Home > In the News > Customers Await Sun-Microsoft Integration Customers Await Sun-Microsoft Integration Eugenia Loli 2004-05-16 In the News 21 Comments Cooperation between Sun Microsystems and Microsoft probably won’t drastically alter the information technology landscape, analysts and IT pros say, but it should eliminate some integration headaches. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 21 Comments 2004-05-16 10:19 am Anonymous Further down the road, look for better communication between servers running Windows and Sun’s Solaris version of Unix. And Sun’s StarOffice productivity package might get better at parsing documents created by Microsoft’s Office software. If Sun believes that they are going to do this on any sort of level playing field then they are living in cloud cockoo land. They appear to have learned nothing from how Microsoft has conducted business over the last 20 years. On the server-side – yes, something may come out of that if Microsoft feels that they can benefit. But, considering the dominant position that Microsoft Office is in, they will never let Sun and Star Office through the door. The two companies had been “at a high state of acrimony for a long period of time, and we’ve had to do lots of reverse engineering in our products up to now to make them work with Microsoft products,” I think he’ll find that the most important reverse engineering has been done by the Samba project – not by Sun. “Now we can make products work together in a much more direct way.” So what does this agreement cover? In what way will Sun be able to interoperate with Microsoft software? A Microsoft representative would only e-mail a company statement on the matter: “The announcement laid the foundation for closer collaboration at various levels within the companies, though at this point it is very early to speculate as to specific impact this may have on various products, standards and pending benefits as they relate to different customers and their unique needs.” Ha, ha, ha – now I get it. Sun gets some money and becomes a Microsoft subservient, Microsoft gives Sun some vague promises then kicks them in the teeth and leaves them high and dry. Yep, that’s how Microsoft does business. The problem is companies like Sun just haven’t learnt. Initial efforts will be focused on directory structures, identity services and communications protocols, Fowler said, to make it easier for Windows clients to sign on and share data with Sun servers. Yes, this is where Microsoft needs quite a bit of help. “but having an agreement to (go) after some of the more esoteric parts of Kerberos authentication, for example, would help.” Nice one Sun! Kerberos is supposed to be an open standard! Directory compatibility is at the top of IT administrators’ wish lists. Sun servers use the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) standard, while Windows relies on Microsoft’s proprietary Active Directory protocols. This is a very dangerous avenue to be going down. If Sun customers start using Active Directory protocols in a big way, then they will become dependant on them, and hence, Sun will be totally dependant on protocols licensed from Microsoft. These protocols will continue to be licensed from Microsoft at Microsoft’s discretion. Unless Sun jumps when Microsoft wants it to then the guys in Redmond will hint, as they usually do, and say “Well, maybe we won’t renew your license for this year.” I don’t see Microsoft moving Active Directory totally to LDAP – an open standard – anywhere in this deal. If this happens then Sun and Solaris are dead ducks. “If we can have a single facility or service for access control on customer-facing services and portals, that would save some trouble.” Yes, this will be Active Directory and Microsoft technologies. Quite what Sun gets out of this is anyone’s guess. “This is a perfect case where they can do that work for us and make that just plug in and work. We’ll be delighted if they can pull that off. We would rather spend the money on manufacturing or designing a new car.” Pardon? These people do talk some rubbish sometimes. In what way will Active Directory support make things better? Novell uses Netware and their Zenworks and client log-on software, and this works fantastically well. It just plugs in and works. “Sun and Microsoft understand they’re in the same boat. They’re thinking about what do they need to do to really compel upgrades, and interoperability is a big part of that.” In terms of web services, this is only going to help .Net and Microsoft because they control Windows and control the protocols and technology that Sun is presumably going to license. “My suspicion has been Sun got into that business mainly to be a thorn in Microsoft’s side…Now they have a way to back out and refocus on the back-end stuff, where their strength is.” Which of course, only benefits Microsoft. I sometimes wonder what planet these people live on. 2004-05-16 10:42 am Anonymous The whole world is trying to help Sun,the message doesn’t seem to had gone through to the bosses. I thought Gosling got brains and knew his history. Once and for all,here is what to do: 1:GPL everything you got,even hardware designs 2:Stop making business with loosers 3:Do it now. 2004-05-16 11:25 am Anonymous how is gpl-ing everything gonna help sun? more likely it’d put it out of business… 2004-05-16 11:35 am Anonymous 4:If you don’t still get the message,hire David(look above) he is kind of a smartass but he knows what to do! 5:Put together some descent GPL/BSD distros yourself,buying from the enemy(Novell) is not good for you. 2004-05-16 12:37 pm Anonymous but SUN woke up too late. That’s why “they are competitors but they cowork now..”. When Longhorn comes noone will remember JAVA in the windows world. And both companies know that 2004-05-16 2:51 pm Anonymous Well, so what: Sun is MS puppet, Microsoft wins? It happens. Sun needs Microsoft more than Microsoft needs Sun. On UNIX server battle Sun lost to Linux. Get over it. On UNIX desktop battle Sun will have to compete with hordes of Linux desktop vendors. No win here for Sun. On Java, no decent competition to Sun, but no profit, too. Besides, what IBM does to Sun Java through voices of freedom loving IBM sponsored OSS advocates- could end up with Sun losing control over Java. OSS community (read: IBM sponsored entities) will gladly take over. And there is also Microsoft that is not happy with the way Sun was targeting it. Very, very bad situation. Now, Sun can side with OSS, or with IBM directly, or with Microsoft. Alone it’ll die. Sun can’t go OSS and expect to survive: Linux is a UNIX killer, and x86 platform is a killer for other hardware platforms running UNIX. Sun could end up as a reseller of x86 Linux solutions, and we know that their profits can’t match those of dying UNIX companies. It is tough to go from rich to poor. Sun can’t bend to IBM: their businesses are too similar. The best IBM could offer is handshake today, Sun acquisition tomorrow, and shutting down Sun’s operations day after tomorrow. The only candidate left for Sun to help in its survival is, surprisingly, Microsoft. Microsoft is still king on business desktop. Same time, its desktop without AD is nothing more than Linux desktop. But to have AD (Active Directory) you need to run Microsoft server. That is where problem is: server room is occupied by UNIX geeks that would rather see a secretary intimidated by UNIX-like desktop OS than a Windows server for these geeks to place into server room and, oh my god!, to support. Now comes Sun: keep your Solaris running, in the server room, put AD on top of it, keep all your managers happy with their desktop Windows boxes running happily and managed securily through AD on Solaris. That is good for UNIX geeks too: now they can justify upgrading of their Solaris boxes and buying new ones: “what, you’d rather have bug ridden not-up-to-the-job Windows server running in our so secure unhackable unbreakable server room???” Will Sun survive? Who knows: Windows XP/Windows 2003 is good enough for many, Linux is good enough for many, so only time will tell. Will Sun survive for longer because of its deal with Microsoft? Sure! 2004-05-16 3:35 pm Anonymous Nice one Sun! Kerberos is supposed to be an open standard! Yes and no. Microsoft uses some reserved fields for it’s own extensions. I think he’ll find that the most important reverse engineering has been done by the Samba project – not by Sun. What does this mean? are you writting just to criticize the article. What you said has no direct correlation to the statement in the article. “lots of reverse engineering” does not mean “important” the article didn’t say important, you assumed it did. If Sun customers start using Active Directory protocols in a big way, then they will become dependant on them, and hence, Sun will be totally dependant on protocols licensed from Microsoft. I think you meant to say if microsoft customers buy sun boxes they may want to integrate. “Well, maybe we won’t renew your license for this year.” Well I believe that the agreement is 10 years. I would think this is a legal binding contract. You would think that breaking a contract would cause another law suit, one that microsoft would lose, based on precedant. So I doubt MS is that stupid. Pardon? These people do talk some rubbish sometimes. In what way will Active Directory support make things better?Novell uses Netware and their Zenworks and client log-on software, and this works fantastically well. It just plugs in and works. Microsoft windows clients will be able to talk to Sun servers, Duh!!! NIS works suprisingly well too, but what does that have to do with Microsoft integration. Novell has nothing to do with Sun/microsoft integration. It looks like you are speculating without adequate information about the agreement. Speculate all you want, just don’t for the sake of it. 2004-05-16 4:21 pm Anonymous As the article pointed out, Sun tried to go after the desktop market just to be a thorn in Microsoft’s side. If people remember, back in the 1997,1998 time frame McNealy was saying things like Java is the platform and the OS is irrelevant. McNealy envisioned thin clients running a JVM with Sun servers serving up applets and web applications. Larry Ellison was babbling about the same thing. Java is just barely ready for the desktop now, and you should probably use SWT if you want it to look decent, and was nowhere even close to desktop usage in 1997, 1998. IMO, Sun should have just opened up Java after 1.2, come up with a server strategy or some other strategy that didn’t involve battling Microsoft on the desktop. McNealy’s obsession with Microsoft will be Sun’s downfall. 2004-05-16 4:28 pm Anonymous 6: If you still wondering about number 2, MS is included. 7: Number 2 and number 5 are very important! 2004-05-16 4:40 pm Anonymous some fundamental issues seems to be left out from all you said. 1. gpling things so that anyone can just take it and redistribute THE server operating system seems a bit stupid. 2. How much cash do actually people who consider gpl to be a crucial issue have? 0? 10 bucks? SUN focus on quality, not politics, therefor they choose whatever license they feel fit every specific situation. Geee I bet you use X for instance on the box you’re typing on. I wonder who contributed most to that, gpl zealots or Sun… Better wise up and realise that Sun is a big industry player in the middle of a technology shift which isn’t playing them well in their hands because of media coverage playing against them. If you’d actually bother to look at some of their solutions and try to realise how brilliant they are compared to what they cost, you’d soon say that “gee, it’s weird that Sun is constantly getting a bigger distance back to Red Hat which really has some inferior technology. Sun will turn the wind and do good things, this settlement with microsoft is just one of many things that plays them in their hands. It differentiates them from IBM who might make money and have better PR guys, but still, at the end of the day, Sun has the technology which is what really counts in a rational decision makers mind…. go figure! 2004-05-16 4:41 pm Anonymous “Improved integration” is one of those abstract agreements that exists to seal a payoff deal and then is never mentioned again. The truth is Microsoft already clobbered Sun in server software (compare *any* business metric – sales, installed servers, etc), and there is little incentive for them to actually enhance integration for Solaris users. Sun is now like Apple – allowed to be in existance to provide a viable legal argument that Microsoft is not a monopoly. 2004-05-16 6:14 pm Anonymous Yes and no. Microsoft uses some reserved fields for it’s own extensions. Microsoft has crippled Kerberos in Windows 2000 to the point where you cannot get it to work with any other platform without great difficulty. Either Microsoft follows the standard of interoperability or not. What you said has no direct correlation to the statement in the article. “lots of reverse engineering” does not mean “important” the article didn’t say important, you assumed it did. The only reverse engineering that has gone on of any note whatsoever has been by the Samba team, and by the Star Office (before they were taken over) and Open Office people. These two groups have done all of the necessary reverse engineering work outside of Sun’s R & D work. Outside of that, what reverse engineering work has Sun been doing? I think you meant to say if microsoft customers buy sun boxes they may want to integrate. You could look at it that way, But, they will be doing all this with Microsoft technology . Well I believe that the agreement is 10 years. A long term agreement is in place. The licensing of Microsoft’s protocols is a separate issue, as the e-mail from Microsoft confirmed. There is no agreement or contract in place for that. Microsoft windows clients will be able to talk to Sun servers, Duh!!! Yer – with Microsoft technology only. You’re not quite grasping this. NIS works suprisingly well too, but what does that have to do with Microsoft integration. Novell has nothing to do with Sun/microsoft integration. The point is that it is very easy to work with Windows without locking yourself into Microsoft integration and licensing Microsoft’s technology. It looks like you are speculating without adequate information about the agreement. Speculate all you want, just don’t for the sake of it. What do you think you’ve been writing about? I don’t think you’ve quite understood. 2004-05-16 6:29 pm Anonymous “how is gpl-ing everything gonna help sun? more likely it’d put it out of business…” redhat is doing it. stop spreading nonsense 2004-05-16 7:33 pm Anonymous Microsoft has crippled Kerberos in Windows 2000 to the point where you cannot get it to work with any other platform without great difficulty. Either Microsoft follows the standard of interoperability or not. Exactly, that is why sun needs to license it inorder to interoperate. Good luck trying to get MS to follow standards. The only reverse engineering that has gone on of any note whatsoever has been by the Samba team, and by the Star Office (before they were taken over) and Open Office people. These two groups have done all of the necessary reverse engineering work outside of Sun’s R & D work. Outside of that, what reverse engineering work has Sun been doing? Have you looked at the openoffice contributors list? Majority of the work there is done by Sun employees. The file format compatibility has been greatly improved after StarOffice’s aquisition by Sun. I also think there is a lot of interoperability that needs to go on in most of the Sun Java Enterprise system stack, I am sure they have had to reverse engineer some of the Microsoft protocols. Just claiming that the only team that has reverse engineered any of microsoft technologies is extremely wrongheaded. Yer – with Microsoft technology only. You’re not quite grasping this. What part of the word interoperability don’y you understand. If you think that anyone is going to force a company with a monopoly to follow industry standards, you would have to be living in utopia. You are the one who isn’t grasping something. You can’t force MS to follow standards, so the only way to compete with your competitors (Novell, IBM, RedHat) is to offer something they don’t, Microsoft interoperability. This is a big deal when you go and sell stuff to large customer, majority of whom have heavily invested in MS software already. Many of whom are looking for linux based software, but since they are already vested in windows they might as well find something that works with it. If you are looking at this through a purely philosophical view, your responses can be considered to be accurate to some degree. But companies (cutomers) aren’t thinking philosophy, they want things to work together. You can’t spend valuable resources reverse-engineering things to get atmost 60-70% interoperability. You might as well license the damn thing. 2004-05-16 7:35 pm Anonymous [i]Just claiming that the only team that has reverse engineered any of microsoft technologies is extremely wrongheaded. [i] Just claiming that the samba team is the only team that has reverse engineered any of microsoft technologies is extremely wrongheaded. 2004-05-16 7:47 pm Anonymous Sun is still at least 2.5x larger than redhat, so nyaa!! Seriously, how does gpling code help any proprietary software company? I’m sure it helps everyone else who uses the software, but how exactly does it help the maker of software? Sun Hardware is already being replaced by x86 and IBM servers, so what advantage will they have left if the gpl their software? I just don’t get it. 2004-05-17 12:32 am Anonymous Seriously, how does gpling code help any proprietary software company? I’m sure it helps everyone else who uses the software, but how exactly does it help the maker of software? Sun Hardware is already being replaced by x86 and IBM servers, so what advantage will they have left if the gpl their software? I just don’t get it. Because Sun Software will be replaced by free software? 2004-05-17 1:09 am Anonymous Because Sun Software will be replaced by free software? They could always sell it or gpl it when they go out of business. On another note, it seems like people are forgetting about the nearly 2 billion MS paid Sun… it’s not likely Sun’s getting the short end of the deal. 2004-05-17 7:18 am Anonymous sun has the ability to take microsoft code and pay royalty fees. i highly doubt microsoft is going to block anything sun wants to do… It’s a win-win situation for microsoft. 2004-05-17 7:23 am Anonymous well actually, its a win-win situation for both companies. 2004-05-17 9:47 pm Anonymous I don’t understand how everyone can preach as though they know. It seams that lately Sun has been the target of attacks stateing that they are finished. No one can possibly know what is going to happen. Over the years I have heard that Apple is going to die, Novell is going to die, mainframes would disapear, etc…, yet they are all still here. In the low end server market Linux has taken a chunk out of everyones market share, but to say Linux has won the Unix market is a little off base. Just this month I have talked to people at two different companies, each buying two new Sun 15K servers. Obviously not everyone shares these same doom and gloom feelings towards Sun, as this would be a seven figure investment. The fact is that there are people that believe in the various companies technologies or in open source technologies and there is a place for all of it.