Feeds

Sun's Linux desktop off to flying start

Renting Linux for profit

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Exclusive Some say Sun Microsystems should give up on its Linux desktop ambitions, but there are serious signs of life that indicate the company may be on to a good thing, The Register has learned.

Well placed sources have confirmed that Sun is teaming up with service providers to roll out a whole new set of "rented" desktop services. As of yet, Yahoo was the only name mentioned, although one source confirmed there will be more large service providers on board. This news comes as Sun's desktop business nears profitability almost before it even opens for business.

"I am very confident that in a short period of time the doubters will shut up," said Jonathan Schwartz, the head of Sun's software business, in an interview with The Register. "We hope to convince the market that there is revenue to be had and are on a near term road to profitability."

Schwartz declined to comment on the service provider deals, picking Sun's favorite phrase of late - stay tuned - instead.

Schwartz did, however, say there are some large Java Desktop System deals that could close in the next few weeks and put this business in the black.

Sun does not actually start selling the Java Desktop System - a Linux OS with other open source software trappings - for another couple of weeks. But the company has signed up large users already who will receive kit as it rolls out.

In addition, Sun could be close to inking deals with IBM and HP around the Java Desktop System.

"We've had much more productive discussions with HP and IBM executives about licensing our desktop than we have had with Dell," Schwartz said. "Dell is kind of standing on the sidelines. They like to participate in mature markets, but this is one market that might mature without them."

Sun's favorite critic and professional cheerleader Steve Miloonovich, analyst at Merrill Lynch, publicly flogged the company for going after the desktop. He asked that Sun give up on its ownership of Java and forget about the client.

The latest news from the company seems to indicate "The Loon" might have missed the mark. Sun has pushed its thin client efforts in the past, but our sources indicate the upcoming desktop news will indeed make a splash.

Sun is batting around the idea of teaming with service providers to rent out applications such as StarOffice and also hardware such as online storage. The service provider could theoretically ship a thin client or white box to a consumer and then charge for various products. Do you want browsing, StarOffice and storage? Well, that's x dollars per month.

The idea is to offer cheap computers to certain types of customers who essentially rent the system. The service provider could manage the servers in its own data center. By shipping something like a thin client that has relatively few parts, the service provider and hardware maker reduce the risk of hardware failures.

Sun could then offer up a type of rent-a-blade product to either the service provider or end user. Customers would purchase storage space for their documents, photos and music.

Whether or not Sun's thin client strategy pays off remains to be seen. It has always been an idea well ahead of its time. In the near term, however, signs that Sun's desktop Linux efforts will be a money maker are encouraging. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
VMware's tool to harden virtual networks: a spreadsheet
NSX security guide lands in intriguing format
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.