Sun to Ramp Up Support for Linux

Sun CEO Scott McNealy, speaking at the Gartner ITXpo in Orlando, Fla., championed open source for the enterprise.

ORLANDO, Fla.—Sun Microsystems Inc. Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy championed open-source software for the enterprise Tuesday morning and highlighted his companys commitment to including Linux products in its hardware.

"If you are paying for middleware, stop," McNealy told an audience of industry professionals at Gartner Inc.s ITxpo in Orlando today. When enterprises can get an application server, directory and Star Office bundled for free with Suns Solaris 9 operating system, why pay for them, he asked. "You can run your entire corporation on Star Office," he said.

When asked by Gartner analysts why Sun needs to support Linux, McNealy said the strategy will further differentiate its products. From a hardware perspective, Suns servers are not particularly different from Dells, he said, as the two sets of products share the same processing technology and are built by the same OEMs.

"They both are laundered through Intel and are coming from the same Asian manufacturers, and neither of us touches them," McNealy said. Down the road, Suns hardware will come bundled with more open-source applications.

Sun is also building a Linux-based enterprise client, which will save enterprises on capital outlay, according to McNealy. "We can come in at half the cost of a [Microsoft Corp.] Windows enterprise client," he said. "Thats a huge way to save cost."

Asserting that Solaris is "close to free," McNealy said that most of Suns software is available in both an open-source version and an enterprise-supported version.

Looking ahead, McNealy emphasized the growing complexity of network components and the increasing difficulty in managing large enterprise systems. Suns N1 business architecture is designed to simplify management by allowing an enterprise to build a system from components on the network, where the network itself is used as the system core. The strategy will include the virtualization of applications and of server architecture, and telemetry, which will enable automatic remote monitoring.