Friday Jul 07, 2006

They Only Wanted Java?

I enjoy reading quotes by former Sun executives. I think I've seen these two quotes before, but they seem to pop up from time to time. And with Java opening, I bet we see a lot of extracurricular commentary this year. Should be great fun. Check these out ...

Then there's the debate over Java, the language used throughout the Web and corporate programming. "Java is the only thing people ever wanted them to open-source," says Peter Yared, a former Sun executive who's now heading up an open-source startup ActiveGrid. It's a question that several ex-Sun executives have scratched their heads over. Says former Sun executive and BEA Systems (BEAS) founder Bill Coleman, who now heads software startup Cassatt: "I personally think they should have done it years ago."

If that Yared quote up there accurately represents his real statement, Yared is totally wrong. More than a year before we opened Solaris, our team openly engaged hundreds of developers at customers, universities, and a variety of conferences around the world. People were pretty jazzed about a future with OpenSolaris. They offered valuable suggestions and expressed overwhelming support. Just so you know, Peter.

Monday Jun 19, 2006

"Much fanfare, but not much avail"

[Update & Correction: It was not Dave Rosenberg who made these statements below on which I'm commenting. It was Peter Yared. I guess I got confused by Dave's post. I thought he was summarizing and adding commentary to Peter's post. Apologies to Dave for the mistake.]

Dave Rosenberg writes about how he thinks open source has changed the business models of some big companies -- Big Company Behavior Patterns Around Open Source. This is how Sun is reacting -- according to Rosenberg, I mean:

We're Open, Too - Sun
"We're Open, Too" players open source their competing proprietary products long after a successful open source project has eclipsed their proprietary alternatives. Sun open sources their products in this way to much fanfare, but not much avail, examples include Solaris vs. Linux, NetBeans vs. Eclipse, SunONE Application Server vs. JBOSS, SPARC vs. x86, etc. This strategy is a stark contrast to the IBM "join the party" strategy, where IBM takes the best of their proprietary products and adds it to existing successful open source project like Linux.

Wrong on many fronts. Simon Phipps points out most of the errors in a comment to the original post. I couldn't find a permalink to comments in the blog, but you can easily find it off the main post. There are only two comments currently. Anyway, I wanted to point out a few other items ...

First ... we didn't release OpenSolaris "to much fanfare" as Rosenberg states. In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite, and anyone who knows anything about this project would know that. Last year we opened 10 million lines of code with one press release and a couple of hundred engineering blogs. That's it. There was no big advertising campaign or proclamations and all that crap. Instead, the engineers led the launch in absolutely every important way. And since then we've opened more code -- sixteen times -- with absolutely zero fanfare.

Early on, we intentionally understated the marketing, PR, and advertising on the project, and I've been a strong proponent of that strategy from the very beginning of the project. Not that we didn't want to get the word out -- far from it -- but more so because we wanted the project to gain credibility with OpenSolaris developers from the ground up, not from the top down with some billion dollar advertising campaign. We wanted to earn our credibility from the quality of our code and from the talents of our developers, not from the spin of our messages. Basically, we wanted to engage developers, not commentators. It's really that simple. Code comes first, not spin. Also, we were opening Solaris in stages, and we knew it would take time to not only release all the code and tools but to also build the community and the infrastructure for open development. That's all happening at the same time.

Now, however, the situation is changing. We have an enormous amount of code out there, the community is growing, and more infrastructure is in place. So I would expect -- and would support -- a stepped up marketing strategy that reflects our current position and direction. The engineering comes first, though. OpenSolaris is a developer program, not a marketing campaign.

Second ... the "but not much avail" comment is rude and dismisses the entire OpenSolaris community -- thousands of people working hard to build an innovative project we can all be proud of. An apology would be nice, don't you think?

Third ... Rosenberg says that we are opening our "competing proprietary products long after a successful open source project has eclipsed their proprietary alternatives." He then juxtaposes SPARC vs x86 as an example of this. Fascinating. I didn't know that OpenSPARC was in response to the previously open source x86 project. I must have missed that one.

Tuesday May 30, 2006

Correcting Cohen

Stuart Cohen, CEO of the Open Source Development Labs, wrote an editorial in BusinessWeek recently -- Sun's Big Open-Source Bet  -- that contained several inaccuracies about OpenSolaris. Stephen and Patrick responded to Cohen, but I thought I'd add my comments to correct Cohen as well.

First ...

Last year, Sun made its flagship operating system -- Solaris -- available as open source. Sort of. You see, Sun wrote its own open-source license. It's a license that many in the open-source community don't like, and with good reason. 


OpenSolaris is not "sort of" open source. It's open source as outlined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) -- which was literally a core requirement for everyone on the project team before we even began opening the Solaris code. The license in question is the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). It was a new license last year, but Sun didn't go off in a corner and write it from scratch; instead, we modified an existing, already successful, already OSI-approved license -- the Mozilla Public License (MPL). The CDDL is not Sun's "own" open source license. Anyone can use it. It's a template license that can actually help consolidate many of the MPL derivatives that have developed over the years. Additionally, if "many in the open source community" don't like CDDL, as Cohen suggests, wouldn't it also logically follow that those same individuals have a problem with the MPL too? After all, the CDDL and the MPL are really very much alike (see redline diffs at the CDDL link above). Perhaps they do, but I generally don't hear very many people calling Mozilla's code "sort of" open source. Do you? Now, was the CDDL controversial with some in the open source community when it came out? Yes it was, but that's another issue altogether and has nothing to do with the fact that OpenSolaris is open source. For more on the license discussion from last year, you can see these links: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

Next ...

Unlike with Linux, all the rights to any changes to the source code for Solaris go back to Sun. So any developers contributing to Solaris are literally working for Sun for free.


If you change an existing CDDL file, your changes go back to the community -- not Sun. If you write a new file and license it under CDDL, it's community code -- not Sun's. If you write your own proprietary file and link that file to a community CDDL file, your proprietary file is yours -- not Sun's. CDDL code is shared in an open commons, which includes non-Sun developers mixing rather freely with Sun engineers. If people were "working for Sun for free" then how does the following list make any sense: SchilliX, Nexenta, BeleniX, marTux, the PowerPC port, the DTrace port to BSD, the ZFS port to FUSE/Linux and DragonFly BSD?

Next ...

In my experience, people will work for free when they see that work as contributing to the greater common good -- but not to the bottom line of a global computing vendor. This part of Sun's strategy escapes me.


That's not our strategy. I'm sure Sun's true strategy "escapes" Cohen, but that's only because he doesn't understand it. This is really just a rhetorical trap where a position is mischaracterized and then called into question. It's a common technique practiced for thousands of years and easily seen for what it is --  a unsubstantiated misrepresentation.

Next ...

Time will tell if Schwartz can build a viable software ecosystem and vibrant development community around this approach.


OpenSolaris is already a "vibrant development community" in its very first year, which is a huge accomplishment. We can demonstrate this quite clearly by contributions (code, documentation, scripts), open conversations that reach hundreds of thousands, thousands of participants, user groups, communities, projects, millions of lines of source code from multiple Solaris Consolidations, a published roadmap, non-Sun distributions, an open development process (draft), a published Charter, an open governance (draft, draft), and ports (DTrace, ZFS, PowerPC). And there is a lot of infrastructure coming that will help encourage even more community participation. I'd say that the OpenSolaris community has already built a fine foundation in its first year. Wouldn't you?

That's it.


Thursday May 25, 2006

Alfred Chuang: OpenSolaris is Useless

So, I get up this morning for an early meeting (who the hell does 7 am meetings in California anyway?) and I was reading my newspaper (The Register) and I see this -- BEA takes JBoss and Sun to task on open source. I figured it was on Java, so I passed initially. But then couldn't resist the lure of that headline, so I peeked. In the fourth paragraph, I found this:

Picking on Sun's OpenSolaris program Chuang said: "Look at those who blindly open source. Solaris - two million lines of code. Useless."

Well, if the quote is accurate, I have no clue what would prompt Chuang to attack OpenSolaris like this. Do you? I don't know anything about BEA, but most of what I've heard over the years has really been quite positive. Anyway, almost a year ago, we opened 10 million lines of code, not two million. Big difference. And for most of this year, we've been opening more code and entire Solaris consolidations pretty consistently. So the number of lines of code is actually much higher and will get even higher because we are still opening stuff. But that doesn't even matter. Sometimes things are big and sometimes they are small and that has nothing to do with value. So, because Chuang thinks we only opened two million lines, does that make us "useless" as he suggests? I'd encourage Chuang to sign up to, join our mailing lists, and engage in an open -- and direct -- conversation with the OpenSolaris developers. They hold a slightly different opinion about OpenSolaris (as do our customers), and their numbers are growing. Oh, and the "blindly" bit? Actually, the opening of Solaris took years -- as it should have -- and we're not even done yet.


Saturday Apr 22, 2006

Competitive Attacks

Since we launched almost a year ago, I've been amazed that OpenSolaris has not been attacked that much in the press by Sun's competitors. Before we launched, sure, we were attacked a lot, but since we opened our code -- and have been regularly releasing code ever since -- the engineers and developers have been doing the talking and that conversation has been based on work, not spin. And I think the results speak for themselves, don't you? Personally, I think this is extraordinary. People still take shots at Sun (hell, that's sport these days), but OpenSolaris doesn't seem to be a target -- which is great. I think we are slowly earning our credibility in an understated way as we just go about our business of opening more code, implementing an open development model, and building a community.

This experience has transformed my views of marketing, engineering, communications, media, community development, corporate competitive strategies, and executive communications -- all of which intersect occasionally and sometimes even overlap (which is sometimes good and sometimes bad) on any large project. Before this job I specialized in competitive PR, which means I attacked and responded a lot -- just like politicians twisting facts and verbally assaulting each other every day in the media with the support of legions of irrational partisans. But I also specialized in getting sick to my stomach when we were attacked by competitors and when I was directed to attack back. I used anger to fight back, and I fought very, very hard. I hated it. It did nothing but cause pain. And I felt that the so-called positive PR benefits were trivial and fleeting at best. Dumb choice of careers if you are not into that sort of thing, I realize, but that's long over now.

Well, I think I've finally detoxed because when I read this recent attack on OpenSolaris -- Open Solaris a source of contention -- I didn't get sick at all. I didn't get angry. I just laughed. True, I'm not in marketing anymore, so it's not my job to potentially respond to these sorts of things, but for a long time I felt the attacks deeply and responded to many of them. The truth is that the vast majority of attacks in the press are so unsophisticated and extreme that they are pretty easy to undermine. The mistake many companies make is to attack back so hard that they draw yet more competitive attacks in the press. And around they go. The best attacks, on the other hand, leave no fingerprints whatsoever. Those are the ones that can absolutely be devastating to an organization. However, this particular attack in question is, well, just embarrassing for the attacker. So that's why I laughed. I mean, read the article. How could you not laugh, right? Dennis, Ben, Stephen, James, and Stephen all dive into the specifics of why the attacker is so completely wrong. I can't really add any substance to their arguments, so there's not much for me to say about the article's itself. But what interests me even more is this -- what generated this attack? Why now? Did the attacker just decide to attack on the spot? Was he prompted? Was he set up? Was it planned by executive support staff or marketing and PR staff? Was an unknown third party involved and behind it? What result was expected?

I'd love to see the briefing document on this one. Wouldn't you?


Saturday Sep 10, 2005

Tease Me

I'm not sure what to make of this one. I'm a tease and ignorant, I suppose.

Sunday Aug 07, 2005

Same Source, Opposite Conclusion

In his blog criticizing Sun, Dave Rosenberg points to an article by Dave Rosenberg as an example of something he says Sun is not doing -- which is using innovative to help build relationships with developer communities. Well, I read the article and I liked it. Some good tips in there. So, I'd like to point to the same article to demonstrate the opposite conclusion -- that as a corporation, Sun is actually doing some fine open source marketing and it's largely based on the open communications of our engineers. And since we are in the process of open sourcing new stuff all the time, we'll continually be building relationships with our developer communities just like we are doing now. Are we perfect? Hardly. But we are doing more than some people think, and there's more to come, too. What's happening at Sun is that marketing is starting to join the community and do its marketing from within the community. Many engineering groups have been there all along, but now our marketing colleagues are showing up, too, which is very encouraging.

Anyway, back to the article -- The voodoo of marketing an open source project. Here's the last paragraph:

In the end, it's the dialog that you have with your current and future user base that will drive the success of your project or product. The open source community thrives on the reciprocity between product developers and those who support the efforts. Having consistent, honest communication with your constituents is the first step to launching a marketing effort that will help catapult you to success.

Those "dialog" and "honest communications" references are most important, I believe. But -- and that's a very big but -- the communication has to be unfiltered and distributed, which is the opposite of traditional marketing. In other words ... engineers talking to engineers.

In our marketing, we already do much of what the article talks about (conferences, t-shirts, newsgroups, blogs, etc), but what's interesting is that our engineers have been doing these things for years -- directly engaging with the communities in which they participate. It's not traditional marketing, of course, it's simply the process of having a consistent, honest conversation with a peer across the firewall. So, we get this part totally and always have.

Last week just the OpenSolaris contingent of Sun's participation at OSCON topped more than 15 people -- including the entire OpenSolaris CAB -- to participate in several sessions. Heck, we even sent the prez. Other Sun software groups were there, too, so I have no clue what the total was, but it was a lot from just one company. And although I was at home with a three month old, I heard things went pretty well in Portland. It's important to note that the vast majority of presenters from the OpenSolaris project at OSCON were engineers. Again, it's the engineers that are driving these conversations, not marketeers and executives.

This dynamic has been going on long before . Many of Sun's core kernel developers have been participating on Solaris community public mail lists (alt.solaris.x86, comp.unix.solaris, solarisx86) for years, as well as contributing to various open source communities. And the Solaris engineers have been blogging on for more than a year now, well before OpenSolaris went live. When we launched OpenSolaris, we launched with 150 engineers leading the way in their blogs -- talking about the code directly with the OpenSolaris community. Totally unfiltered. We skipped the press release and just, well, opened the site. PR did brief some reporters under NDA (I was strongly against this), but much of the traditional marketing and PR tactics were simply not used in favor of directly engaging the community. OpenSolaris is a developer program, and we wanted our marketing to reflect that. As launches go, I'd say it was a pretty innovative move. These open communications with the community will only increase as the project grows. Currently, we have 24 communities that are chatting away on 46 discussion lists, and when we implement a comprehensive governance and co-development model with projects the interaction will increase further still. All of this is the foundation of good open source marketing. All of it. We have a long way to go, true, but we are already ahead of many of our critics who don't realize how much Sun has changed.

I'm sure the guys at NetBeans, Java,, Jini,, Jxta, GlassFish, Grid, Looking Glass, and the other developer communities in which we participate would agree with me. They are, after all, doing pretty much the same thing at their conferences and in their blogs and discussion lists -- collaborating on code and talking directly and honestly with their peers within their communities. Pretty much what's outlined in Dave's article, don't you think?

Thursday Jun 09, 2005

Two Quotes Today

Two interesting quotes from Scott today -- one funny and one probably taken a bit out of context. Both appear in this article -- Open source "is free like a puppy is free" says Sun boss in ZDNet UK. Here's the first one:

Commenting on Sun's $4.1bn (£2.4bn) acquisition of tape-specialist StorageTek last week, McNealy hit back at analysts who claimed that the move wasn't decisive enough to improve the company's flat performance.

"People say, "Tape is kind of boring". Well, I say go in and tell your customer that you have lost their back-up tapes and you'll see excitement pretty quickly," he said.

Ok, just a funny quote but with a serious message. Seems like Scott. I can her him saying it. Seems clear, too. But further down in the article comes another quote that I bet was taken out of context. Here's that one:

Next on the hit list was open source, with McNealy attacking the widely held view that the Linux operating system is cheap compared with Sun's own Solaris OS or Microsoft's Windows, or even free. "Open source is free like a puppy is free," he quipped, hinting at long-term costs and hassles, and occasional clean-up jobs. This is despite the fact that Sun recently began releasing Solaris under an open source licence.

I seriously doubt that open source is on McNealy's so-called "hit list." Scott is spending millions on , and his engineering teams are out there building the OpenSolaris community and have been doing so for some time now. So why would open source be on his so-called hit list? Makes no sense. Also, the OpenSolaris community will be an open source community, which is stated directly in the last sentence of the paragraph. If open source were on Scott's so-called hit list, I doubt I'd have a job, too. So, I don't get the "attack" characterization up front before McNealy's quote, nor do I get the last sentence in the paragraph written to emphasize a point that wasn't really supported in the first place. Also, if you take out the "despite" in there the sentence takes on an entirely different tone. Of course, taking out "hit list" and "attacking" and "scathing" further alters the story, too, don't you think?

So, what's wrong with McNealy's actual quote? He's simply pointing out that from his perspective as CEO open source is not free. He's right. It takes a strong commitment and significant engineering resources to build and run an open source development project to provide all that "free" code. Most customers who then consume that free code do so through some vendor providing services to support or implement systems based on the code. Isn't that what Red Hat does? And IBM? And Novell? Sun? Or, if customers have the skills on staff, they do the work themselves. But it all costs something, doesn't it? Nothing is free in that equation except the access to the source code, which helps enable a community of developers who have the specialized skills to work on the code.

I don't find anything wrong with McNealy's 9 word quote. However, I do question the 64 words of commentary characterizing the quote. Don't you?

UPDATE: 6/9/05: I see that Cnet reprinted the ZDNet story but under the headline, "McNealy touts 'excitement' of backup tape." Pretty much the same story with the same writer but this version has some small changes. For instance, this one says, "Also on the quip list ... " instead of "Next on the hit list ... " Why the edit? There were a couple more edits as well. Then the story crops up yet again on under yet a third headline, though this one is just ridiculous -- Sun boss scorches rivals and open source. Scorches? Well, I guess the headline did its job -- I read the story. It's great media PR, no question. But after I read the story and found no substantiation for the headline so I lost respect for Simple.

Tuesday May 24, 2005

Attack of the Rabid, Brain Dead Pit Bull

So, while I was away with the baby recently it seems I came up in a couple of, ah, conversations about OpenSolaris. Sometimes on this project I have to stop and look over my shoulder just to make sure Rod Serling isn't back there narrating my life.

Here's a post from Slashdot and my comments in bold red (thought I didn't correct the original typos):

\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\* Post Starts Here \*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*

People just can't stand Sun's endless stream of BS (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, @06:27AM (#12450385)

What are these people complaining about? (We're tired of getting attacked.) I mean, it was Sun's very own Jim Grisanzio (What ... no link?) who set the tone here. (How`s that? I've responded, not attacked. Please cite your evidence to the contrary.) For month (No. I've been responding to attacks on Solaris for over a year now.) he is attacking every critical statement (Oh, no ... I've missed hundreds of attacks on Solaris, but I've been trying my best to keep up.) about Sun's OpenSolaris release like a brain-dead pitbull with rabies (appologies to all pitbulls) (Ouch. Now that hurt. Great quote, though. I'm saving it.).

And JG is not even funny or imaginative (I'm not trying to be ... are you?). He is just playing the same old record: "People who complain are stupid.", (I never said that. Any evidence to the contrary?) "People who ask for details are brain dead and don't get it". (Nope. I never said that one either.) "OpenSolaris will be released real soon now". (Well, it will.)

OpenSolaris is indeed vapourware (Yes, from your perspective; no from ours. It's a draw.) with an GPL incompatible license. (I thought it was the other way around.) And Sun is working very hard to piss of even more programmers. (Even more? Even more than what?)

It is high time for Sun to put up or shut up. (Totally agree.) That propaganda dog-and-pony show is going on many potential developer's nerves. (Like who?)


And then there's this comment at ZDNet (could it be the same guy?):

Fullname:   Anonymous
Location:   -
Occupation:   -

Well, the thing is, the baby is still not born. (Partially correct.) But Sun did already throw one birth party after the other (More than that, actually.), colleced the presents (positive press) (and massive attacks) and expects everyone to praise the unseen baby's beauty. (No. We're just telling our customers and developers what we're doing, that's all. It really is that simple.)

The birth is almost six month overdue, (Oh, goodness no, it's much longer than that.) and of course people start to ask the obvious questions: Why does it take so long, (You wouldn't want to know, believe me.) and is the lady really pregnant?

Sun's reaction to these questions, especially that of the community manager JG is not adequiate. (Correct. I've been pushing for a much more aggressive response to the attacks, a faster release cycle, and zero marketing.) Blindly declaring all critics as being stupid (I never said that.), "not geting it", (Yep. I say that sometimes to those who blindly attack Solaris and deny that the Solaris community even exists.) leechers (I don't know what that means.), or trolls (Not a word I generally use.) works only so fare. The reaction of the open source comunity (Which open source community?) is predictable. This is not a community that swallows marketing bull. Instead, the statement "put up or shut up" is exactly the right one. (Correct. And we are. We have a license, we published a road map, we announced a Community Advisory board, we released DTrace, more to come.)

It is hight time for Sun to stop the propaganda and "show us the code" (another cl\*\*\*\*ic request of the FOSS community). Many have tried to join the FOSS community with all talk and no code. (Correct. We've got 10 million lines of Solaris code coming ... not to mention all the other projects we have out there.) The trolls are the ones who can't show code, not the ones who ask to see it. (Is that all you are doing? Just asking to see the code?)

\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\* Post Ends Here \*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*

Fun stuff, eh? So, these comments came from a Slashdot conversation -- Sun Developers Refute OpenSolaris Vaporware Claims -- and a ZDNet article -- OpenSolaris developers defend their baby.  For more of this you can see Dan, Dennis, Alan, Jason, and Bill. And they have a bunch of links as well.

I know, I know ... people told me not to respond to this, but I couldn't help it. Bullies never like it when you fight back and defend yourself. But, sorry. I do.

Thursday May 19, 2005

"The juiciest market in the world"

Ok, so I've been back to work for a few days. I'm still a bit numb and need a lot more sleep, but I'm slowly starting to catch up and get my new dad legs. I'll probably blog some stuff I missed over the past month for safe keeping right here. In between diaper changes, of course.

So what welcomes we back? IBM and Red Hat. Charming. Over the last couple of days I see the duo has teamed up in a well coordinated public relations campaign to go after Solaris (again) -- IBM and Red Hat Chase the Solaris Base Some More:

Red Hat has enlisted the aid of IBM to go after the juiciest market in the world: the vast installed base of Solaris servers that were deployed in 2000 and early 2001.

"The juiciest market in the world." Love it.

Look, everyone's gunning for Solaris -- which, of course, demonstrates the viability and longevity of the system itself, the talent of the engineers who developed it, and the value of the Solaris market. Those systems sold way back in 2000 are probably humming right along with Solaris 8 or 9, but a lot has changed in five years around here and I bet IBM and Red Hat have noticed. There's more to come, too, guys. And soon. Perhaps that's what's behind all the fuss? Probably. It's going to be an interesting couple of months out there, don't you think?

Also, IBM and Red Hat have to hit Sun hard on this issue. The timing for them is perfect -- Solaris 10 just recently shipped and OpenSolaris is not available yet (though DTrace certainly is). But time is rapidly running out, too. Sun's screw up with x86 is now looking pretty old, and the company has more than made up for it with S10, OpenSolaris, Opteron, and those new Andy Bechtelsheim boxes in the works. So, the new business model, product set, and developer programs are starting to come together. Just imagine the consequences for IBM and Red Hat when Sun re-engages "the juiciest market in the world" with an entirely new story for the installed base, while simultaneously moving aggressively into new markets with new offerings? This wasn't supposed to happen. Sun was supposed to be dead (several times over) by now, remember? Sorry, guys. It's a new day.

Oh, and while I've been catching up on my reading this week, I tripped over this article: Up and Running on Solaris 10. Read it along with all the PR on IBM and Red Hat for a little balance. May the best system win.

Monday Apr 18, 2005

OpenSolaris: Too Little, Too late

"Too little, too late" is my favorite hit on OpenSolaris. It seems to be the most pervasive hit, too, probably because it's just so easy to say. It's kind of catchy, don't you think? Omar Tazi thinks we are doing too little and are doing it too late. But, as is generally the case, it's baseless and he offers no substantiation whatsoever. This is what he says:

I may be wrong but I think it’s too little too late and I even wonder if Sun’s move serves the Operating System open source community. It was doing just fine focusing its resources on the thriving Linux, sometimes more is less. Somebody must be happy up in Redmond.

Yes, Omar. You are wrong. We'll prove it over time ... this is just a heads up.

First, why would Redmond be happy? Microsoft's Windows is a competitor of ours in many markets. Microsoft can't be happy that yet another enterprise operating system is going open source while Windows is still locked shut. Second, why are you denying Solaris developers and users from contributing to the OpenSolaris community the same way that Linux and BSD developers contribute to their communities? Seems pretty selfish to me. OpenSolaris will simply help provide more validation for open source around the world, particularly in emerging markets where we have teams hitting the streets right now. The more open source communities the better. There's room for us all, Omar.

Actually, the timing for opening Solaris simply could not be better. We have serious executive support. We are multi platform. We have new SPARC and Opteron systems coming out that fly. We scale from tiny laptops to supercomputers (and don't be surprised to see Solaris on your cell phone in the future). We have really great code in Solaris 10 with features not found anywhere else, and we have numerous areas for improvement in which the community will immediately contribute. We have an excited market that has downloaded a million or so copies in just a couple of months. We have an innovative open source license that will help enable the new community. We are building a responsible co-development model that our customers expect. We have a solid community advisory board. We've been running a pilot program since September. Seems like things are lining up, don't you think? But above all, we have some nervous competitors out there who simply don't know how to react to all this. After all, this wasn't supposed to happen. We were supposed to be dead by now. I guess it's not too late, after all, eh?

OpenSolaris: Too little, too late? Bullshit.

Sunday Apr 10, 2005

Sun Attacked on the High Seas

Here's a new slam piece -- Correcting course or sailing in circles.

It's filled with the required -- yet recycled -- rhetorical and propaganda catch phrases and crafty key messages remnant of a PR FUD campaign designed for maximum negativity. But, like many of these articles lately, it's also so far over the top that it's really a caricature of itself. Some people have told me that I shouldn't point to blogs or articles like this (because I do it all the time), that I shouldn't draw attention to negative opinions. I disagree for a couple of reasons. First, it's fun. Second, we need to know what people are saying about us so we understand where we are doing ok and where we need to improve.

So, here's a quick list of the highlights -- or lowlights, actually -- that we are supposed to remember from this article. This list forms the subtext of the article. Let's not bury these bits in the text. Let's pull them right out into a big bulleted list for all to clearly see. This is what Sun is to this writer in this article:
  • marginalized
  • criticism
  • sunk its claws
  • begrudgingly relaxed its iron grip
  • arrogance
  • denied the importance of the x86 market
  • flipping
  • hubris
  • skepticism and dismissive tone
  • struggling
  • still in search
  • dismisses
  • too little, too late [Editorial Note: this is my favorite!]
  • fail
  • denial
  • doubts
  • unwilling
  • problems
  • big bellow
  • inflating
  • lost
  • dilemmas
  • Sun spin
Wow. That's quite a list. And scary, too. I should really probably be looking for a new job right about now, but I'm not because this list is garbage. I don't buy it for a minute. But that's what we are supposed to think about when we read this article because that list outlines quite nicely the negative messages pervading the piece.

On a more macro level, this article uses a "nautical" image throughout. It's just a cheap marketing message delivery tactic, complete with a graphic of a big fat sailor  struggling against the wind to guide the Sun ship. Go take a look. It's pretty funny.

Anyway, let's take a look at some of this article, starting with the oh-so-objective headline:

Correcting course or sailing in circles?

Naaa. No bias, PR spin, or agenda there. "Sailing in circles" isn't designed to leave a negative impression at all. Right.

Sun Microsystems is on the verge of becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of systems companies. Although Sun shows signs of turning the corner financially, it doesn't get much respect.

Ok, the "Rodney" thing is cute -- and I'm a huge Rodney fan, don't get me wrong -- but it's been used before to slam Sun. Can we find a new attack metaphor next time?

The problem is not technology. Sun still gets good reviews for hardware and software, which is produced by some of the industry's most talented engineers, armed with an ample R&D budget. The Sun brand still has some cachet, and although investors don't have much to cheer (see "Sun's Recent Financial Performance," below), they're glad Sun is sitting on more than $3.6 billion in cash and short-term investments (as of December 2004), banked when the company was one of the big bellows inflating the Internet bubble.

So, our engineers are good guys. Thanks! I agree. This is the only positive part of the article, though. Sorry, it's not enough. The cash figure seems low, too. I found $7.464 billion lying around in Sun's Q205 January 13th press release. Perhaps the article uses an old figure, I don't know. But why would you use an old figure when that $7.464 billion number took me fifteen seconds to find? I don't know ... I'm not a numbers guy. Now, the Internet "bubble" reference is really cool -- this article is slamming us for not only "sailing in circles" right now but it seems that we are also getting slammed for being a "big bellow" and "inflating" the "Internet bubble" back when everyone thought we were successful in the 90s! Man ... talk about not getting any respect. We can't do anything right for this guy. Truth is, both extremes are completely wrong, as extreme positions generally are. Here's more:

Where Sun loses respect is for its recent business decisions, which cause observers to wonder if the ship is just sailing in circles. At the root of Sun's problems are three factors, which critics say it hasn't adequately addressed. Linux has taken hold in corporate America, proving capable of many computing tasks that used to require Unix. The price/performance of the x86 architecture has become favorable against Sun's SPARC architecture. The Internet bubble burst. As a result of all three, Sun has lost customers.

Ok. True, we missed some market shifts. And guess what? We admitted our mistakes and changed our strategy. I remember Scott himself saying so during his keynote at LinuxWorld Expo when we launched our new (at the time) Linux boxes. I was 10 feet away. My friend wrote the speech. I also remember Jonathan Schwartz and John Loiacono saying so many times in the media the last couple of years. Why are those admissions not cited here? Why no mention of Solaris on x86 and Sun's massive commitment to commodity hardware? What ... no Opteron references? Fascinating.

Immediately after the Internet bubble burst, Sun posted record losses, from which it has only recently recovered, thanks to layoffs and other cost cutting. But its management has come under criticism, because it appears to be unwilling to face its problems or refashion itself as some other kind of company. "Denial" is routinely used to describe Sun's attitude toward x86 and Linux. On top of everything else, some analysts still have doubts that CEO Scott McNealy is the man who can captain the ship out of these doldrums (see "Scott McNealy's Dilemma," December 2003).

No, not "thanks to layoffs." Those are friends who were let go. People. And just how are we "unwilling to face our problems?" Seems to me there's a lot of change going on at Sun that directly address the challenges we face. And then there's the "On top of everything else ..." My goodness, there's just so much we had to have an "On-top-of-everything-else" tossed in for good measure. Funny. But what's even better, though, is that the "On-top-of-everything-else" reference leads to an old article way back in 2003 to substantiate it's claim. Can't we use some recent references? Any reason we are dragging up old references to substantiate new claims? Sounds like there's some recycling going on around here.

Skipping around a bit:

Characteristic are comments by Amy Wohl, editor of the newsletter, "Amy Wohl's Opinions," who points out that the open source license Sun chose for Solaris is the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), not the General Public License (GPL) of Linux. "Because the terms of the CDDL license do not permit CDDL code to be used with GPL code," she says, "nothing in these patents can be used with Linux. Sun thinks that if it just releases its OS, suddenly the open source community will decide to write open source code that won't work with GPL. I don't understand what these guys are thinking."

No. We do not think and we have not said that if we just release Solaris "suddenly the open source community will decide to write open source code that won't work with GPL." I'd love to see that reference. What we have said is that we are building an open source Solaris community -- OpenSolaris. Solaris is the key word there. The OpenSolaris community will, indeed, write open source code for the OpenSolaris project. And on the CDDL vs GPL part. I thought it was the other way around. This is just another example of someone who sees OpenSolaris from the perspective of Linux or some other community or based on a simple lack of knowledge. Sooner or later people will see Linux for what it is and see Solaris for what it is. It will take time for people to get used to this, though. Both have value.

No matter what Sun does, someone dismisses it.

Of course. Name one company. Just one. Where this is not also true. Even the blindly loved Apple has serious and responsible critics.

Why does this skepticism persist? Critics say Sun's moves don't add up to a comprehensive program.

"It's still in search of a sustaining strategy," argues Rob Enderle, a longtime Sun watcher and president of the Enderle Group. "It tends to move from idea to idea when it needs to stay on one line to execute. It says it's a services company. Then it says it's a software company. But it remains a hardware company. It's on and off with open source. It's trying to do some desktop stuff, but it's still a server company. It's struggling for a direction in a changing world."

Cute quote. Very dramatic, too. It fits the stormy-seas-nautical-theme of the article as well. But we are a systems company. I've never heard Scott say otherwise.

One thing seems clear, and perhaps this is the lesson for others: The skepticism and dismissive tone now are the fruit of Sun's past hubris in implying that only it understands the market.

Naaa. That's not sarcastic or condescending.

"For years it denied the importance of the x86 market and Linux," says Graham-Hackett. "To its credit, it's reexamining those beliefs. But having been in denial for so long and then flipping, it will get some criticism.

"Some criticism?" Just some? My goodness. And we are not "re-examining our beliefs." We are implementing a new strategy, backed up with engineering and products and marketing. That's hardly "re-examining our beliefs."

"When you talk to the company now, it is still hard to believe that the arrogance has gone away. It's convinced of its value in the marketplace, but it's not where it needs to be. It's been marginalized and runs the risk of continuing to lose market share."

If we are so marginalized why are we getting attacked so much? Perhaps people are in denial and are getting nervous about the changes we've made. Sure we can screw this up, but what if we don't? What if? What happens if we are right about the moves we've made in the last year or so?

Linux and x86 hardware are both nemesis and opportunity for systems companies, depending on how they choose to view them. IBM recognized the opportunity early in the game, and Hewlett-Packard followed soon after. Until recently Sun had sunk its claws into the belief that Linux and x86 are nemeses and only begrudgingly relaxed its iron grip.

I love the "begrudgingly." Especially since x86 and Opteron are basically the hottest things going on inside Sun right now. Begrudgingly, of course.

Sun spurned any x86 strategies until a little more than a year ago, when it started to peddle Advanced Micro Devices x86 Opteron servers; it now sells more of them than its own SPARC-based hardware. Sun went to the trouble to port Solaris to Opteron, but most Opteron Sun sells are outfitted with Linux, not Solaris. Sun now partners with Red Hat and SuSE Linux to offer the Linux option. Its dilemmas don't seem to end.

We are "peddling" AMD's stuff? Again with the sarcasm and condescension. We are doing a bit more than peddling here. And give me a break. Solaris 10 just shipped. This is so misleading. Intentionally so, I believe. And I'm still looking for the million Solaris licenses that are missing from this piece ... mostly on x86, too. Imagine that.

Sun argues that results from its moves may not be evident soon. "Elements of our strategy took literally years to complete," says Gogune. "Solaris 10 is the culmination of $500 million in R&D and thousands of engineering years. Open-sourcing Solaris required vetting all of the 5-million-plus lines of code. Free Solaris is a bold maneuver that required getting a comprehensive set of services in place to monetize the market expansion."

Tom's name is spelled wrong. In fact, it's wrong in several places in the article. For the correct spelling, go here.

With a ship, it can be hard to tell whether it is turning.

Hard to tell? Sorry. I'm not buying it. I think it's just denial.

The Solaris Killer

So a new start up is coming out with some sort of system that will "kill" Solaris -- Brand New Linux Distro Expected To Be a "Solaris Killer"


According to the article:

It will supposedly eliminate "bloated package management," allowing for upgrades or rollbacks in less than 30 seconds. To compete, Red Hat, Novell and Mandrakesoft would reportedly have to "completely re-engineer their solutions away from RPM and other package management systems."

The company thinks - allowing for market reaction - that it "could spell the end of server operating systems as we know them today, and would likely put an end to Solaris."

Love the qualifier there ... the "allowing for market reaction" bit. Funny. That's pretty much the only qualifier in the entire article. But even better is the headline ... the  "Solaris Killer" reference. Now that's an attention getter, eh? Makes for great PR spin for some, I suppose. But it sounds pretty violent and angry to me. Perhaps someone's scared and confused and lashing out. When I read the headline I thought there was a lot of content picking apart Solaris, but there really isn't. It's just a selective attack, that's all. But it gets even better, though, and this part is my favorite. After the first few graphs, the writer, Maureen O'Gara, scribbles this incredible sentence:

Oh, heck, let them tell their own story. This is what his e-mail says:

Amazing. She then proceeds to simply cut & paste a 2,109 word email from the company's CTO talking about his new product. Which is fine for a blog. Or an advertisement. Or a press release. Or even an editorial, I suppose. But the article is not really marked as any of those. How's that for objective and credible journalism? And I wonder why O'Gara was so kind to this CTO and yet so utterly obnoxious to Sun in an attack piece just the other day? Oh, well. I see Rich Teer completely ripped open the so-called article and exposed it for what it is -- propaganda.

Monday Feb 28, 2005

IBM's Scott Handy on OpenSolaris

Ok, I get it that Sun and IBM are competitors. Nothing wrong with that. But I don't get comments about OpenSolaris like this:

Some of the biggest criticisms of Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris project have come from IBM's vice president of worldwide Linux strategy, Scott Handy, who during an interview regarding the new IBM Chiphopper program said he did not expect OpenSolaris to generate the following that Linux had accumulated.

Citing the "passionate community" that had supported Linux throughout the years, Handy said the current ecosystem for operating systems was one of Windows and Linux -- with no room for a third.

"I generally don't think that there is a following there," Handy said of OpenSolaris. "And if it cannot get beyond its core following then it won't work."

You don't think there's a following there? You are obviously not talking to Solaris developers. They seem pretty psyched about all this to me. Perhaps the Solaris community is not as big as the Linux community is (right now, anyway), but that doesn't mean it's not passionate and talented and valuable. Their time will come. Wait till you meet these guys, Scott. It won't be long now. And what's with the bit about the current ecosystem for operating systems is Windows and Linux with no room for a third? Let's see ... Mac OS, the BSDs, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, and just how many operating systems does IBM sell and support through its global services operation? More than two, I bet. There's plenty of room in the market for diversity ... that's what makes markets healthy and innovative. And fun, too. And finally, the "won't work" bit? Just watch.

Technorati Tag: OpenSolaris
Technorati Tag: Solaris

Tuesday Feb 08, 2005

eWeek: Cut and Paste Journalism

Nice to see Greg Papadopoulos, Sun's CTO, blogging, eh? And his first post today was on OpenSolaris. Excellent!

eWeek picked up on Greg's blog and wrote an utterly fascinating article -- Sun CTO: New License Protects Developer Rights. And it's rather telling how eWeek characterizes Sun, Greg, HP, Linus Torvalds, and OpenSolaris in the piece.

First the eWeek writer, Peter Galli, quotes Greg's blog from today:

"Open software is fundamentally about developer freedom," Papadopoulos said.

"We want developers to freely use any of the Open Solaris code that we developed for their purposes without any fear of IP [intellectual property] infringement of Sun: either patent or copyright. We chose a license, the CDDL, an improvement of MPL [Mozilla Public License], that clearly and explicitly gives that freedom," he said.

Then Galli quotes Linus Torvalds from this article on December 13, 2004:

But Torvalds said he sees no such freedom in the license choice, telling eWEEK recently that Sun "wants to keep a moat against the barbarians at the gate."

"I think there are parallels with the Java 'we'll control the process' model," he said. "I personally think that their problem is that they want to control the end result too much, and because of that, they won't get any of the real advantages of open source."

Ok, it's a really old quote, but at least it's characterized as an old quote with the "recently" reference. But my question is this: why did eWeek feel the need to recycle an old quote from two months ago in the first place? It's just odd. Especially since Linus commented on OpenSolaris and CDDL in CRN just last week and said this:

"It all looks good. I was disappointed in their Java work, it was a complete disaster, and Sun took control of it," Torvalds told CRN, alluding to the Java Community Process. "But CDDL is different. Everything is in place for it to work well."

So, not only does Galli not mention Torvalds' more recent positive statements in CRN, but he then juxtaposes Greg's recent comments directly with Torvalds' comments from two months ago, giving the reader the impression that the two men are debating when they clearly are not:

In comments posted to his first "official" blog on Monday and titled "My views on open source," Papdopoulos disagreed, further defending the CDDL by saying that complementary to developer freedoms are developer rights. He said code developers do have rights to the code they have developed, as this is, after all, the fruit of their labor.

I don't know about you, but I hate it when reporters do this.

Next Galli recycles some negative comments from HP from that very same December 13, 2004 article but doesn't attribute them as such. So, we are led to believe that these comments from HP are recent. They are not.

Some of Sun's largest competitors are welcoming the dissention over the CDDL. Efrain Rovira, worldwide director of Linux marketing at Hewlett-Packard Co., in Palo Alto, Calif., told eWEEK that he enjoys competing with Sun when it continues to make mistakes such as this.

"They will not be able to build a viable community to support Open Solaris if they use the CDDL," Rovira said. "What they are saying to the community about their support for open source and Linux is that they are half pregnant.

"There are no half measures here: You either are or you aren't. This is part of the schizophrenic attitude we continue to see coming out of Sun," he said.

But Papadopoulos said developers could take any or all of the Solaris modules and, if they respected the basic license terms of propagating it and making public any improvements or bug fixes, they could "do with it as they please."

Did you catch that last paragraph? Galli now has Greg debating HP -- separated by two months in time but clearly positioned otherwise.

Next Galli offers more of Greg's blog from today:

"Embed it any product. Build your own custom distributions. Intermix with any other code you wish -- assuming that code lets you do it. You can do any of that, and you get a grant to any patents we might have covering our code. That's an explicit part of the license," he said.

The only thing Sun asks in exchange was the same thing that Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and author of the GPL, and Torvalds and every other open-source developer asked in exchange: "that the license be honored," he said.

Ok, fine. But now Galli goes back in time again and recycles a quote from Cybersource, which can be found not only in that December 13, 2004 article but also in a January 19, 2005 article as well:

But some users said they disagree with that assessment. "I suspect Sun would be overjoyed if open-source software continued to flourish, but Linux somehow vanished from the scene," said Con Zymaris, CEO of Cybersource Pty. Ltd., a Linux and open-source solutions company in Melbourne, Australia.

"I will now have to choose between supporting development and adding momentum to Open Solaris or to Linux. I will choose Linux. Our customers have."

By the way, if you read Torvalds' comments from the December 13, 2004 article, you can find the very same comments recycled in the January 19, 2005 article as well.

This is all very confusing, isn't it? All this cutting and pasting and recycling of parts to artificially create a debate across time that simply never took place. Interesting choices the writers and editors at eWeek are making these days, don't you think? I wonder, what agenda is eWeek pushing here?

Wednesday Feb 02, 2005

Linus Torvalds on OpenSolaris

Linus Torvalds chimes in today on OpenSolaris in CRN -- Torvalds: Waiting To See Sun's Open Solaris.

"It all looks good. I was disappointed in their Java work, it was a complete disaster, and Sun took control of it," Torvalds told CRN, alluding to the Java Community Process. "But CDDL is different. Everything is in place for it to work well."

Torvalds said he doesn't know if there will be enough interest in Solaris to grow a viable open source community, or if the Unix OS has become too "marginalized," but he isn't complacent about Sun's efforts. "A lot of people still like Solaris, but I'm in active competition with them, and so I hope they die," the Linux creator and chief developer quipped.

Sun's Danese Cooper comments on the CDDL:

After the panel Danese Cooper, Sun's chief open source evangelist, said that while the CDDL has different provisions of the general public license (GPL) that affect developers' use and distribution of Open Solaris, Sun won't bring patent litigation to the courts. "We're not going to sue anyone," she said.

Technorati Tag: OpenSolaris

Tuesday Dec 21, 2004

Torvalds: Solaris is a Joke

Some unfortunate comments from Linus today in a long Q&A with Stephen Shankland at Cnet. Most of his previous statements recently on OpenSolaris have been reasonable. I've been a big supporter of Linux here at Sun, and I have a lot of respect for Linus. So it's difficult hearing some of this from him. Oh, well.

Q: What do you think of what Sun is doing with Solaris 10--technology improvements, open source, and the move to x86 chips?

A: I'm taking a very wait-and-see attitude to Sun. They like talking too much. I'm waiting for the action.


Q: It seems to me that they have taken some action besides just grandstanding. They have resurrected the x86 version and added several interesting features--containers, DTrace, and ZFS, for example--that are available today in beta versions of Solaris 10. They're actively rounding up support from developers and software companies. And they announced that the production version of Solaris 10 on x86 will be available for free. What do you think about the x86 move and the new Solaris features?

A: Solaris/x86 is a joke, last I heard. (It has) very little support for any kind of strange hardware. If you thought Linux had issues with driver availability for some things, let's see you try Solaris/x86.


Q: When Sun releases Solaris as open-source software, will you take a peek?

A: Probably not. Not because of any animosity, but simply because I don't have the time or the interest. Linux has never been about "others," it's been about getting better than itself, so I don't really have any motivation to play around with Solaris. I'm sure that if it does something particularly well, people will be more than happy to tell me all about it.


Q: Surely if you like the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants, there might be some handy ideas in Solaris. Why ignore it?

A: Because I personally don't think they have anything left worth taking after I've applied the general Unix principles. I really do think Linux is the better system by now, in all the ways that matter.

But more importantly, if I'm wrong, that's OK. People who know Solaris better than I do will tell me and other people about the great things they offer. To try to figure it out on my own would be a waste of time.

Tuesday Dec 14, 2004

Linus Comments on OpenSolaris

I read these comments from Linus Torvalds yesterday in eWeek:

Sun "wants to keep a moat against the barbarians at the gate," he wrote in an e-mail interview. Torvalds said he does not expect developers clamoring to start playing with that source code.

"Nobody wants to play with a crippled version [of Solaris]. I, obviously, do believe that they'll have a hard time getting much of a community built up," Torvalds wrote. "I think there are parallels with the Java 'we'll control the process' model. I personally think that their problem is that they want to control the end result too much, and because of that they won't get any of the real advantages of open source."

He is speculating, of course, on the OpenSolaris license, which we have not announced yet. He doesn't know. And neither do I, to be honest. That discussion will be for another day.

I disagree with his comment about developers not clamoring to start playing with the code, though. The Solaris community very much is clamoring to play with the code. In fact, we can't get it out to them fast enough! I see it every day. I bring Solaris developers and system administrators into the OpenSolaris Pilot Program. One at a time. All day, every day. And I can assure you, they are a lively bunch of talented developers.

However, I think Linus has touched on a significant issue here -- control. Just how much control a corporation like Sun asserts over a project such as OpenSolaris is a subject of constant discussion internally and within the OpenSolaris Pilot Program. No one has been in our position before, so we're learning as we do all this. And thoughtful people can disagree (and they do, believe me!). In this respect, I see Linux and Solaris at two very different stages in their lives. I see Linux growing up from a grass-roots community into a fully viable desktop and enterprise operating system that now has the backing of major corporations but remains open source. I see Solaris as growing from the community, then moving under the stewardship of a major corporation, and now returning to its roots after many years of highly focused enterprise engineering.

So, here's my question -- can you judge the Solaris community (as it exists today) based on the experiences of the Linux community (as it exists today)? I mean, we are open sourcing an operating system that already has a large installed base around the world, already has a business model driving Sun, already has developers who will be fully enfranchised as an open source community very shortly, and already has a sophisticated development methodology that we are updating and carefully moving across the fire wall. It seems we are in a very different place as we open source Solaris right now than Linux was when it went open source. Am I wrong? That's not rhetorical ... I'm actually asking. I see it as a distinction with a very big difference. When questions of "control" come up they are sometimes characterized as a negative when in reality shouldn't they be considered complex business and technical issues that need to be responsibly resolved? Well, that's pretty much what we are doing.

Tuesday Nov 23, 2004

Michael Tiemann on OpenSolaris

This from Red Hat today in Computerworld:

Reacting to claims by Sun Microsystems COO Jonathan Schwartz that Red Hat is a proprietary incarnation of Linux, Red Hat's vice president of open source affairs Michael Tiemann believes Schwartz should get his facts straight and expressed doubts over how open any open source Solaris is likely to be.

Don't worry. You won't be disappointed. It will be.

"Sun has said that it is going to make Solaris open source but it hasn't identified a license. So we're still forced to take it on faith that it is going to actually open source Solaris as opposed to simply claim it has done it without proving it," he said.

We're forcing Red Hat to take it on faith? How is that possible? We're just not finished, that's all. Just wait a little longer ... we'll get back to ya on this.

"The second issue is that we haven't yet seen what the governance model is ...  is it going to be limited to simply allowing people to look at code?"

Nope. We've already said we are interested in building a community here, a community that contributes to the code base. In fact, we are actually moving development across the firewall. Now, please understand that that's going to take some time. Be patient. We'll get there. No need to rush this.

And lastly ... thanks for the complement!

Tiemann said the company is doing a "great job" with its work on the open source Gnome project.

Sunday Nov 14, 2004


I hate qualifiers. They pervade our conversations and add almost nothing. Aside from spin, that is.

Take this one. Why did this writer have to ruin Laura Koetzle's perfectly reasonable quote with a "gnarly" introductory phrase in a piece from LinuxInsider a couple of weeks ago:

As gnarly as Sun's open-source foray may be, it also has great potential for the company, Koetzle, [senior analyst with Forrester Research] asserted. "It's a risky move, but it could well pay off for them in the long run," she said. "It will build tremendous credibility with the development community."

Again. More qualifiers in the same article here from the writer and Dwight Davis of Summit Strategies:

Although Sun may not be able to dam the surge behind Linux, it can still be a survivor, said Dwight Davis of Summit Strategies. "I don't think Sun can counter the entire Linux trend and the momentum for that operating system, but I think they can make a good case for a battle-tested, commercial version of Unix as an alternative to Linux."

Why all the presuppositions and unnecessary competitive complexity?

I just don't see it this way at all. My view of OpenSolaris is simple, and I have no qualifiers to explain it. We have great code. We have a large internal community of 900 engineers scattered around the world. We have a global customer and developer base in the tens of thousands (probably bigger). And now we are looking to upgrade our already well-defined development processes, simultaneously make them open source, and step that new development methodology carefully across the firewall as we finish Solaris 10 and build a community. And why? Because we want to tap the talent of the Solaris developer community around the world to help make Solaris even better, to help find and fix bugs and build new features, to enable the community to use the code in new ways and drive the entire system into new and unforeseen markets. Very simply ... to grow. You see? No qualifiers. No war with Linux. No risky or gnarly moves. No surviving some surge behind a dam. Just a simple evolution of the Solaris platform for the benefit of Sun, the Solaris developer community, and our customers and partners. Simple.

I know. I'd be a crappy marketeer. I realize that.


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