Sun Desktop Rises in Japan Again

UPDATED: Sun Microsystems has eked out its second major
contract in Japan for its Java Desktop System (JDS), the company said
Wednesday.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based network computer maker, which made its
JDS Release 2 software available last month, said it will supply the
Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA) in Japan with its
alternative to Microsoft Office.

Sun has tread down this path before. In
January, Sun
signed a supply deal,
with Sourcenext, Japan’s largest computer products distributor.

Sun said it won the recent contract after the government division bid
on different platforms for an open source software verification program
for its educational institutions. Financial terms of the deal were not
disclosed.

“[We are] promoting the deployment of open source software to provide
more choice of desktop environments for users,” Takashi Kume, deputy
director of Information Services Industry Division in the Commerce and
Information Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
(METI) of Japan, said in a statement.

“METI believes that when open
source software is used more pervasively, starting with initiatives like
this one, the open source community becomes more active and will promote
increased choice of information technology in Japan.”

The IPA’s activities include promoting the development and use of
software programs, assisting the growth of information service
businesses, ensuring IT security and developing a skilled IT workforce.

The Sun JDS includes the GNOME desktop
environment, StarOffice productivity suite, Mozilla
browser, Evolution e-mail and calendar client, RealNetworks’ RealOne
player, Macromedia Flash, Java 2 Standard Edition, and SUSE Linux.
The JDS also allows users to play CDs and DVDs.

The license fee for the educational community is $25 per desktop per
year and includes software maintenance for one year from the purchase date.
Enterprise customers can purchase the Java Desktop System for $50 per
desktop per year or $25 per employee per year if licenses are purchased
for all company employees.

Recently, Sun ported
the desktop environment to Solaris running Intel and AMD x86-based
servers and workstations, giving the company a broader appeal.

Sun said it plans to work closely with Japan and the IPA, which
serves the Japan Open Source Software Promotion Forum. The forum
includes the Open Desktop Working Group, which conducts studies to
promote open source desktop environments using Linux.

This year, the forum (whose membership includes Hitachi, NTT Data and
Fujitsu) is expected to conduct verification tests with the JDS
to identify and develop additional usability functions for the Japanese market.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Sun’s JDS as running on Red Hat Linux.

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