Sun Advances Java

About two weeks after announcing its strategic alliance with AOL, Sun released a new version of its Java Development Kit, rechristened as the Java 2 platform. The new version's improvements include the following:

  • A more flexible security "sandbox," which developers can use to set permissions for a Java applet or application
  • Faster memory allocation and improved garbage collection
  • The ability to swap virtual machines
  • A new just-in-time compiler
  • Integration of the Java Foundation Classes, a set of GUI components
  • A Java-based object request broker that is compliant with the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) standard
  • A new version of Java Database Connectivity (JDBC)

With the release of Java 2, Sun has jumped on the open source bandwagon by making Java 2 available under a new, more open "community source" license. Under the new license, which will become effective in the early part of this year, companies can freely use and modify the Java 2 source code for commercial software product development, but companies that modify the source code and create derivative products for commercial use will have to pay Sun a fee.

Sun also announced plans to include non-Java technology licenses in the development process for future releases of Java. The company will allow third parties to lead Java development initiatives as long as they follow Sun's published API specification process.