Open enterprise: Schwartz doesn't get Linux

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Misc

Scott McNealy is out. Jonathan Schwartz is in. And the future never looked brighter for Sun Microsystems—or so we're told. But if Sun's new CEO is going to convince me that his company can remain a dominant player in enterprise software, first he's going to have to get his story straight, particularly when it comes to Linux and open source.

Sun's been making bold moves lately. Its shift to subscription pricing for its enterprise software suites was, frankly, innovative. The decision to open source its Solaris operating system brought it late to the game, but was welcome nonetheless. On numerous occasions, Sun execs have expressed their intent to eventually open all of the company's software under similar terms (with the likely, albeit baffling, exception of Java).

But then, Sun has never been able to own up to the elephant-size mutt in the room. Say what you want about Microsoft's business practices, but at least give Redmond credit for giving up on pretending Linux doesn't exist.

If you look at Sun's public statements about Linux over the past few years, you can sum up its competitive strategy in three easy steps:

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In related news:

Last week Sun's brash, hockey-playing cofounder Scott McNealy, 51, vacated the CEO spot for his COO, 40-year-old Jonathan Schwartz. The two are stylistic opposites. Schwartz sports a ponytail, favors a suit and tie over jeans, and recently placed a big bet on giving away Sun's operating system, Solaris. The only Fortune 500 CEO to maintain a personal blog talked to NEWSWEEK's Brad Stone.

Full Interview.