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Govt makes hay while the Sun shines

New Delhi, March 20: Sun Microsystems and the Indian government plan to work on a project to develop cheap personal computers.

The decision on this was taken at a meeting here today between Sun Microsystems chief Scott McNealy and minister for information technology Arun Shourie.

Sun will work with Indian infotech companies to develop the low-cost PC, which will provide access to the internet.

The details of the project and the modalities for its execution are still being worked out.

“During the talks with the Indian government, ideas were discussed related to taking advantage of open interface and open-source technology,” he added.

Sun is a champion of open-source technology — and was the first company in the world to give out its Java software source code to software developers free of cost. Today, it is an ardent champion of open-source software and has put its might behind the Linux movement. Linux is the open-source operating systems software that is trying to establish a beachhead against Microsoft’s Windows and associated programs.

Sun also announced a $ 300-million grant to Indian software scholars in what many see as a bid to outdo rival Microsoft, whose chief Bill Gates had announced last November a $ 100-million grant to fight AIDS.

“This donation will give them access to experiment with our software. The donation would also be with respect to online training for universities and academic use,” McNealy told newspersons after his meeting with Shourie.

Later, addressing the issue of open outsourcing at a CII-CEO forum, McNealy said Sun Microsystems believes in offering value added and packaged services on open-source technology.

Sun backs up its server software Solaris with the Linux operating system for desktops.

Asked to comment on its legal stand-off with Microsoft, McNealy said the company “was not at war with anybody” but wanted to see value in the hands of the end-customer.

In March last year, Sun filed a suit against Microsoft for violating terms of the agreement under which the latter is licensed to market Sun’s Java software for the next seven years. Sun is seeking damages for up to $ 1 billion from Microsoft.

Answering another question, he said the rate of technology change calls for fierce innovation and, hence, reduces the shelf life of IT products.

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