Sun to Target Linux-Based Initiative at Developers

Sun Microsystems Inc. will continue to make a push for developers and customers with new Linux offerings and open-source initiatives, according to the company's new head of software.

Sun Microsystems Inc. will continue to make a push for developers and customers with new Linux offerings and open-source initiatives, according to the companys new head of software.

Jonathan Schwartz, who last week announced the key players in his organization, said Suns software division will take aim at the competition in the burgeoning Web services arena, in particular IBM and Microsoft Corp.

In a wide-ranging conference call last week, Schwartz said Sun will focus on three main audiences: IT shops, system "deployers" and developers.

Schwartz said that at the edge of the Web, Sun will promote a LAMP—or Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP—solution to developers. LAMP, a generic open-source solution, will be Suns Linux-based initiative available on its newly released LX50 Intel Corp.-based machines running Linux or Solaris.

"Our competition is Windows, but they will increasingly suffer from the economic model Linux will promote," said Schwartz, who referred to the initiative as Sun LAMP.

While Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., will continue to drive large deployments to the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) infrastructure, the company will promote LAMP to less complex applications.

"J2EE is for complex, distributed transactional applications," like a bank, Schwartz said. "I dont think youll see a bank running on LAMP."

However, the LAMP opportunity represents even greater potential opportunities for Sun, Schwartz said.

"Every single LAMP application, if it grows to be an enterprise application," will require underlying infrastructure support, such as clustering and systems management and other functionality that Sun will be able to provide and charge for, Schwartz said. "Were going to continue driving large Sun [Open Net Environment] deployments into the J2EE Web services infrastructure, [but] were going to be driving this notion of LAMP very, very hard. We believe theres going to be a set of companies that will potentially see the impact of open source begin eroding their revenue streams."

One analyst said Schwartzs comments caught him off-guard.

"We were surprised at how Web services apparently has little if any place in the new Sun software world order," said Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, in Cambridge, Mass. "We heard about data center, business logic and edge products [where LAMP resides], but Web services only came up in response to an analyst question. Their tune has changed from Sun ONE is the platform for Web services to Well support the Web services standards, but we dont think theyll be successful. ... They couldnt be the Web services leader, so theyre pretending like they didnt want to play the game in the first place."

Schwartz cited the application server arena as a rich battleground for developers and singled out IBMs WebSphere for attack.

"For IBM, most of their revenue for WebSphere has been on Solaris," Schwartz said. "We see Microsoft here, but for smaller business."