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Sun Spells P2P: JXTA

Mar 4, 2003
By

Michael Singer






Looking to show peer-to-peer technology is not just for the Napsters and KaZaAs of the world, Sun Microsystems Tuesday reaffirmed its backing of the JXTA initiative.

The brainchild of Sun co-founder Bill Joy, JXTA is an open, generalized peer-to-peer platform that lets cell phones, two-way pagers, electronic sensors, PDAs, desktop computers and servers communicate and collaborate over a network.

Sun Software CTO John Fowler said the P2P platform has wide commercial potential and said the company is "actively engaged in establishing JXTA as a protocol standard like TCP/IP." The company said it is currently working with appropriate standards organizations but has no time frame for submission.


First developed and released JXTA to the open source community in April 2001, JXTA can be applied across multiple platforms including the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE), Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME), C language.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun says upwards of one million developers have downloaded Project JXTA from the Sun Web site. Sun highlighted InView Software and Internet Access Methods as two companies who are expected to release JXTA-related commercial products. Neither company would commit to release dates. Bigger fish like IBM and Oracle are also looking at JXTA, but more as a part of their Web services strategy.

And while JXTA's million developer membership in two-years pales in comparison to some P2P platforms like Napster (which at its peak, boasted 70 million downloads of its platform), Sun says it is happy with the results.

"The promise of peer-to-peer computing is that devices will be able to communicate and collaborate across a wide variety of operating systems and networked devices," said Fowler. "Recent commercial deployments clearly illustrate the power and versatility of JXTA for creating applications that interact in new ways."

As part of the announcement, Sun said JXTA's 12,700-member open source community Tuesday released JXTA Version 2.0. However, the new stable release is not protocol compatible with the previous release (JXTA 1.0).

"While older peers and new peers can coexist on the same network, they will not be able to discover and interact with each other. You will need to use rendezvous and relays peers running the new stable release (JXTA 2.0) to work with new peers. We plan to ensure backward protocol compatibility in future releases," JXTA said on its download site.

Fowler said the compatibility decision was made as so not to beak the APIs.

Sun's JXTA is also part of the company's initiative to combat Microsoft's P2P initiative. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant unveiled a beta of its Windows XP Peer-to-Peer Software Development Kit (SDK) late last month. Microsoft said it expects to make the final release of the SDK and the Peer-to-Peer Networking Update later in the year.

While JXTA has been around much longer, Microsoft is expected to corner a large portion of the enterprise space with its P2P product based on past performance.

Earlier in the day, Sun unveiled a working draft version of the Distributed Resource Management Application API (DRMAA) (pronounced like "drama"). The grid technology specification features "write-once" capabilities to any DRM system that supports DRMAA, and makes it possible for new enterprise and technical applications to be used in a grid environment. JXTA has already been used to aid utility computing . Sun said because of JXTA's compatibility with networked devices ranging from sensors to cell phones to desktops to super servers, the platform is a natural for the grid.


 

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