Schwartz Seeks to Clarify Suns Linux Strategy - Page 2

Where will Sun support Linux?

Computing is a very broad market, from sensors to supercomputers. We have no interest in abandoning our existing Solaris customers, or in ceasing to grow the volume market for Solaris on servers. Were making massive performance improvements on 1 and 2 cpu Intel and Sparc systems, growing our ISV base, growing value and functionality with the complete Java Enterprise System—which delivers value on both Linux and Solaris. Our strategy is to make Unix successful, whether its Solaris from Sun, or Linux from the community.

But on the desktop—and moreover, on devices—its a different world. I dont expect to see anyone running Solaris on a mobile phone. I do expect those devices, and many desktops, to run Linux—and with Linux, comes Java, and higher level programming abstractions. So were very interested in protecting customers and OEMs from the legal issues surrounding Linux to help promote the evolution and deployment of new client devices, especially those running Java. Our newest desktop is built atop Linux and Solaris, and at $100/desktop, or $50/employee, delivers real value against the alternatives—we obviously dont get there with Java alone.

Linux plays a strong role for us in devices—we dont necessarily have a Linux strategy, per se, because thats at too low a level, but we do want to see Linux succeed. Java and Linux are entirely symbiotic. With their success comes market opportunity for everyone. The combination of the two preserves open networks, and provides customers with choice and competition. Thats goodness—so let me be unmistakably clear: we think Linux redefines the landscape for competitive alternatives where none previously existed. On the desktop, there has been no x86 alternative for more than a decade. And we are driving that as aggressively as possible. Alongside Solaris for higher power markets, and not in replacement of it.

We indemnify!

Folks are confusing indemnity with warranty—warranty is all about a vendors ability to attest to a products suitability or fitness for purpose. Indemnity is very different&&151;its the guarantee a vendor provides its customers that in the event a third party sues the customer for using its intellectual property, the indemnifier will cover the risk. Sun provides indemnity for all its products, and we believe that confidence and security matter to enterprises building their business on our products. That IBM and Dell refuse to offer indemnify suggests theyre using the community to harvest revenue, while leaving risk with those who contribute to open source (who may not get paid), or those who use it (and dont get any protection). Its a real issue—and Sun will protect its customers, and vouch for its products. That Dell and IBM wont vouch for Linux strikes me as hypocritical—especially for IBM, the industrys most pernicious patent litigator—they derive huge revenues from suing companies based on the claim theyre using IBMs technology. IBM doesnt talk a lot about that. And now theyre saying they wont offer any level of formal protection for Linux customers, that they dont need it. On the one hand theyre suing companies based on claims of stolen IP, and on the other, theyre delivering products and refusing to give customers the security that IBM stands behind the intellectual property. Maybe its me, but I dont understand. From what we hear within IBM, their patent folks dont understand, either.

We are committed to driving solutions for customers—solutions that meet price/performance objectives, security, and feature/functionality. Based on open standards, based on a history of innovation, and an unparalleled—and unquestionably honest and forthright—participation with the developer community.

I hope that helps clarify my statements. As always, Im open to input from the community. We would be nowhere without them, and we count on their support (and critique) to shape our thinking and strategies. Even when we, with respect and deference, disagree with them.

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