Sun Microsystems Fosters Open Source Innovation on Campus

Sun Microsystems Inc. , the creator of Java technology and Solaris, today reconfirmed its commitment to empowering academic developers through sharing, collaboration and open innovation -- the key elements of what Sun has coined the Participation Age.

With a variety of programs and offerings, Sun is proving its dedication to providing the next generation of developers with the educational tools and resources they need to cultivate important IT skills, participate in today's global economy and contribute to the innovation of new technologies. These resources include Sun's successful Campus Ambassador Program, which supports more than 180 student evangelists in more than 30 countries who are introducing Sun technologies and open source projects to academic developers.

Sun also announced increasing adoption of the Solaris 10 Operating System(OS) by student developers and growth of the OpenSolaris project community on campus. These students are preparing for the web-based business world by learning how to develop on the most advanced operating system on the planet with its advantages in security, virtualization and performance.

Here again, Sun has been active in providing Solaris training and support with programs such as the Campus Ambassador Program, and by posting Solaris curricula on opensolaris.org for any teacher to use. As a result, more than 100 universities have adopted Solaris OS education into their curriculum. Sun has also held several Solaris training events around the world: In China, almost 100 professors from 45 institutions were trained on the Solaris OS at a workshop in December, and in India, faculty members from the country's National Institute of Technology received training at a four-day workshop in January.

Other programs include Sun's Academic Initiative (SAI), a collaborative program between Sun and academic institutions, whereby Solaris 10 OS developers can gain the skills they need to meet immediate business challenges and to gain industry-recognized credentials. As part of this program, more than 2,500 educational institutions have become authorized to deliver training on Sun technologies to their faculty, staff and students.

"Solaris is the predominant environment for our programming classes and cpu-intensive CAD tools. More than 4000 students use Solaris OS on the Sun SPARC technology and AMD Opteron-64 processor hardware for EECS classes (200 SunRays, 6 Sun UltraSPARC IIIi technology servers, 40 workstations). Core computer classes use either the gcc/gdb, the Sun Studio 11 native C++ software and Fortran compilers or the Sun ONE Studio 5 native Java technology developer tools for topics as diverse as compiler theory, programming methodology, computer graphics, databases, WEB interfaces and network topology. OpenSolaris allows our students to study the underlying operating system structure and to match the lab environment on their home computers," said Kevin Mullally, manager, EECS Instructional Support Group, University of California at Berkeley. "We are very pleased with the ease of maintenance of the SunRays, the performance of the computers and the responsiveness of Sun tech support."

Campus Ambassador Program

Sun's Campus Ambassadors are facilitating the adoption of open source technologies on campus, as well as fostering community and innovation. These technologies and open source projects include the Solaris 10 OS; Java technology-based systems; community projects such as the OpenSolaris project and OpenSPARC technology project; and the NetBeans integrated development environment (IDE) and Sun Studio software tools. Sun provides the Campus Ambassadors with free training and support; in turn, ambassadors help student developers take advantage of Sun's robust portfolio of high- value, no-cost resources, such as free web-based training, free developer tools, open source technologies and communities, and easily accessible technical support via forums and communities. "

In selecting candidates for the Campus Ambassador program, Sun is choosing from among the most original and innovative young minds on campus today. Anil Gulecha, a Campus Ambassador from India, invented a way for Solaris to be booted off a USB drive. One of Sun's Canadian Campus Ambassadors, Martin Morissette, led a team of students who built a Java technology-powered submarine, called Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, that dazzled judges at the prestigious International Autonomous Underwater Competition sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Sun is also turning to its Campus Ambassador community in order to provide business and academic decision makers valuable insight into needs and expectations for university IT infrastructures. In a recent survey of Sun Campus Ambassadors, students expressed high expectations for e-learning resources, wireless access and open source tools -- insight that may shape IT decisions, purchasing and the market itself. Several sessions at WWERC will address these issues, and Sun's Hal Stern, senior vice president of systems engineering, will host a panel of students who will share their IT challenges, triumphs, expectations and frustrations.

"The people at Sun are a great mentors and the internship opportunity helps enhance students' careers," said Fahad Hussain, Sun Campus Ambassador at San Jose State University. "Sun works closely with the universities to equip students with advanced skills, hands-on experience with leading-edge, open source technologies, and the confidence to create new technologies. Not only does Sun offer training and support, the dialogue goes both ways. Sun is interested in hearing what we really need to get the most from our IT education and be ready to make a difference in the business world."

Contests Encourage Student Innovation

As one way to foster innovation among student developers, Sun has sponsored several academic contests. For example, in Singapore, Sun is sponsoring JavaJive for the second year in a row. Java Jive is a contest that offers university students an opportunity to develop applications on NetBeans and Solaris in a fun yet competitive environment. At WWERC, Sun will also announce the winners of the Solaris 10 OS University Challenge. To view that announcement, please visit: http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/pr/2007-02/sunflash.20070206.1.xml .

Many of Sun's resources for young developers are part of Sun Developer Network (SDN) Academic Developer Program. Launched in 2005, this program extends Sun's resources for the developer community to students, researchers and faculty around the world. The program aims to increase the access that students have to educational developer tools, thus helping them graduate with the skills they need to contribute to the advancement of technology. For more information, please visit http://developers.sun.com/learning/academic/ .

Sun's commitment to education overall is exemplified by Curriki, which started as online project started by Sun Microsystems to develop works for education in a collaborative effort, originally called Global Education and Learning Community (GELC). Curriki's mission is to improve education around the world by empowering teachers, students and parents with user-created, free, open source curricula. By building a world class learning environment that is community developed and supported, and publishing it for free on the Web, Curriki works to help ensure that anyone, from anywhere can participate.

The leadership team consists of people with a long-time commitment to exploring the use of technology to improve education, such as Scott McNealy.