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Novell Java Q & A

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01 Mar 1999

Novell Java Q & A

Q. What is Novell's strategy for Java?

A. Novell's Java initiatives are simple, yet aggressive. Novell will extend its networking leadership role by adding value to Java on the server through rich networking services that are fully expressed in Java.

The following quote from Dr. Eric Schmidt, Novell Chairman and CEO, says it all:

"Most industry attention is still focused on Java on the desktop, but we see a larger and more exciting opportunity over the next two years for Java on the server. With NetWare 5, you will see a built-in Java Virtual Machine for running Java applications and directing application components, or objects, around the network. We intend to make NetWare the fastest and most cost-effective Java server available."

Novell will actively participate in Java API standards. Novell will fully support the development of standard Java interface definitions through its existing partnership with JavaSoft and other industry leaders. The objective: avoid the interface wars in the Java world, and: a) completely support the standard JDK definition on the NetWare server; b) collaborate with JavaSoft to help define the optimal Java Server Platform; c) introduce new interfaces only in the absence of existing standards; d) work with JavaSoft to include new interfaces; and e) adopt the JavaSoft standard in the event of an API collision.

Q. How will Novell enable developers to leverage its range of network services?

A. Novell's advanced networking services will be accessible to developers through Java Class Libraries or JavaBeans. For example, Novell worked very closely with JavaSoft on the definition of the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI). We want the directory to be available for developers to enhance their solutions by being able to leverage the directory. To that end, Novell has released a JNDI Service Provider which allows JNDI calls to be serviced by Novell Directory Services. Novell also has JavaBeans that expose our services to the visual programmer.

Novell's products will be written in or enhanced with Java. As mentioned above, Novell sees a great opportunity for Java on the server. With the full Java environment available on NetWare, Novell can now deliver services through Java-based frameworks for the NetWare platform services like WebLogic's Tengah Java Application Server.

Novell has already enhanced our GroupWise WebAccess product with Java, making the GroupWise Universal InBox accessible via Web browsers. Java makes the look and feel of WebAccess very familiar to users that use the native client.

NetWare 5 will feature an optional Java GUI Install. Through the power of Java and the simplicity of a GUI, this installation process will enable customized network configurations and flexible solutions.

And these are just a few examples of what is happening at Novell on the Java front.

Q. How does Java performance compare to C++?

A. Analysis has shown that, in theory and practice, there is rarely any significant performance difference between native C++ and Java applications. And when there is a difference, the Java programmer reaps benefits the C++ programmer does not. Java provides three advantages over native C++ programming that greatly reduce the development time of and enhance the performance of large-scale applications:

  • The reduction of executable and resource size

  • The availability of consistent, robust libraries on most platforms

  • The use of garbage collection to eliminate resource leaks

There are still those who deride Java for poor performance. The same phenomenon occurred when analysts derided the rise of second-generation languages, then structured programming, and now object-oriented programming. Although each new innovation allows larger, more-robust programs, each technology carries with it the demands of a new programming discipline. Since Java is an object-oriented language, most resistance to its acceptance comes from those who don't understand its incredible advantages.

For additional information, please see

Q. What is a Just In Time Compiler (JIT)?

A. A JIT is a fundamental component of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) included with server software and Web browsers. It boosts the execution speed of Java applets and applications by instantly converting Java bytecode to native code. This results in an increase in Java performance without any additional work on the part of the developer. Novell, Inc. has licensed Symantec's industry standard Just in Time Java compiler (JIT) for inclusion in NetWare. The Symantec JIT, which consistently tests as the fastest JIT available, coupled with the speed of Novell's NetWare server operating system, will ensure that Novell users will experience the fastest possible execution speed of server-based Java applications.

Q. What is the state of Java development on the NetWare 5 platform?

A. The fastest! Independent tests by Key Labs, an independent testing laboratory, using the VolanoMark benchmark, certified that the NetWare 5 JVM (Java Virtual Machine) is more than twice as fast as the nearest contender, Microsoft's JVM on Windows NT Server. These benchmarks were measured using 200 connections running on Intel 300 MHz Pentium II hardware with 128 MB RAM. Preliminary results also indicate that Novell's JVM is many times faster then Java implementations for leading UNIX systems running on similarly priced hardware.

This breakthrough in JVM performance positions NetWare as the best server platform for running Java applications, providing users with fast access to applications and data by eliminating a significant amount of the performance penalty historically associated with Java applications. In addition, NetWare's server-side Java will allow developers to meet the performance requirements of large networks and mission-critical applications.

By coupling the speed of Symantec's JIT with the speed and reliability of NetWare, Novell customers will benefit from the hands-down fastest and most robust Java environment available today.

The Java environment for NetWare includes the Symantec JIT and will be available in three forms: built into NetWare 5; as an ongoing component update of the Novell Developer Kit (NDK); and for general download for use on NetWare 4.11 and intraNetWare from

Q. Why is Novell standardizing on the Symantec product?

A. Symantec's JIT 3.0 is an integral part of Symantec's Visual Cafe for Java line of development tools, and has been adopted as the de facto industry standard JIT by leading Java proponents due to its superior execution performance and reliability. Symantec's JIT has been integrated into Sun's JDK 1.1 and 1.2, Java Activator, Java Performance Runtime for Windows, Netscape Communicator and JustSystem family of Internet products.

Test scores consistently indicate that Symantec's JIT outperforms any other JIT available today. For example, it is over 50% faster than the JIT Microsoft includes with Internet Explorer 4.0. By shipping Symantec's JIT as part of the NetWare server operating system, Novell will bring their customers the benefit of faster execution of Java-based server software, and will enable the development of more powerful Java-based network management and administration solutions.

The development and deployment of fast, robust Java applications on Novell servers is critical to our success in this endeavor, and we feel that Symantec, the leader in Internet development tools, is the ideal partner to help us deliver high performance Java to our users.

Q. How do I implement Java on NetWare?

A. A port of the JavaSoft 1.1.7 Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and run-time environment for Java classes is available as part of the Novell Developer Kit. Installation instructions are included on the NDK.

Q. What Novell platforms are supported in this release?

A. This release of the Novell Developer Kit supports the following Novell platforms: NetWare 5 NetWare 4.11/intraNetWare

Q. How many Java Virtual Machines can be run concurrently on the server?

A. The number of Java Virtual Machines that can run concurrently depends on the memory requirements of the Java applications being run, as well as the amount of main memory available on the server.

Q. What are the memory requirements for running the Novell Java Virtual Machine on the server?

A. You should have at least 32 MB of main memory to run text-based Java applications. You should have at least 64 MB to run graphical applications. The 32 MB to 64 MB memory requirement is above and beyond the server's requirements. For example, if you have a server that requires 32 MB just to get the OS and volumes mounted, you would need at least an additional 32 MB to run Java effectively. The general rule is if your server has more memory, it can run more Java applications.

Q. Can I run any Java application or applet on the server?

A. The Novell Java Virtual Machine can run any application certified as 100% Pure Java, as described by JavaSoft. If applications use JNI (Java Native Interface) methods, they must be ported to NetWare before you can run them. Applications that use JNI methods are not eligible to receive JavaSoft's 100% Pure Java logo.

Q. Can I display graphical interfaces on the server?

A. In this release of the Novell Developer Kit you can display graphical interfaces that use the Abstract Windows Toolkit (AWT). This is a major change from earlier NetWare servers, which didn't include a graphical interface on the server.

Q. Are there limitations to using the graphical interface on the server?

A. Limitations of the Abstract Windows Toolkit (AWT) on NetWare are the same as limitations of other Java implementations.

Q. What is Open Solutions Architecture (OSA), and how does it relate to Java?

A. OSA represents the architecture by which Novell will fully embrace Java across all its services and platform. This means that NetWare is no longer a proprietary NOS, but an open, high performance execution platform for open solutions written in Java. The strategic significance of OSA is its fundamental focus on cost of ownership regarding network manageability, resources, information and applications.

Q. Do I need to buy a new video card?

A. Not necessarily. The Novell Developer Kit (NDK) includes drivers for popular video cards. See Supported Video Cards at

Q. Is it hard to configure a Novell server platform to use video cards?

A. The OSA SDK includes a utility that automatically recognizes and configures your video card.

Q. Can Java applications take advantage of multiple threads?

A. Yes. The Novell JVM supports applications that use multiple Java threads.

Q. Can I compile Java applications on the server?

A. Yes. Java applications can be compiled on the server as well as on a development machine.

Q. Does this release of the Open Solutions Architecture include a JIT for NetWare?

A. Yes. The 2.0 JIT is included; however, the functionality of 2.0 is limited. The 3.0 JIT is shipping with NetWare 5.

Q. Where can I get more information on Java at Novell?

A. For more information about Novell's Java projects, visit Novell's Java page at

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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