Members of the developing anti-Sun alliance detailed their grievances over the Java standards process today, but failed to find a common angle.
Last week, Intel, Digital, Compaq and Microsoft sent an open letter to Sun, accusing it of trying to dominate the Java standards process.
Intel's main problem is how Java runs with a processor's floating point unit. William Roscoe, European business market manager for desktops, said: ?Java is a very important development for network based computing and it?s very important the development of that standard is being seen as open.?
But he claimed Intel's main issue is not with the Java specification itself. He claimed that Sun had thrown back representations from both Intel and the Power PC chip consortium, which claimed that the Sparc architecture used a non-standard method for floating point units.
Roscoe said: ?Sun continually refers to Java as an open standard but we haven?t seen any sign of openness so far. We?ve been working with Sun in a cooperative way to tailor the Java standard and open it up.?
He added: ?Java is optimised for 64-bits and we, together with Motorola and the Power PC chip, use 80-bit - and that?s an issue.?
He said that, when Intel approached Sun about the floating point dispute, Sun told the chip giant to change its standard to 64-bits too. That, said Roscoe, was an untenable position for Intel, which holds 99 per cent of the desktop market.
He claimed that Intel did not have any agenda to impose a chip architecture on Sun, which has its own Sparc 64-bit processor design, but added: ?We make a clear distinction between things which we develop on an Intel architecture, like Intel chips, and things which are open, like PCI.?
Microsoft's issue is with Sun's claimed attempt to keep control of Java even while putting it through the ISO standards process. Mike Pryke-Smith, senior desktop manager at Microsoft UK, said: ?The issue is that we?re concerned with the way that Sun is trying to retain control of Java. Java is a very promising language and if the ISO says Java is a standard that will foster development of Java.?
He claimed that Microsoft did not have an interest in anything that was not standard - which, he said, was why it had withdrawn over 750 Java applets from its sites worldwide this weekend.
But he agreed Microsoft had never submitted its own languages to the ISO. He said: ?If you look at our operating system it is a commercial business although Visual Basic is freely licensable. But Sun is trying to manipulate standards. We make our business selling operating systems and we?ll fight tooth and nail to protect that.?
Amy Porter, European marketing manager of Javasoft, claimed the arguments of the majors were spurious.
She said: ?Whatever happened to the ActiveX standard? I find it incredible that Microsoft, which has never given a whit about standards, should say this.?
She continued: ?Microsoft should cede its APIs (application programming interfaces) and Intel should cede its designs to the ISO standards body.?
She also said: ?Why is Compaq on this letter? They?ve never been to an ISO conference ever.?
She claimed that the Digital representative who signed the letter ?in rather mysterious circumstances? did not have the sanction of Bob Palmer, the chief executive. ?Last week, the DEC representative at an Ottowa objects conference apologised for the person who signed the letter,? she claimed.
No-one from Compaq, which also signed the letter, was available to comment.
Geoengineering on the sea floor near glaciers would form a new ice shelf to prevent melting
Alterations in capillary blood flow can be caused by body position change
Curiosity rover is in 'normal mode' but not transmitting scientific data back to base
NatWest outage comes a day after Barclays' IT systems shut out customers and staff