The relationship between Microsoft and Java has always been a little rocky. Microsoft said in July that the upcoming Windows XP operating system won't include a Java Virtual Machine. That brought a wave of criticism from IT managers who will have to install it themselves if they want to run Java applications on Windows XP. Also, Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Enterprise Edition application architecture is widely seen as a competitor to Microsoft's upcoming .Net application component model.
But Tuesday's announcement shows that Microsoft acknowledges Java's popularity as a programming language, says Teri Palanca, a Giga Information Group analyst. If Java applications were unable to retrieve data from SQL Server 2000, Microsoft would be cutting itself out of a lot of sales opportunities in heterogeneous computing environments, she says.
The JDBC software helps business developers and independent software vendors build Java apps that run on Unix- and Linux-based application servers and access SQL Server 2000 data. The beta version can be downloaded for free at www.microsoft.com/sql/downloads/default.asp. The finished version will be available early next year; pricing and licensing terms haven't been set.