Six weeks after discontinuing its own version of Linux, Sun Microsystems Inc. Monday said that it will sell and support all three of Red Hat Inc.'s Enterprise Linux operating systems on Sun x86 server hardware. The two companies said the global deal will also include plans for Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat to distribute Sun's Java technology.
Under the deal, Sun will sell and support all x86 versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES and Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS.
In April, Sun dropped its own Linux distribution based on Red Hat Linux after many users shunned it because they didn't want yet another version of Linux to support in their businesses.
"The combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Sun's x86 systems affirms our commitment to the open-source community," Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of software for Sun, said in a statement. "This relationship is the first of many efforts we expect to drive together with Red Hat on the Linux and Java front."
In collaboration with Red Hat, Sun will provide global services and support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the companies said.
"Sun's decision to implement Red Hat Enterprise Linux for their hardware and software solutions furthers our goal to expand offerings to customers who want to develop and deploy integrated solutions on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Java, from the smallest of devices to multinode clusters," Tim Buckley, Red Hat's chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at market research firm IDC in Framingham, Mass., said Sun's new strategy of partnering with Red Hat makes more sense than its attempt to go it alone with its own version of Linux.
"I think that what Sun has decided to do is to work with the leading supplier of Linux software" to make it as reliable and workable as Sun's Solaris operating system. "It's probably the best choice in this marketplace," Kusnetzky said.
Bill Claybrook, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston, agreed that the alliance with Red Hat is a smarter direction for Sun than its earlier work with incorporating Linux. "I don't know anybody who thought Sun having their own Linux was a good idea," Claybrook said.
The new plan "will help tremendously," he said. "It will help them as much as they want it to help, on the Linux side at least."
Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be available from Sun by the summer and will be supported on the recently announced x86 based systems, including the Sun Fire V60x and V65x systems. Future x86 products from Sun will also support Red Hat Enterprise Linux, according to Sun.--Computerworld (US online)