Gartner ITxpo: Sun's McNealy claims users prefer to pay for open-source software

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Gartner ITxpo: Sun's McNealy claims users prefer to pay for open-source software

John Riley
Leading businesses prefer to pay for free Linux-based software, said Scott McNealy, president and chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems, speaking at the Gartner Group's ITxpo in Orlando.

He told delegates of a major Swiss bank which was only happy when it paid up to $80 a seat for an enterprise version of Star Office, even though the open-source version is free.

McNealy said any user crisis of confidence in Sun was misplaced. The company has $6bn (£3.8bn) cash, no long-term debt, and domination in the 64-bit market. "We did too well monetising the dotcom bubble," he added, criticising financial analysts for marking down Sun shares as a result.

Sun was correct in selling both Unix-based Solaris and Linux at the same time, said McNealy, adding that Solaris is geared to the 64-bit environment, but he admitted he had thought many more users would have moved to 64-bit by now.

He said that the economic climate meant that users were satisfied with a "good enough" environment.

McNealy also urged users not to pay for middleware. "If you are paying for middleware - stop! - It's only a feature," he said.

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