Feeds

Sun continues great software giveway

Free, as in you pay for services

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Sun Microsystems is giving away more software in another stab at building a "volume" business based on commanding market share among developers.

Software developers can now download unsupported copies of Sun's Java Enterprise System (JES), SeeBeyond integration suite, C, C++ and Fortran tools, and N1 grid engine and systems management software, which are also being integrated with Solaris to create the Solaris Enterprise System (SES).

Sun is sacrificing revenue from both licensing of products like SeeBeyond and more than $100m in subscriptions derived from JES for income from services.

Sun believes it can offset this with revenue from a raft of planned services, which will be charged on a per-user and per-hourly basis. Sun, though, was vague about what services it would offer - hinting some are already available internally while others could cover indemnification, warranty and bug fixes.

Additionally, Sun re-committed itself to open sourcing its entire software portfolio - a pledge it has been making for more than a year and slowly delivering. Sun believes it can build a volume market among developers for its software tools and runtimes, which it can then monetize at a later stage. This strategy, however, has not realized much success with Sun's past efforts to give away its application server and other pieces of middleware.

Among software to be open sourced will SeeBeyond's Integrated Composite Applications Network (ICAN), bought by Sun this summer. Sun, though, said it has yet to work thorough the licensing details, and refused to put a date on its release.

Sun's chief operating officer and president Jonathan Schwartz claimed Sun's decision to eliminate the initial purchase price would help change the market for services by appealing to developers who traditionally lack purchasing power. By charging for services, Sun hopes to woo users who run its software in mission-critical environments and want a support contract with their software.

"Free certainly lowers the barrier to entry for acquiring a product. Free has been combined with open source, with Linux and Solaris to transform the economics of the market place and technology landscape," Schwartz said.

Focusing on Sun's news, Schwartz said: "Developers don't buy things, they join things... first and foremost we want to build developer volume, then we convert that volume into datacenter customers who won't run free products without support."

Sun has been wrestling with licensing and the concept of "volume" markets for years. While many inside Sun will feel Wednesday's news contributes to its strategy of "sharing", the reality is Sun is still looking for effective, long-term ways to grow software licensing and increase its share of the tools and middleware markets. In short, "sharing" has done little to boost revenue.

[Isn't it odd that a for-profit company code-named this software giveaway Red October? Is this Russia? This isn't Russia, Danny - Ed.]

Sun's move to subscription-based pricing with JES was considered an innovative move, and Sun has made slow but steady progress in convincing customers to switch. Sun has signed up a number of customers to JES, who it charged $140 per employee per year. Less than two years into subscriptions, though, Sun is changing the game plan and dedicating itself to services.

The decision to "give away" its entire software portfolio to grow market share is also predicated on rather weak foundations. Sun made its Java application server free two years ago in a move that has yet to translate into a volume market for Sun. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.