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Ed Zander, Sun's president and chief operating officer, said the company would soon begin shipping an expanded line of low-end Linux servers based on Intel-compatible (x86) processors.
Zander claimed the low-end market's need for simple, inexpensive servers running Linux is growing.
The decision to offer x86-based servers represents a huge departure from Sun's dedication to its own Sparc chip architecture. In fact, the company announced last year that Solaris 9, the next version of its Unix operating system, would not support Intel chips.
Zander pitched Sun as an alternative to Intel and Microsoft in the low-end market. "The issue with the low-end PC model is the Microsoft taxes and when you get in to the higher Intel side, the Intel taxes, and we can avoid both of those with our low-end [x86] boxes," he claimed
Zander also announced that Sun "will ship a full implementation of the Linux operating system," and the company was committed to putting the entire SunOne implementation to Linux.
Native support for Linux on Sun's UltraSparc chips, a rich new set of Linux support services, storage initiatives on Linux, and increased code contributions from Sun to the Linux development community will also begin to happen, Zander said.