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Sun Microsystems

Sun Microsystems is a Silicon Valley-based computer, semiconductor and software manufacturer.

Sun's products include computer servers and workstations based on the SPARC processor, the SunOS and Solaris operating systems, the NFS network file system, the Java platform, and (together with AT&T) the standardization of Unix System V Release 4. Its less successful ventures include the NeWS window system and the OpenLook graphical user interface.

Table of contents
1 Brief history
2 Computers
3 Operating systems
4 Java platform
5 Office suite
6 See also
7 External links

Brief history

The initial design for Sun's UNIX workstation was conceived when the founders were graduate students at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. The company name SUN originally stood for Stanford University Network. Founders include Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, Bill Joy and Andy Bechtolsheim. Of these, only McNealy remains with Sun.

Other Sun luminaries include early employees John Gilmore, Bill Joy and James Gosling. Bill Joy was invited when he was developing the BSD in UC Berkeley under the aegis of Ken Thompson initially. James Gosling and his fellows developed the Java programming language. In time, Sun became a world-class company and an industry leader, best know for the motto "The Network Is The Computer". Most recently, Jon Bosak led the creation of the XML specification at W3C.

Sun's logo, which features four interleaved copies of the word sun, was designed by professor Vaughan Pratt, also of Stanford University. The initial version of the logo was shown with its sides oriented horizontally and vertically, but it was subsequently altered to feature the logo appearing to stand on one corner.


Sun originally used the Motorola 68000 CPU family for the Sun 1 through Sun 3 computer series. For a short period in the late 1980s, they sold a Intel 80386 based machine, the Sun 386i. Later for the Sun 4 line, Sun developed its own CPU architecture, SPARC, which employs an IEEE standard RISC architecture. Currently Sun offers a 64-bit CPU, the UltraSPARC.

Operating systems

The Sun 1 was shipped with Unisoft V7 UNIX. Later in 1982 Sun provided a customized 4.1BSD UNIX called SunOS as an operating system for its workstations but later along with AT&T it integrated BSD UNIX and System V into Solaris, which is rather akin to System V.

Sun is also known for licenses of all of its major technologies and some open source publication. Though a late realizer, it included Linux as part of its strategy. But Sun has been facing tough times as Linux started eating away its part of the server market. Recently though, Sun has been developing Linux based terminals that could be used as slaves or standalones (Mad Hatters). These are supposed to eventually replace their Sun Rays.

Java platform

The Java platform, developed in the early 1990s was specifically developed with the objective of allowing programs to function regardless of the device they were used on, sparking the slogan "Write once, run everywhere".

The platform consists of three major parts, the Java programming language, the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and the Java Application Programming Interface (API).

The Java programming language is an object oriented programming language. Since its introduction in late 1995, it has become one of the world's most popular programming languages.

In order to allow programs written in the Java language to be run on (virtually) any device, Java programs are compiled to byte code. This can be read by any JVM, regardless of the environment.

The Java API provides an extensive set of library routines. The Standard Edition of the API is targeted at normal workstations, while Enterprise Edition is aimed at large software companies implementing enterprise-class application servers. The Micro Edtion is used to build software for devices with limited resources, such as mobile devices.

Office suite

Sun bought StarOffice by acquiring the German software company StarDivision and released it as the office suite under both GNU LGPL and the SISSL (Sun Industry Standards Source License). is often compared with Microsoft Office (a Microsoft spokesman has stated it is comparable to Office 97), is available on many platforms and widely used in the open source community.

The current StarOffice product is a closed product based on

See also

External links

Official Sun Information

General Unofficial Sun Information

Sun 3 Unofficial Information

Sun 2 Workstation