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Sun Opens Up

6:30 PM -- LAS VEGAS -- NXTcomm 2008 -- I admit it: I volunteered to cover Scott McNealy's NXTcomm keynote just because it was Scott McNealy.

The Sun Microsystems Inc. chairman and former CEO is always good for some quotable matter. He's got a casual speaking style and rarely passes up a chance to dig at Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) or Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).

Case in point: At his Wednesday keynote, McNealy couldn't help noting that the vaunted iPhone doesn't support Java.

"Why would you want to run Java on the tens of millions of Websites on the planet when you could go from here [hand pointing upwards] to here [hand turned 90 degrees] with a picture?" he said, mocking the iPhone's tilting powers. "I'm biased. I've been trying to run over my wife's iPhone with a car for a week."

His speech focused on the benefits of open-source software, something that's been a Sun crusade for years. Java and the company's Solaris operating system are downloadable for free, with Sun making its money off selling servers and services.

"Remember token ring? Remember DEC? Open wins," McNealy said.

Oh, there was also this gem about the ubiquity open-source can bring: "Anybody that's gotten Wanged or DEC'ed or Oracled in the market will understand that you want your product or technology to live on in the market."

Green initiatives are the highlight of Sun's NXTcomm presence, though. As McNealy mentioned towards the end of his talk, Sun has outfitted a flatbed truck with a mobile data center that's on display here. The outfit can be parked right near a power station -- preventing the energy loss that occurs in transit on the electrical grid -- or placed in less accessible environments, where the equipment's ruggedized cabinets will protect it.

"We were doing 'eco' before it was cool. We were doing 'eco' before oil hit $400 a barrel or whatever it's at," McNealy said.

And of course, Sun found a way to merge the "eco" thing with the "open" thing: openeco.org.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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