Sun made a quite interesting announcement earlier this week, this fall actually has been full of interesting announcements from Sun.
This time they announced that more or less the entire Sun software suite will be open sourced and released free to use. Right on! I'd say! :)
Linux made it in through the backdoor
Why do so many small/medium sized companies use Linux on more or less all their servers? I believe one strong factor is simply because that's what the sysadmins know. Young admins, say 22-27 years old, grew up using Linux. Linux was the cool thing and if they wanted to play with a "UNIX-like" (jeje) OS Linux was the obvious choice. So when they get their first positions in small/medium companies with good growth potential they go for what they know and the people they report to doesn't complain since they see how "cheap" (free) Linux is, no need to care about support contracts.
Why both customers and Sun will benefit
Now Sun wants all these admins to look again, to be able to download and test all the awesome features and scalability JES provides. Oracle did partly the same a few years ago when they released most Oracle products free to use for testing and development. My very unscientific guess is that they have sold thousands of licenses based on testing and development made by curious admins and programmers that would never even have thought of using Oracle if they had to fork up the cash without testing it first.
Lets hope Sun can see the same benefits and that people will realize the benefits of running Sun software on Sun servers.
Deploy your application on a pair of X4100 Opteron servers today, cluster them using Sun Cluster server for free. A year down the line your business goes through the roof and you need to expand, now move your application to the a rack full of 64-core Niagra servers and get the support contracts your customers require... all this without modifying one single line of code. Now we see the benefits for both you and for Sun (hint hint you narrow minded financial analysts out there). And of course, if you do need to change code, the compilersa and development environments are also, yes you guessed it, free.
Read Scott McNealys interview in BusinessWeek.
Now why are you still reading this? You should be over here downloading all the enterprise class software you can take.