DOS box -> NC using JavaOS?

Rohit Khare (
Tue, 11 Feb 97 16:45:22 -0500

NCs might be small, but they're not supposed to be underpowered: will 486s
and so on really have the power to do Java and AWT justice? Perhaps, since
after all, Nextstep 486 was able to as well -- but only with copious RAM.

Still, an intriguing possibilty. Will this Java layer sit on top of DOS, and
old DOS drivers, allowing it to access all old HW, but threaten its security?
Or will it go straight to the HW level and hope people write Java drivers for

Is there a market for a new competitor to overthrow AWT with JavaStep and an
IB-like tool? Can the underlying graphics model be replaced back out with
Display PostScript? just speculating here...



JavaSoft offers new lease on life for DOS PCs with Java

By Ilan Greenberg
InfoWorld Electric

Posted at 12:33 PM PT, Feb 11, 1997
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Intending to offer an Internet lifeline to the tens
of millions of old PCs in corporate America, JavaSoft will announce in April a
new technology designed to convert a DOS-based desktop into a Java-enabled
network computer.

Code-named Project Rescue and expected to cost less than $100, the software
will allow users to try out the concept of the NC without having to purchase
new hardware by using the software to run Java programs directly on DOS,
officials said here Monday at Demo '97.

Using Cytrix Systems' ICA Client software, Project Rescue will run the Java
OS, Java Virtual Machine, and HotJava Views on '486, 4MB PCs, said JavaSoft
officials. The Java OS brings network and image capabilities to DOS, enabling
a DOS-based client to support a Java graphical user interface, said the

"All a user will have to do is go to the C prompt and type 'Java OS,' which
will bring up the HotJava Web browser and the HotJava views," said Alan
Baratz, president of JavaSoft. This is the first software-based network
computer, Baratz said.

The product will be shown at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco, April 2 - 4.

The most difficult part of developing the technology was supporting the
myriad device drivers embedded in DOS, according to Curtis Sasaki, product
line manager at JavaSoft, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun

Expected to ship by the end of the year, Project Rescue will also run on
Microsoft's Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 desktop OSes. Furthermore, the software
is designed not to delete any existing operating system files, so users will
have the option to toggle between Java applications and DOS and Windows

Project Rescue is likely to be a boon to corporations looking to extend the
lifetime of their PC infrastructure. Companies have long bemoaned the rate at
which desktop machines become obsolete, and International Data Corp., in
Framingham, Mass., estimates there are 91 million computers still running the
DOS and Windows 3.x operating systems.