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What's New from EurOS/2- by Martin Brampton

OS/2 Warp's Netscape Navigator Game plan: Leapfrog

PSP's Netscape Navigator team is leapfrogging over the latest release of Navigator and is porting Netscape's next revision while it's still in development. When the work first began to create an OS/2 version of the popular browser, they used the finished 2.0.2 product, even though coding of the next version, 3.0, was well under way.

In determining what level of code to use in the OS/2 Warp 4.0 launch product, the team wanted the most stable version available. With several successful Netscape browser deliverables now available, the PSP team is ready to undertake the increased complexity associated with porting software still under construction.

David Kerr, key developer on the project, says, "Working closely with Netscape to get the source code as they develop it allows OS/2 Warp to catch up significantly." Skipping over version 3.0, the current market version, will enable delivery of OS/2 Warp support to be within a few months of Netscape's release for other operating systems.

Cost of Ownership Solutions?

Forrester Research has issued a report critical of Microsoft and PC suppliers. They suggest that vendors are exploiting concerns over cost of ownership to boost their own revenues. Although the PC industry is now paying more attention to these issues, according to Forrester Research, it is still not acting in the interests of users, but is using the concept to sell more products.

Forrester cites Microsoft's promise of improved software distribution and centralised file format control in Office 97. "Java looms on the horizon. Microsoft and company are scrambling to address the high cost associated with managing hordes of PCs in order to stop the network computer in its tracks". Users are advised to be wary of cost reduction promises that will not be realised for years.

IBM invests heavily in Java

IBM has set up teams of developers in China, India, Latvia and Belarus as part of its effort to speed up the creation of Java components for business applications. The company is developing "VisualAge Part Packs" which are Java Beans based. Corporate developers can use these to build their own applications to meet needs in areas such as HR, project management or marketing.

This IBM project is positioned as complementary to the San Francisco project, which targets Java frameworks for financial and logistics applications.

According to Mark Pilger, IBM's director of software development for emerging markets, "With applications in the Internet space, speed to market is a major factor in acceptance. Each team will work on a different set of Java component suites, but they will all conform to a common specification and methodology."

Research company, IDS, commented that, "IBM has to be seen to be committed to Java. It has to have applications that can be downloaded from its platforms if the NC is to replace the PC."

IBM's UK Hursley Park laboratories have now completed the port of the Java Virtual Machine to IBM's platforms and to Windows 3.1. Hursley is continuing development to provide "Just In Time" compilers to improve performance (see following article).

Java Virtual Machine Oil Check

The Java Competency Skill Center located in Austin, Tx. reports that measurements, using the industry standard CaffieneMark 2.5, indicate the latest revisions of PSP's Java 1.02 outperform the Navigator Java 1.02 environment on the Windows platform.

At COMDEX/Fall '96, IBM assured the press and customers that OS/2 Warp was a vital product worthy of further investments. The major proof point of the claim was the introduction of the beta for an improved version of the Java Virtual Machine for OS/2 Warp 4. Donn Atkins, VP of Marketing for PSP, promised an extensive Java rollout continuing through 1998.

The current Java 1.02 OS/2 beta delivers a 45% performance improvement over the Java package shipped with OS/2 Warp 4.0. The PSP Lab, working closely with the Hursley Java Technology Center, is continuing to focus on performance and expects to make additional improvements prior to the general availability of Java 1.02. Tim Thatcher, Java Business Program Manager states, "We've made significant strides in both functionality and performance in a very short period of time."

Even without an official beta feedback process, PSP has been monitoring the forums to get a fix on the public response since November. Kelvin Lawrence, one of the original PSP developers focused on Java, says, "The beta testers view it as functionally complete and stable." There had been a problem with the Just in Time compiler but the team fixed this towards the end of last year and the compiler is now quite stable.

EurOS/2 Contact Information

We would like to encourage anyone working to achieve successful OS/2 implementations to participate in EurOS/2. All communications are despatched electronically, via Internet or CompuServe. To receive regular information from EurOS/2, please let us know your first name, last name, company, job title, address, telephone, fax, Internet e-mail address, CompuServe e-mail address, and indicate which form of communication you prefer.

EurOS/2 can be contacted in the following ways:

Martin Brampton is the organizer of EurOS/2 and editor of EurOS/2 Magazine, published by e-mail and WWW.

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