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Java preps dive into real-time role

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Through tweaks and modifications, Java is finding a home in critical
applications ranging from the military to telecommunications

For several years now, real-time versions of Java from smaller companies such
as Aonix, Aicas and Apogee Software have jousted for market share. Now, large
companies such as Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM Corp. are starting to field
technology aimed at the real-time Java market, often working with large
customers in the military-aerospace arena.

To date, real-time Java often has been "soft" real-time. As Anders
Flodin, director of strategic alliances at Aneas (Stockholm), said, "Java
is not going to be used anytime soon for projects that could crash the space

In robots and industrial control, in fiber-optic switches, telematics and
set-top boxes, Java is beginning to inch its way into markets that were
traditionally dominated by C-based code. "Whether it is real-time or not is
open to debate, but Java's percentage in embedded has been increasing slightly
year-over-year," aid Steve Balacco, a senior analyst at market research
firm Venture Development Corp. (Natick, Mass.). "From my understanding, the
folks in the military are among the early adopters of real-time Java."

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