Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Sun Microsystems

Sun Gets Open Source Into NSW Government 164

lplatypus writes "ZDNet Australia reports that Sun Microsystems has "has cleared a place for its Java Enterprise System on the NSW government's software shelf, continuing its campaign to weaken Microsoft's monopoly over the desktop." The Age clarifies that Sun's offering includes open source components such as Linux, Gnome, Mozilla and Evolution. Another article is at Australian IT, or see Sun's press release."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sun Gets Open Source Into NSW Government

Comments Filter:
  • Madhatter for free? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by batura ( 651273 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @01:11AM (#7335815)
    One of the things I haven't been able to figure out (probably haven't looked hard) is if MadHatter is going to be avaiable for free download. I know Sun is trying to make a little money off of corporations (that 100/year/user thing), but what about the rest of us?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      All of the software in it is free, except for staroffice which you can buy from them if you want to (or use openoffice). Aside from the lame gnome theme it really is just suse linux or something. In terms of desktop GUI consistency it actually looks a lot worse than, say, the latest redhat releases: there is no attempt to unify the gnome, mozilla and staroffice appearances (this despite the fact that if they would just set mozilla to use the classic theme, it will try to assume the gtk look -- no, all th
    • by Jahf ( 21968 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @01:27AM (#7335882) Journal
      No, it won't be, at least for this first release.

      Java Desktop System, aka Mad Hatter, is built on top of SuSE Linux Desktop 1.0. Since SLD is a non-free distribution, Sun hasn't secured the rights to put it up for download.

      Right now JDS is integrated into the basic install process along with the branded SuSE distribution, therefore it is not available as a separate add-on CD like Ximian Desktop 2.

      I'm not saying it never will be able to do something like this, only that this initial release will not. In the future it may be possible download in some form when JDS runs on additional platforms.

      Of course, you can build a nearly functional equivalent using whatever Open Source OS you wanted along with the various desktop softwares. Some (not all) of the things you won't get will be:

      * The Evolution Sun ONE Calendar Server connector

      * The "Blueprint" theme / look / feel

      * Various improvements to each of the software modules (unless you incorporate the Sun patches which have not yet been incorporated into the main project trees ... and yes, Sun does submit back as required)

      * Improved Internationalization / Localization (though this first release will have limited improvements here)

      Also, it's $50/year/user, but to get that pricing you have to have a Java Enterprise System (JES) subscription (which is $100/user/year, making it $150/user/year for JES + JDS).

      There is a separate JDS shrinkwrap pricing model which is $100/system/year ... that's per system, not per user, so it may be more beneficial in some situations and less in other.

      • Also, it's $50/year/user, but to get that pricing you have to have a Java Enterprise System (JES) subscription (which is $100/user/year, making it $150/user/year for JES + JDS).

        What's not immediately clear is the fact that you must license 100 users as a minimum, making a minimum investment of $150,000/year! I spoke to Jonathan Schwartz [sun.com] shortly after all of this was announced and he confirmed the minimum requirement, but didn't rule out changing (reducing) it in the future.

        • Wrong math (Score:2, Informative)

          by Bateman ( 61872 ) *
          that's $15,000 NOT $150,000. If you only need madhatter it's 100 * 100 = $10,000
          • Except that if I remember right the minimum Java Enterprise System subscription is 1,000 (so the parent probably just typo'ed the 100 instead of miscalculating by a factor of 10). Therefore it is a minimum cost of $150,000 for JES + JDS.

            For a large corporation with a large deployment it is not a big deal.

            For SMB (small / medium business) or home users, it obviously makes the $100/desktop much more attractive since there is no minimum order under that pricing model.

            Additionally the $100/desktop is the ful
      • Discussion of cost is premature. Wait until release. Sun has to figure highest low-price necessary to achieve market-penetration goals. To get 'serious' market penetration, they may have to introduce Madhatter at below cost and ratchet-up fees later, once people "are hooked."
    • by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @01:57AM (#7335974)
      Madhatter won't be free.

      However Madhatter is largely based on GPLed software. GPL is (despite our BSD loving friends' statements to the contrary) an assurance that pretty much all of Madhatter will be free and "the rest of us" therefore will be able to enjoy any contribution that Sun Makes to Gnome or mozilla.

      And it of course goes without saying that we will be able to enjoy the advancements in java that will occur when Sun integrates it more with the Linux desktop. (including the usage of GTK in java's UI allowing java programs to work better with GTK programs and even slightly better with QT based programs.

      • GPL is (despite our BSD loving friends' statements to the contrary).

        For all the zealots, how about this compromise: release your software under both licenses. Oh god, the horror! People can feel safe under the GPL version and put the BSD version to real useful work.

        • How about *THIS* compromise...release your software under the GPL, and offer to SELL BSD licenses. Why let them rip you off? Take a toll.
          • SELL BSD licenses

            You'd sell one license. It would only one customer to mirror it on line. BSD and GPL licenses aren't appropriate for generating profit from the software itself; the profit has to come from other sources, such as service, support, or some other value adding feature.
        • If one was to release their works under the BSD licence and the GPL licence, people wanting to "embrace and extend" would simply use the BSD licence, and we wouldn't get any of the protection that the GPL offers.

          How is that a compromise? It sounds more like total acceptance of the BSD licence and usage of the GPL for show.

          • How is that a compromise?

            From my experience as a commercial developer, my motivation isn't "embrace and extend" to take over the world, rather I'd like to integrate open source into portions of my code (typically in-house type stuff). BSD is pretty close to the public domain, and it allows a net global savings of work by allowing code reuse explicitly. For example, why spend a day or two trying to figure out base-64 encoding, code it up, and test it, when there is a free implementation just sitting ther
  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @01:11AM (#7335819) Journal

    Hmm... this would seem to be a good thing for Open Source... except, how Open Source is Sun's Java Enterprise System? Admittedly, this is the first I've really looked into it.

    However, the company has to overcome heavy market inertia favouring Microsoft's proprietary server and client software product sets, particularly its ubiquitous office productivity suite Microsoft Office.

    Why does everybody always point the finger at Office? While it's a pain in the foot to deal with those .doc files if you don't use it (converters and built-in support aside), the problem (at least where I work -- would this not hold true in most places?) is that our _vendors_ for our company specific software (in our case, Insurance, but friends of mine who work in the medical or automotive fields would say the same thing) base their solutions around Windows workstations and Windows servers. I can't very well ditch Windows in my Enterprise environment without a comparable solution to do what we need (manage an Independent Insurance Agency) in Linux/Unix/Apple/whatever.

    Does anybody realistically see that changing anytime soon?

    • Yes, that is a huge stumbling block to implementing anything other then Windows at any given company. Everything has hooks into Word/Excel/Outlook-MAPI/ etc. There's just nothing you can do about it right now. There aren't any comparable apps on the other side of the fence yet. Yet. I, too, hope for change in that area.

      -m
      • Yes, that is a huge stumbling block to implementing anything other then Windows at any given company. Everything has hooks into Word/Excel/Outlook-MAPI/ etc. There's just nothing you can do about it right now. There aren't any comparable apps on the other side of the fence yet. Yet. I, too, hope for change in that area.

        Exactly. If Sun approached us with this solution I would say something like, "It looks real nice. Come back to us when you have convinced our vendors to rewrite their systems around it"

        T

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Most of these apps are classic client-server and could easily be ported to another RDBMS such as Oracle. However, the program logic is often in Visual Basic or Borland stuff and pretty much stranded on Windows.

          "M$SQL" is appealing to this market because it can run simple applications without DBA support. Also, MS is willing to cut deals with app developers.

          However, for shops that haven't bought MS-SQL licences, the DB Server can often cost as much or not more than than the application software. Thus, it's
          • I don't know about the visual basic stuff, but using Borland is no problem at all.
            Aside from using Kylix for Linux, or C++ Builder for Windows or Symbian,
            there are all kinds of components that can easily replace the standard Borland stuff, if it does not fit your database.
            I' ve seen quite large (100.000 lines) apps move from Access to Paradox to MySQL to MSSQL and vice-versa. It's not difficult to do.
            I esp. like the ZeosLib. (it's on sourceforge somewhere)
            (Open Source MSSQL, MySQL, PostGre, Oracle)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well that may be true but your argument works the other way too. If the NSW government uses Star Office for all it's documents then people who want to read files from the government will have to have Star Office / Open Office. Since the NSW government is a large organisation then those companies which deal with the government (which would be a lot) would also have to use star office and so on and so forth.

      That's exactly how MS works - I have it and so you must too - but now change it around so it becomes -
      • Except that, since StarOffice can read/write MS Office files very well, they could make available both StarOffice files and MS Office files, and accept both. StarOffice has filters for WordPerfect too, so they could accept such files too.

        That gives people more choice.

      • governmental organisations...interact with so many people.

        It's very good.

        If a government agency sends out paperwork to vendors in a .doc file, they're implicitly requiring the vendor to pay for MS Word to decrypt it.

        Governments shouldn't be needlessly forcing people to make such an expenditure.

        With OpenOffice documents, the public at large is able to read documents without any hidden charges. Later, they may find that OOo provides acceptable performance for the price compared with MS Office and use it

    • You are locked in. You have no choice but to use MS products and upgrade when they tell you to.

      I think that maybe other companies will look at your situation and decide that they don't want to be where you are. Keep posting on slashdot about the awful situation you find yourself in. It's too late for you but other people can learn from your mistakes.

      Thank you for providing such powerful testimony to the evils of being locked in by one vendor.
      • It's too late for you but other people can learn from your mistakes.

        Well, the sad thing is, I don't think we (or many of those in our shoes) made too many mistakes. We literally don't have a choice. We can either accept a prepackaged Agency Management solution (there are only three or four major vendors out there that are industry accepted -- we were also somewhat limited because we had to choose one that could import our old data -- without too much hassle -- from the old Novell setup), design and suppo

    • by Arker ( 91948 )

      Hmm... this would seem to be a good thing for Open Source... except, how Open Source is Sun's Java Enterprise System? Admittedly, this is the first I've really looked into it.

      It's a lot more Open Source than it is Java.

      Except for shipping with Suns Java installed (not unusual,) it doesn't seem to have anything to do with Java at all. Branding. Spew.

      I'm not involved with it so this isn't firsthand, but from what I've read it's pretty much a standard Linux desktop distro, with a Sun theme, and a few pat

      • What specifically are you looking for software to do? My experience with Insurance software is quite out of date, but I remember a contact manager, datebook, a general accounting package with a very small amount of customisation, and a program to dial into the national headquarters and sync data. Oh, and a few scripts to tie it all together. Is that the sort of stuff you're thinking of? If it's anything like what I've seen it wouldn't take very many man-hours really.

        Spoken like a true software developer
      • What specifically are you looking for software to do? My experience with Insurance software is quite out of date,

        We have a complete Agency Management solution that tracks our customers (Personal & Commercial), policies they have (or used to have), billing, accounting, marketing, bah bah bah bah. Not to plug our vendor, because that's hardly the point of this discussion, but here they are [ams-services.com] if you are curious to learn more.

        In theory, it could be rewritten to use Linux/Unix as a server platform (or anyth

    • Why does everybody always point the finger at Office?

      Because Microsoft Office is the 6 foot, 400 pound, hairy, toothless grin, bald gorilla in the patched leather armour that keeps the prisoners in Microsoft's lock-in.

      It's a sad fact of our current society that most businesses require 100% compatibility with Microsoft Office, and Microsoft have been smart enough to implement it with enough flaws that 100% compatibility is not desirable, let alone achieveable.

      The target for the desktop market is not the
    • ...I can't very well ditch Windows in my Enterprise environment without a comparable solution to do what we need...

      Does anybody realistically see that changing anytime soon?

      This is one of the greatest strengths of Open Source; it's all about what you need. Why not collaborate with other businesses in your field to create the open source tools you need?

      There are a great many insurance agencies around the world. This is an imense talent pool. Perhaps not all are technically skilled, but they at least have

      • There are a great many insurance agencies around the world. This is an imense talent pool. Perhaps not all are technically skilled, but they at least have an intimate knowledge of the problem domain. Work together. Don't wait for someone to ride in on a white horse and sell it to you!

        I could foresee this happening sometime. Though if I tried to sell it to my boss the response would be something like, "Umm... collaborate with our competition to create a new solution that we will give away when ours works f

        • All else being equal:

          • Company A is one of an ever-shrinking number of customers of a proprietary software company.
          • Company B colaborates with hundreds of other companies in the field to create the software it needs
          • Company C creates all of it's software in-house and keeps it secret.

          Which company has the best long-term results?

          Which do you think is more likely in our modern times? People setting aside their differences to work together or the latter scenario? ;)

          You mean like Sun, SGI, and IBM all contrib

        • "Umm... collaborate with our competition to create a new solution that we will give away when ours works fine for the most part?"
          Sounds counterproductive, but that is the strategy for survival. There is competition within a species and competition between species. While it is desirable to be the best within your species, the strategy loses if your species loses to other species.
          • Sounds counterproductive, but that is the strategy for survival

            Don't get me wrong I completely agree with both of the proceeding posts. The problem is convincing others (mostly in Management and not even IS) of that. It's hard enough to get a senior IT guy who has bought into Microsoft's mantra of "Enterprise Ready" (and Linux not being) to allow you to use a Linux box as a simple NAT router/basic firewall, let alone convincing senior management (half of whom only learned how to use a mouse yesterday) th

        • I could foresee this happening sometime.

          Apparently, it already has. I was searching FreshMeat [freshmeat.net] for accounting software today when I stumbled upon this project [freshmeat.net]. Their website [bike24.net] says

          CC-Manager is an open-source project which is released under GPL.

          It's written for insurance and/or investment brokers. The program will help you to manage customers, contracts, claims, dates etc....

          .

    • Why does everybody always point the finger at Office?

      I point the finger at Office because of Outlook (and Exchange).
    • Sun Microsystems has "has cleared a place for its Java Enterprise System on the NSW government's software shelf, continuing its campaign to weaken Microsoft's monopoly over the desktop

      Does this mean that Sun will start using Java internally? Because they dont, in case you didnt know; it was too buggy, and they found it lacking in version control.

      It may not be good enough for Sun, but its good enough to sell to governments!

    • Yes. I work as a developer in the Insurance Software industry and a good number of companies seem to be moving to Java. I can't speak for Claims Processing but things like Sales Illustration and Benefit Query systems are being built around browsers and servlets. I've also seen Rating Engines developed to be embedded in EJBs and provide rates as a service via XML. What I haven't seen is a lot of new client side stuff being developed. The old desktop VB apps are being replaced. Now, I'm certain that som
    • Would it be techincally possible/legal for an organisation to buy Office and set up a server where documents could be posted and then returned in some other format? The only issue here as I see it is if the documents to be converted are confidential. I guess you could do this at the organisational level - one such server per company or educational establishment. Perhaps ISP's could offer this service, given that the documents may well be sent (unencrypted) through them in the first place.

    • insurance companies using windows? snort. irony meter pegged.

      here's a hint to those shopping for cheaper insurance (or any other service for that matter): ask the vendor if they use usloth servers. if so, that's maintenance overhead that you are paying too much for, overhead that could have been spent on you instead.

      next time you get in an accident and the check doesn't come swiftly (enough) you now have a new question to ask. lucky you!

  • Good for them (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @01:21AM (#7335859) Journal
    Perhaps their stock will go up in the coming weeks. If Sun does in fact have a future that doesn't end in bankruptcy or in the belly of some other corporation, then their stock price been seriously undervalued for quite some time now, at 1/20th of what it was in 2000.
    • Perhaps their stock will go up in the coming weeks. If Sun does in fact have a future that doesn't end in bankruptcy or in the belly of some other corporation, then their stock price been seriously undervalued for quite some time now, at 1/20th of what it was in 2000.

      Or were they seriously overvalued like every other Tech stock was in 2000? (and not just dot-coms.... cellular carriers like Nextel come to mind)

      • I didn't mean to suggest that their stock would reach its 2000 levels, just that it will probably increase as a result of the initial success of their new product and pricing scheme. Their survival depends greatly on their ability to get out of the nearly dead overpriced_incompatible_super_servers_with_five_f i gure_per_cpu_licensing market, and their chances of doing it look a lot better than they did a couple months ago. They've have a lot of talent, and are finally refocusing it on more viable products a
        • They've have a lot of talent, and are finally refocusing it on more viable products and services.

          True enough. I didn't mean to suggest that Sun was a worthless dot-com that deserved to die either :) I wish them well. Competition is rarely a bad thing, and anybody trying to reduce MS's marketshare deserves our respect.

  • Chip away! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by magiluke ( 629097 )
    "...continuing its campaign to weaken Microsoft's monopoly over the desktop." Just keep chipping away. It isn't going to happen tomorrow, but every little movement counts.
  • by Qweezle ( 681365 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @02:06AM (#7336001) Journal
    Sun has to get this sort of support, but from larger governments and organizations, if the stock market is to ever look upon Sun's stock(SUNW) as positive and solid ever again. Once upon a time, many may forget, but there was indeed a time when Sun was well over 60 dollars a share, and the stock market was beaming with joy at the little server company that could. Then, the econonomic bubble exploded, (or imploded, you could say), and Sun started to decline in spite of small innovations, their competitors became too heavy. Sun's new offerings, specifically the Java Virtual Desktop System, are very good looking, and I am a Sun investor at 4.07(now at 3.55), and I hope others may buy into Sun's [lucrative] price.
  • Mozilla browser (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pingular ( 670773 )
    The article just says 'Mozilla Browser', I wonder whether this means Mozilla [mozilla.org] or Firebird [mozilla.org]?
    On another (possibly related note), the front page of Mozilla.org is displaying the following message:
    Mozilla Foundation Launches Mozilla 1.5, End User Services
    We are pleased to announce new versions of Mozilla 1.5, the award winning Internet suite, and new Technology Preview releases of Mozilla Firebird (version 0.7) and Mozilla Thunderbird (version 0.3).

    Maybe this and Sun's announcement [zdnet.com.au] have been timed so they
  • Wow, Sun is really busy today, what with all the flare ups and stuff. I wonder how Sun's stock is doing. Hot perhaps? Hmmmm?
  • two edged sword (Score:4, Interesting)

    by penguin7of9 ( 697383 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @05:19AM (#7336378)
    Sun is using open source to fill in big gaps in their software offerings, but what they sell also has a significant proprietary component. In particular, a lot of the Java-related products are proprietary.

    On balance, this is probably still good for open source and open systems. But we have to be wary of Sun: they are not an open source company, and many of their efforts are not in the best interest of the open source community.
    • "But we have to be wary of Sun: they are not an open source company..."

      And what, pray tell, is your definition of an "open source company"? One that owns no intellectual property? Could you give an example?

      Yeah, so Java ain't GPL'd. Big effin' deal. The specs are freely available to anybody who wants to implement 'em. So Solaris ain't free. Neither is AIX.

      "...and many of their efforts are not in the best interest of the open source community."

      Yeah, they're a publicly-traded company, just like I

      • And what, pray tell, is your definition of an "open source company"? One that owns no intellectual property? Could you give an example?

        Defining what is an open source company is hard. But a company whose officials refer to open source software like Linux and Gnome as "open source crap" and that tells programmers "not to worry about licenses" does not qualify as far as I'm concerned. Furthermore, Sun's business interests clearly are not aligned with the overall success of open source: Sun's value propos
  • Good start (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chegosaurus ( 98703 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:34AM (#7336660) Homepage
    I'm no Linux/Open Source zealot, and have little time for those who are. I don't even particularly hate Microsoft (I hate using most of their products, but that's another story), but it makes me angry to even think about the amount of the taxpayer's money that they cream off, when there are free solutions that work equally well. This is a good start at least.

    What I'd *really* like to see isn't just the OS replaced on workers' desktop PCs, but a lot of those PCs replaced with VTs. Cheap to buy, cheap to run, and set up to provide only the applications people need to do their job. No tossing it off on the web all day, no Internet usage policies, no clueless outsourced PC support department, just a big old Unix server (or two) conencted to dumb terminals, with users trained in the one or two pieces of software they really need. Not suitable for everyone of course, but perfect for a lot of setups. I'm going OT I know. Sorry.
    • You are, of course, exactly right. But, at least where I work, now that workers have gotten used to having the full power of a real pc at their disposal (by which I mean they are able to browse the web at anytime, play solitaire, or go on AIM), it's going to be like pulling teeth to get them off of them. I have nightmares about switching a few of our users, who get mad if we even try to patch "their" windows machines (though we've recently moved over to AD & SUS for that, it's only a slightly smaller
    • Having once run a small microcomputer for an office... you don't know what you are saying. Possibly large corporations can actually benefit by this kind of system, but not small one's. The cost of the terminal is about the same as the cost of the computer..esp. if you low bid it. The cost of the contention is difficult to immagine. Even now people are upset when their e-mail & internet connection goes down, if their entire computer went down... the company might as well declare a half holiday while
  • I can never figure out what this sun wants.

    It likes linux, then it trashes linux, then it pays SCO to trash it, then it promotes linux again, and then it hurls solar flares at earth.
  • From what I've seen, the Java Desktop System runs on top of SuSe Linux. But the major components such as Gnome, Mozilla, StarOffice, and Evolution will compile on Solaris too. So why isn't Sun using this to push x86 Solaris instead of Linux? Is it because of crappy hardware support for PCs in Solaris? Certainly, I would think that Sun knows their own OS and could get it to work. Certainly it wouldn't cost them much extra to press a few more Solaris CDs, license them at the $100 per user, keep the all th

Dreams are free, but you get soaked on the connect time.

Working...