Sun buys open source desktop virtualisation vendor

Buy will assist developers, vendor says

Sun has acquired open source desktop virtualisation vendor Innotek.

The Innotek product VirtualBox "enables desktop or laptop PCs running the Windows, Linux, Mac or Solaris operating systems to run multiple, different operating systems side-by-side, switching between them with just a click of the mouse," Sun officials stated in a press release. "This allows software developers to more easily build multi-tier or cross-platform applications, or power-users to take advantage of applications that may not be available for their base operating system of choice," according to the release.

Sun acquired the small German company in a stock purchase, but did not disclose the terms of the deal. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. The announcement comes just a month after Sun agreed to buy the MySQL.

VirtualBox will remain free under Sun and be placed in the company's xVM portfolio of virtualisation products.

Steve Wilson, Sun's vice president of xVM, wrote in a blog posting "If we're going to continue to give it away, why is Sun investing in VirtualBox? In short, because the developers that build applications have a huge amount of influence on how they're deployed.

For Sun, the acquisition fills a gap in its virtualisation portfolio. Sun already had xVM Server to compete with VMware's ESX Server, but with VirtualBox Sun now has something to compete against VMware Fusion or the desktop virtualisation products from Parallels, Wilson says.

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