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Sun slams Red Hat

Solaris 'cheaper than Linux', says exec

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Sun has launched an all out offensive today against Red Hat Linux, putting Solaris x86 at the tip of its bayonet.

"We are a big supporter of the open source movement and have been forever," said Larry Singer, SVP of global market strategies at Sun, in an interview. "We think Linux is a huge movement that is pretty good for the industry and that for some implementations Linux makes sense. We also think there are a lot of people that consider Red Hat for the wrong reasons."

That was one of the more polite things Singer had to say about Red Hat - his comments coming as part of a thwart-Linux push by Sun. Singer spent much of Friday on the phone with journalists, saying that Red Hat costs more than people think, is not as well suited for enterprise tasks as Red Hat claims and is largely inferior to Sun's Solaris 10 operating system for x86 systems.

Shocking? Hardly.

On July 13, Sun will roll out a new Opteron-based workstation code-named Metropolis. A short while later, Sun will also roll out a 4-way Opteron server - the V40z. These two new boxes along with Sun's existing V20z 2-way server were all designed by Newisys. Sun plans to roll out in-house designed gear that is said, by many industry insiders, to be nothing less than fantastic later this year.

The sum total of all this is that Sun will, for the first time, have serious hardware for running Solaris x86 and, in particular, Solaris 10. And nothing could be more key to Sun's future than having a thriving Solaris franchise on x86 machines, since no other major vendor has a competing version of Unix on these systems. Sun is arguing that the industry as a whole got caught up in the Linux hype, which has started to die down, Singer said.

Sun insists that the revenue from Lintel boxes comes from the hardware itself. But Red Hat is forcing customers to buy pricey services contracts along with its OS, "which makes Red Hat more expensive than Solaris," according to Singer. And Sun's close Linux partner SuSE is not immune from criticism either.

"The reason we are not going after SuSE is because they are not as strong in the US," Singer said. "They are just not there. SuSE has not become as arrogant with the market because they do not have the dominance that Red Hat has had."

But, if SuSE were a major player in the US, Sun would be happy to launch a Friday attack against it as well.

So while Sun sells both Red Hat and SuSE on its servers, the company insists that Solairs is the better buy. Solaris, says Sun, is a more mature operating system with the better security and stability. In addition, with Solaris 10, customers will be able to run Linux applications natively on the OS. And beyond all that, Solaris 10 has some eye-watering features which we have talked about at length in the past. The obvious take up from all this being that Sun would prefer a Solaris sales over a Linux sale any day.

Same old, same old, right? Well, there is a change under way. In the old days, Sun concentrated most of its venom on Microsoft and spewed but a wee bit out on Linux. These days it looks like Linux is the prime target. ®

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