Sun to Expand Market for its Linux Variant

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-10-25 Print this article Print

Sun Microsystems intends to extend the reach of its Java Desktop System by ensuring that this Linux variant will run on all major Linux distributions.

Sun Microsystems Inc. has big plans for its Java Desktop System and on Tuesday announced a new program that will allow its desktop Linux variant to run on all major Linux distributions. While Sun remains fully committed to the JDS on both the Solaris and Sun Ray environments, it seeks to address the Linux space going forward and offer customers choice in this regard. "As such, we have decided to expand our play in that space and be able to not just address one desktop environment in that space that we might produce, but to make sure the JDS is prolific on all Linux distributions," John Loiacono, Suns executive vice president for software, said Tuesday at a town hall briefing at its San Francisco offices.
The JDS is currently based on a derivative of SuSE Linux, but Sun now wants the product to be available on every Linux desktop system, from Red Hat to SuSE to Debian, Gentoo, Yellow Dog, Red Flag and Linspire, to name a few, he said.
The move to making the product available on multiple Linux distributions comes in part to meet the individual needs of various countries across the globe that are looking to provide a standardized desktop to their residents, but each of which is based on different, local Linux distribution. Sun is talking to a range of Linux software and hardware developers about this new program, which is known as the JDS Partners Program, said Tom Goguen, the vice president of operating systems at Sun, at the town hall meeting. "We have taken the major components of JDS, mostly in the application space and including StarOffice, Java and Suns Java Virtual Machine, along with a specification and branding requirements, and made them available to this program," he said. "We will also provide back to GNOME any changes we have made to make the JDS run on both Solaris and the Linux platforms, and will also be making a reference release of JDS on a Linux distribution available," he said. Click here to read more about the latest version of GNOME. All of this would be packaged up together as an OEM program and be made available to any Linux distribution that wants to have a play in the volume desktop market and leverage the technologies and applications that Sun has been investing in over the past few years, Goguen said. The features from Suns 3-D Looking Glass technology would also be included in the JDS from next year. "We have been working on this with the open-source community on this technology, and the features that have been fed back to us from there will be made available to our desktop system going forward," he said. Read more here about Project Looking Glass. While Sun has distributed more than 3 million Solaris licenses and "JDS went along with every one of them," Goguen said he could not say how many licenses had been distributed on Linux. Next Page: Solaris 10 support.

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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