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Open-Source Gambit: Sun Offers JES, N1 And Java Tools At No Cost

Sun Microsystems has announced that it will make available its entire software stack--its middleware, N1 management platform and Java development tools--at no cost and as open source software

The free stack, dubbed Solaris Enterprise System, offers cross-platform support and will be positioned as an alternative to stacks and operating systems from Microsoft and rivals. Among them: Windows, AIX, HP-UX and the open-source Linux operating system.

Most of the Solaris Enterprise System software is available immediately for free download, but the company will hold back about 20 percent of the total code until the first quarter, executives said.

Sun President Jonathan Schwartz said the company is adopting the same business model used by leading open-source middleware companies including Red Hat, JBoss and mySQL. Under that model, customers must still pay for a service and support contract to use the free software in-house.

While the savings will be negligible for corporate sites, the move will give developers free access to a fully integrated software system, and it will enable partners and SMB customers with fewer than 100 desktops to freely use Sun's high-end Unix software in-house.

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