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Sun OpenSolaris makes nice with Windows

To remain viable as a platform, Sun wants to be the platform which supports all other platforms -- the essential go-between. Everybody's little friend.

Gen. Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove
Sun has convinced most skeptics it's serious about the open source thing.

But Sun's strategy goes beyond open source. It wants to be everyone's little friend. Even Microsoft's.

And we're not just talking rhetorically here. We're talking on a very deep level.  To quote , we're talking about mixing precious bodily fluids -- well, at least precious kernel source code -- with Big Green.

Specifically, as Alan Wright of Sun detailed in a recent blog post, Sun has created, and donated, Solaris source code to implement the Common Internet File System (CIFS) protocol -- aka Microsoft's Server Message Block -- in its kernel .

This enables Microsoft users to store and retrieve files on an OpenSolaris system.

As Wright explains:

Windows inter-operability requires that a CIFS server convince a Windows client or server that it "is Windows". This is really only possible if the operating system supports those services at a fundamental level.

Making this happen was a long process going back 16 years, Wright wrote, crediting Mike Shapiro with the breakthrough, which carries the name Unified POSIX and Windows Credentials for Solaris, early this year.

And suddenly the whole thing knits together. To remain viable as a platform, Sun wants to be the platform which supports all other platforms -- the essential go-between. Everybody's little friend.

Enterprises with mixed environments (meaning virtually all enterprises) will need such a go-between, and will pay to support that go-between. Sun will be a key supplier again.

So Sun believes, and it's not nearly as crazy as Gen. Ripper.