Sun Gets Into Peer-to-Peer Development

By Lee Copeland Gladwin, Computerworld |  Networking

Sun Microsystems Inc. is developing a Web-based software platform, called JXTA, which developers could use to write distributed peer-to-peer applications.

Bill Joy, chief scientist at Sun, announced the new development project at the O'Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference in San Francisco earlier this month. Sun has been working for the past six months on JXTA (for Juxtapose), an open-source software project that will provide a basic infrastructure for building peer-to-peer applications.

Sun plans to make the software available as open-source code using hosted development services from Collab.Net Inc. in San Francisco. But Sun would offer few additional details on the JXTA project, which it expects to officially unveil in April.

More Bandwidth

Frank Bernhard, an analyst at Omni Consulting Group LLP in Davis, Calif., said interest in P2P-style applications has grown because of their ability to better utilize bandwidth.

"The companies using peer-to-peer types of networking applications are those trying to circumvent buying more bandwidth and trying to be conservative in building big [networks]," said Bernhard.

But he voiced doubts about Sun's P2P infrastructure initiative. "It's a first try and a gumshoe attempt to put together pieces of a peer-to-peer strategy," Bernhard said. "It will take several iterations and revs of code to get it to maturity."

Intel Corp. also unveiled a framework for developing secure P2P applications this month. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based microprocessor vendor made available an open-source library that supports digital certificates and signatures, secure storage, public-key encryption and symmetric-key encryption.

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