January 21, 2004 7:00 AM PST

Sun plans Linux software push

Sun Microsystems plans to expand its Linux software portfolio substantially over the coming year, including a version of its Java server software suite.

The company is preparing a version of its Java Enterprise System--a bundle of Java server software products--for delivery on Linux servers based on Intel's Xeon or AMD'S Opteron processors around the middle of the year, said Simon Phipps, chief technology evangelist at Sun. Released late last year, Sun's Java Enterprise System is a central tactic in the company's attempt to gain ground in the Java software market with a flat pricing plan of $100 per employee per year.

Sun announced its Linux software plans at the LinuxWorld conference this week in New York.

In the first quarter of this year, Sun is also creating Linux editions of all of its Java development tools, a task it expects to complete by the end of the year. Linux versions of its SunRay desktop computers--stripped down machines that store most data on servers--are also under development.

The addition of Linux versions of Sun products, which currently run on the company's Solaris operating system, is part of Sun's strategy to offer customers a choice of Sun's Unix hardware or servers based on the x86 architecture running Linux.

"We recognize customers will be running mixed Unix environments," Phipps said. "People can choose the most appropriate hardware."

The other important component to Sun's Linux software strategy is its Java Desktop System, which was introduced in December. The Java Desktop System, which Sun is selling for $100 per employee or $50 per employee for Java Enterprise System customers, is a collection of open-source applications aimed at corporate customers seeking an alternative to Windows and Microsoft Office.


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