Sun Microsystems Inc.s refusal to release Solaris 9 for non-Sun x86 hardware could backfire and drive developers and users to Linux or even Microsoft Corp. platforms, users said.
Disgruntled x86 community developers and customers charge that Suns refusal to reach a compromise is effectively making their investments in non-Sun x86 hardware obsolete. Supporters are so irked by Suns intransigence that last week they placed an open letter in The Mercury News, of San Jose, Calif., accusing Sun Chairman, President and CEO Scott McNealy of taking the developer community for granted.
"Sun has now obsoleted [my] x86 hardware investment," Al Hopper, president of Logical Approach Inc., of Plano, Texas, told eWeek last week. Hoppers company bought several dual-processor x86 systems from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. last year. "We cant afford to scrap our hardware infrastructure just because Sun decides [Solaris on x86] wasnt a viable product or that they could make more money elsewhere."
Alan DuBoff, president of consultancy Software Orchestration Inc., also of San Jose, and one of the "secret six" community representatives negotiating with Sun over the Solaris-on-x86 issue, said he supports the anti-Sun campaign. "Unless we get a stand-alone product for non-Sun hardware, we will be hard pressed to use Solaris x86 in the enterprise," DuBoff said.
Others agreed. John Groenveld, the author of the open letter and an associate research engineer at Pennsylvania State Universitys Applied Research Lab, or ARL, in State College, Pa., warned that Suns refusal to release a stand-alone Solaris 9 "is forcing us to consider our long-term Sun view."
ARL, with customers in the government and private sector, runs Solaris 8 on 12 servers at the edge of the network, as Web or workgroup servers, and as development machines. It also runs high-end Sun SPARC systems.
"I now have to decide whether to stick with Sun over the long term or move to solutions like Red Hat [Inc.] on Dell [Computer Corp.], [Hewlett-Packard Co.] or IBM. While Im skeptical about Linux, Sun is forcing our hand," Groenveld said.