Here's one for all you desktop Linux proponents: if Scott McNealy has his way, you'll lose your office! At least if you work at Sun Microsystems, you will. We know this because chief executive McNealy said so during his LinuxWorld keynote on Tuesday. He declared that Linux is going to drive the company's iWork program, which has the goal of increasing the number of workers per office companywide from 0.8 employees to 1.8 employees per office.
Sun will be able to shove nearly two people into every office -- and cube, more likely -- because the software will allow them to log on from any workstation, anywhere. McNealy said this proves you don't need Microsoft Windows to do your work, although how Linux would be different from Sun's Solaris OS in powering such a project, I really don't understand.
Since I know many readers of this column are big proponents of desktop Linux, I thought this was something I should share with you. Please start gathering up your personal stuff, the pictures of the kids, the plant...
McNealy isn't just embracing Linux as a way to squeeze more blood out of his own real estate holdings. Because of Sun's partnership with Ximian to improve the Gnome Linux and Unix graphical interface software, the news at LinuxWorld also focused on the prospect that Sun will soon offer its own line of Linux-based desktops. These systems may be part and parcel, as my colleague Dan Farber points out, of McNealy's grand plan and personal obsession of breaking Microsoft's grip on the computing world.
Sun's LinuxWorld pronouncements prove something else, too. Even though trade shows aren't what they used to be, this LinuxWorld seemed more important to me than its smallish size would suggest. Why? Because it demonstrated the tremendous interest big players -- like Sun, IBM, HP, Intel, Computer Associates, and others -- have in the Linux market. Heck, even Microsoft was there -- more about that in a moment.