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DeveloperSun Microsystems
Written inJava
Working stateDiscontinued
Source modelClosed source
PlatformsARM, PowerPC, SPARC, IA-32 (x86)
Kernel typeMicrokernel

JavaOS is an operating system with a Java virtual machine as a fundamental component, originally developed by Sun Microsystems.[1] Unlike Windows, Mac OS, Unix or Unix-like systems which are primarily written in the C programming language, JavaOS is primarily written in Java. It is now considered a legacy system.[2]


JavaOS was originally announced in 1996 by Sun's JavaSoft subsidiary as a compact OS designed to run "in anything from net computers to pagers".[1] In 1998, Sun recruited IBM to accelerate its development.[3] IBM indicated its focus was more on network computer thin clients, specifically to replace traditional "green screen" and UNIX terminals, and to implement single application clients.[4]

It boots independently, supports a password protected login, own device drivers, has its own window system and API and can execute several Java applets at the same time. Java Soft has granted licenses to more than 25 manufacturers, including Oracle Corp, Acer Inc., Xerox, Toshiba Corp and Nokia. IBM and Sun announced the cooperation for JavaOS for Business at the end of March 1998.[2]

In 1999, Sun and IBM announced the end of the JavaOS project.[5] As early as 2003, Sun materials referred to JavaOS as a "legacy technology", recommending migration to Java ME, leaving the choice of specific OS and Java environment to the implementer.


The system is based on a hardware architecture native microkernel. The Java virtual machine runs on top of the microkernel.

Platforms that the kernel runs on include:

All device drivers are written in Java and executed by the virtual machine.

A graphics and windowing system implementing the AWT API is also written in Java.


JavaOS was designed to run on embedded systems and has applications in devices such as set top boxes, networking infrastructure and ATMs. It's also the operating system that comes with the JavaStation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "JavaSoft Announces JavaOS" (Press release). JavaSoft (Sun Microsystems). 1996-05-29. Retrieved 2011-12-16.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b "What is the migration path for the PersonalJava, EmbeddedJava and JavaOS technologies?". Connected Device Configuration FAQ. Archived from the original on 2003-06-04. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  3. ^ Mary Hayes (1998-02-23). "Sun Enlists IBM For JavaOS Aid". InformationWeek. Archived from the original on 2000-12-05. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  4. ^ Russ Finney (1998-03-10). "Inside the IBM JavaOS Project". itmWEB. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  5. ^ Stephen Shankland (1999-08-23). "Sun, IBM decaffeinate JavaOS". CNet News. Retrieved 2011-12-16.

External links[edit]