System News
Cultivating a Solaris and Linux Operating Environment
Sun's VP for Software Explains the Company's Objectives
September 27, 2004,
Volume 79, Issue 5

...customers make architectural decisions...My job is to give them the most compelling opportunities.

-- John Loiacono

Reiterating that SolarisTM Operating System (Solaris OS) is not in competition with Linux, Sun's Vice President for Software John Loiacono says the company's lack of control over Linux, but with undeniable respect for the open-source platform, has led Sun to embrace both operating systems.

"The reason we have both Solaris and Linux is that I don't control the Linux [intellectual property], which limits my ability to innovate," Loiacono told eWEEK's Senior Editor Peter Galli. "While Solaris is part of our crown jewels, the real crown jewel is JavaTM (technology), and we are trying to push people to write to Java so it doesn't matter what operating system you have." Loiacono pointed out that Sun is devoting a large portion of its portfolio toward Linux due to customer and developer demands. "I think Linux is great. If I didn't, I wouldn't spend the time and effort to take my entire middleware portfolio and port it to Linux. I wouldn't take my entire desktop development and port it to Linux, and I wouldn't port all my tools and my management framework," Loiacono explained. "I wouldn't do all that on Linux if I didn't think it was going to be around."

Company statements affirming Sun's intent to continue to invest in Solaris OS has nothing to do with Linux, Loiacono stated, although speculators have interpreted this statement as a challenge targeted directly at Linux. According to the Sun executive those assertions are just not true. "My position is that customers make architectural decisions," he said, "be it Linux or Solaris or Windows or Nacona or Opteron or SPARCR. My job is to give them the most compelling opportunities."

And, "compelling" is part of his future goal for Solaris OS. Specifically, his main objective is to ensure Solaris OS is "the most compelling aggregation of all environments." He noted that the IT community's primary objections to Solaris OS have been mostly targeted at cost and the desire to have it open-sourced, both of which are currently being addressed.

"Solaris now runs on 230 non-Sun-branded hardware platforms. We have over 1,100 applications. The price has been lowered dramatically, and there will be even-more-disruptive pricing mechanisms applied to Solaris," he said. "I'm trying to make Solaris a superstack. I'm not saying I'm trying to merge all the code, but what I am saying is that if you find value in Linux, I'll offer those attributes so you don't have to sacrifice by picking Solaris. If you find value in Windows using an application, if you find value in Solaris, I want to merge those together."

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