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Sun's McNealy: We've Been Through This (Linux ISV) Movie

Sun's Linux Ship Alters Course

  • April 9, 2003
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

"We've been through this movie," Sun CEO Scott McNealy said today, about his company's recent decision not to move ahead with a previously announced Sun-branded Linux distribution. Future X86-based versions of two-processor "Enchillada" servers, rolled out on Sparc hardware at Sun's Q2 press conference, will run a choice of either Solaris or any of a number of flavors of Linux.

In explaining Sun's retrenchment on the Sun-branded Linux, McNealy pointed to ISVs' lack of desire to rewrite applications for multiple distributions. OS distributions already out there include RedHat, UnitedLinux, SuSE, and a "distribution for telecom," according to McNealy, possibly referring to the MontaVista Carrier Grade Linux distribution.

"IBM doesn't do its own (Linux) distribution," McNealy observed. "We'll stick (with what we do.) We think we can add value with the SunOne stack."

Also during the press conference--Webcast and telecast from San Francisco to customers and reporters worldwide--Sun unveiled offerings ranging from new security and IM software for Solaris to storage servers and a new set of managed services, for instance. McNealy touted the security software--Trusted Solaris Certified Edition, a product for both Sparc and X86--as capable of turning Solaris into "the first secure OS for X86."

Also today, Sun officially introduced Project Onion, a program for realigning Sun's software infrastructure into "a predictable quarterly release" for Solaris, Solaris for x86, and Linux.

Recognizing users' concerns over ROI and "cost, cost, cost," Sun will offer its new servers on X86 PC platform, after first bringing them to market on its own Sparc architecture for under $3,000, McNealy said today.

"We like Linux," McNealy noted. Sun has always supported "other Unixes," he added. Sun, in fact, likes any OS that "isn't Microsoft"

McNealy declined to specify what kinds of processors--Intel or AMD, for instance--Sun will use for the X86-based Enchillada servers. "Stay tuned," he recommended.

The CEO, though, hurled a few harsh words toward Intel's forthcoming 64-bit computing platform. Sun opted not to tweak Solaris to run on Itanium because it would be "too hard," he contended. "It doesn't do anything from a price performance (perspective),"

"We don't want our boat to go down with Intel's 64-bit architecture," according to McNealy. Intentionally or not, McNealy at one point referred to Itanium as "Itanic," a derogatory term used by some in the tech community to describe the Intel product.

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