Sun Vows Commitment to Linux

Sun Microsystems plans to roll out a full Linux operating system, expand its line of Sun Cobalt Linux appliances and craft a new family of low-end Linux/x86-based systems, company executives say.


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Looking to dispel what it claims are false notions about its philosophy on Linux, Sun Microsystems held a conference call Thursday before its analyst conference in San Francisco to discuss its future plans for the open-source operating system.

Sun President and COO Ed Zander did not delve into many specifics because, he admitted, Sun didn't have all that much specific to talk about in terms of new technologies and partnerships. But he did say a good portion of his company's line will be offered with Linux in coming months and years.

"Linux is expanding the Unix market," Zander said. "We don't want it to fragment ... People don't realize how much we've done with Linux and our purpose here is to state our business strategy with Solaris and Linux because there has been a lot in the media that has been incorrect..."

In what it called a three-pronged approach, Sun plans in the future to roll out a full Linux operating system; expand its line of Sun Cobalt Linux appliances and craft a new family of low-end Linux/x86-based systems; and endear itself to the Linux community by offering developers code to its Solaris operating environment software.

To be sure, Zander and fellow executives were browbeaten after announcing the details by journalists and analysts participating in the call. This is because, as several callers noted, the move appears to be a departure from Sun's original reluctance to embrace the OS (it sticks by its Solaris OS) while other firms, notably IBM, ran to it in the past few years.

While some callers gathered that Sun was going after IBM with regards to its Linux chess moves in targeting low-end systems, Zander said this is not so -- that Sun is really still gunning for Microsoft's share of the market. It's still Solaris verus Windows NT -- with Linux as a complementary OS.

"IBM is going after a different market with its mainframes," Zander said. "They slap Linux all over the place and it's complex, convoluted and costly."

Zander admitted Sun is trying to curry favor with developers in its Linux play because its Open Net Environment architecture, also known as Sun ONE, will be made entirely available on Linux.

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