While I noodle away at my thoughts on licensing for the next generation of IT systems, Sun is being suprisingly innovative. Not only are they moving their software sales model to support services, but they’re also using the same model to get developers onto their hardware.

In the US you can get a shiny new 64-bit Opteron powered Sun Ultra 20 Workstation for only $30 a month (payable a year in advance). Sign up for 3 years support for Sun’s OS and dev tools, and the hardware comes free.

An interesting approach It’ll also be interesting to see how the rest of the Java tools world responds. Will BEA start giving away its tools, to drive people to the AquaLogic and WebLogic platforms?

Time will tell.