Intel's open source warning for Sun

Intel, the chip manufacturing giant, has warned Sun Microsystems that the economic slowdown could drive many enterprises to use...

Intel, the chip manufacturing giant, has warned Sun Microsystems that the economic slowdown could drive many enterprises to use open source operating systems rather than Sun's proprietary Solaris version of Unix.

Speaking at the Caldera Forum in California, Joe Jensen, general manager of the embedded architecture division at Intel, said companies that traditionally paid out for large, specialised systems running Solaris could no longer afford it, and instead would be driven to open source alternatives.

Jensen said such a move would be particularly appropriate in specialised areas such as communications. "This enables those of us who have been locked out of these proprietary systems to go in," he added.

Sun has made Solaris available on Intel architecture, but its most recent efforts have centred on its Sparc architecture.

"Solaris on Intel has been dead for the last two years," Jensen stated. "Our customers are now at a point where they have to make a choice. Do they go for a very expensive platform from Sun and stick with Solaris, or go with Intel and open source?"

Jensen's support for open source and Linux was tempered by calls for a warning to suppliers that only a small amount of money was currently being generated from this sector. And he echoed Caldera executives' calls earlier in the week for a unified Linux standard.

"You need to push on your suppliers to get to a standard Linux code base," he told the conference. He warned that if Linux continued on its current path, the market would become too fragmented and it would ultimately fail.

Meanwhile, the enterprise management giant Computer Associates has also been expounding the virtues of open source. Unlike its competitors, who claimed their support for open source was based on benefits to customers and developers, CA was frank about its agenda.

"We are in the process of moving Linux into the enterprise," said John Pinkham, CA's vice president of e-business platform marketing. "We are working with partners to make sure e-business can go forward and accelerate Linux so we can all make lots of money."

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