Sun and Linux

The Economist writes about how Sun is planning to work with open-sorce software by giving customers a choice.

Sun unveiled two new low-priced servers based on Intel chips. It also revealed that Oracle had agreed to make its software work on these machinesadding to speculation that Oracle is about to buy Sun. But much more significant was a subtle but crucial shift in the firm’s Linux strategy: as well as Linux, Sun will now also push an Intel-compatible version of Solaris.

Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz may seem to want to have it both ways. But he is trying to capitalise on an important trend. Some software users have started to realise that even Linux is not as free as it appears: for instance, it has to be maintained and upgraded. Linux is like a puppyin the beginning it’s great, but you also have to take care of it, says Mr Schwartz. He hopes that firms will opt for Solaris, because it requires less care.

Simply put, Mr Schwartz wants to give customers a choice. On the one hand, he will offer them an open-source solution, which lets them tinker and benefit from the collective brain power of volunteer developers. On the other, he will offer a proprietary option for customers worried about operational costs.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.