SRO: Sun Takes Another Shot At The PC

“Sun Microsystems Inc. will re-enter the sub-PC market this week
with Sun Ray 1, an ‘enterprise appliance’ that is a complete
redesign of Sun’s beleaguered JavaStation.

Sun is positioning Sun Ray as a disposable appliance, like the
telephone, that requires no software upgrades and no changes to
existing applications. In fact, Sun Ray (formerly
code-named Corona) runs no local software at all. It
plugs into the network through a 10/100Mb Ethernet connection
and has a smart card reader for users to identify themselves.

Once identified, users can access their software desktops from
anywhere on the network, even breaking off sessions and resuming
them from another location.”

“Sun distinguished engineer J. Duane Northcutt stresses that Sun
Ray is neither an X terminal nor a Windows Based Terminal. The
difference: Sun Ray has no local software and requires no desktop
configuration or management. Northcutt says the closest competitor
to Sun Ray is an IBM 3270 terminal–except that Sun Ray has
multimedia and centralized display rendering capabilities.”

“Sun plans to make its Hot Desk protocol–which handles
initialization, datagram-based commands such as rendering and error
handling, and connection-based commands such as authentication and
USB peripherals–available for license so companies can offer their
own Hot Desk appliances. Northcutt says Sun will also approach IBM
about supporting HotDesk.”