June 29, 2005 5:20 PM PDT

Sun's real-time Java fruit finally ripe

SAN FRANCISCO--Sun Microsystems released its "real-time" version of Java this week, software designed for devices that must be able to respond to high-priority events.

Sun's Java Real-Time System runs all the programs written for Java Standard Edition, but also has extensions that guarantee the software can respond within a certain amount of time to critical events. That real-time capability is essential for use in devices such as factory robots with emergency stop buttons.

Sun demonstrated the software, code-named Project Mackinaw, at the JavaOne conference a year ago and made the announcement at this year's version of the same conference here.

The real-time Java extensions work was among the first products of an initially controversial Java Community Process by which Sun let other companies have a say in Java's future development. In 1999, several companies unhappy with Sun's Java rules--including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and a smaller company called NewMonics--began their own work on a real-time Java standard under the purview of a group called the J Consortium.

The real-time Java work was the first Java Specification Request, or JSR, that the Java Community Process tackled. The work began in 1998, and the first version of the specification was released in 2000.


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