Dell, HP see the Java light

Sun goes behind Microsoft's back

Dell and Hewlett-Packard are to make life easier on their customers by shipping a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) made this century with their PCs.

Dell and HP have been locked in the past with the old Microsoft JVM that stood at the heart of the conflict between Redmond and Sun Microsystems. The executives at Sun, however, appear to have appeased their rivals in the server world and brought them back to the future.

"On behalf of the Java community, we really appreciate the agreement (HP) and (Sun) signed not two minutes ago to ship Java on all of (HP's) PCs and personal systems," said Jonathan Schwartz, head of software at Sun, during the JavaOne conference.

Schwartz was not kidding about the closing time of the negotiations. Dell signed on at 3 a.m. and HP at 9:02 a.m.

Sun claims that Dell and HP needed to ship a current version of Java in order to keep up with the explosion of J2ME on wireless devices. Users are starting to demand solid links between software on their wireless kit and home PCs, Schwartz said.

HP will start shipping desktops and notebooks with the new Sun JVM possibly by the third quarter.

Schwartz made HP employees in the audience standup and receive accolades from the crowd, generating applause from the Java fanatics. Rich Green, head of Java at Sun, then followed with the Dell news.

"In roughly the same timeframe, Sun and Dell reached an agreement that the latest version of Java can be delivered on all Dell laptops and PCs running Windows and Linux," Green said.

Two deals of this scope show the Sun boffins were indeed working hard through the night. It's no small achievement that they could tempt competitors to deliver a blow to Microsoft. Dell, in particular, is not expected to issue a statement about its Java love - a small attempt not to offend Redmond.

Microsoft continues to ship its own JVM made several years ago. While users have found new JVMs on their own by the millions, Microsoft's use of an ancient JVM has irked Sun to say the least.

The late night work comes after Sun has tried for some time to get major OEMs on board with a Sun JVM. Green told us more than a year ago that deals were close to being signed. We'll forgive Green for his eagerness, since he was willing to dress up like Steve Jobs for a day.

It's good to see Dell and HP finally coming in line with what customers want. It's taken a while. ®

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