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LinuxWorld: Sun commits to open source desktop, new alliances

Sun Microsystems had a busy day at LinuxWorld on Tuesday, announcing a new open-source desktop, Java 3D technologies and new partnerships.

SAN FRANCISCO –- Sun Microsystems showcased its open source-based desktop environment, new Java 3D desktop technologies and announced alliances with the Open Source Development Lab, AMD and SuSE Linux Tuesday at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo.

"Some people think we're barking at the moon, but we don't," Jonathan Schwartz, Sun Microsystems' executive vice president of software during a keynote Tuesday. Schwartz was referring to Sun's Project Mad Hatter. The project brings together all of Sun's investments in and solutions for the desktop, Schwartz said.

Sun is offering a better mousetrap, he said, in comparing Sun's offering with Microsoft's desktop. Project Mad Hatter matches Microsoft's desktop feature for feature but adds better security and interoperability via Java technologies, he said.

The new desktop will be launched in September and will run on the Linux and Solaris operating systems. It contains a new version of Sun's StarOffice office suite, new Java technology, the GNOME user interface, Ximian Evolution mail and calendaring, and Gaim instant messaging.

People think that "Sun is wasting its time on the desktop," Schwartz said. Instead, he said, Sun's desktop Java-Linux desktop strategy will open and grow new markets for network computing. "Java and Linux are going hand in hand," he said.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Sun and Linux are going hand-in-hand, too. It's true, he said, that Sun was slow to catch on to the power and popularity of Linux on Intel. But now, Sun is committed to Linux and open source computing.

To demonstrate that commitment, Schwartz said, Sun has contributed more than eight million lines of code to the open source community. Along those lines, Sun announced its new membership in the Open Source Development Lab consortium.

Schwartz also touted Sun's new global alliance with SuSE Linux. SuSE will become a Java 2 Standard Edition source licensee and distribute Sun's Java Virtual Machine. Sun will sell and support SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 of Sun's x86 systems.

Spreading its wings wider, Sun has teamed with AMD to add Java technology support for the 64-bit Opteron processor. This will give businesses greater flexibility in migrating current Java applications from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: coverage of LinuxWorld

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