Sun’s Linux Desktop expected this summer

Mad Hatter

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Sun Microsystems Inc's alternative to Windows-desktop PCs is scheduled for a summer launch, slipping from Q1, with the company also preparing to change the system’s proposed route to market.

Santa Clara, California-based Sun said yesterday its Linux desktop, codenamed Mad Hatter, will ship this summer. However, the company told ComputerWire last September shipment was expected in the first quarter of 2003.

Sun yesterday denied a delay had occurred, insisting it was "on target". A Mad Hatter beta is now planned for spring, but Sun did not provide a precise date.

The company did reveal, though, that it will deliver Mad Hatter in a "multi-tier" strategy. Vice president of engineering for desktop solutions Curtis Sasaki told ComputerWire Sun will offer the desktop, a combination of the company’s ONE software and Intel Corp-based hardware, via original equipment manufacturers and value added resellers.

Sun originally envisaged sales through the company’s global sales organization, Sasaki said. He attributed the changes to the level of interest Sun received in the device.

"We are talking to OEMs and PC manufacturers. We will have a broader distribution strategy than when we first talked about it," he said. Sasaki added Sun would also repurpose enterprise customers’ existing hardware to use the Sun ONE desktop software stack, if asked.

Details of the system’s configuration and price, though, are still being played close to Sun’s chest. Sasaki said the PC would at least use a Pentium III processor, adding hardware must be robust enough to last the duration of an average corporate customer’s buying cycle. "It won’t be a low-end device because the PCs have to last for three to four years," he said.

Sasaki added price had yet to be finalized but that it will be "very competitive".

© ComputerWire

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