Bye bye Solaris?

Sun is to ‘embrace’ Linux and Intel hardware on its entry-level servers. While Solaris remains on Sun’s high-end boxes for the time being, the move underlines Linux’s growing enterprise take-up.

Sun Microsystems made a significant move this month by embracing the Open Source (free) Linux operating system on its ‘low-end’ servers. Sun is to commit new resources to the ongoing development of the Open Source operating system. Sun will ship a full implementation of Linux on a new line of general-purpose servers aimed at workgroups and remote offices.

Intel x86 hardware

New single and multiprocessor systems, to be announced mid-year, will abandon Sun’s proprietary SPARC architecture in favor of Intel’s x86 processors. Sun’s line of Cobalt Linux appliances (such as pre-configured web servers) will be expanded. Cobalt entry-level prices are around $1,000 and an installed base of over 100,000 units is claimed.


Sun plans to participate more aggressively in the Linux developer community by contributing key components of its Solaris operating system, and by releasing tools help ensure compatibility between Solaris and Linux.

Solaris on high-end

Sun’s high end machines will remain on Solaris – for the time being – but with significant new Linux leanings. A Linux Compatibility Toolkit (LinCAT) will assure that Linux applications will run on Sun Fire servers. Sun’s upcoming Solaris 9 environment will provide additional built-in Linux commands, utilities, and interfaces.

Free tools

Sun ONE technologies will be offered on Linux, including the iPlanet directory and web servers, Forte for Java development tools, the Java/XML platform, Project JXTA, StarOffice, Chili!Soft ASP support, and the Sun Grid Engine. Sun, along with IBM, is already one of the largest providers of intellectual property to the Open Source development effort with contributions to,,,,,, WBEMsource Initiative, the University of Michigan NFS version 4 Linux port, the Grid Engine Project, and Project JXTA.

Well received

Sun’s Linux announcement was well received by the markets. Merrill Lynch commented that the move would ‘help Sun fight off increasing competition.’ In this special Open Source issue of Oil IT Journal we explore the extraordinary growth of the free software movement.

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