Feeds

Sun can't afford to market Linux desktop

Tux gives way to Solaris

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Sun Microsystems' attempt to woo developers will see the company downplay its Java Desktop System (JDS) for Linux in favor or Solaris and Sun Ray thin clients.

Sun software executive vice president John Loiacono told The Register Sun is "shifting" its marketing emphasis away from JDS for Linux as a way of "targeting resources".

Marketing will now focus on JDS for Solaris and Sun Rays. "Right now the developer is using a Sun Ray or a Solaris device," Loiacono said, speaking at JavaOne 2005, in San Francisco, California.

Sun's change in strategy is likely to raise eyebrows among some large customers. The China Standard Software Company (CSSC) in 2003 signed-up for 200m copies of the Linux-based desktop for rollout across China's 1.3bn citizens.

At the time, Sun's then software group executive vice president Jonathan Schwartz said China was "opening the market and opening the market's eyes to the idea that an alternative to Microsoft will exist, not simply can exist, but will exist."

A year later, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) purchased licenses for 5,000 copies after and eight-month trial of the Linux desktop. The NHS's National Programme for Information technology (NPfIT) called JDS a viable desktop alternative.

Also, the Allied Irish Bank (AIB) began migrating 7,500 Windows 95 and "older" machines in branch offices in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to JDS on Linux.

Sun's decision comes as doubts remain over the viability of desktop Linux. Last year, IDC said Linux had 3.2 per cent of the desktop operating system market and would grow to six per cent by 2007. Despite this promise, there remains a fundamental lack of desktop productivity applications for business and consumer users that have helped guarantee success for Microsoft's rival Windows operating system and Office productivity suite.

Those doubts are critical to a company still struggling to increase sales and, therefore, eager to conserve resources. Making Sun feel better is the fact that there is an increased buzz around Solaris, with the launch of Solaris 10, OpenSolaris and IBM's announcement it would put its WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli and DB2 software portfolio on Solaris 10.

Sun is also feeling better about what Schwartz claims are growing numbers of downloads of the NetBeans open source tools framework and integrated development environment (IDE).

"It's a way of targeting our resources. With the re-invigoration of Solaris, ISVs are saying 'you have a platform'. It's open source, you have new tools and NetBeans which is good - that makes it something that's viable," Loiacono said of Sun's decision to change focus.®

Related stories

Sun critic trades up on Wall Street
Sun's Linux wins right to be considered in Japan
Sun nabs AIB desktop contract
Sun's Java Desktop gets tooled up

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?