Sun Plan: Free, Open Development

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-12-05 Print this article Print

Sun Microsystems last week again challenged the industry-standard proprietary software development model.

Sun Microsystems Inc. last week again challenged the industry-standard proprietary software development model, announcing that it will make its Java Enterprise System, N1 management software and developer tools available to all for development and deployment at no cost.

Officials at the Santa Clara, Calif., company also reaffirmed their commitment to open-sourcing this software over time.

"You should expect to see us make an open-source move around some things in the N1 [management software] space next in the near future. This is not quarters away," said John Loiacono, Suns executive vice president for software.

Sun will also be integrating all of this software as well as the Solaris operating system into a new product, known as the Solaris Enterprise System, to give customers an open infrastructure software platform. The new system will include the open-source Solaris 10 operating system, including the PostgreSQL database; the entire Sun Java Enterprise System infrastructure software platform; the N1 management software; all tools for C, C++ and Java development; and Sun Secure Global Desktop Software, Loiacono said.

The Sun Java Enterprise System and the Sun developer tools can now be used at no cost on other multiplatform environments, including Windows, HP-UX and Linux, he said.

"We at Sun believe that anyone still dealing in the proprietary space is challenged as this open model is the way developers and CIOs are looking to position themselves going forward," Loiacono said.

Jason Perlow, a senior technical architect for open-source solutions at Unisys, in Tenafly, N.J., was upbeat about the moves. "I can tell you for sure that I will be recommending Solaris 10 to my clients who otherwise were paying for licenses of Solaris 8 or 9," Perlow said. "An ongoing support contract does not count as a new software purchase in large corporations. I have a large airline industry client that I will probably recommend Solaris 10 to for this very reason."

Michael Dortch, principal business analyst for the Robert Frances Group Inc., in San Francisco, agreed that the move is positive for customers. "With software licensing costs reduced to zero, enterprises can pick and choose where it makes sense to purchase the deployment, integration and support services they need, depending on specific business requirements," Dortch said.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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