Sun goes back to school with $1B in products

Sun Microsystems Inc. will give away licensed copies of its Solaris operating system and StarOffice productivity suite to educational and research organizations, and provide those customers with significant discounts to the price of its Sun Ray hardware, it said in a release Monday.

Based on an estimate of 100,000 academic users, Sun expects the total value of the offering to exceed US$1 billion. The Sun Education Software Portfolio will include no-cost licenses for Solaris 9, Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Starter Kit, Sun ONE Studio, Sun ONE Web Services Development products, GNOME, and StarOffice software. A media kit will be available for a fee that provides quarterly updates to the software, Sun said.

On the hardware side, schools and research facilities can purchase Sun Ray 1 appliances for US$335, and Sun Ray 100 and 150 thin clients for US$540 and US$815, respectively. The prices are effective as of Tuesday, and reflect discounts of up to 42 percent off the regular price of that hardware, Sun said. Educational customers will also be able to purchase Sun Fire 280R servers and Sun Blade 2000 workstations at discounted prices.

The Santa Clara, California, company will offer technical support and Internet-based training to students, teachers and their IT staffs through the program.

Sun announced its plans to offer StarOffice to schools and educational institutions for free last year.

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