Following a legal dispute with Java developer, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft has agreed to make its Java Virtual Machine (JVM) a standard part of Windows XP.
A JVM is software that enables users to run applications written in the Java programming language. Initially XP shipped without Java support, instead it would automatically download the tool whenever Windows needs it.
As a result of this omission Sun accused Microsoft of undermining the success of Java, which led to the decision to include JVM in XP now, as an attempt to avert further legal action.
"In order to remove this legal issue, we are no longer going to offer the download feature but instead make JVM part of the default installation of XP through Service Pack 1," Microsoft spokesperson, Jim Cullinan said.
Service Pack 1 is due out in the second half of this year, and as well as adding Java support, it will also include some bug, security and compatibility fixes, though most of these are already available as separate downloads.
But this is only a partial victory for Sun, as from January 2004 Microsoft won't be allowed to change any of the code in its JVM, because of an agreement with Sun, Cullinan said. "Therefore we will no longer offer Java in Windows from January of 2004". Although Sun will continue to offer its own JVM for Windows XP.
Sun derided Microsoft's promise to cease distribution of a Java runtime in two years, calling it an effort "to deny the Java platform's access to Microsoft's monopoly distribution channels".