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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-06-03 Print this article Print

Some Sun customers, like John Kretz, president of Enlightened Point Consulting Group LLC, in Phoenix, questioned Suns commitment to open source because of its history with Java. "I believe Sun has shown their true colors with Java," said Kretz. "Eighteen months ago if you had told me Novell [Inc.] would be a bigger proponent of open source than Sun I would have laughed myself to death. Truth is stranger than fiction I guess." Kretz said he does not support the open sourcing of Solaris, particularly from a security standpoint. "If Sun wants to open-source Solaris, then it should do it with a future release, one that has been combed over several times to find the most dangerous security issues," he said.
Thomas Nau, head of the Communication and Information Centers Infrastructure Department at the University of Ulm, Germany, also has concerns. "I think being very cautious about this is vital to them. If open-sourcing Solaris puts the code into danger of not being binary compatible anymore, then the risk is too high," he said. "I saw commodity Linux, not the enterprise editions, breaking applications far too often. … I also think it becomes close to impossible to support an open version. Beside, what would be the gain? There are options today, but how many run Solaris on the desktop or Linux/FreeBSD? Also, having several distributions, all slightly different, doesnt help running a business on top of them."
Other users, such as Chuck Kramer, chief technology officer for Social & Scientific Systems Inc., in Silver Spring, Md., disagree. He said opening Solaris is a good thing as long as Sun continues its development to ensure legacy compatibility. "Open-sourcing it will lead to lower acquisition costs, potentially broader platform and device support, and even better compatibility with other operating systems as those users/vendors seek a cooperative operating environment," said Kramer. "Ive always felt Solaris had much more capability than was evident, but backward compatibility was holding it back. Going open source will expose those areas where Sun might have been able to make leaps in terms of security, manageability, performance and compatibility with other operating systems, but didnt for the sake of legacy support." Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

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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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