Sun Slaps IBM Over Java IP

During his keynote at the JavaOne conference, Sun CEO Scott McNealy called on IBM to contribute more intellectual property to the Java community.

SAN FRANCISCO—Now that Sun Microsystems Inc. has made peace with Microsoft Corp., chief executive Scott McNealy has found a new target for his keynote presentations: IBM.

During his Tuesday keynote at the JavaOne conference here, McNealy called on IBM to "do your own IP [intellectual property]."

McNealy targeted IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano and pictured the Big Blue CEO chipping away at a great wall as if in a futile task of getting through it.

During a segment he called "Wheres the outrage?" McNealy said: "We want IBM to start donating its own IP to the community. Stop writing open letters to the No. 1 one donator of open technology in the world. Spare me."

The reference to an open letter concerned IBM Vice President Rod Smith, who called on Suns Rob Gingell for an open-source implementation of Java. Smith will be present on a panel at the conference on Thursday that will look at open-source issues.

/zimages/5/28571.gifTo read more about the JavaOne conference, click here.

Later, in a press conference following his keynote, McNealy continued his diatribe.

"Sun and IBM have worked very well and very collaboratively for the last 10 years on Java," he said. However, "I believe they have Java envy. They wish they had it and had invented it. Theyd love to wrest control of the stewardship away. Its embarrassing, theyve been in business for 40 years and have more patents than anybody, but we contribute more to the community."

Jonathan Schwartz, Suns president and chief operating officer, also speaking at the press event, said the company would "love to more effectively partner with IBM."

Yet, he added, "I really believe IBM has a problem, Red Hat [Inc.]" Schwartz said IBMs attitude toward dealing with Red Hat as the distributor of Linux for its servers is similar to the mistake IBM made in sending users off to Microsoft for the operating systems for IBM PCs years ago.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about Schwartzs take on the Java community.

Meanwhile, McNealy briefly touched on Suns settlement with Microsoft and talked about how the two companies plan to make their products interoperable over the coming years.

In addition, McNealy offered open invitations to Microsoft and Red Hat to join the Java Community Process. The invite is similar to that of the Eclipse Foundation, which also has extended an invitation to Microsoft.

"Our role in the Java process is to bring in as many participants as possible. Even bringing in Microsoft," Schwartz said.

Also in his keynote, McNealy announced a Sun Java Developer promotion with special pricing. McNealy said Sun will list a developer bundle on eBay with an opening bid starting at just a penny. The bundle includes Sun Java Studio Enterprise, sample code, tutorials and an Opteron-based workstation.

And McNealy also mentioned one of Suns newest customers, Allied Irish Bank LLC. The company will migrate 7,500 desktop users and transition branch-dependent applications across its entire branch network to Suns Java Desktop System, he said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead more here about the Allied Irish Bank switch to Unix.

Meanwhile, despite focusing on IBM, McNealy did level one criticism at Microsoft. "Wheres the outrage on viruses?" he asked. He said in the first quarter of this year viruses cost $300 billion in losses. "And theyre Microsoft viruses; thats what they are. If you write a proper Java application we have solved this problem. I tell everybody in Homeland Security I talk to that it ought to be a court martial-able offense to write a [mission-critical] app that is supposed to protect my children in anything but Java."

Meanwhile, McNealy said Sun will definitely be open-sourcing its Solaris operating system but is still trying to figure out which license to release it under. In fact, he said he and some staff members plan to focus on the issue Tuesday evening.

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