Sun's Linux wins right to be considered in Japan

They're on a list, and they want to tell us all about it

Sun Microsystems has opened a second front for its Linux-based desktop operating system in Asia with a Japanese win of sorts. Sun's Java Desktop System has been picked as one open source OS of preference during a competition held by the Information-technology Promotion Agency in Japan (IPA). This clears the way for Sun's software to be picked as an open source alternative to Microsoft's Windows at Japanese schools. Sun last year enjoyed a much bigger and more concrete win in China when the government selected the Java Desktop System for at least 500,000 desktops.

"METI is promoting the deployment of open source software to provide more choice of desktop environments for users," said Takashi Kume, a deputy director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Japan. "METI has delegated project implementation to IPA and the Sun Java Desktop System was selected as a platform for the open source software verification program for the educational community. METI believes that when open source software is used more pervasively, starting with initiatives like this one, the open source community becomes more active and will promote increased choice of information technology in Japan."

This announcement would be a lot more impressive if Sun could say that some actual Java Desktop Shipments were making their way to Japan. It's a bit unusual for a vendor the size of Sun to issue a statement about winning the rights to be considered for something. Perhaps there is a nuance to this deal that eludes us, but we doubt it. If the Japanese government had placed orders for shipments, you would most certainly have heard about it.

That said, Sun is making noticeable open source headway in Japan. Most notably, Sun's StarOffice productivity suite earned mythological status earlier this year in a Japanese convenience store. The software inspired a woman to give birth to a horse right between store racks full of magazines and candy bars.

Back to your blogs, Sun staff. And tell us some news, next time. ®

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