More websites run Windows Server 2003 than Solaris 9 despite it not launching officially until 24 April, making it the second most popular web server platform for the less popular operating systems.
The latest Netcraft Web Server survey shows that Microsoft's new flagship operating system moved ahead of Solaris 9 in the past couple of weeks, although it still remains some way behind market leader HP-UX.
Other operating systems to feature in the 'less popular web servers' category are NetWare, AS400 and even some OpenVMS installations.
Mike Prettejohn, director of NetCraft, said there was "no favourable interpretation of these results" for Sun. But the figures were not that awkward as, unlike Microsoft, Sun does not make much revenue from operating system upgrades, he added.
Solaris 9 launched in May 2002 but Sun.com is still running Solaris 8. "You would have thought Sun would be using Solaris 9 on its own systems. Whether it's standard practice or not, it would have been a good idea," said Prettejohn.
Microsoft.com, however, is at the opposite end of the product advocacy spectrum, having started running Windows 2003 last July, Netcraft said.
But in terms of web server software Microsoft is still beaten hands down by Apache, which has a dominant 62 per cent market share compared to Microsoft's 27 per cent.
"The jury is out as to whether the uptake of Server 2003 will have any effect on the number of Apache installations," said Prettejohn.
"What Apache should be worried about here is the very poor uptake of Apache 2, which the developers pushed quite hard. Microsoft is not the threat; a lack of Apache 2 users is."
The report also illustrated that Java-related technology has a much bigger impact on the web than the raw site numbers would suggest.
Over the last year JSP (Java Server Pages) has been the fastest growing scripting technology after Microsoft's ASP .Net.
JSP sites are often bigger, more complex, better funded and run by larger organisations than sites using the more common scripting technologies, said Netcraft.
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