Sun Microsystems is to intensify its Linux support.
In a dramatic move away from the use of its own Solaris operating system (OS), Sun is to sell general-purpose Linux servers, expand its line of Cobalt Linux appliances and offer key components of Solaris software for free.
Sun said it will soon ship an expanded line of low-end Linux servers based on the industry standard x86 chip architecture, and not on the company's proprietary UltraSparc processor.
In a conference call Sun's president and chief operating officer, Ed Zander, said the decision to offer x86-servers running Linux did not come from competition such as IBM, Dell and Compaq.
"When a Linux application runs in Solaris, you get superior scalability that comes with Solaris," Zander said. "The aim is to offer users alternatives to Microsoft and IBM."
Details about the Sun Linux distribution and low-end Linux-based systems were in short supply as no prices or actual product details were made available.
Sun said it will continue to enhance its Cobalt Linux server arm, which has sold Linux server appliances for some time, beyond its current 8-inch square Qube and 1.75-inch high rack-mountable configurations.
Zander also said Sun will ship a full implementation of the Linux operating system and that the company will commit the entire Sun Open Net Environment (One) implementation to Linux.
In addition, he said Sun will expand its partnering with the Linux community to provide native support of Linux on SPARC systems for both the telecommunications and embedded markets.
The Solaris 8 operating system is now shipping with enhanced Linux capabilities, and Sun will make the Gnome Linux desktop interface the "preferred desktop for Solaris when Gnome 2.0 begins shipping this year," Zander said.
Sun also said it would "aggressively participate in the Linux community" by offering key components of its Solaris operating system for free.
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