What's New Under the Sun? Sun's Love Affair With Linux - page 4
A Little Bit of History
Sun has a long history of making source code publicly available - Sun's own roots are in the Unix Berkeley Standard Distribution (BSD) from which the original Sun Operating System (SunOS) emerged. Though not quite open source, Sun has always understood the value of open, public Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) better than any other Unix company. NFS wouldn't have become the ubiquitous network filesystem that it is today if Sun hadn't made the NFS and NIS APIs publicly available. This wasn't totally philanthropic, but was much closer to "the right thing" than the actions of any other software company prior to the birth of Linux.
Sun's commitment to the free and open source movements is obvious in the public availability of Java, their donation of the source code for Star Office to OpenOffice.org, the free Forte IDE for Java development, and Sun's adoption of other open source projects for key parts of Solaris, such as the desktop. Sun's new workstations have finally turned CDE out to pasture and will use GNOME as the desktop for all new Solaris systems.
Sun's Java is still the most exciting, open environment for networked application development and execution, and also has a heavy commitment to other open standards such as XML. The expansion of Java into the embedded and real-time markets through Sun's investment in companies such as TimeSys and Lineo provides other opportunities for Sun to increase its prominence as a software and technology provider in both existing and emerging markets.