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Sun Micro in Sharing Mood

The company hopes to bolster its revenue stream by opening up even more source code.

Sun Microsystems

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took another step to bolster its future revenue stream on Monday, but investors still remain wary of making a commitment to the stock.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company opened up the source code for some of its Java Enterprise products, namely its application server platform, version 9.0, and its enterprise server bus.

Sun hopes the distribution of its source code will yield more related applications and will increase the purchase of other Sun products. The announcement was made at the start of Sun's four-day JavaOne Developer Conference in San Francisco.

"Hardware is useless without applications," says Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, a consultancy and research firm, adding that IT vendors like Sun and


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thrive by satisfying customers with improvements to their existing systems and by staying on the cutting edge of application and tool development.

"Sun gives existing customers access to these new and emerging tools coming on line in the short term, and over the long term they make sure they are at ground zero for the development of new classes and new generation of tools as well," King said.

Sun shares popped higher at the open on Monday, trading as high as $3.83, but then faded as morning trading continued; shares were recently up 0.9% to $3.74.

Only two weeks ago, Sun opened the source code to its Solaris operating system. The recent developments show Sun's ongoing push this year to finally emerge from the dot-com bubble. Because it has taken five years, however, investors continue to hold off purchasing the stock, which has plunged 31% in 2005.

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Still, the momentum is positive. All year long, Sun has been

spreading the word that after a multiyear makeover it is finally focused on growing sales.

Sun has touted accelerating developer interest in the latest version of Solaris 10, launched in November; it has linked up with

Advanced Micro Devices

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for an upcoming, new line of servers; and it shelled out $4.1 billion earlier this month to buy


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"They've certainly been more proactive this year than they have been for the last few years," says King. "Whether or not what the company is doing today will make a difference will be seen over the next few quarters."

Indeed, execution remains a question mark surrounding Sun. For its previous quarter, which ended in March, the company

missed Wall Street's financial targets.

Sun's current quarter ends this week, so the company will get another shot on July 26 when it publicly announces its fourth-quarter results. Currently, analysts expect sales of $2.99 billion, on average, according to Thomson First Call.