Sun Shines Spotlight on Orion, Mad Hatter

At this week's Sun Network user show, the company will announce new business and pricing models for both initiatives-while stressing their affordability.

Sun Microsystems Inc. officials from CEO Scott McNealy on down this week will use the companys premier user show, Sun Network, to make a host of software system announcements around Project Orion and Project Mad Hatter, while stressing how affordable the initiatives are compared with Microsoft products.

Orion essentially involves integrating all the component pieces of the Sun ONE stack into Solaris and Linux over the next few years, while Mad Hatter is the companys "alternative desktop" strategy.

On Tuesday Sun will announce at the San Francisco show new business and pricing models for Orion and Mad Hatter, both of which will also be officially renamed, executives at the Santa Clara, Calif., company told eWEEK.

In addition, Sun will reiterate its commitment to deliver updates to the Orion software stack every quarter and its promise that it will be simple, affordable and predictable.

Mad Hatter is based on open-source software from GNOME to Mozilla, StarOffice, Ximian Inc.s Evolution and Linux. Sun officials declined to say what standard version of Linux will be used for Mad Hatter, adding that this will not be announced at the conference.

Sun officials from McNealy to Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of the companys software group, this week will also all stress the affordability of both the new desktop offering and the Orion software stack compared with Microsoft products.

/zimages/2/26680.gifClick here for Baselines interview with Scott McNealy.

The Mad Hatter enterprise desktop is expected to initially be targeted at cost-sensitive customers like transaction workers, call centers and the government rather than power users. "We are seeing enormous interest from other countries like China and others who are wary of using Microsoft products and who understand the benefits of open software at an affordable price," Sun Software Director Ingrid van den Hoogen said last week.

There will also be some developer announcements during the show, which runs all week, including developer needs and tools, as well as some news around Suns N1 initiative and strategy, she said.

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