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2/12/2007
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Sun Tries to Dim Lamp With Solaris

Today's releases include Solaris Express, Developer Edition; Solaris + AMP; and an expansion of Sun's Startup Essentials program.

Sun Microsystems plans on Tuesday to release three new offerings to help Internet developers deploy Web infrastructure on Sun's Solaris 10 operating system.

"The whole Web development community is accelerating again," says Juan Carlos Soto, Sun's VP of marketing, "and we think that Solaris is very well-positioned to be the premiere platform for this environment."

Today's releases include Solaris Express, Developer Edition, an OpenSolaris-based distribution for Solaris, Java, and Web 2.0 developers; Solaris + AMP (Apache/MySQL/Perl or PHP), an open source-based Web infrastructure stack designed for the Solaris 10 operating system; and an expansion of Sun's Startup Essentials program.

Solaris Express, Developer Edition aims to simplify installation so developers can be more productive for less cost. It includes an improved Gnome-based desktop and Sun development tools such as Sun Studio 11 software and NetBeans Integrated Development Environment 5.5, and more than 150 open source applications.

Developers using Solaris + AMP applications can participate in Sun's Try and Buy Program to receive a free 60-day trial of selected Sun hardware.

Sun Startup Essentials aims to make online hardware purchases painless for new companies with constrained capital. Sun is adding storage products to the low-cost servers it has been offering program members. Startup Essentials is available to any company that has been in business for 4 years or less and has a verifiable online presence, has no more than 150 employees, is based in the U.S., and agrees to Sun's terms and conditions.

Soto acknowledges that many companies today, especially startups, prototype their projects using available Lamp ["L" as in Linux] technology and commodity PCs. "It's certainly understandable why that would be the start, but we also want to make sure they have a chance to look at what Sun has to offer," Soto says. "And in many cases, it's no additional hurdle to work with Sun, and we hope it's a much better long-term road map for them."

That's the opinion of David Young, founder and CEO of on-demand application and infrastructure provider Joyent. "Solaris, unlike Linux, is a mature operating system on multiple processor boxes," he says. "The future is really about multi-core boxes. We decided we wanted an OS that's very mature on this kind of system. The nice thing about Sun is you get this very focused R&D behind the OS."

Joyent runs its on-demand collaboration service atop Sun Fire servers running OpenSolaris.

A critical part of the Sun platform for Joyent is Sun's DTrace technology. "Solaris DTrace allows us to observe the OS and all the processes running live, without a performance hit," he says. "And that's really important for making sure we have the most finely tuned systems."

Soto claims that Solaris has an advantage over Linux in terms of stability and security. That may be, but the disclosure of a zero-day vulnerability in Solaris 10 and 11 on Monday by the SANS Institute suggests that your mileage may vary.

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