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Jim Waldo on Distributed Computing
A Conversation with Jini's Chief Architect, Jim Waldo
by Frank Sommers with Bill Venners
First Published in JavaWorld, November 2001

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Change in the Enterprise

Frank Sommers: When you mention the word "change," most corporate MIS (management information system) managers associate large expenses with change. What you're saying suggests that Jini is a great way to reduce that cost, because it's an infrastructure designed for change.

Jim Waldo: That was our original thought. Change is not a rare event -- it's constant. We had to figure out a way to allow change to happen without involving people. If change required people, and considering networks now growing into millions of machines and the amount of change those networks experience, we would all have to become system administrators. The only way to avoid that is to automate the ability to deal with change.

Frank Sommers: Do you think Jini is the ultimate model for an MIS infrastructure?

Jim Waldo: I think Jini is the best model we have currently for a network infrastructure. Enterprises tend to use networks a lot; therefore, it's an enterprise network infrastructure as well. But if people start using networks in their homes, then it becomes a home infrastructure. Enterprises want to save money; you don't want to hire a system administrator at home.

This is true even for automobile electronics. If you change your CD player to the newest and latest CD or MP3 player, you still want it to interact with other things in your car -- your speakers or the telephone. You don't want the kid at Best Buy reconfiguring your auto network when he installs the new CD player. You want that to be automatic.

So the same problem you have in enterprises, in your home, and in your automobile exists anywhere there is a network. Enterprises have the problem first because they tend to have the largest networks. But it will be everywhere.

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