IBM Attacks OpenSolaris -- Again

Well, there they go again. IBM kicked OpenSolaris again -- IBM says Sun's open source strategy lacks support. This latest effort comes to us from LinuxWorld in San Francisco courtesy of Scott Handy, who also attacked OpenSolaris last year, and Dan Frye. Their statements about our community only represent their own ignorance because their rhetoric is so easily undermined. It's a shame, though, don't you think? IBM should be applauded for their efforts in the Apache, Linux, and Eclipse communities (and others, I'm sure), but I'm having a difficult time praising them since they seem so mean spirited toward OpenSolaris. We're not going away, guys. In fact, we're only getting bigger and stronger every day. But actually, from a community point of view, I think we've been somewhat humble this first year. We are trying to build a community that leads with technology, not spin. Maybe that's just my hope, but I think we've largely done a pretty good job of respecting others.

I don't know very many people at IBM, but I did have the opportunity to interact with some IBM engineers one time, and they were absolute professionals. Oh, well. What can I say. I commented on a previous attack from IBM's Ross Mauri last week. Most of that applies here as well. Just to keep the continuity going here ...

Don't worry Jim. Until community is created, IBM as an opensource company is a myth. It would be nice to see an external comparison of percentage open source vs closed source of product "released" by IBM and Sun. IBM would not make double digits.

Posted by Doug Scott on August 16, 2006 at 12:43 PM JST #

Just as Doug said, where is open AIX? Never mind that in the last eight months IBM has "recommitted" resources to AIX, so what exactly are they trying to say? My guess is for "low end" IBM will sell you Linux, for everything else AIX and all of their money makers!

Posted by Robert Escue on August 16, 2006 at 01:34 PM JST #

I still can't figure out opensolaris.. You can't actually do anything with it unless you already have solaris, and you can't install solaris without getting "Solaris Express", which is not open. The "Available OpenSolaris distributions" are unfortunately lacking in usability (and of course support), so as I see it currently, there is no actual "open" solaris that people can use. I'm just waiting for an .iso that one can download without strings attached. Not to say that opening all the code isn't great... :)

Posted by Justin on August 16, 2006 at 03:51 PM JST #

Justin ... right now we are a source community, no question. There is not much for general users yet, such as at OpenOffice or Mozilla or NetBeans where people can download the binary from the source and use it right away. We know this quite well, and you are not alone in this observation. Noting to figure out. We're just no all there yet, it's that simple. Heck, we're not even finished releasing all the source to everything yet, but we've been releasing stuff all year long (16 times since after the main launch). I'm not at all claiming we are perfect, and no one on our team at Sun would say we are perfect as well. But we've only been open for a year and we've made some good progress. I do reject IBM's wild assertions, though. They've gone too far off the deep end lately. We'll get there. Much more to do around here.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on August 16, 2006 at 04:27 PM JST #

Doug ... I'd like to see the list, too. I don't think they are going to get away with this line of attack, though. They've been hitting us hard on open source for years, and now we're literally opening up everything. I bet they are really mad at us. :)

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on August 16, 2006 at 04:30 PM JST #

Robert ... I don't think we'll ever see an open AIX at this point, which I fine, I suppose. Althought it makes attacking OpenSolaris extremely difficult and I'm happy that the press is not buying it. The article's I've seen so far are somewhat critical of IBM's line. That was not true a couple of years ago, so things have changed. Based on the extreme nature of these two recent attacks, I bet IBM has absolutly no clue how to message this and explain it. This is really a remarkable thing to observe. But I do think they are active contributors to open source, so that's good for the meta community.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on August 16, 2006 at 04:34 PM JST #

i dont like it from either side. it sort of sickens me when i get the go negative primers from Sun three days before IBM does a launch, and vice-versa. whoever does the deep leaks on both sides should be ashamed of themselves. i have been known to give some broad hints about potential content to reporters, but not directly to competitors. i like Sun and IBM as strong competitors. But i dont really like underhand messaging strategies. at least let the messages get out there before attacking them. to my mind it comes across as kind of childish

Posted by james governor on August 30, 2006 at 05:15 PM JST #

Hi, James ... yah, those competitive attack "call down" briefings just hours before someone else's launch are classless. No question. My friends in communications all know my feelings on this issue. I did them and grew to hate everything about the process when I was in PR a few years ago. That's not the case here, but it's certainly related. Anyone who knows me at Sun knows that I continually argue for a understated position for OpenSolaris. In fact, I argue that OpenSolaris has no competitive position whatsoever. However, we do need to defend ourselves when vendors attack our community, though.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on August 31, 2006 at 03:11 PM JST #

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