Sun Microsystems unveiled Project Jxta, short for juxtapose, which it claims will increase users' ability to share information stored on their PCs and other devices connected to the internet. Sun has chosen the slogan "Find it, get it, use it" to describe the software.
The company said that Jxta will enable new applications that allow critical information to follow users across different network access points, such as personal digital assistants, laptops and cell phones, so that the information is easily accessible and remains at the users' fingertips.
Jxta will require an internet user to download some code to each device. Although Sun will not charge for the code, and will make it available to developers, it will retain licensing authority.
"This is the technology that will deliver access to a broader, deeper web," said Bill Joy, Sun's chief scientist. "The goal is to provide a common method for any node on the network to access any data, any content or another node."
Joy said that the effect will be an expansion of the reach and "pervasiveness" of the web itself, as well as the depth of content that is available.
Last month, Sun acquired peer-to-peer startup InfraSearch whose distributed search technology will be incorporated into the Jxta project. Jxta will be an object-oriented language compatible with Java, Sun's proprietary programming language, and is expected to use such standards as XML.
However, Gartner analyst Dave Smith said: "Unfortunately with Jxta, its newly announced open source peer-to-peer software, it is unclear just what the promise is or how close Sun is to delivering on it."
He also pointed out that the company has failed to develop and articulate a strategic vision of how it will be implemented.
"Jxta is not an element of Sun ONE, the company's web services initiative, which continues to lag behind its Microsoft counterpart, .Net. This is largely because of the absence of a Sun vision for the technology. Until it presents a clearer view, Jxta will likely remain nothing more than another piece of interesting Sun technology," he said.
Separately, in a cost cutting measure, Sun has told its 31,000 US employees they must take the first week of July as a holiday. It is working on similar measures for the remaining 12,000 worldwide employees.
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