SCIENCE & ENGINEERING NEWS
Palo Alto, CA — Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced it will release the source code for the internationalization technologies for the Solaris Operating Environment to X.org, a non-profit, international consortium responsible for standards requirements in the X Window System. This code, made available under the X license, will provide open source software developers with an easy way to design applications which operate in virtually all national language environments and among the operating systems that utilize X-windowing technologies, such as Linux and Unix variants.
Until now, open source developers have typically had to write additional code for each separate national language they wanted to support in their application. This internationalization technology provides developers a comprehensive environment for developing applications that will run in multiple national languages around the world, allowing access to a significantly broader market using the same amount of coding effort. As this code becomes adopted by the open source development community, more global users will have access to applications in their native language.
“To date, many open source applications could not reach international markets because applications have needed additional customized code for each spoken language and locale,” said Mike Rogers, Sun’s Vice President of Global Engineering and Information Services. “This release of code will accelerate the availability of globalized applications for the UNIX systems community in the same way that Java technology accelerated availability of cross-platform applications.”
The Solaris Operating Environment X internationalization (X I18n) technology provides a clear and concise framework of rules that makes it easier for developers to write global software. Its support for 37 languages and 123 locales, including languages involving Complex Text Layout such as Arabic, Hebrew and Thai, has made the Solaris Operating Environment internationalization technology the leading environment for global application development.
The decision to release the Solaris Operating Environment X internationalization enhancements under a commonly recognized open source license, emphasizes Sun’s ongoing desire to improve the standards of global application development for open source platforms. X open source users will be able to mix languages in the same document, use commonly understood methods for keyboard input, and exchange files in multiple languages.
“One of the cornerstones of international success of a product is good adaptation to different languages and different local needs. Production quality code for multilingual input and output support as well as complex text layouts and improved Unicode support are a much appreciated contribution to the open source world,” said Dirk Hohndel, Vice President, The XFree86 Project, Inc. and Chief Technology Officer, SuSE Linux AG. “SuSE has long contributed XFree86 and many other open source projects and we are extremely happy to see that Sun continues to move more of its technology into the open source as well.”
The X license is considered one of the most simple and open licenses in use today in the open source community. Under this license, anyone is free to use the code in any way they desire, without restriction. This is a commonly accepted license approved by the Open Standards Group, and has been used with the X Window System since it’s creation. The terms of the license can be viewed at: http://www.x.org/terms.htm . Sun plans to formally release the code to X.org on September 15, 2000.
“The Linux Internationalization Initiative (LI18NUX) thanks Sun Microsystems for the contribution of its internationalization framework of X Windows system and multi-lingual input methods to open source,” said Akio Kido, co-chair person of Li18nux project, Free Standards Group. “These two technologies will be instrumental in accelerating open source globalization and will allow users worldwide to enjoy open source software in their native language.”
“X.org is very pleased to accept Sun’s contribution of its X internationalization code, to be incorporated with the X.Org Sample Implementation (SI). Sun was instrumental in the original design of the X I18N standard, and its contribution of code will make the SI fully operational for global X11-based application development,” said Steve Swales, Chairman of X.Org. “This announcement highlights the commitment of both Sun and X.Org to the advancement of open source technologies such as X11.”
The X Window System provides the only common windowing environment bridging the heterogeneous platforms in today’s enterprise computing. The X Window System is one of the most successful open source, collaborative technologies developed to date and is the de facto standard graphical engine for the UNIX systems community. The inherent independence of the X Window System from the operating system and hardware has made it widely available and deployed with over 20 million users worldwide. All major hardware vendors support the X Window System and many third parties provide technologies for integrating X Window System applications into the network computer or personal computer environments including DOS, Microsoft Windows, Windows 9x, Windows NT and Linux. Further, thousands of software developers provide X Window System applications, and with the emergence of Linux, the number of users is growing exponentially.
X.Org is a non-profit organization, chartered to develop and execute effective strategies which provide world-wide stewardship of the X Window System technology and standards through funding by some of the leading computing companies in the world – including Compaq Computer Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hummingbird Communications Ltd., International Business Machines Corporation, SGI and Sun Microsystems Inc. The current X.Org release of the X Window System is X11R6.4 and is available immediately for download at http://www.X.Org .
With $15.7 billion in annual revenues, Sun Microsystems can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at http://www.sun.com .