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Jim, I got a question from customer: what's the benefit for Sun when Apple copies DTrace and ZFS, since Apple also has server product?

Posted by Iwan on August 14, 2006 at 02:06 PM JST #


We opened the code to Solaris because we wanted to build a global developer community, and we wrapped our product in a new business model to support that. Both sides are important: open development & new business model.

Sun's customers and partners benefit from all this because they can now see the code, fix things, optimize apps, better understand the system, or even help us build the platform itself -- all while having the option of full support from Sun. Individual developers benefit because they can get their hands on the code and scratch that itch which may become the next great innovation integrated into Solaris. Sun benefits by being able to engage more developers in more regions throughout the world -- especially in emerging markets that absolutely require open source -- who have new ideas about where to take the technology.

Ultimately, as a company I believe we opened Solaris because we wanted to expand the Solaris market. The entire market. We weren't so much concerned with protecting this or that particular feature. That doesn't work for very long anymore anyway. Instead, I think we have bigger plans for Solaris, and they are all based on the notion of leveraging the advanced state of our code to engage new developers and grow the market for all of our systems and services. Also, while engaging new developers, the quality of our products improve as well. As strong as DTrace and ZFS and some of the other features are, Solaris has some weaknesses as well.

So, in that context, Apple didn't "copy" the code. We opened it. That's a subtle difference, but I think it's an important distinction. The Sun DTrace team now has an engineering relationship with the Apple DTrace team, and Apple is potentially an extremely valuable member of the OpenSolaris community. Hopefully, they will participate and contribute as we and others are. Open Source works best for those individuals and companys who contribute back. Those who don't generally get left behind.

For a somewhat vastly better explanation, check out Simon's Zen of Free -- http://blogs.sun.com/roller/resources/webmink/0630-Zen-Of-Free-OSCON.pdf -- and other open source essays -- http://www.webmink.net/free/Essay-List.htm -- especially the ones involving business models.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on August 14, 2006 at 04:24 PM JST #

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