Wired: Sun Tries Net Appliance, Again

“Sun… unveiled a book-sized device called Sun Ray, which
foregoes what it called previous ‘half measures’ in network
computing that have failed to meet with much success.

Sun’s innovation is a simple input/output device, a keyboard and
a switch for connecting to the Internet or other networks, with
zero ability to compute or process on its own. It follows the
vision of co-founder and visionary Bill Joy, who says
‘complexity should be absorbed in the network, not thrust on
the user.’

“Sun also feels its network offering was enhanced by its
acquisition last week of the Star office software, a suite of
applications being offered for free over the Internet. Previous
network computers were unable to offer the word processing,
spreadsheet and other applications Star provides, to compete with
Microsoft, the dominant office productivity software.”

‘The architecture takes computing to a new level by taking
it off the desktop,’
said Duane Northcutt, chief scientist for
Sun’s information appliance division. “You have something on the
desktop that does not have to be constantly upgraded and
maintained.’ “