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Sun ships 86,700 CDE/Motif Desktop Systems in calendar Q3 2000 Developers' investment in Motif is both sound and safe.

18-Dec-00 14:00 GMT
According to estimates by IDC, Sun Microsystems, Inc shipped 86,700 workstations during the period July through September 2000. That's 86,700 Motif-based desktops shipped by Sun alone, to which must be added those shipped by HP, IBM, SGI and Compaq. Given that calendar Q3 does not tend to be Sun's strongest quarter (Q2 is the end of Sun's financial year, so is usually a stronger sales quarter), this is an impressive number both for Sun and for those involved with Motif.

New Motif applications are being written, existing Motif applications are being updated, and Open Motif is now being shipped on the Linux and FreeBSD operating systems. While alternative emerging graphical toolkits dispute for mindshare -- largely with each other and almost completely on Linux -- it's clear that Motif remains the standard on mainstream UNIX systems. And not only on UNIX -- let's not forget dear old VMS, where the standard GUI is also Motif.

There are good reasons for this: Motif, like Microsoft Windows, is over ten years old and has acquired significant stability and a very large industry knowledge base. Workstation users are thoroughly familiar with its look and feel. A change to another, incompatible, graphical toolkit now would be enormously expensive -- and for what gain? Unless a new graphical interface offers compelling advantages in usability, productivity and yields huge cost benefits, applications will not move from Motif. A massive application rewrite with all the disruption to users and the millions of dollars required just doesn't make sense.

The key thing for developers is that their investment in Motif technology, both corporately and personally, is both sound and safe.


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