SAN FRANCISCO—Sun Microsystems Inc. has been very responsible and contributed significantly to the open-source community, said Scott McNealy, Suns chairman, president and CEO, in his keynote presentation here at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo on Tuesday.
In his address titled “The Role of Linux in a Capitalist Society,” McNealy appearing before several hundred delegates defended his companys commitment to open source, citing a host of Sun deliverables and sponsorships.
“We delivered Java for Linux, J2ME, the Sun ONE Web Server, Directory Server, Studio, Grid Engine, Sun ONE ASP and StarOffice,” he said.
He also listed a range of sponsorship examples, including Openoffice.org, JXTA, NetBeans, Grid Engine and NFSv4, pointing out that developers in the community are more aware of Suns open-source commitments than is the media.
McNealy also once again stressed Suns commitment to making its Linux offering compatible with the Linux Standards Base (LSB). “We are not interested in creating a proprietary Sun Linux offering. We need better stewardship and compliance in the community so we dont get the fracturing and other issues that arose with Unix,” he said.
In what was often a light-hearted address, McNealy quipped that you know you are a member of the open-source community when you view penguins, monkeys, lizards and Gnomes as sacred and endorse capital punishment for spammers.
While acknowledging that the server business was “kind of tough right now,” McNealy said Linux has grown at 30 percent year-on-year on the client side. That was “a wonderful dent to make in the convicted monopolist,” he said, referring to Microsoft Corp.s antitrust woes.
Speaking to the open-source community, McNealy said, “You are doing things that the Attorneys General werent able to accomplish, so keep up the good work. At Sun were also going to continue supporting desktop initiatives.”
Sun has also created its own open-source community within its IT shop, and Linux will be absolutely key to satellite offices and allowing staff to work remotely. “Were committed, so stay tuned,” he said.
Taking another swipe at Microsoft, McNealy said the Redmond companys booth at the LinuxWorld show was hard to find and always closed.
“I am very pleased by the pricing and licensing strategies the open-source community is committed to. This provides a counter to the annual tax users have to cough up to Microsoft,” he said.
: McNealy Takes Jabs at Microsoft”>
But returning to the theme of his address, McNealy said that Sun would not be able to help the community if it did not make money. “One of the ways were going to do this is by selling hardware, and I havent as yet seen an open-source version of hardware. You cant exactly go and download this over the Internet,” he said.
“We realized that we kind of goofed and missed what you guys are doing at the edge in the 32-bit server space with Linux. So we have just introduced an x86-based 32-bit box,” he said, referring to the launch this week of the LX50 edge server.
“There is no reason not to go to Sun to get your Linux server. We are targeting the LX50 server at the edge of the network. This product will hit hard and aggressively, as its in a market were pretty strong in.
“This is a Unix plus Linux market, where we had a 47 percent market share in revenue terms in the second quarter of this year, according to Gartner Dataquest figures,” McNealy said.
According to McNealy, Suns commitment is not only to grow the Linux market, but to grow with it, participate in the community and support its momentum. “The community is not broken, so were not going to try and fix it…well be a player, a participant in that community,” he said.
Sun also plans to provide more code, dollars and technology to the community. “We will try and stay as close and true to LSB compliance moving forward and will be honest and truthful and transparent and upfront about what were doing—and not just to the SEC but to all of you,” he told attendees.
In conclusion, McNealy said to expect a lot more news on the client side, Java technology and open source going forward.
At a media question-and-answer session immediately following the keynote, Jonathan Schwartz, head of Suns software operation, said the company was looking at whether and how it could make its Solaris operating system LSB compliant.
“Linux is currently quite fragmented. Today you cannot run all your applications equally on every Linux distribution. The way to change this is through open standards and the LSB,” he said.
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