Javasoft plans to launch Project Rescue, a marketing initiative to enable PC users to transform old machines into network computers, at its Java One conference in San Francisco in April.
The scheme, which is intended to promote Java and the NC concept, is based around an optimised version of the JavaOS for Intel 486-based PCs.
The JavaOS, which sits in 5Mbytes of memory, will come bundled with the HotJava Views user interface, which includes such applications as a Web browser and email facilities.
The Sun unit is also evaluating whether the programme can be extended to cover 386-based machines, but performance has so far been the main stumbling block.
Amy Porter, Javasoft?s European marketing manager, said: ?The aim is to rescue PCs from the junk heap and enable users to renovate them. If they don?t want to be caught in the endless cycle of Windows upgrades, this offers them a way of recycling their machines and is a low cost way of protecting their investment. Companies can also use it to test the waters in the process of converting their infrastructure over to NCs.?
She added that users could either wipe Windows from their hard disks and simply install the JavaOS or they could store their existing Windows files in an MS-Dos format and toggle between the two environments.
Users will also have the option of removing their hard disk to reduce maintenance costs. The Project Rescue software bundle will cost $99 and ship by July this year.
Microsoft refused to comment on the scheme.
Also, Javasoft will begin code testing for compliance to its application programming interfaces in March, when the test suite for its '100% Java' Initiative becomes available. The Sun unit plans to hire two certification bodies in the US, but has yet to decide whether they will cover Europe or whether the region will have its own.
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