Silly IBM statements on OpenSolaris

Ok, we've seen it all before, and it's common practice: sniping at the other guy's products, especially when you see it as a competitor. The latest IBM potshots can be read on CNET, who interviewed IBM's Dan Frye at Linuxworld. Our own Jim Grisanzio was given the opportunity to reply, and did a good job of countering the spin. However, there's one statement that is just waiting to be quoted:

"They have done nothing to build a community," with only 16 non-Sun people contributing code to the project in its first 11 months, Frye said. Linux, in comparison, had 10 times that number in the same period after it was launched by Linus Torvalds in 1991--and that was with no Internet and no advertisements, Frye said.

Jim already countered the first statement, and anyone who has actually been following what is going on at opensolaris.org will know that it is false. People are participating on many levels, and work is progressing to make it possible for all OpenSolaris developers (inside our outside Sun) to commit to repositories directly. The second part of the quote is where it gets silly.

First of all, the comparison with Linux is apples and oranges, to say the least. Linux started out from scratch, as a one-man project, in the open right from the start, and lacking many features in the beginning. OpenSolaris started by opening up a large codebase for a sophisticated OS, developed by a large group of engineers in a large company. This meant dealing with incompatible licenses in existing code, getting the infrastructure in place for what is expected of an open source OS these days, and setting things in motion to push development out in the open. There is just no way to compare the two.

Funnier is the "no Internet" part. Maybe Mr. Frye was misquoted, but that's just a silly statement. Yes, Linus had to sell his project door to door using a horse and carriage full of boot floppies, you know. And in the beginning he didn't even have a horse. Those were the days, the Internet-free days of 1991/1992. I remember them fondly.

It's even funnier when you consider that Mr. Frye offers advice in the interview, too. I don't know, somehow I don't think that Sun, the company who had a large part in powering the Internet boom, needs advice from someone who seems to think that there was no "Internet" in 1991/1992 .

But, it's all good. If the competition feels the need to snipe at you like this, you're doing something right.

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