Is anyone else *astounded* by the announcements coming out of the Sun Network event in San Francisco? I really am. From what I've heard and seen so far, Sun is really doing what it needs to do to both change their business model and communicate (read: market) their message. Check out this series of really well done online presentations on the Sun website. They've really got me sold and I hope they're doing the same for all those CIOs/CEOs out there as well.
It sounds to me like an insanely great deal: $100 per employee for *all* the server-side components that Sun produces from OS through App server to directory and mail servers and more. And you can use the software internally and externally - there's no additional fees for public usage. The desktop solution is basically a customized RedHat SuSe Linux plus StarOffice, but at only $60 per user per year, this also seems to be a decent deal, because remember, all of this comes integrated with support as well.
The message continues... 30 minute installs, no hidden fees, etc. etc. And not only have they wrapped all this up with an interesting new cost model, they've brought all the pieces under the Java umbrella, undoubtedly their single greatest company asset. "The Java System". Wow... It's like Sun finally accepted the fact that they can't push high-end boxes forever and finally realized that they need to look down the road a bit to a different way of doing business: They could either try to fight Microsoft on their own turf, or look towards Salesforce.com's services model and decided to try a combination of the above. Personally I think it's great. It's just like have a subscription to the MSDN libraries from Microsoft, but you get to *USE* all that software without having to worry about per-cpu or access licenses.
You might say that this is "same old Sun" because they obviously want you to run all this Java System stuff on top of Solaris boxes, but in each slide on the presentation both Linux and x86's were mentioned. Both on the desktop and the server. That doesn't look like the same old Sun to me. And they're not pushing "thin clients" either. That's full-on RedHat Linux they pushing for the desktop and that's a *good thing* no matter how you look at.
The question is whether this will work or whether Java will end up being sold at auction in a couple of years to IBM. That I can't tell you, but I for one feel a little better that Sun seems to be getting their stuff together, these new announcements definitely *feel* like the right direction to me...
McNealy still can't give an inspiring speech for his life, hey?