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Sun nabs innotek's 20MB of open source, virtualized goodness

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Sun Microsystems has gone very granola by buying desktop virtualization software player innotek. (The small 'i' stands for big innovation or something like that.)

Innotek pushes software called VirtualBox (less than 20MB) that lets developers run multiple operating systems and display them side-by-side on their screen. So, you can hop back and forth, testing your code across Windows, Linux, Mac and OpenSolaris. Beyond the development angle, VirtualBox handles basis PC and server virtualization tasks.

We're calling this a granola buy for a couple reasons. First off, German-based innotek has released VirtualBox under the GPL. Secondly, look at these folks' web site.

American - make that savvy - readers may find the innotek name hilarious, since it's also the name of the main company in the classic film OfficeSpace, although that's Innotech, which competes with Intertrode. Also, you do not want to confuse the German innotek with the American Innotek, which sells pet collars. Hit up .de, please.

[Okay, okay. It's Initech in the movie, but, come on, how many chances does one get to use this gag? - Ed]

With virtualization earning "all the rage" status, the large vendors have shifted into "no wee vendor is safe" mode. Market leader VMware has used its IPO momentum to buy a number of smaller software and services firms, and Microsoft made a desktop splash last month by buying Calista.

Like VMware, Microsoft and Citrix, Sun wants to offer a broad set of virtualization software. It's selling all of that code under the xVM brand.

Sun's software chief Rich Green used the innotek purchase as an excuse to highlight not only xVM but also any other Sun software product he could remember.

"VirtualBox provides Sun with the perfect complement to our recently announced Sun xVM Server product," Green said. “Where Sun xVM Server is designed to enable dynamic IT at the heart of the datacenter, VirtualBox is ideal for any laptop or desktop environment and will align perfectly with Sun’s other developer focused assets such as GlassFish, OpenSolaris, OpenJDK and soon MySQL as well as a wide range of community open source projects, enabling developers to quickly develop, test and deploy the next generation of applications."

Sun declined to disclose terms of the acquisition but expects the deal to close in the next couple of months. ®

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