SUN Broadens Support For LINUX

Will Ship Linux for New Line of Low-End Systems and Make Aggressive Entry Into Systems Market

February 7, 2002

In a sweeping move, Sun Microsystems, Inc. expanded its support via a three-prong approach in support of the Linux operating system. First, Sun announced it will ship a full implementation of the Linux operating system. Second, Sun will dramatically expand its line of Sun Cobalt[tm] Linux appliances and will also introduce a new family of low-end general purpose Linux/x86-based systems. And third, it will more aggressively participate in the Linux community by freely offering key components of its Solaris[tm] operating environment software.

“Ultimately, customers need to develop and deploy new services quickly and across their corporate networks, as well as the entire Internet,” said Ed Zander, Sun’s president and chief operating officer. “By adding the Linux community to the hundreds of thousands of Solaris developers, and the nearly 3 million Java[tm]/XML developers, Sun’s customers have unified access to the broadest array of innovation in the industry on which to provide services. Sun remains the best open business opportunity for developers.”

“In addition, we have some of the industry’s most advanced UNIX®, Java™/XML experts now working to advance Linux with the key mission-critical features of the Java platform and Solaris operating environment,” he said. “We will now offer our customers an incredible value proposition by delivering our binary compatible industry leading system family running on the SPARC™ platform and Solaris software system which starts at less than one thousand and goes to nearly ten million dollars, along with our new Sun Linux low-end servers and Sun Cobalt appliances for emerging edge services applications. And with our Sun™ Open Net Environment(Sun ONE), Java- and XML-based software platform, developers can write to one software platform and run their applications or services across a vast array of systems.”

Announced today

  1. Sun will ship a full implementation of the Linux operating system.
  2. Sun will ship Linux on both its popular Sun Cobalt™ appliances and a new class of low-end single and multiprocessing x86-based servers, which will be announced in the near future.
  3. Sun will deliver the entire Sun ONE infrastructure software suite on the Linux platform. This is in addition to the existing Sun software that is already optimized for Linux, including the iPlanet™ Directory and Web Servers, the Java/XML platform, Forte™ for Java[tm] development tools, Project JXTA, StarOffice™ productivity suite, Sun[tm]Chili!Soft ASP and the Sun Grid Engine.
  4. Sun is shipping built-in Linux compatibility with Solaris today, enabling it to run Linux applications on any Solaris-based system. In addition, Sun announced a Linux compatibility assurance tool (LinCAT).
  5. GNOME, the most advanced Linux user environment, will become the preferred desktop for Solaris when GNOME 2.0 begins shipping later this year.
  6. 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. Today, companies such as SuSE and Lineo already support Linux native on Sun’s SPARC microprocessors.
  7. Sun will support its Linux products with a rich set of support and professional services.
  8. Sun will support Linux on its key Sun StorEdge™ line of storage systems and software.
  9. Sun will continue to be one of the largest contributors of intellectual property to the Linux and open source communities, and will offer contributions to the Linux kernel. As an example, Sun today released a new tool to the Linux community that aids application developers in assuring compatibility between Linux releases. ABIcheck was ported from Solaris to Linux and released under an open source license. Sun also announced its intention to open source key technologies in its implementation of the forthcoming Liberty Alliance Specification (an alliance to deliver an open standard for federated network identity).

Sun’s First General Purpose Linux Server

Sun will expand the use of Linux beyond its existing Sun Cobalt appliances. It will extend its ‘edge’ server family in order to address the growing demand for low-priced, horizontally scalable servers. Sun is already the world’s leading supplier of Linux-based appliance systems. Its Sun Cobalt line of server appliances starts at less than $1,000 and has an installed base of more than 100,000 units. The company will continue to enhance the Sun Cobalt line of Linux appliances beyond its current eight-inch square “Qube” and 1.75-inch high rack-mountable configurations.

In addition, by mid-year, Sun will disclose details of its new family of general purpose, low-end Linux servers, including single and multiprocessing systems capable of running the thousands of native Linux and Java applications. The systems will be sold through Sun’s direct sales force, by its reseller channel partners and via its online catalog and will be backed by Sun’s service and support organization and consulting practices.

The Sun Cobalt line will be sold along side Sun’s family of Sun Fire™ and Netra™ general purpose servers running the Solaris operating environment on the SPARC platform. These systems continue to offer a high level of RAS and scalability, can run the more than 10,000 Solaris applications and are binary compatible with Sun’s small-to-enterprise class Sun Fire family of servers.

Key Sun Software Now On Linux

A large portion of Sun’s software portfolio already runs on Linux. Sun will now deliver all of its Sun ONE software, as well as many other key software technologies, on the Linux platform. This includes the iPlanet, Java and Forte product portfolios. Other key software includes management and provisioning utilities, peer-to-peer technology and service delivery tools.

Linux Applications on Solaris

Solaris 8 runs Linux applications today. Sun also announced it is delivering built-in Linux compatibility in key programming interfaces, commands and utilities, and user environments. In addition, Sun is delivering LinCAT (Linux Compatibility Assurance Toolkit) to simplify the process of assuring Linux applications will run on its Sun Fire family of servers. Further, Sun announced that Solaris 9, now in early access, will provide even more built-in Linux commands, utilities and interfaces.

Linux on the SPARC Platform

Sun will continue to work with the Linux community to provide Linux running native on systems running the SPARC platform. In the embedded market, Lineo will adapt and support Lineo’s Embedix Linux operating system products to run on UltraSPARC processor-based end user developed custom hardware. Lineo is working to create a full-featured UltraSPARC processor-focused software development kit complete with the Lineo Embedix operating system. Developers will also have free access to a basic version of embedded Linux operating system fine tuned to run on the UltraSPARC processor.

Contributions to Open Source

Sun is already one of the largest providers of intellectual property to the Linux and open source communities. Sun has a 20-year history of participating in collaborative development. Sun today contributes resources and technology to free and open source projects including:,,,,,, WBEMsource Initiative, the University of Michigan NFS version 4 Linux port, the Grid Engine Project and Project JXTA.

Sun will extend its participation by offering key elements of its Solaris Operating Environment. With more than 7,000 architecture and software engineering experts, Sun has pioneered the use of UNIX in enterprise and service provider mission-critical environments. Sun will now apply this expertise to deliver key components of the Solaris operating environment to the Linux community.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision — “The Network Is The Computer[tm]” — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the Internet and allow companies worldwide to take their businesses to the nth. With $18.3 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Forte, iForce, iPlanet, Java, Netra, Sun Fire, Sun Enterprise, Sun Chili!Soft ASP, Sun Cobalt, Sun Grid, Sun StorEdge, Solaris, StarOffice and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the US and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.

LINUX is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.

UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, exclusively licensed through X/Open Company, Ltd