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12/11/2003
11:00 AM
Scot Finnie
Scot Finnie
Commentary
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Sun And Linux Are Building Steam

I don't know about you, but I'm getting more than a little tired of the all-SCO-all-the-time Linux and open-source news we're getting inundated with of late

I don't know about you, but I'm getting more than a little tired of the all-SCO-all-the-time Linux and open-source news we're getting inundated with of late. I don't blame the news organizations, of course. SCO is doing a masterful job of keeping itself in the news. It's hard to imagine a hotter topic than SCO Group's insistence that Linux has ripped off its copyright -- no matter what any of us might feel about the claim. The outcome of the IBM suit and others could have a very deep impact on Linux and open source in general.

To me, however, the more interesting stories this week and over the last several concern Sun Microsystems. The well-known UNIX company, which many believe had hit bottom with an aging market strategy, appears to be turning lemons into lemonade.

Early this week, Sun announced that the government of the United Kingdom will test Sun's Java Enterprise System and Java Desktop System (a Linux-based desktop OS comprised of open-source components such as the Mozilla browser and Star Office) in government agencies. Last month Sun announced a contract with a Chinese software consortium to distribute JDS to citizens of China. According to published reports, the State of Massachusetts and the Brazilian government are also considering open-source solutions.

It's too early to tell whether Sun Microsystems is on the comeback trail based in part on open-source software and the Linux operating system. But the company joins IBM, Red Hat, and most probably Novell/SuSE in lining up to capitalize on the fruits of open-source efforts. Things are getting very interesting, indeed.

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