Friday Nov 28, 2008

IBM, OpenSolaris, Mainframe

IBM authorizes OpenSolaris on mainframes: "In an announcement letter to customers, IBM said that as of November 18, it was perfectly okay with mainframe shops using its Integrated Facility for Linux -- a combination of a special variant of z/VM partitioning software and lower-priced 'specialty' mainframe engines -- to run OpenSolaris, the open source distribution of the Solaris operating system created by Sun." -- Timothy Prickett Morgan, Channel Register

There's no link to this letter to IBM customers, but it will be interesting to see where OpenSolaris goes on IBM mainframes in the future. For now, here's the project on OpenSolaris.

Friday Oct 17, 2008

OpenSolaris Port to IBM System Z

The project to port OpenSolaris to IBM's System Z opened up recently on opensolaris.org. See Bonnie Corwin, the Sirius project, The Register, Slashdot, and some videos previously released on YouTube from Sine Nomine.

Saturday Nov 24, 2007

A Fundamentally Flawed Strategy

Here are some interesting comments (and my reactions) from a piece in Network Computing Magazine -- Will Sun Shine Again? -- where Sun's John Fowler, EVP of Systems, was interviewed on a variety of issues. I just picked out the OpenSolaris bits here:

IBM has embraced Linux and Microsoft OSes as well as it's own OS stable all of which has paid off for the company.

Sun's response to this desire for openness wasn't to embrace Linux, but instead to create OpenSolaris. Fowler says the goal wasn't necessarily to get others contributing code to the Solaris kernel but instead to create a conversation about the source code.


Sure, we didn't necessarily need code contributions to the kernel because the code base was already mature and stable and being developed by 1,000 engineers around the world. However, we always wanted code contributions, and we always wanted those contributions to represent new ways to use and extend the system. In other words, we wanted to grow in new ways that didn't necessarily represent Sun's core markets. And we started that process by opening the code and engaging in conversations about the code. So, Fowler is absolutely correct. And I agree, too.

He also says that it'll take a decade for strategy to prove itself, so we shouldn't judge it yet. Be that as it may, the notion seems fundamentally flawed.


Fundamentally flawed? Actually, the strategy has been quite successful even in these early years. In just two years we've built a nascent development community, we are clearly growing globally, we are taking code contributions (and other contributions), we have an early governance model, we are opening our infrastructure, there are a few distributions based on the kernel, and now we are expanding the program even further with a new binary to engage not only new levels of developers but also users as well. And that's characterized as flawed?

If what you're looking for is a huge developer community that values the ability to see the source code for the operating system, Linux will obviously win over Solaris.


Why must one system live and the other die? Instead, why can't both thrive? Also, the "huge developer community" probably has as much to do with the binary as it has to do with with the source code. Some would argue more, actually. That's what Indiana and the other distributions are designed to address -- to engage users and application developers building on top of the system. The number of developers actually interacting at the kernel source level and helping to build the system itself is much smaller, and it will always remain much smaller. Regardless, our strategy always included a long term, phased approach of opening code, infrastructure, and people and building a multi-layered community around the core. This can't be done all at once. It takes time. What you see now is a snapshot in time. We were different a year ago, and we'll be different a year from now. So, again, I fail to see how this strategy is "fundamentally flawed." Also, I fail to see how any comparison to Linux (or IBM or HP, for that matter) makes any sense whatsoever. I think over time, people will come to realize that community building is not necessarily a zero sum game. There is room for diversity. The world is a big place.

And by opening the source code, Sun has both created a product in OpenSolaris that won't have a revenue stream and given its Solaris faithful a reason to look at AIX and HP-UX based systems.


Actually, the exact opposite is true. By opening the code, the Solaris faithful are sticking with Solaris, and some who left are coming back. Also, it was the "Solaris faithful" who wanted us to open the code in the first place. They told us this quite directly, in fact. But we didn't open the code exclusively for the faithful. We opened it to reach new people, too. And we are. By the tens of thousands, actually, and we've been able to do that because the code is open. And regarding revenue streams -- remember that OpenSolaris is a development project. Sun's product is Solaris. There's a difference. Sure, as the OpenSolaris binary distros evolve, I'm sure business models will emerge and Sun will participate as well. But for right now there's no reason to confuse the obvious -- OpenSolaris is a development project run by a community, and Solaris is a product supported by a company.

For some applications, that closed development process used by the likes of HP, IBM and formerly Sun, that results rock solid software married to rock solid hardware is desirable, if expensive. While there's no doubt that Solaris is still a solid OS, there is some doubt about where Sun sees its fortunes and its future for Solaris.


Just because we are opening our development processes doesn't mean we are throwing out our development processes. Over time, non-Sun community members will earn their way just as Sun community members. This is already occurring, actually. As far as the "doubt" bit, well, you can't convince everyone, I suppose. When I look at the massive engineering and business investment Sun is making in Solaris and OpenSolaris and new support from AMD, Intel, IBM, and Dell on top of HP claiming they sell more Solaris systems than anyone else, well, "doubt" is not the first word that pops into my mind. I can think of a few other words that come to mind, though. Can you?

Tuesday Aug 28, 2007

HP on Solaris

Amazing. HP To IBM: Welcome To The Party. Amazing the turn around Solaris has caused in the market in just a couple of years.

Tuesday Aug 21, 2007

The Solaris Mystique

Monkcast #12: IBM HW group OEMs Solaris to chagrin of SW group & a fly in VMware’s ointment: "Perhaps more interesting than the political ramifications are Blue’s market motivations. For years the company eschewed Solaris and it’s unlikely that the server group would seek such an expanded role for Sun’s version of Unix unless the market was demanding it. I ask O’Grady to decode the Solaris mystique and why it continues to fare so well against Linux, especially where other version of Unix have succumbed to the battle." -- David Berlind

I knew I sensed different voices coming from IBM about Solaris recently. Intersting.

Solaris on IBM Mainframes

Sun, IBM Ink Solaris Distribution Agreement for Servers: "Apparently what does make sense to both Zeitler and Schwartz is getting Solaris 10 ported to IBM's System z mainframes. Sine Nomine Associates, which helped get Linux ported to the mainframe in the late 1990s and which has been working on a Solaris port to the System z architecture since July 2006, has been working on its own OpenSolaris port to the mainframe." -- Timothy Prickett Morgan

Cool. Solaris to run on even bigger computers. But I'm still waiting for a company to step forward and port Solaris to really small computers. Like cell phones.

Sunday Aug 19, 2007

IBM: Top Tier OEM for Solaris

Wow. Nothing like starting right at the top. There are probably hundreds of articles and blogs about the Sun/IBM/Solaris announcement by now, but here are a few bits I like:

Sun and IBM Teleconference: IBM to Distribute Solaris: "This is the first of what we hope will be an expanded relationship with Sun, Solaris, and the IBM hardware platform. There is already some interesting work underway to move OpenSolaris to the IBM mainframe." -- Bill Zeitler, senior vice president & group executive, IBM Systems & Technology Group.

IBM jumps on the Solaris bandwagon: "A large number of companies happily use and prefer Sun's Solaris as their business operating system. IBM's decision to become Sun's first tier-one original equipment manufacturer reflects that reality." -- Charles King, Pund-IT

IBM embraces - wtf - Sun's Solaris across x86 server line: "It can't be denied that Solaris x86 has reached some kind of critical mass." -- Dan Olds, Gabriel Consulting Group

IBM, Sun Partner to Bring Solaris to IBM Servers: "The relationship with IBM is really the strongest we have with any partner in the marketplace." -- Jonathan Schwartz, CEO, Sun Microsystems

IBM, Sun's Hereditary Enemy, Is Going to Sell Solaris: "There are a lot of customers that love Solaris and are loyal to it." -- Bill Zeitler, IBM

Some observations: I like the focus on simple pragmatic choice for customers, and I hope this puts an end to the media flame wars between the two companies (some of which I've documented here). Also, it's interesting that IBM's Zeitler is the guy doing this deal since he's quoted supporting OpenSolaris 16 months ago when he said, "I think the move to OpenSolaris has been a good one." That was almost a year and a half ago! Quotes like that have been rare from IBM about OpenSolaris, and Sun has been just as loose with its tongue about IBM over the years as well. But since this new deal brings with it significant new business and engineering relationships, I'm looking forward to the companies getting back to the basics -- more business, less rhetoric. Very cool.

Tuesday May 29, 2007

AIX following Solaris

Seems AIX is following Solaris. I wonder when the "open" part comes in?

Saturday Feb 17, 2007

McNealy on OpenSolaris and IBM

Here is a quote from Scott McNealy on IBM, OpenSolaris, and Power -- "We would love to work with IBM. We're going to do the slow and steady community development of Solaris on Power." Cool. The community is already on it: Community, Project, List, Blastwave, Code.

Thursday Aug 17, 2006

More IBM on OpenSolaris

So, today was IBM on OpenSolaris day. Well, last nite and today. I commented yesterday on this as well. Here are some links to stuff I found resulting from IBM's comments:


By the way, the conclusion expressed in the "Open Battle Royal" link up there is wrong. I never hit back at IBM on AIX. The press has been asking IBM about that, not Sun. I'm sure Sun has poked IBM about AIX being closed in the past, but it doesn't seem to be part of this round of press articles. Personally, I'm on record saying that it's just fine that AIX is closed and that's IBM's business, not mine. I also applaud IBM's contributions to various open source communities, most notably Linux, Apache, and Eclipse. It's fine for vendors to compete, but that doesn't take away IBM's contributions to the broader open source effort.

I'm quoted in the Cnet article, which seemed to contain the most hostile comments of the bunch. Which is unfortunate in general since we are working hard on this project to open up all this stuff and build a community, and we are trying to take advice from all who participate. And IBM is certainly welcome to participate in our community. I'm not sure they are offering advice here, though:

According to Dan Frye:
  • "Sun holds it all behind the firewall. The community sees nothing."
  • "It's a facade. There's lots of marketing, but no community to speak of."
  • "They would push their design discussions out into the forums, so people can see what's going on."
  • "They have done nothing to build a community," with only 16 non-Sun people contributing code to the project in its first 11 months ... Linux, in comparison, had 10 times that number in the same period after it was launched by Linus Torvalds in 1991-- and that was with no Internet and no advertisements.
Charming.

All I can say that the opening of Solaris is still taking place. Don't you think it's unfair to judge it so harshly when we're only a year into it? I think we've been pretty open about telling people that this would take time. The opening of Solaris is itself a multi-step engineering and community development process, and the OpenSolaris community is very much part of that process. Anyway, I read through all of the articles and I came up with a few links that may help offer some information around IBM's assertions. I think I have them all covered to one extent or another, but people can argue with anything, I suppose. Here they are:


Now, do we have more to do? Yep. But are we well on our way? Absolutely. Does all that equal "a facade" as suggested? Absolutely not.

And finally, when Frye mischaracterizes our progress and then compares that to the Linux community you should know that we are not comparing ourselves to the Linux community. Heck, it's hard enough just keeping up with OpenSolaris let alone bringing in another system and community into the mix. I've said many times that the Linux community impresses me massively, and the OpenSolaris community can learn a great deal from them. Both technologies and both communities stand on their own.

Wednesday Aug 16, 2006

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 ...

Saturday Aug 05, 2006

IBM's Ross Mauri

Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM's System p group, takes a shot at OpenSolaris in a Q&A interview with Cnet yesterday -- Newsmaker: Firing up IBM's Unix business. Jump to the very last question on page two for this little gem:

Do you ever consider open-sourcing AIX the way Sun is open-sourcing Solaris?
Mauri: No, we're not. I think that OpenSolaris is a little bit of a game Sun is playing to try to get good PR. But I don't think it's in the spirit of true open source.

We have been very happy to get directly involved and contribute to Linux and Apache and the Eclipse Foundation. We're not going to open-source AIX. It's best run on the current model, where we have the expertise. We enhance it. We work closely with our customers to listen to their requirements. But in the end, it's best that we control that source code.

Any substantiation for any of those references to OpenSolaris, Ross? I love the "in the spirit of true open source" bit, though. It's code for those afraid of being direct. Whatever.

This response fascinates me, though. Rhetorically, Ross has himself all boxed in here, which can easily happen when you're distracted by attacking others. Remember, competitive attacks are more difficult to pull off than most people realize. I've only met a few people who could deliver them effectively, too.

Stephen Shankland (the reporter) didn't ask Ross if Sun was playing PR games with OpenSolaris, and he didn't ask if OpenSolaris was "true" or not. The emphasis of the question was on AIX, not OpenSolaris. He asked if IBM had considered opening AIX like Sun had opened Solaris. Pretty clean question. Ok, you could argue that the question may presuppose that IBM should open AIX like Sun opened Solaris, but it's pretty subtle and easily ignored. But even leaving out OpenSolaris, it's a perfectly logical question to ask given IBM's investment in Linux and AIX.

Anyway, instead of answering the question by focusing on AIX development and IBM's customers and engineers, Ross uses the opportunity to first attack OpenSolaris by saying it's a "PR" move and a "game" and not "true" open source. Huge mistake. Now he has to go back to AIX and answer the substance of the question. But to be credible, everything he says should be consistent with the reasoning behind what he said while attacking OpenSolaris. This is where he drowns. In an effort to substantiate himself, Ross provides examples of communities that his company contributes to, which by itself is fine. However, juxtaposed against the untrue OpenSolaris,  we are led to believe that Linux, Apache, and Eclipse are the "true" open source. Perhaps. But people usually compare OpenSolaris with Linux, and I think that's what Ross intended here but decided to toss in Apache and Eclipse for good measure. Who knows. The trouble is that he actually undermines his own statement about OpenSolaris since all three communities he cites are licensed differently, and two of them don't fit with what Ross appears to mean by "true" open source. And if that's not what he means and Apache and Eclipse are also "true" open source, then OpenSolaris should also be described as "true" by that definition as well. I mean, is Mozilla "true" open source in Ross's opinion? I don't know. Maybe not.

The result is that Ross demonstrates his own lack of knowledge about OpenSolaris -- PR is actually not that involved, it's an engineering community from top to bottom, it's open source as specified by OSI (they don 't offer a "true" category as of yet), and we don't play games with the company's core technology. Sorry, Ross. You don't know what you are talking about, and this is a PR disaster for you. But delicious nonetheless.

Now, Ross is probably a smart guy. He probably runs a pretty large organization at IBM, and you can't do that without being smart. So, I can respect him for that. But even smart guys can sound foolish when they lack competitive rhetorical skills and get distracted by attacking others. None of this would have happened had Ross simply focused on IBM and AIX and ignored OpenSolaris. However, I do think he has to work on his AIX/Linux answer, though. Although IBM has consistently stated that its strategy with AIX is to keep development closed (which is a perfectly fine business decision), I think the reason Ross offers undermines his statements supporting the benefits of open source development. I mean, open source is supposedly good for Linux, Apache, and Eclipse, but it's simultaneously bad for AIX because the AIX code needs "control" by the "expertise" at IBM? I don't get that. And OpenSolaris? Well, that's so low it's a "game" not even worthy of being "true" so it's dismissed with contempt.

But maybe I'm reading too much into it.

Wednesday Apr 26, 2006

Some More Scott and Jonathan Links

Seems like another busy media day for Scott and Jonathan. Reading all this coverage over the last two days has been interesting. I have a feeling there will be a lot more as the dust settles, don't you?

Sun users offer advice to new CEO Schwartz
Neal Tisdale, praised Schwartz's selection. "I think it's a great change," said Tisdale, vice president of software development at the Atlanta-based subsidiary of Siemens Power Generation.

Sun: Same song, second verse?
Bill Zeitler, IBM's systems/technology group: "I think the move to OpenSolaris has been a good one. The move to open up their portfolio to Opteron and away from Sparc and moderate their investments there is a smart thing strategically." That's IBM talking up OpenSolaris there.

Sun's chiefs on the hot seat
"If you're an engineer or you're a technologist, you want to come to a place that appreciates technology and engineering. This is one of the places that you go do it." -- Schwartz

One rises, one sets / New generation, but same vision, for Sun CEO
Crawford Del Prete of IDC: "I think Jonathan has shown that he understands the multiple aspects of Sun's extremely complex business and he has shown that he can be engaging with customers."

New Sun CEO Is Unconventional, Controversial
"When directors at Hewlett-Packard Co. saw a need for a new chief executive officer, they recruited Mark Hurd, a button-down operations specialist from NCR Corp. who is now overhauling H-P's sales strategy. Rival Sun Microsystems Inc., by contrast, promoted a brainy insider who promises to stay the computer maker's maverick course."

Analysts Seek Turnaround Strategy From Sun
"It was under Schwartz that Sun Solaris, considered by some to be the gold standard of operating systems, became a free download." And it became open source, too. Let's not forget that part.

When I First Met Scott...
Jonathan talks about Scott.

McNealy--an engineer's witty patron
"McNealy has been the down-to-earth face of the Valley's engineers -- more comfortable in jeans and sneakers and more apt to talk about golf and ice hockey than fabulous vacations and yachts."

Langberg: McNealy was pushed out because he had lost credibility
"I hope McNealy continues to serve as the company's public face. He's always been a nightmare for the PR department, telling reporters exactly what he thinks and producing great quotes." Cute. But I'm not sure the article really substantiates the headline.

Why a new CEO is right, Wall St. is wrong and America needs more jails
Scott: "It allows me to go do what I want to do, which is working with the US government, Japan and our top 20 accounts."

McNealy's greatest hits (wisecracks)
Great little video.

Analysis: All eyes on Schwartz to turn Sun around
“Sun still has the influence -- don’t count them out yet." -- Joe Wilcox, JupiterResearch

Goodbye, Mr. McNealy
"McNealy wasn't just an industry giant, he changed the IT world forever ... Let us never forget, that without Scott McNealy we would have neither the Internet nor the open source that powers so much of it. -- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

McNealy--apres moi, you'll be bored silly
"Unlike, oh, 99.9 percent of the white-bread phonies who present themselves as corporate leaders, McNealy was the real deal when it came to leadership." -- Charles Cooper

Sun's New Boss: The Same as the Old Boss?
"This is not about how we take a whack to headcount," Schwartz said. "The goal is to make sure we focus on top-line growth and increasing the value of our shares."

Sun Microsystems' Big Changes
"The company had its woes, but Sun has been a fountain of original and innovative thinking over the years." -- Dan Gillmor

Don't Blame Scott
An obnoxious piece.

Tags: sun jonathan-schwartz scott-mcnealy

Tuesday Oct 11, 2005

IBM on OpenSolaris

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a vice president at IBM comments on OpenSolaris in AME Info -- IBM's top Linux expert:

Q: How do you think Sun moving Solaris to open source will affect the Linux momentum?

A: That's a very interesting question. In my mind, the key to an open-source project is the quality of the community behind it.

When we at IBM choose to join an open-source community, whether it is Linux, grid, Apache or-more recently-the Geronimo community that's building an open Web application server based on Apache, it's the quality of the community that drives the decision. How good are the people? How diverse are they? What kind of resources do they have? The better the community, the more likely we are to join it.

Now that's very different from a vendor saying they're going to let other people look at their source code. Because, by and large, the only people interested in a proprietary product are the existing people who work with it. And even then, the product wasn't designed to be worked on by people outside of the company.

So it's difficult to look at that. That's a long way of saying I don't see the Solaris move as coming anywhere near to the community that Linux has built up. It'll probably be of value to some parts of the Solaris ecosystem, so it's probably a good step for Sun, but I honestly doubt that you'll see the large numbers of smart people in other companies and universities help build this offering like they do with grid, Apache and Linux.

Some really nice comments in that first paragraph of Irving's respond about communities and the high quality of people that gather around great source code. We're doing just that with OpenSolaris -- building a community of really talented developers and evangelists who love this code base. So, I agree. With that part, anyway.

Monday Aug 08, 2005

Qld drops IBM for Sun Solaris

Here's some nice news today -- Qld resources drops IBM in $2m Unix migration. It would have been nice to see Sun or Solaris in the headline, but hey, I'll take it. I wonder, though, why we get the generic term "Unix migration" instead. Anyway, here are some clips from the piece:

In a sign that the Unix turf war of the 90s is still raging, Queensland's Department of Natural Resource and Mines has migrated its core transaction processing system from IBM to Sun.

<snip>

"The migration was an 18-month project and involved porting ATS to Solaris as there is some variation between the Unix systems," [said Michael Droder, the department's titles automation manager], adding ATS is now running on a 12-way SunFire 6800 with 48GB of memory and a second system for disaster recovery.

The total project cost was $2 million including replacing the servers and migrating the application.

"We're already saving $200,000 a year through less management and lower hardware maintenance costs," Droder said. "We already had Sun servers so it was an easy transition; under Sequent we had needed specialized skills."

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


Monday Jan 24, 2005

IBM's Bob Sutor on OpenSolaris

IBM's Bob Sutor asks about OpenSolaris today:

Well ... our customers, our engineers, our executives, our developers, our system administrators.

Sunday Jan 23, 2005

Farber: Embarrassing for IBM

From Dan Farber at ZDNet -- "Face Off: Sun issues open letter to IBM's Palmisano." This is the best part:

As I wrote earlier, Sun is using blogs, open letters, Web sites, and customer testimonials as guerilla warfare, take-it-to-the-streets tools to force a much larger competitor to accede to its needs/demands. It's becoming totally embarrassing for IBM. It's hard to imagine how IBM can come up with any reasonable excuse that the IT community (customers) would accept and save face at this point. Given the public forum and the support Sun has built up among customers and other vendors for its request, IBM should just bite the bullet and port the apps.

It certainly makes working here rather interesting, eh?

Saturday Jan 22, 2005

The Dance: Sun, Solaris, IBM

It seems Dennis and Jonathan would like IBM to support the Solaris platform on our x86 and Opteron systems. I agree. Yet, Big Blue seems a bit reluctant. Imagine that. They'll come around, though. Look, if Solaris is as hot as we say it is, and if the OpenSolaris community is as excited as we think it is, then customers will demand the platform. Then IBM will port their best apps and everyone wins. Eventually. But this is a challenge I think we can meet, and I think a thriving OpenSolaris community will help IBM make up its mind. The pressure on IBM, though, is building and will only increase:
From the eWeek article:

Some large enterprise customers, such as General Motors Corp., which has a $3 billion annual IT budget, agree with Singer. Tony Scott, chief technology officer of GM's information systems and services group in Detroit, said IBM is wrong and that the company is looking backward in the mirror on this issue rather than forward. GM was one of the customers pushing Sun to get onto the x86 platform. "We really like [Solaris on x86] from a competitive standpoint," Scott said.

"The pressure is going to mount on IBM and others to support their applications on that platform, which is going to have significant market share and has all the marks of a successful, viable, competitive platform," Scott said. "For companies such as GM, which already has an installed Sun base, this is attractive. In this particular case, I think IBM is being a little shortsighted," he said.

Tuesday Jan 18, 2005

Singer Takes on IBM over Solaris

Sun's Larry Singer takes on IBM -- "Sun Slams IBM over x86 Decision" -- in eWeek today. It seems IBM is supporting the Solaris 10 platform on SPARC but not on x86. Imagine that. IBM says that demand for Solaris on x86 is just not there yet. GM disagrees:

Some large enterprise customers, such as General Motors Corp., which has a $3 billion annual IT budget, agree with Singer. Tony Scott, chief technology officer of GM's information systems and services group in Detroit, said IBM is wrong and that the company is looking backward in the mirror on this issue rather than forward. GM was one of the customers pushing Sun to get onto the x86 platform. "We really like [Solaris on x86] from a competitive standpoint," Scott said.

Ouch. Now that had to hurt.

Wednesday Jan 05, 2005

IBM Most Committed to Open Source

So, IBM is the gold standard in open source, according to Dana Blankenhorn and Joe Brockmeier:

IBM has made more of a commitment to open source, in terms of money and people, than any other company.

Do you agree with this? Interesting how there is no substantiation for this sweeping assertion in Blankenhorn's and Brockmeier's blog. Perhaps because IBM is just such a massive company with pretty slick marketing (which I admire), so it's just accepted now. I don't know. I'd love to know how they arrived at this conclusion, and I'd love to know how Sun would rank on their list of companies most committed to open source.

Tuesday Oct 12, 2004

The IBM One Pager

Here's a decent (but long) article in the Seattle Times on "Portland vs Seattle." In other words, "Linux vs Microsoft." But what I found most interesting were the comments from IBM's Dan Frye, a researcher who reportedly turned Big Blue to Linux way back in 1998:

Frye said it all began with a casual comment he made during a brainstorming session a week or so after he joined IBM's emerging-markets team. He used to build supercomputers and knew academics who were talking about using Linux for supercomputing, so he brought it up.

"I raised my hand and said, 'What's our Linux strategy,' " he said. "Of course, the answer was, 'What's Linux?,' so I got the job of going off and writing a one-page paper of what Linux is, to bring back for our conversation."

Then Frye helped create a business plan. Competing with Microsoft wasn't a major emphasis, he said. The greater opportunity was to win new customers, particularly away from Sun Microsystems.

All those billions and all this buzz from a one pager, eh?

Friday Oct 08, 2004

Phipps at LinuxWorld Expo London

Nice piece in The Register on Simon Phipps and his keynote in London at LinuxWorld Expo.

Lots of bits about patents, anti-trust, Microsoft, Sun, the lawsuit, "selling out," IBM, Red Hat, OpenOffice.org, the Sun Java Desktop System, and the Solaris platform. Not many could tie all that together, but that's what Simon does for a living.

The most interesting part for me was the warning:

Phipps delivered a warning that developers should be prepared to fight for the future of open source. After been ignored and laughed at by detractors "we're at the fighting stage in the development of open source," he said. He compared open source developers to trade guilds, and warned they could be exploited by vendors who would "take code and not give it back", or use open source technology to build brands rather than thinking of the community. "Open source is all about communities. Up until the point a product is supported it's just a hollow gesture by a corporation to thrown code over wall," he said.

I wonder how the open source community will react to this. This implies that a significant change is underway. Being ignored and laughed at is one thing, but fighting is another thing altogether and requires a different strategy. Oftentimes different leaders. In other words, in a fight, everything could change. Interesting to see if this materializes.

You'll love the HP reference in the piece, too! Pretty funny. Not a good week for our friends over at HP.

Thursday Oct 07, 2004

Sun, Red Hat, IBM and Huck Finn

Some interesting observations here from Paul Murphy at LinuxInsider about Sun, Red Hat, and IBM. And Huck Finn? I hadn't thought of that of that one, but ok.

Sunday Jun 13, 2004

Sam Loves Linus

I skimmed Fortune's cover story (June 21st issue) on IBM today. From page 88 or so to 92 (a bunch of ads separate the paragraph in question) you'll find a nice description of Sam Palmisano's "elegant and spacious" conference room with "picture windows [showing] panoramic views of forests and hills." Sounds like a lovely place to work, eh? (It snows there in the winter, so I'm glad I'm in San Francisco.)

Anyway, here's where it gets interesting: the only photograph in the room -- prominently displayed -- is Sam with a smiling Linus Torvalds. That's it? Rolling hills and forests and Sam and Linus? Well, you gotta give him credit ... that's focus for ya. Maybe it was a set up for the Fortune reporter to notice and write about. I don't think so, though. I never doubted IBM's commitment to Linux. And still don't.
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