Sun expands Linux offerings

Sun Microsystems has announced that several of its products are now available for the Linux operating system.

The company said that a couple of its Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) servers are now available on Linux including Sun ONE Application Server 7 and Directory Server 5.1. Sun also will move its portal server, identity server, calendar server, and messaging server to Linux within the year, according to Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s vice-president of software.

He said that Sun was heartily pursuing a desktop Linux strategy.

"We believe the opportunity is on the desktop," Schwartz said. "We continue to believe that Linux is going to drive a lot of new devices connecting to the Web."

To that end, Sun said that its Mad Hatter Linux desktop solution would enter the beta phase this autumn and was slated for general availability sometime this winter.

Earlier in the week, Sun announced a pact with Ximian to develop the Sun ONE Evolution Connector, which Sun claimed to be low-cost e-mail and calendaring software that ran on Linux. Sun also announced that it had contributed its Grid Engine Portal technology to the open-source Grid Engine project.

Schwartz said that Sun viewed Microsoft as the chief competitor to Linux, in both the server and desktop arenas.

"The idea that Linux obliterates Unix and leaves Windows unscathed is dead wrong," he said, responding to a recent Goldman Sachs Group report.

With that in mind, Sun is offering support for Linux on three platforms: Solaris on Sparc, Solaris on Intel, and Solaris on Intel.

When asked about Linux' relatively small desktop market share, Schwartz said he disagreed that it was insignificant. "It had to go from zero to 1.7 percent and pretty quickly," he said.

He said that while Linux would eventually become appealing for knowledge workers, that demographic was not Sun's immediate aim. "When we can offer open Windows, we'll make headway with knowledge workers," he said.

Schwartz said that Sun was not leaving its Unix roots behind as it embraced Linux. "What HP and IBM are doing is somehow abandoning Unix,” he said. “We continue to drive our Unix, not only on Sparc, but also on Intel.