Sun Microsystems has offered a glimpse of their Australian development partner arrangements to delegates at one of country’s top Linux events where open-source gurus faced questions from software developers.

Sun Microsystems revealed to delegates attending 2003 under way in Perth that Functional Software had been the first Independent Software Vendor (ISV) in Australia to port their Sentinel3G system monitoring software to Sun’s Linux compatible LX50 server.

Managing director of Functional software, Alan Main attributed the porting to simple economics.

“In these tight economic conditions, IT decision makers are asking why they need to spend so much on complex management tools. Who wants to spend [AU$]100K when they only need to spend [AU$]20K to obtain the same quality of service?” he asked.

Duncan Bennet, Linux product manager Sun Microsystems Australia, said that the company had been working with Functional Software since November and completed the porting project in early December, but waited until to publicise it.

Paralleling their launch at Linuxworld event in New York, Sun representatives in Perth announced the availability of Sun ONE Application Server 7 and Directory Server 5.1. The addition of the pair will bring the tally of enterprise applications Sun has developed for its Linux platform over the last six months to seven.

Sun also assured attendees that their Linux desktop project, Mad Hatter, remained on track. Bennet said the company expected to release a beta of the software mid-2003.

While Sun revealed its plans for the Linux platform prominent representatives of the open-source movement were on hand to face questions from the developers.

A panel chaired by Linus Torvalds, credited with inventing Linux, SAMBA guru Andrew Tridgell, Debian project leader Bdale Garbee, and IBM’s kernel hacker Paul Russell faced a broad range of questions covering everything from programming to philosophy and world politics.

All speakers detailed their involvement in the open-source community, discussed future product releases, shared tips for fixing bugs and their pet hates about Linux.

Other highlights of yesterday’s event included a case study on the implementation of a real-time public information system for a New Zealand bus service. The application was originally written in a Windows environment then ported to Linux.