May 16, 2006 6:35 PM PDT

Sun flirts with Ubuntu

SAN FRANCISCO--At JavaOne, both sides say they really like each other--suggesting a role for Ubuntu's upcoming "Dapper Drake" operating system on Sun Microsystems' servers.

Ubuntu Linux got a ringing endorsement from Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz on Tuesday. In turn, Ubuntu project founder Mark Shuttleworth appeared on stage here during Schwartz's opening keynote at JavaOne to endorse Java.

"Ubuntu is gaining a ton of momentum," Schwartz said in a meeting with reporters after his keynote presentation. "It is arguably one of the most important--if not the most important--Linux distro out there." That's a poke in the eye for Red Hat and Novell, the other two major Linux distributors.

Ubuntu hopes to make a splash in the enterprise space with the Dapper Drake release of its operating system, slated for June 1. The new version will run on 32-bit and 64-bit Intel-compatible systems, PowerPC systems and a fourth, yet-to-be-announced architecture, Shuttleworth said. Could this be Sun's Sparc?

While Sun and Shuttleworth declined to disclose their plans, it was overly clear that there is a love affair between the two. On stage, Shuttleworth asked the JavaOne audience members if they would like to see Ubuntu run on Niagara, Sun's multicore and multithread Sparc processor. The crowd responded with applause.

"The odds are quite good that we will be aggressively supporting the work that Ubuntu is doing," Schwartz told reporters. "In the hardware we ship, I don't want to be Solaris only, because then I will just define my market to be smaller than the opportunity?I think you should expect to see more of the relationship, and stay tuned."

Shuttleworth flirted back: "I absolutely believe that our June 1 release will meet the quality and support standards of Sun customers." He also added that he is optimistic that at least one server maker will commit to selling the new Ubuntu version with its hardware, he said.

Ubuntu is an offshoot of Debian and seeks to target Red Hat's position in the enterprise. Dapper Drake is the first version that will have longer-term support commitments--three years for the desktop version and five years for the server, compared with 18 months for the current "Breezy Badger" release.

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JavaOne, Ubuntu, Jonathan Schwartz, Sun Microsystems Inc., Red Hat Inc.

8 comments

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Good
This is one positive move from Sun, many companies have considered Ubuntu for workstations but need a supported version.

I don't know why Sun did not tackle Java licensing 5 years ago to allow their JVM to be bundled with Linux (you must agree to Java terms before installing, so you can't bundle it I believe), but I suppose they are probably planning to be able to bundle their JVM with Ubuntu as part of the partnership.

I like Ubuntu, but a part of me fears they will get all Red Hat on me as they move into the corprate space.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ubuntu + Niagara = Sun Ray?
Just imagine a Niagara box (T2000 for example) running Ubuntu (the most usable Linux) as a Sun Ray server! Now there's a thought - it could easily handle many thin client Ubuntu desktops. As networks improve, Sun Ray thin client architecture is beginning to look more attractive. Now if only I could rent a virtual desktop from Sun and access it via my web browser from here...
Posted by hutchike (157 comments )
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Ubuntu + Sun = ?
Go for it Sun!
Posted by ikenna4u (13 comments )
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Profit!
sorry :)
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
Another "Enterprise Linux"?
Will app vendors and hardware vendors really want to support another Enterprise version of Linux? There are 2 now -- Red Hat and Novell SUSE. How many is too many? 3? 4? 5? 10? 100? 1000?

I would have thought if there were to be a 3rd big player it would be Mandriva or Red Flag... not Ubuntu.

I am just curious how many "Enterprise" Linux distros YOU think there should really be...
Posted by kchin5 (1 comment )
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If the Kernal
If the kernal is the same, then the number can be great or small. It will depend on what other qulifications are put in place. If compatibility and choice balance out then let companies run what they can afford.
Posted by Wildcat0695 (22 comments )
Link Flag
Could it be
that Ubuntu could also support ZFS!?!? Wow, that would be a killer
marriage. I know there are some license issues (which I don't claim
to understand), but could they overcome?
Posted by robot999 (109 comments )
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