Sun Microsystems will launch Jini, its Java based networking system, in mid-January, the company's president and CEO Scott McNealy said at the Networld+Interop show in Paris today.
But the company's overall strategy, direction and slogan - 'the network is the computer' - will remain the same as it has been since the mid-1980s.
Jini provides a protocol that enables different devices running the Java Virtual Machine to communicate with each other and share each other's functionality.
"Jini will fundamentally allow you to network all your applications together," said McNealy.
Jini is at the core of McNealy?s vision of constant Web access - which he calls Webtone - where access to the Internet is as available as access to the telephone network is for most people today. Webtone was first touted by McNealy in early 1997.
By providing constant access to high availability Internet connected servers, operated by telcos and other network operators, McNealy said he imagines removing the need for end users to own computers, and the need for an office.
"I believe we'll stop selling to end users," said McNealy "Suntone will be available through your cable provider, your cellular or satellite provider, or even your financial services provider. They will buy big servers and provide the Web equivalent of dialtone."
"The way forward is not to have computers, but devices - and not personal devices," he said. McNealy said Java based smartcards could be used to access personal information using non-personal devices such as mobile phones.
McNealy promised a Jini related announcement in January during questions following a keynote dominated by attacks on Microsoft and its Windows operating system.
After expressing relief at being away from the US government investigations into Microsoft's competitive practices, McNealy littered his speech with digs at Sun's dominant rival.
But even he appeared to tire of the one-way banter. "I might be too agressive for a European audience," he said.
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