Wednesday Aug 30, 2006

The Power of Linguistics

Here are two excellent conversations with Geoff Nunberg (IT Conversations and NPR) about the rhetoric of the right and how those guys have linguistically positioned the left on a variety of core issues. I love the title of this guy's book -- Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show. That's quite a title, don't you think? I guess it's based on a political ad from a few years ago. Pretty clever.

But listen carefully to Nunberg's view of the importance of delivering messages via a well crafted narrative. It's a must. A narrative ties everything together. See how Clinton and Bush use narrative differently -- and both successfully -- and why the right has been more successful lately. Nunberg says the right has a better story because their story is more easily delivered by more people in the party, not just the leaders or the rhetorically gifted who naturally rise to the top. I can easily see that in this case, although I don't think the left is weak linguistically as Nunberg suggests. It just doesn't make any sense to me since they garner pretty much half of the voting public each time around.

Regardless of what side you are on, these are fascinating issues of how the meaning of words themselves change over time and under the careful guidance of those seeking power. Recognizing the techniques is the only way to fight this process or even to embrace the process depending on your goals. Many of the techniques are brain dead obvious, but many are quite subtle and insidious and easily missed under all the noise. Also, you can use these techniques yourself in any communications plan to sell anything whatsoever -- good or bad, it doesn't matter. Both the good and the bad use the same techniques, after all. Again, depending on what side you are on.

It seems not much has changed in 2,500 years since Aristotle observed and quantified "all the available means of persuasion" in The Rhetoric. I think the book holds up pretty well, and I oftentimes wonder ... what Aristotle would think of discourse today?

Monday Aug 21, 2006

The Success of Linux

Interesting news report here on a panel of Linux luminaries at LinuxWorld San Francisco talking about why Linux has been successful.

Some typical and familiar reasons include the fact that Linux started in Europe, the emergence of the global Internet at that time, the lack of central control and focus on loose coupling, 386 chips, GNU tools, and the natural skill of Linus Torvalds to bring people together in a community environment. Also mentioned -- and probably most interesting -- was Maddog Hall's observation that the success of Linux also had to do marketing. Not marketing in general, but the marketing of Linus himself as the leader of the community. "Here's this nice young man wearing sandals and with a funny accent, as opposed to other people that weren't quite as nice."

Now, I've always viewed Linux as the anti-marketing, so Maddog probably means grass-roots or community marketing where everyone participates, not a central authority way up in the cathedral dictating messages. However, the idea of good guy vs bad guy is a traditional and timeless communications principle. So, I think this is a good example of how you can take a traditional technique and implement it in within a community environment. Whether this strategy was planned or not doesn't matter. Human beings are naturally attracted to stories that have characters, and those characters usually end up in some sort of conflict. This is why you take a novel to the beach and not a briefing book.

Thursday Aug 10, 2006

Legal Transparency

Now, this is pretty cool -- the legal thing. An executive vice president blogger at Sun. And a lawyer, too. Welcome, Mike. I think you'll enjoy blogging in our little community here, and you will offer us all an education as well. I'm looking forward to it. I wrote about one of Microsoft's blogging lawyers a while back. Could this be the start of a trend?

Tuesday Aug 08, 2006

Sad but True

Demir Barlas writes about some cult-like behavior of the blogging community -- What's Wrong With Blogs. It's a pretty sad commentary, too. Although I didn't follow this particular situation, I've certainly seen enough disgusting behavior around the blogosphere to be impressed with this piece. It's perfectly consistent, actually. I've only been slapped around by attack blogs a few times (you need big numbers to really get attacked by the pit bulls), and they've been pretty toothless. But every time I read a piece like this I wonder how I'd react to a full out assault from all directions. I know what my instinct would  be, though ...

The Language of Blogs

Technorati's David Sifry is out with his latest blog statistics report -- State of the Blogosphere, August 2006. Conclusion: There are a lot of blogs out there. Fifty million, actually. English is the top language spoken in blogs, but Japanese is a close second. Chinese is third. The pie gets split up rather finely after that. Many more stats, of course, but those are the ones that work for me.

Monday Jul 31, 2006

Slides

There's no shortage of people out there offering presentation advice -- especially about using slides -- and some of it is really quite good. I'm starting to present a little now, and I can see the challenges.

But the real goal for me is to never use slides under any circumstances. If slides are required for a talk, oh well, no talk. Move on. Not my crowd. Now, that's the goal, but  I'm obviously years away from that. So for now I use slides like everyone else. One note here: when I say "no slides" what I mean is a complete deck of slides illustrating every point with bulleted lists of text and some occasional graphics and corporate branding on each slide so you don't forget where the speaker works. Slides as speaker notes and marketing message delivery systems, basically. Many times a visual is good to have such as a demo or video or some audio or something live to make a point the way only something live can. But the main speech shouldn't be obfuscated with slides, and it shouldn't even take place on stage, either. It should live in the imaginations of the audience where the speaker is carefully and trustfully walking. That's personal. Slides can't go there. That's why I hate slides. I  generally feel that slides detract from presentations even from highly skilled speakers, and I can only think of a few exceptions.

When I see a potentially great speaker messing around with computers and connections and slides and projectors and clickers and pointers on stage, I always wonder why. What a waste. And that's where it all starts for me. With the speaker. Not the content. Very few of those offering presentation advice start with the speaker, but I think it's the most important thing. When I look at a conference schedule, I immediately look for the names of the people presenting, then I look at the content. If I find people I want to see or whose work I'm following, I'm there. If I don't recognize anyone, I look at the content and hope I can meet a great new presenter. Both strategies work out well. I can read the content from multiple sources or get it from conversation in the hallways or at dinner or on some website, but great speakers grab you in the moment and suck you directly into the content with personal stories of their experience with the content. A great speaker generates a physical reaction in your body as your mind expands with possibilities. If there's no direct experience with the content, then why is there a speaker on stage at all? As a former speech writer a few years ago, I felt that this was the most important reason most corporate speeches failed. In most instances, it's obvious.

So, it was nice to see Simon Phipps dumping his (very good) slides for his OSCON keynote recently. I'm sorry I missed it. Simon is one of those guys who is a great speaker. He designs his own slides with significant effort and care. And he uses those slides as effectively as any of the A-list talkers out there. He's got it all, right? No. I've seen Simon present many times over the last six years, and I always walk away thinking how this or that talk would have worked with no slides at all? So, he finally does it, and I'm about six thousand miles away. Oh, well. Next time. My point is that I'm willing to bet that Simon's talk took on an entirely new dimension only possibly by excluding slides and benefiting from the simplicity of one human talking directly to another with nothing distracting either person. Just a hunch ...

Tuesday Jul 25, 2006

Getting the Word Out

David Berlind a couple of weeks ago nicely summarized a recent Rich Green interview -- Rich Green: Sun's green machine? Skim down to the last paragraph and you'll find this observation:

"More importantly, Green is right. Sun has a software stack that is one to be reckoned with, if only Sun can get the word out."

I still hear this quite often, and I generally agree with the statement in most cases. But something bothers me about it and it's this -- what more could we do? I mean this quite sincerely. We now have thousands of bloggers liberated to talk about all kinds of technology, we've opened more code -- both hardware and software -- than we know what to do with (with still more coming), we have that fancy "Share" and "Participation Age" branding campaign going on that fits nicely with all the open stuff we are doing, we send engineers and executives all over the world to participate in industry conferences, we invest millions holding our own conferences, we spend lots of money on marketing at multiple levels, we contribute to open source and standards communities all over the place, we are placing more ads about Sun in tech and business magazines now (especially with all the new products we have lately), and our press and analyst coverage seems to be increasing in volume and quality quite steadily. We are quite literally one of the loudest companies out there. Now, I realize that we have a Chairman and a CEO who are both a bit on the shy side, but we're working on that. But seriously, short of spending five or six hundred million on carpet bombing advertising, what more could we do to get the word out?

Monday Jun 26, 2006

6 Years

Today is my six year anniversary at Sun. Absolutely amazing. And I'm extremely fortunate to be working with such a great group of people during the last two and a half years on OpenSolaris.

Tuesday May 02, 2006

Bruce Sterling

Really great speech by Bruce Sterling on IT Conversations -- The Internet of Things -- from the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference a few months ago. Even if you (read: me) don't understand what he's talking about, if you love words you'll love listening to Bruce Sterling. I love when he says ... "I'm very interested in things that can't happen yet. And the Internet of things can not happen yet. It is not emerging tech. It's a vast, slow, terrific thing that is trying to emerge. Web 2.0 is emerging tech. The Internet of things, if it happens at all, will probably take about 30 years to happen because that's how long bar codes took to permeate society, about 30 years." Sterling says that the experts are still debating the proper terminology to even describe some of these concepts, and that's one of the challenges -- language. "When it comes to remote technical eventualities, you don't want to freeze your language too early ... that prejudices people ... because it limits their ability to find and understand the intrinsic advantages of the technology." And then he goes on from there. Up and down and every which way you could imagine. Really nice stuff.

My favorite bit is this though:

It is morally wrong to evade controversies just because you don't want anybody confronting you over what you are doing. There is something very snotty about an author who expects only good reviews for his books, and the author of an emergent technology is in the same boat. If nobody is dismissing you as hype, you are not being loud enough. And if nobody thinks what you are doing is dangerous, you are doing something with no power to change the world. You had better fight it out with words before you fight it out with laws because you'll be in no position to think straight when you suddenly get hauled in front of Congress and confronted for being evil. You need to feed the critics. Don't feed the crazy ones, but a loyal opposition is hugely valuable.

He uttered that sequence with a deadly serious cadence. Powerful.

I saw Sterling a couple of years ago in San Francisco. He's great live. He was talking about singularity or something. The speech then was very similar in style to this one. When I listen to this guy I can't help but think that must of what's being said out there is just bullshit. And Sterling -- who uses really big words to represent complex things I've never heard of a lot of the time -- somehow sounds really profoundly practical. Wild.

Monday May 01, 2006

Japanese Bloggers Leading

David Sifry's State of the Blogosphere, April 2006 Part 2: On Language and Tagging is really interesting because the numbers document that "Japanese and Chinese language blogging has grown significantly" and that the largest percentage of blogs on the blogosphere right now are in Japanese. Sifry notes that "Japanese bloggers appear to write shorter posts more often. This could be a result of blogging from mobile phones, and may be skewing the results, given that we are tracking the total number of posts in this analysis."

Tags:

Thursday Apr 27, 2006

Things Looking Up

Check out this piece from Forbes -- Analysts Soak Up Sun's Shine. For those of us working here and who have been experiencing all the changes in the company over the past two years -- many of which have been dramatic -- it's nice to finally see some them reflected in the views of people outside the company.

A couple of quotes from the article:

"We believe that Sun has transitioned from a turnaround to a growth story and that this is not yet fully reflected in the share prices," wrote Caris & Co. analyst Mark Stahlman in a research note in which he upgraded Sun to "buy" from "above average."

The analyst believes Sun's new management lineup reflects a "new" and "revamped" company.

Cowen & Co. analyst Richard Chu also sees Sun's revenue growth and management shift as positive.

"In spite of conventional wisdom to the contrary, in our view, Sun has a future and, potentially a very bright one," Chu wrote in a report today. "We see the passing of the baton as affirmation that Sun can move into a strategic harvesting phase combined with focus on streamlined cost structure."

Pretty cool, eh? Moving in the right direction.

Tags:

Tuesday Apr 18, 2006

Many Views

Paul Murphy at ZDNet offers a dramatically different opinion than some writer at The Economist. Which one do you prefer? Which has more substance? Ashlee Vance at The Register offers yet more information to the story. Interesting how things change when challenged, don't you think? All opinions are welcome, of course, but I only consider opinions that are signed, balanced, and substantiated. Otherwise, they are just spin pushing an agenda.

Tags:

Monday Apr 17, 2006

Scoble's Comments

Congrats, Robert, on the life changes -- Halfway through my blog vacation (change in comment policy). I see some people are critical, but I think most are pretty supportive. I agree totally with toasting the lunatics out there, so good for you. I delete comments occasionally for language and personal attacks and always have (and always will). Personally, though, I don't like comment moderation for this reason -- sometimes when I take the time to write a great comment on someone's blog (and they don't say it's moderated) it gets lost in moderation, or moderated out, or just forgotten about, or whatever. When that happens, I feel like I've wasted my time and failed some test. I hate tests. So, then I just take the comment I wrote and put it in my own blog and point back to the blog still moderating my comment. That's too much work. So, I can really appreciate people who simply have no comments on their blog at all and who don't leave comments. They just use their own blog to comment. It just seems easier that way -- if you want to comment on something, write a blog and engage the conversation that way. That's my thinking, anyway. Now, I bet you'll be extremely attentive to moderating your comments, so this will probably not be an issue for people leaving you comments. But the bigger question is this: Can you really do without coffee?

Tags:

Saturday Apr 01, 2006

Time off ...

Taking a little time off ... catch ya in a few.

Tuesday Mar 28, 2006

Rules for Blogs

I suppose everything has to have rules. Especially in blogging. The latest set of rules comes from Nicholas Carr -- Seven rules for corporate blogging -- in response to Robert Scoble's somewhat interesting week. You gotta admit, Scoble just lets it all hang out there, right? I continue to be impressed with his daily displays, too. It's just too much fun to watch and learn from -- even though I obviously disagree with his Windows and Office stuff. I also wonder what he eats to keep up that pace. I only met Scoble once, but he has a remarkable ability to make you feel comfortable, which is cool because I tend to freeze up around stars. I suppose that's why he's a good blogger. Seems like an interesting guy.

Anyway, Carr (also an interesting guy, although he's more quiet than his writing implies) offers seven rules to guide new corporate bloggers. I can see how Carr's ideas would be useful for a fairly conservative company offering a marketing-based corporate blog experience. Not Sun, in other words. But there are three sentences stuffed in his list of rules that really go against my experience blogging for Sun.

According to Carr:

If you give bloggers too much freedom, they may "go native" and tarnish your reputation by writing something stupid.

I'm not sure what it means to "go native" but here at blogs.sun.com we have a massive amount of freedom. Heck, the original blogging policy was simply "don't be stupid" or something like that. Even the current policy is very empowering. For Scott and Jonathan to have given us all this freedom is extraordinary. It builds trust. And when someone gives you a gift like that, they are telling you that you've earned it. As a result, you honor the relationship, and you don't really need rules to keep you in line. I'm sure we've had a few people do a dumb thing or two these past two years, but it's really quite rare considering how many bloggers we have.

Next ...

For companies, blogging should be treated as another channel for corporate communications, with its own strengths and weaknesses. You should use that channel to get your message out, not to give employees a sand pile for self-expression.

On this one, I think blogs.sun.com is successful because we don't deliver messages from corporate communications, and the team that set up blogs.sun.com had nothing to do with corporate communications. Blogging and corporate communications are two entirely different paradigms. And as far as the "sand pile for self-expression" is concerned ... well ... after two years of blogging I still here from developers and customers that they are thankful for all our blogs because they can get to know the Sun people because we are trusted to express ourselves personally. That's a powerful community-building dynamic. So, I think we need to keep the sand pile. It's fun playing in the sand, you know.

So, there you have it. I hope I didn't take those three sentence out of context too much. Carr's post (as usual) is long, so take a peak and see what you think.

Monday Mar 27, 2006

Bad Links

I'm not supposed to link to this story -- 60% Of Windows Vista Code To Be Rewritten -- so I thought I'd do it anyway. I don't believe the story, to be honest. But Microsoft's Robert Scoble -- a guy I respect a great deal -- now advocates (here, here, here) that the reporter be fired and that no one link to him.

According to Scoble:

"... we should now start deriding people who link to non-credible sources. I will. Anyone who links to that jerk down in Australia anymore is simply not doing bloggers any favors. Same for anyone who links to the Register. I don't believe a word they write."

Well, I think I'll continue to link to whoever I feel like linking to. I don't view linking as having anything to do with credibility, either. And I doubt Robert will dump on me or deride anyone as a result of everyone ignoring his suggestion. I think he's just pissed about this story spinning out of control. Hey, we've all been there. I mean, here at Sun we've endured a massive amount of bad press over the past few years. Some of it was well deserved, but much of it was obviously just piling on. Things have improved recently because we're shipping a bunch of new stuff, and we are turning the company around. Quality reporters recognize this. These things cycle. They are normal. You can't thwart them. And you certainly can't deride bloggers for linking to someone you say isn't credible. Instead, if a bad story or blog comes your way just undermine it with the facts and let everyone decide for themselves who is credible.

Sunday Mar 19, 2006

CEO Bloggers

Shel Israel clarifies his comments about CEO bloggers -- CEO's & Blogging -- 2nd Try. Ok, so he expands on some of his ideas due to the reaction of some bloggers. Personally, I didn't have any problem with his first post -- Maybe Your CEO Shouldn't Blog. Shel's right, and he makes some good points in both blogs. The reaction was a bit of an overreaction. Typical in this age of loud conversations.

Many times bloggers feel that everyone should blog. I used to feel that way, too. And I'm quite embarrassed about it now. My views on blogging have changed a lot in the last two years. I don't really evangelize blogging anymore. If someone would like to hear about blogging, I'm happy to tell them about my experiences and help them if they want. But I've dumped my holy water. No more evangelism. It's obnoxious.

If your CEO wants to blog, fine. But should your CEO blog just because many people in his/her organization are blogging? Of course not. Does the lack of blogging make that CEO any less open or transparent (or any of the other too-cool words that describe the latest marketing craze known as "Web 2.0")? I don't think so. Some of the most credible people I know don't blog and have no intention of blogging. And some of the most closed minded people I know are bloggers and are anything but transparent. Sounds like normal human behavior to me, and blogging hasn't changed it at all.

I think some bloggers are taking themselves too seriously. Don't you?

Tuesday Mar 14, 2006

Poor Vision

Scott Berkun writes about why vision documents stink. I agree with Scott's three theories. And I'm sure anyone who has gone through the painful vision thing on their team could add a few bullets to Scott's list. To me, great vision statements are powerful because they are precise; they are passionate because they are personally owned and supported by those directly involved in the project; and they resonate because they are written to express something great, not to inform multiple and disparate audiences or deliver messages to sell something. Also, the best person to write a vision document is, well, the visionary. Who else is there?

Wednesday Mar 08, 2006

Marketing: The Million Dollar Question

In "Marketing is the billion dollar question in open source" Dana Blankenhorn says " ... open source has squeezed budgets as never before, and practically squeezed-out marketing entirely."

Do you agree?

I'm not sure. Traditional marketing may be toast in some segments, sure, but more generally I think that open source has simply distributed the marketing function widely across participants within and between transparent organizations. So, in reality, more people are doing marketing now; it's just not necessarily called "marketing" because marketing has been opened up and redefined.

Tuesday Mar 07, 2006

Seth Godin Video at Google on Google

Seth Godin has a talk on Google Video at Google about Google -- "All Marketers are Liars" -- Seth Godin speaks at Google. I like this guy's stuff. Mostly, anyway.

Early in the presentation he mentions Sun:

"There is a belief among a lot of companies -- especially in the valley -- that technology wins. And what I want to sell you really hard on is not that technology wins, because I don't think it does. I think that what technology does is that it gives you a shot at marketing. And if you don't buy into that, then I believe the company -- sooner rather than later -- is going to smash into a wall."

(skipping some stuff here ...) "If you market your 'juice' properly you won't end up like Digital or the long, long list of companies that include Sun Microsystems that said technology will solve every problem and the marketing will take care of itself."

Well, I'm not sure we said exactly what's being attributed to us in that quote. I mean, we have a rather large number of people working in marketing here. Regardless, I don't agree with the association to Digital at all. I thought it was interesting, though, considering everything else Seth said in his talk -- things that directly relate to what we're doing around here.

He talked about the "organic growth" of Google -- all with no TV or Super bowl commercials. Where did it all come from, he asked? "It came from the fact that people told their friends. That is what made you grow, not the technology, " he said. Well, I think this is something Sun gets now. This whole open source, blogging, community-building transparency thing is really where Sun came from, and it seems to me that that's when we were our strongest. We took a little detour for a while, but we're getting back to where we came from -- the community, where "people tell their friends" and where hardware and software customers and developers are becoming directly involved in building the produces they buy or use. So, I think we get that part.

On brands, Seth said that people care about Google. "What happened is you made an audacious promise to people ... you changed how they interacted all day long online ... and that interaction with you made them care about your brand. It  means you have a platform to do some spectacular things, but if you blow it just a few times people will not care about [you] anymore," he said. Well, here I think Sun is making some audacious promises to people with our changes in strategy the last couple of years (Solaris port to x86, OpenSolaris, new SPARC chips/systems, new Opteron boxes, OpenSPARC, revitalized NetBeans and OpenOffice communities, thousands of engineers working in the open, etc), but at the same time it has been challenging to educate people that things have actually changed. It takes time, and I doubt anyone at Sun would disagree on this point.

Seth also talks a lot about the concept of story telling as the basis of good marketing for companies. "The story is priceless," he says. The story makes people feel a certain way about your product, your company, and -- probably most importantly -- about themselves. They come to believe in you based not on the story that you tell but on the story they tell to themselves about you. I could not agree more. This is where I think we still have a long way to go. We are still telling too much of the story ourselves and not letting others step up and tell their story.

Then Seth uttered a line that really poked me: "The challenge you have, since every person in this company [Google] is a marketer -- some of them are marketers who code -- is to deliver on the story." Excellent. So, you have to have a cool story, you have to tell it to people who want to hear it how they want to hear it, you need to enable them to tell it to themselves and to each other, and everyone at the company is a marketer. I love that.

Some other quotes that caught my eye along the way:

"General Motors loses money on every mid-size car they sell ... It's at the edges that people wait in line. It's at the edges that people will notice you."

"This is how much money to scale BMW spends [a little] marketing each car sold in the US. And that's how much money Lincoln Mercury spends [a lot]. Why? Because Lincoln Mercury makes average cars for average people and spends their money hyping them. And BMW has a marketing department called engineering. And they keep making stuff that people choose to talk about."

"As you build communities of people who talk to each other, things happen."

"Blogs are a really powerful tool in making all this work. It's thinking about not that you deserve the conversation -- regardless of how good it is -- but how you can cause conversations to take place."

"There's not a lot of patience in communities for being used."

"Make something worth talking about. If you can't do that, start over. Tell it to people who want to hear from you. They do what other people used to think of as marketing. They're the ones who spread the word."

...

Really nice talk. I'd love to hear him talk about Sun in the context of all these issues, and I'd like to see it right here at Sun in a forum like he did for Google.

McNealy Marketing

Interesting piece from Stephen Shankland at Cnet on "McNealy marketing" -- Like father, like Sun. I love the term, "McNealy marketing," I must say. Great fun.

A few years ago when I was in corporate marketing, I remember a meeting when we were going over the launch speeches for the execs. It was a late Friday afternoon, and I wanted to get out of there. But we still had over a hundred slides pasted on the wall -- which is several dozen too many. It was a mess. Then, out of the blue, McNealy walked in with his hands stuffed in his pockets. He cruised up to the wall filled with slide print-outs and started asking questions -- which we couldn't answer very well, I might add. The details aren't important (because I can't remember them), but to me it became apparent right away that the best marketer in the room was the Chairman and CEO of the company. The guy walking around in sneakers and jeans. He asked pointed (and painful) questions to focus us around the needs of customers who would be buying these fancy new systems we just built. It was massively helpful because within minutes we dumped dozens of slides. We focused. Marketing made simple. It was a fascinating experience for me about cutting through the BS.

Sunday Mar 05, 2006

Flickr

Nice piece here in USA Today on flickr -- Flickr of idea on a gaming project led to photo website. The best part is that flickr was born while the team was working on something else -- which is how many great ideas have come to light throughout history. "Had we sat down and said, 'Let's start a photo application,' we would have failed," [Caterina ] Fake [told USA Today]. "We would have done all this research and done all the wrong things."

I've spent an enormous amount of time on flickr, and I've loved every minute. Not a second has been wasted. It's a fantastic application. Thanks, flickr founders, Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake!

Friday Feb 17, 2006

Guy's Community

Some nice comments from Guy Kawasaki on community building -- The Art of Creating a Community. It's tough to argue with any of his eight points, although you could certainly add a variety of things based on your personal experiences with different communities. Robert Scoble feels that Guy left out the most important point -- to hang out with the community -- but I  think that's implied throughout Guy's post. My favorite point is this: "Create something worth building a community around." That's by far the most important. Which is probably why it's first on Guy's list.

Number three is pretty important, too -- "Assign one person the task of building a community." Obviously I'd see that one as important, but I'd change the emphasis slightly. Depending on the size of the community in which you participate, I'd suggest that the task of community building is actually distributed throughout the organization and touches everyone involved. In other words, every interaction is a community-building opportunity and everyone is responsible for that. Assigning that function to just one person isn't realistic because community building isn't a function -- it's a way of behaving and working and being. That's why community building isn't difficult. It's just different. I get Guy's intention, though, and I certainly agree.

Some Links

Here are some recent links I've been collecting. Mostly from the press in this batch.


OpenSPARC

tecosystems: OSBC Day 1 Notes / tags opensource opensparc schwartz
Stephen O'Grady comments on the Schwartz keynote at OSBC and GPL for OpenSPARC. Among other things.

Sun Publishes Sparc T1 Specs, Picks GPL for License / tags opensparc gpl opensource opensolaris niagara UltraSPARC
Timothy Prickett Morgan on OpenSPARC: "If a technology isn't nailed down, then Sun Microsystems seems bent on taking it open source. First Solaris, then the whole Sun software stack, and now the "Niagara" Sparc T1 processor." Don't forget all the stuff that came before Solaris, too, like Jxta, OpenOffice, NetBeans ...

Sun releases Sparc specs to lure Linux / tags opensource opensparc gpl UltraSparc linux bsd opensolaris
Stephen Shankland on OpenSPARC. "Having Linux or BSD ports for the UltraSparc T1 processor will greatly expand the Sparc market," Schwartz said in a statement.

Sun hopes open equals interest with GPLed chip / tags opensparc opensource
Gavin Clarke of the Register on GPL for OpenSPARC at OSBC. "This is an inexorable shift in the marketplace. Open source is not just about software. It's also about hardware," Schwartz said. "You can't create a community without contributions. You can't write press releases to say you like open source. If you like open source, wade on in and make contributions."

Sun's Marc Tremblay Envisions Future for Server Chips / tags opensparc Niagara UltraSPARC opensource
Q&A with Marc Tremblay -- a Sun Fellow, vice president, and chief architect for the firm's Scalable Systems Group.

SPARC's Opening Number / tags opensource opensparc
SW: "OSBC is becoming a hotbed of announcements for both traditional open source players and those hoping to be. Sun falls somewhere between the two, but Tuesday it came a step closer to being among the former." Fascinating. You know, I can't believe what it's taking to "come closer" to being considered an open source player by some people.

Seeding the planet with OpenSparc / tags opensource opensparc gpl
Dan Farber on GPL for OpenSPARC. "In presenting the news about open sourcing the Sparc specification, Schwartz challenged Intel to open source its Xeon processor and called OpenSparc the "first truly open source hardware in the marketplace."

Sun Microsystems Opens Doors For Linux / tags opensource opensparc Niagara sunsystems
"Sun Microsystems today reaffirmed its commitment to Linux." Now there's a sentence you don't see very often, eh? Should be a wild year around here. I wonder if it will match the previous year ...

Sun GPLs Latest UltraSPARC / tags opensource opensparc gpl
Even PC Magazine notices that Sun is opening SPARC and using GPL to do it. Interesting.

OpenSolaris

Opening Day for OpenSolaris on Xen / tags opensource opensolaris xen
Sun's Tim Marsland, CTO of Solaris engineering: "Today, we're making the first source code of our OpenSolaris on Xen project available to the OpenSolaris developer community."

Community

Sun's Schwartz Lays Out His Agenda / tags opensource opensparc opensolaris community blogs
Schwartz: "When it comes to communities, I'm concerned with everyone, not just the people who are going to write code."

Sun

The Real Story: Blister in the Sun Microsystems / tags opensparc opensolaris sunsystems storage linux opensource Niagara
thestreet.com: "The Real Story: Value investors have been quietly amassing shares of Sun." Cool.

Misc.

Microsoft announces Office 2007 pricing / tags openoffice opensource microsoft
"Office Standard ... will sell for $399, while Office Professional will sell for $499." Too expensive. I'll stick with OpenOffice. It's free.

Wednesday Feb 08, 2006

Links for Tues, Feb 7

For some reason, my daily blog post function on delicious flaked last nite. No links. No clue why. My little "thingy," as they call it, seemed to be set up properly. Oh, well. No matter. I sort of like doing it manually, anyway. Maybe I'll do it this way for a while. It's more flexible, actually. I can rapidly collect and tag the links via delicious, which is the real time savings, and then play with the order and format and add longer comments, etc. We'll see. Anyway, here are yesterday's links:

OpenSolaris Gamestags: opensolaris opensource games
New community opened on opensolaris.org today for games.

OpenSolaris Games / tags: opensolaris opensource
Brendan Gregg leads the new OpenSolaris Games Community.

Non-Debug OpenSolaris / tags: opensolaris opensource
OpenSolaris engineer Alan Hargreaves offers some audio. Sounds great, Alan.

Back to Old School Blogging / tags: blogs timemanagement
Totally agree. Cutting comments is a good way to save time -- something I'm running short of myself these days. I'm sure I'll cut comments in the future. Right now I don't get enough garbage in my comments (most are helpful, actually), but if it just becomes all crap I'll have no problem flipping the "off" switch.

Russell Beattie drops comments / tags: blogs timemanagement
Ben Metcalfe comments: "As a cluetrain fan, I’d have to say that a blog isn’t a blog unless it has comments." That's so completely wrong.

Is a blog without comments still a blog? / tags: blogs
More from those who think that blogs must to have comments if they are to be considered blogs at all. Nice. Nothing like choice and independence and openness, eh? This conversation reminds me of high school.

No Comments Pushback / tags: blogs
Russell Beattie: "I will publish this weblog how I want, about what I want and you read if you want. That’s it, very simple." Works for me. Blogs are personal journals, and the blogger should have the last say, not a judgmental mob.

What's Up with NetBeans? / tags: opensource netbeans eclipse sun ibm
I absolutely love this.

OpenSolaris buzzes Red Hat / tags: opensource opensolaris
Alan Burlison on O'reilly noticing the buzz around NetBeans. Seems OpenSolaris is mentioned as well. I'm not surprised at all. The conversation around OpenSolaris on the net has been steadily growing and will continue to grow as we open more of this system.

New OpenSolaris downloads pagetags: opensource opensolaris
Some praise for Bonnie's new downloads page.

OpenSolaris Charter / tags: opensolaris opensource
Stephen Hahn published the current OpenSolaris Charter. We're getting close to finalizing this. Once the Charter is approved, the CAB will move to governance discussions.

Monday Feb 06, 2006

links for 2006-02-06

Sunday Feb 05, 2006

links for 2006-02-05

Thursday Feb 02, 2006

A Change in Behavior

Since the delicious daily blog postings are working around here now, I've noticed that my blogging behavior has changed. I feel like I'm free to roam the net, attach a few sentences to whatever catches my eye at any given moment, and then get out. Real quick. I could never blog 10 or more items a day only to say a few words about each. It simply takes too long -- especially since I do most of my writing at night. delicious makes that part easy, but now all those disparate bits can all end up wrapped in a handy little package right in my blog. True, people have been doing this for a while, but I could never make it work. So, I'm happy.

In general, I like these little behavior changes because I get bored easily. Ok, it's difficult to get bored at Sun, but it can happen from time to time. The biggest change in behavior for me is, well, I guess it's more of a change in thinking with all this blogging going on. For instance, I was driving to work last week, stuck in traffic on 280 going about 30 mph, when I noticed the guy in front of me opening his door, sticking his head out of the car, and throwing up all over the road. Obviously, it was a passenger in the back seat behind the driver, but still. Had it been the driver, that would have been really wild. Anyway, at 30 mph it's pretty easy to open the door, but as traffic cleared we got up to 60 or so and he was still hanging out of the car. I had people on my rear yelling at me to speed up, but I didn't want to get too close because I didn't want this guy's partially digested breakfast all over my car. Too late. Oh, well. At the time, we were in the fast lane, and then suddenly he darts across four lanes of traffic and dives into an exit ramp -- all with the dude hanging out of the car with the door wide open. Very impressive.

My very first thought? Gezzz ... I have to blog this when I get in to the office! Where is my camera? Of course, that's the first thing that comes to mind, right?

On the way home I stopped by a car wash to have the vomit cleaned. The attendant noticed that I haven't had a wax in a while. "Sir," he says, "when was the last time you has a professional wax your car?" "Never," I said. "Oh, sir," he countered, "why?" "Because I don't care," I said. "Oh, sir," he continued, "you have such a beautiful car you really ought to treat it well." Beautiful? I thought. I drive a 1999 Honda Civic with 175,000 miles on it. How's that beautiful? Who is this guy, anyway? Just clean the puke and I'm happy. I don't wax cars. Ever. He finally got it (though he looked somewhat sad) and took my keys and passed the car into the wash. I went up to pay and have a soda and wait. Then, the manger walks up to me, compliments me on my "very cool car" and hits me up for a "professional wax job to protect my investment." Cool? Investment? "No thank you," I said. "I don't wax cars." "Buy why?" he asked. "Because I don't care." He was shocked. I must say, I give him and his buddy credit for the hard sell, but I just want a simple, cheap wash. He said ok and walked away looking sad. It was right about then that I looked over my shoulder looking for Rod Serling because I thought I was in the Twilight Zone. Who are these people?

Again, my first reaction? I gotta go blog this.

links for 2006-02-02

Thursday Jan 19, 2006

Go Open or Fade Away

Jonathan Schwartz and Simon Phipps talk to Dan Farber about Sun's open source strategy -- Go free and open source or fade away. I'm particularly interested in the discussion because it's lengthy and touches on the notion of building a community that leads to new and innovative business models for everyone involved, not just the big guys with the cash. Farber also points to colleague Tom Foremski who gives a blow-by-blow report of JohnnyL's white board overview (I've seen it ... it's good) of our stuff -- Sun software chief John Loiacono draws strategic direction. And check out JohnnyL's tree, too. Very cool story. :)
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