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Is Sun Solaris on its deathbed?

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Linux is enjoying growth, with a contingent of devotees too large to be called a cult following at this point. Solaris, meanwhile, has thrived as a longstanding, primary Unix platform geared to enterprises. But with Linux the object of all the buzz in the industry, can Sun's rival Solaris Unix OS hang on, or is it destined to be displaced by Linux altogether?

The case for Solaris's demise
Sun officials believe the 16-year-old Solaris platform remains a pivotal, innovative platform. But at the Linux Foundation, there is a no-conciliatory stance; the attitude there is to tell Solaris and Sun to move out of the way. "The future is Linux and Microsoft Windows," says foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. "It is not Unix or Solaris."

Solaris, he said, has almost no new deployments and is a legacy operating environment offered by a company with financial difficulties. Original equipment manufacturers also do not see a bright future for Solaris, he claims.

By contrast, Linux is the overwhelming choice for new deployments on x86 systems, Zemlin says. Sun has had its strength in applications such as ERP systems with a seven- to 20-year life cycle, he adds. "What's starting to happen is those life cycles are starting to be completed," and those customers are moving to Linux.

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