accepting registrations from ACM student members. $18,000 in prizes will be awarded in the form of American Express gift checks.

IBM's alphaWorks has released new versions of several products including

Monday, October 25, 1999

Sun's posted several revised specifications including

I've begun updating the Java Conference list. If you know of any shows that aren't listed here, now's a really good time to send them to me.

jEdit 2.1, an open source programmer's editor written in Java, has been released. Version 2.1 adds macros, column selections, registers, new syntax modes, file filters, and bundled plugins.

Saturday, October 23, 1999

Microsoft has released a fix for a previously reported bug in the IE4 and 5 Java VM that allowed malicious applets to delete files.

The MASS Laboratory at Seoul National University has released the open source LaTTe Java Virtual Machine. LaTTe requires Solaris 2.5 or higher on an UltraSPARC. This VM is a is research prototype for the study of dynamic (just-in-time) compilation techniques. Its features include:

You'll need to add in the class library from the JDK 1.1 or equivalent. This is the VM only.

Friday, October 22, 1999

Hewlett-Packard's released the a port of the JDK 1.2.2 to HP-UX. This release includes HotSpot. HP-UX 11.0 is required.

Inprise has ported their $2500 payware JBuilder Enterprise edition to Solaris. Discounts are available for owners of JBuilder Enterprise on other platforms.

Thursday, October 21, 1999

Sun's posted version 0.1 of the K virtual machine (KVM) on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). The KVM is a small Java VM for PalmOS 3.01 and higher. This release provides a KVM runtime and tools to develop Java applications for PalmPilots.

Sun has bought NetBeans, maker of NetBeans Developer, one of the better Java IDEs actually written in Java. Price was not disclosed, though in the past Sun has certainly not been known to be a particularly profligate spender when it comes to acquisitions. Sun's Forte subsidiary will take over marketing and development of NetBeans. The low end IDE will be renamed "Forte for Java Community Edition". (That's a mouthful. I liked NetBeans better.) and will alledgedly be made available for free. The Pro edition will still be payware. Let's hope Sun does better with NetBeans than they did with the internally developed and now more-or-less defunct Java Workshop.

Tuesday, October 19, 1999

Version 1.0.5 of the Kaffe open source VM for Linux is now available. As well as fixing many bugs, this release adds Remote Method Invocation, JDK 1.2 style class loading, the Collections API, the JDK 1.2 security API, a better improved appletviewer, improved internationalization, and KJC an open source Java compiler. It's also supposed to be much faster. However, this is still not a complete Java 1.1 implementation. (Since Kaffe doesn't rely on Sun source code, it's not required to pass Sun's compatibility tests before shipping.)

According to Sun, The Java 2 SDK Enterprise Edition is "now international". I'm not sure exactly what that means though. Update: Apparently that means that it can now be downloaded by users outside the U.S. and Canada.

IBM's released what may be a new version of their port of the JDK 1.1.8 to Linux. It's not too clear what's different between this and the one I mentioned here last month. This may fix some bugs, or it may just be a new press release. Update: It is a new build from early October, and probably fixes some bugs. It's not the same one released in September, though the JDK version is the same.

Monday, October 18, 1999

Pat Niemeyer has posted version 1.0 beta of his BeanShell a lightweight scripting engine and shell for Java. BeanShell interprets ordinary Java statements and expressions and adds some obvious scripting language features (e.g. loose types, scripted objects). You can use BeanShell for scripting applications and as a shell for Java experimentation and debugging. JDK 1.1 or higher is required (1.3 for full functionality). BeanShell is distributed under the Gnu GPL.

Sunday, October 17, 1999

The Jakarta Project has gone live at http://jakarta.apache.org. This is an effort to build a reference implementations for the Servlet and JavaServer Pages (JSP) APIs on top of Apache, the world's most popular web server. Only source code is currently available. You'll have to build the binaries yourself. It's all Java so this shouldn't be too hard. Of course, once the code gets more stable and various milestones are reached binaries will also be available.

There's an interesting article in the Register about why Star Office decided to go with the Sun Community Source License (SCSL) instead of the GPL. StarOffice founder Marco Boerries spins a lot of FUD and half-truths about what can and cannot do under the GPL. For instance, he claims that you can't give a customer indeminfications and warranties for GPL'd software. Not only is that false (the GPL doesn't provide such guarantees but there's nothing in it to prevent you from signing a contract with your customer that does) but more importantly it's not as if Sun would ever consider warrantying its software in any significant way. In fact, I suspect almost all (perhaps all) of their licenses explicitly disclaim such warranties. However, the most interesting point of the article is this: SCSL is apparently pronounced "Scuzzle".

Saturday, October 16, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released Log Package for Java, a simple mechanism for outputting log statements to a file or output stream. (Think echo printing to System.out on steroids.)

Friday, October 15, 1999

Karsten Sohr of the University of Marburg has found a major security hole in Microsoft's Java VM. Details aren't yet available, but it's reported that this hole allows an untrusted applet running in Internet Explorer to delete files on the client system. Worse yet, such an applet could be included in email received by Microsoft Outlook. You should turn off Java in IE or switch to the Java plug-in until this is resolved.

Sun's posted a beta of the Java Secure Socket Extension (JSSE) 1.0 on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). JSSE is a pure Java package that implements the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols. Netscape's VM already supports SSL connections, but I think it's through native code and in not nearly as reusable a way. This software requires Java 2 and the Java Cryptography Extension. As usual for such software, Sun doesn't allow it to be exported outside the U.S. and Canada. (This isn't really Sun's fault; the problem is brain-damaged, cowardly, bought-and-paid-for U.S. politicians; but it's annoying nonetheless.)

Sun's financial numbers for the first quarter of fiscal 2000 are in. Net income was 33 cents per share, exceeding analysts expectations by 2 cents per share and up 8 cents per share over the same quarter last year. Total net income for the quarter was $271 million before about $5 million in charges for the purchase of Star Division. (I'm surprised Star Division went so cheaply. I guess it's true what they say about competing with a Microsoft in the Office space.)

Thursday, October 14, 1999

Sun's posted an early access release of the RMI over IIOP IDL Compiler on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). This compiler generates Java client stubs and server skeletons from CORBA IDL definitions.

Also on the Java Developer Connection is the first beta release of JavaHelp 1.1. JavaHelp is a pure Java online help system. It should work on any 1.1.8 or later VM.

IBM's alphaWorks has posted version of Websphere Dav for Java to fix some bugs. WebSphere DAV4J gives Java programs an API to ineteract with WebDAV (Distributed Authoring and Versioning) servers.

Wednesday, October 13, 1999

Alden Dima has released Feather 0.1, a Java package for embedding native code TCL interpreters within the same process as the Java virtual machine so that a Java program can create, load, and invoke Tcl scripts and return their results as a String. Feather is available for Windows and Solaris. It needs JDK 1.1 or higher and Tcl/Tk 8.2. Since it was developed at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government agency, Feather is in the public domain.

Tuesday, October 12, 1999

IBM's released an updated version of their JDK 1.2.2 port for AIX.

The Sims Computing Test Bed is an open source Java framework for writing unit tests for Java code. The current version is 0.14.

Monday, October 11, 1999

Wolfgang Hoschek of CERN has released Colt, an open source Java infrastructure for scientific and technical computing. It provides algforithms and data structures for dense and sparse matrices, random number generation, histogramming (I didn't know histogram was a verb), Monte Carlo simulation and NTuple like manipulations. The current version is 1.0 Beta 3.

IBM's posted a beta of MQSeries classes for Java Message Service. This provides facilities for MQSeries programmers to write Java Message Service (JMS) programs that use MQSeries as the underlying transport mechanism.

Saturday, October 9, 1999

We note with sadness the passing of David A. Huffman, one of the first generation of computer scientists. Huffman is best known for his discovery of Huffman coding compression. The family is requesting that contributions in David Huffman's name may be made to the Hospice Caring Project of Santa Cruz County or the American Cancer Society, Santa Cruz Chapter.

Gerhard Paulus has posted version 0.9.6 of his open source storedObjects object database written in Java. This version supports asynchronous queries and multi-threaded clients.

Friday, October 8, 1999

Sun's posted the first beta of version 2.0 of the HotSpot Just-In-Time compiler for servers on the Java Developer Connection (registration required).

IBM's alphaWorks has released updated versions of several products including:

Wednesday, October 6, 1999

Netscape's released version 4.0 of their Directory SDK for Java. Version 4.0 supports both synchronous and asynchronous LDAP operations and includes an LDAP Service Provider for JNDI.

Tuesday, October 5, 1999

Gerhard Paulus has posted version 0.9.5 of his open source storedObjects object database written in Java. This version focuses on better support for abstract classes.

Monday, October 4, 1999

I'll be at Internet World in New York at least once over the next few days. If anybody's got some interesting Java or XML toys to show, drop me an email.

Chris Kelly's released version 1.2.5 of his free, cross-platform, impure Java library JConfig. JConfig supplements the core Java API with means of working with disk drives, file icons, web browsers, displays, external processes, file types and more.

Sunday, October 3, 1999

Version 3.0 of the pure Java InstantDB database is now available. This release supports JDBC 2.0 and many other features, bug fixes, and performance enhancements. This is free for non-commercial use.

IBM's alphaWorks has posted a new version of their Bean Scripting Framework for adding scripting in languages like Javascript, VBScript, Perl, Tcl, Python, and Rexx into Java applications. This release adds more robust APIs, script compilation and more scripting languages.

Saturday, October 2, 1999

Sun is promising (threatening?) to release Solaris under the non-free Sun community source license. They have not yet done so, however; and they have reneged on such promises in the past. In any case, the source code is not yet available. This may be useful to shops that have already made a heavy commitment to Solaris sans source code, but since it still requires royalties to be paid to Sun before a product based on the Solaris source code is shipped, I can't imagine it will significantly impact Linux, BSD, or other free OSs.

Friday, October 1, 1999

I've updated the notes for Week 3, Intro to Objects, of my Java programming course with more examples to illustrate key points.

Sun's named Patricia Sueltz to head its software operations. Sueltz comers to Sun from IBM where she led IBM's massive Java efforts.

You can also read the news from January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September, if you like.

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Copyright 1999 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified November 8, 1999