Sunday Jul 05, 2009

Sorry

When you screw up, just apologize and fix the problem. Fast. That`s what Katharine Weymouth, the publisher of the Washington Post, did today. After an initial misfire, she apologized and took full responsibility for her paper`s offer to sell access to political contacts and Post reporters at private events. This was an obvious marketing and communications mistake that would have compromised the credibility of her company`s most valuable asset -- the newsroom. Hey, everyone`s human. But the apology was necessary, and the taking of responsibility at the top is rare and refreshing. It will be interesting to see the media digest this issue since the field has been under significant pressure in recent years. More background here and here.

Lesson: apologize and fix it fast. And remember, credibility is earned from the bottom up, not the top down.

Tuesday Sep 18, 2007

NYT

New York Times to end paid Internet service: "We now believe by opening up all our content and unleashing what will be millions and millions of new documents, combined with phenomenal growth, that that will create a revenue stream that will more than exceed the subscription revenue." -- Vivian Schiller, VP, NYT

The New York Times goes free.

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.

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 Silicon.com 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 Silicon.com. Simple.

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.

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?

Saturday Jan 22, 2005

Sources Close to the Company

It always fascinates me (for a few minutes, anyway) when I read stories like this one in CRN -- "Source: Sun To Release First Bits Of Open Solaris Tuesday."

What source? Ah, "close to the company." That helps. Brave, isn't he? I don't know ... for me, this stuff always reminds me of  "All the President's Men" when Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) used to meet Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) in that dark garage ... and Deep Throat was usually dressed in an gray overcoat and big black hat or something, and you'd hear, "Follow the money." Funny. Oh, well, I'll be waiting anxiously to see the results of this story and the accuracy of this secret source. Should be interesting. I figured I'd point to it. Ignoring this stuff is dumb. I got the heads up from Robert, too.

Before I got involved in all this community stuff, I did PR at Sun. Yuk, I know, but I did my time and I'm out. Anyway, many of my stories leaked. Some of the info was correct, but much of it was wrong and resulted in nothing but animosity, confusion, and distrust. Why? We were trying protect the information, of course, and the press was trying to break it, many times with secret sources with crappy access. The result? A mess. I fail to see how this helps anyone involved. It was always a pain in the ass, too, because some manager somewhere always wanted you to do the impossible -- fix it. Right. That's helpful. I could sometimes figure out who did the leaking, which was great fun. Not that it mattered much because you could never really prove it. Other times I had no clue who the dork was and wondered who my enemy was lurking out there or sitting quietly in the office across the hall. Who was playing nice to my face and then stabbing me in the back? Yuk. The biggest leak for me (in high tech, anyway, I've done PR in three industries) was the launch of Project JXTA with Bill Joy. It was a very cool project with a wonderful band of people working it. It was cool, that is, until Stephen Shankland at Cnet found one of those fancy secret sources hiding in the shadows for his story, which got me into a significant amount of trouble. I was blamed for the leak by my superiors, but fortunately, a clueful executive outside the organization helped me and I survived. I have a pretty good idea who did the deed, by the way. If I could prove it, I'd tell you right here. Oh, well. Maybe some day.

My point? This is silly. Aside from providing me some pretty good blog material from time to time, I'm starting to lose interest. I'm much happier watching the buzz from the outside, while trying to learn the truth and have honest conversations -- face to face, one at a time -- with the engineers on the kernel team, the community forming within OpenSolaris Pilot Program, and with our customers who I'm tapping to bring into the pilot program -- most of whom tell me they really don't take all this noise in the press that seriously. Wow. That's a wake up call. So who does take it seriously? And why? I'm not asking rhetorically ... I actually want to know. Do these stories (here and here and here) really matter? Is it buzz or just confusion?

Sunday Oct 17, 2004

Scott in SJMN

Scott's out there talking again. Love it. Pretty interesting Q&A here in the San Jose Mercury News. It's a quick read. Give it a look. I clipped some of the more entertaining exchanges below. I sometimes wonder, though. Don't reporters get tied of asking the same old questions? Especially to McNealy. Oh, well. The press is coming around. I think the most important bit from this Q&A is Scott's reference to Sun's getting leading with Opteron.

On bring proprietary ...

Q: There is a perception that Sun is trying to lock in customers with proprietary technology.

A: For 22 years, I've said name a technical specification at Sun that is not open, published or adopted by some or all of the computer industry. You can't. To call Sun proprietary is as big a lie as you could put in your newspaper. If I were to say IBM is bankrupt and you were to publish that, that would be the same as saying Sun is proprietary.

On killing SPARC ...

Q: What if your advisers or investors say drop Sparc and adopt Intel?

A: Who said that? You're asking overly general questions.

Q: Why don't you drop Sparc?

A It's one of the most successful microprocessor architectures in the history of the world. It has an incredible installed base. We grew volumes 46 percent in the June quarter. Blew everybody else away. It is the No. 1 64-bit architecture. It scales from one processor task to hundreds simultaneously. It is quite embedded in the telecommunications services market place. It is open and multi-vendor and quite profitable for us. Other than that I can't think of a reason. Why as a car company wouldn't we want to do our own engines? People say you're doing too much. Why are you doing engines?

On lagging Linux server sales ...

Q: Sun's Linux server sales still seem small. If anyone can build and sell a computer server with the open-source operating system, why isn't your share of Linux bigger?

A: Because we got in at the end of the train. We tried to get others to adopt Solaris and we did 360's in the mud. Until we did our Intel Xeon strategy a couple of years ago, we were late on the Xeon parade. We are first on the AMD Opteron parade.
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