JXTA (pronounced "juxta") is Sun Microsystem's peer-to-peer (P2P) initiative, a research effort created to promote and explore new approaches to distributed computing. The name "JXTA" refers to both the initiative and the resultant technology, which centers around a delivery platform and P2P communication protocols. The organization's name was developed as a short form of the word "juxtapose." At a P2P conference hosted by the O'Reilly Network in February 2001, Bill Joy, Sun's chief scientist, explained that the name was chosen because to juxtapose is to put things next to each other, "which is really what peer-to-peer is all about."
In the case of JXTA, the juxtaposed entities are computing devices and groups of computers. The initiative's mandate is to make it easier to establish temporary associations between systems and groups. Project JXTA began under the leadership of Joy along with Mike Clary, who guided the development according to three core principles: they chose to use familiar technology and standards where possible, to seek the input of industry experts, and to encourage open development.
JXTA is embodied as a modular platform that supplies basic components used to develop distributed services and applications. The integral technologies comprise a set of open source P2P protocols that are generalized to make it possible for any connected computing devices on a network to collaborate. Being based on protocols rather than an API (application program interface) means that JXTA technologies can be executed in any language and on any operating system. JXTA enables interoperable P2P applications with a wide range of capabilities, including: establishing peer groups among users of various devices that can communicate easily across firewalls; the ability to find peers on the networks -- even across firewalls; simplified file sharing; automatically detecting new Web site content; remote monitoring of peer activities; accessing deep Web data; and providing secure communication.