The Sun Microsystems versus Microsoft Java trial will be delayed until the autumn while both parties prepare their cases.
The software industry enemies have agreed to delay a 31 July hearing until 4 September, but a date for the trial has not yet been fixed.
In a motion filed in May, Sun asked for an injunction to stop Microsoft from shipping a version of Java in Windows 98 that is not compatible with Sun's own specification. Sun has asked the court to give Microsoft three options: make its version of the Java virtual machine (JVM) compliant, ship Sun's own JVM with it, or not ship a JVM at all.
But by the time the first hearing is held, Windows 98 will have been shipping for more than two months with the disputed JVM.
A representative for Microsoft said he was pleased the trial had been delayed, maintaining both parties needed more time.
A Sun representative said the delay did not materially affect Sun's demand for an injunction. 'We weren't trying to stop the release of Windows 98,' she said. 'Our goal is to get the court to order Microsoft to make modifications to its code.'
She said the delay was 'not substantial', given that the trial might easily go on for years and that Windows 98 is likely to remain on the market into the next century. She added Sun would not sit still in the meantime: 'We're not depending solely on the courts,' she said, adding Sun's main drive was to convince developers and users they should use Sun's version of Java.
Sun maintained the Java virtual machine, which is shipping with Windows 98, is not compliant with Sun's specifications and breaks the Java licensing deal between the two companies.
The workstation giant filed a suit against Microsoft in October 1997 for violating the Java licence agreement. In March, Sun won an injunction against Microsoft prohibiting the company from using the Java logo for certain products.
However, more recently, Sun accused Microsoft of making Java even more incompatible. Sun engineers, who tested the pre-release versions of Microsoft's software developer's kit for Java 3 and Visual J 6, as well as Internet 4.01, found two further incompatibilities, according to a representative.
Sun claimed Microsoft added some keywords - programming shorthand used by developers to perform specific functions - that are incompatible with Sun's Java, and that Microsoft altered the way compilers work, making them dependent on Microsoft's Java virtual machine to function.
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