Sun's plans to unveil its Jini networking technology at the end of last year were scuppered due to the sheer number of partners involved.
Sun intended to reveal in December a list of more than 200 companies which would be licensing its Java-based wireless network protocol, Jini, but the strain of working with such a large number of partners delayed the announcements.
Guy Martin, Jini marketing manager at Sun, said: "It's always difficult when there's a lot of partners involved, but we wanted to wait until we had as many people actually using the technology on board as possible." The re-scheduled announcements on Jini will be at the end of this month.
Sun and Novell have been in talks for several months on Jini, according to sources close to Sun.
The deal with Novell is likely to extend Novell Directory Services to manage handheld computers, cellular phones, digital cameras and other devices that are only now becoming network enabled.
Sun has portrayed Jini as a way for devices to locate and interact with each other over a network.
"For Sun's vision to be realised, the Jini infrastructure must be much further along than it is today, and Novell understands that," said Ashim Pal, senior analyst at the Meta Group. Novell wants to make NDS ubiquitous, noted Pal, and it has invested in ObjectSpace, a Java company that plans to make money by making Jini work securely with such technologies as the Object Management Group's Common Object Request Broker Architecture and Microsoft's Distributed Component Object Model.
Jini is widely tipped to become the industry standard for linking peripherals across the network.
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