Why education communities matter to Sun

Much has already been said here in Berlin about the importance of communities. But why do education communities matter to Sun?

Joe Hartley, Vice President of GEH at Sun, addressed this subject at length in the conference's opening session. As part of his talk, he explained how and why communities are central to Sun's business strategy in education.

Hartley lucidly described – with a reverential nod to the English coffeehouses of old (see right) – how communities have historically driven developments in all areas of life. Far from being idle gatherings, such communities were places where great ideas were formed, found influence, and generated further bright ideas - powering developments in politics, science and religious thought. At their best, they are powerful hubs of stimulus, exchange and innovation. Sun builds vibrant communities in education and supports them with free tools in order to foster such innovation.

And there can be no doubt about the scale and seriousness of Sun's commitment to the student developer community, amongst others: it has established the Campus Ambassador programme and the Sun Academic Initiative, and is creating open-source clubs on campuses around the world. Sun hopes this strategy will yield tangible revenue opportunities in years to come, Hartley noted.

But do Sun-sponsored communities like these actually breed the hoped-for innovation? The signs are positive. Hartley introduced us to two campus ambassadors whose Sun community in Sweden enabled them to undertake innovative projects that will aid those in less affluent parts of the world (read about them here).

Such work indicates that Sun's strategy of building thriving, innovative student communities is already bearing fruit.

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Andy McFarlane

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