Linux Magazine’s Top 20 Companies to Watch in 2007

We pick the companies that are defining the future of Information Technology and will have the most impact on the Open Enterprises of 2007. It's the inaugural edition of our 20 Companies to Watch list and we guarantee that every company here will challenge how you think about Linux and Open Source before the year is out.

Sun Microsystems

More and more, it seems as if Sun’s new favorite word is “open.” Granted, it’s got a catchier ring than “proprietary,” but some pundits have wondered if Sun can really swing its doors and technology as open wide as it claims. The year to come should keep skeptics buzzing and keep Sun busy.

In 2006, Sun released Solaris under an open-source license and began distributing the binary edition free of cost. As with an open bar or a free buffet, the masses rushed to take advantage of the no-fee find, and some estimates put the download mark at about 10 million. The project was initially blasted by IBM, which called OpenSolaris a “facade” rather than a true open source project, pointing out that Sun put all of the code behind a firewall. Since its release, however, Big Blue hasn’t been repeating its claims.

For 2007, it’s Java’s turn in the can opener. Sun has noted that it intends to start open sourcing the components of the Java programming language, as well as associated software. The company already embarked on such a path with Java Enterprise Edition, and will now tackle Java Standard Edition and Java Micro Edition. By releasing the source code, Sun hopes to woo more developers into building products with Java, including those working on mobile platforms.

Also due to hit next year are plans for an UltraSparc T1 processor, known as “Niagara,” released under the GPL. The servers were first launched in late 2005, as part of a company effort to bolster its server revenue.

Whether Sun can continue its open door policy remains to be seen, but if it succeeds, what’s next? Opening its employee kitchen to passersby?

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