Aiming to boost the peer-to-peer (P2P) technology made famous by music swapping service Napster, Sun Microsystems has acquired search engine software company InfraSearch.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sun will buy InfraSearch in a stock-for-stock transaction. The acquisition will be accounted for as a purchase, and in-process research and development charges are expected to be immaterial, Sun said.
The company allowed a brief look at its P2P communications technology Juxtapose, or JXTA, last month, which it said will tackle the network fundamentals of searching, sharing and storing information.
Following completion of the acquisition, Sun plans to make InfraSearch a part of its Project Juxtapose, which is headed up by vice president Mike Clary.
"Searching is a fundamental component needed to create compelling P2P applications," he said. "The InfraSearch acquisition will help accelerate and foster Project Juxtapose into a meaningful community effort."
According to Clary, Sun will release JXTA for developers as soon as April. It contains a layer of 'plumbing' for P2P software, which would set the conventions for network devices to talk to each other. InfraSearch would run on top of that layer, he said.
The Project Juxtapose team also includes Sun chief scientist and co-founder Bill Joy, who in mid-February outlined the company's plan to develop JXTA. Joy said the software will include specifications on how devices in a P2P network identify themselves and are grouped together.
Sun said the software will be open source to allow for unrestricted modifications, and added that JXTA will run on both Java and non-Java devices.
The software will include a security mechanism which ensures that distributed programs do not harm their host devices. The language should also contain some monitoring features that can examine user activity and measure what elements of P2P computing users like or dislike.
It will include ways that computing tasks can be linked together in 'pipelines' that span a P2P network.
InfraSearch is working on a P2P search engine called OpenSearch that it claims can return richer and more timely content from the web.
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