Monday Sep 28, 2009

My Last Product Release at Sun !

This week we will start shipping Comms Suite 7. 

While on the surface it may appear to be just another release or an upgrade, it really isn't – at least not to me.  It's probably my last product release after 25 years at Sun.

A number of years ago, Rich Green, my then boss and a person I admire a great deal, asked me "to see what I could do" with a group called the Comms team.  Most people at Sun didn't even know what these folks did!

The truth is that over the years Sun had assembled an outstanding collection of software and a team to build an amazing Suite of products that people could use to communicate with each other (Mail, Messaging, Calendar, Address book and Admin).  The other amazing fact was that the product supported 100's of millions of mailboxes and was the clear leader among ISPs globally!

As you take on any new team or product, the first thing you do is figure out where you are strong and where you are weak.  This one was pretty easy: the message server, message store and IM server rocked the planet! The team was the best in the WORLD!  On the other hand, due to forces outside the team's control, the client and calendar were hurting. (I'll just leave it at that.)

The next step was to hit the road and talk to the customers.  What I found was a loyal customer base begging for some product improvements.

After that Lee Camel, Micky Choudhary, Anil Srivastava, Neal Thomison and I sat down and started to brainstorm what was needed.  From those discussions, and after a number of cuts and a lot of pain (I will spare you), the Comms Suite 7 release is born! 

We knew we had to expand the message server but at the same time we needed to build a new Calendar server and a killer user experience for everyone on everything!  That is why we selected two really key technologies: Ajax and CalDAV/CarDAV!  Even today I still believe those where the right decisions and I know they are at the core of what makes this release so special!  The team then went to work to build the product that we start shipping this week.

If you take a serious look at Sun's Comms Suite 7 what you are going to find is a software package that delivers Scale, Security, Availability and Usability, like nothing else in this industry. 

The new UI works well on everything out of the box, including the iPhone, and is very, very fast!  Ajax is really great for speed and compatibility!  The new CalDAV server is just amazing, it is without a doubt the most scalable, and compatible server in the industry today.  I have been using it myself for close to a year. My admin made the switch in less than 30 minutes with no training and loves this calendar.  (For those of you who don't know, when you build a calendar product, it had better work for administrators! In my case, when Lynn is happy we ship!) 

Oh and BTW, it works with Apple's products out of the box!!  My iPhone loves it!!  I should mention that we put a new manager on this with a very small team. We took some risks that I have to say paid off big time (Asavari you did a GREAT job!!). 

Also, I have blogged about Convergence before ( and that team has knocked the ball out of the park!  Ask any of our users!  I use it every day and love it!  Did I mention SCALABLE !!

Oh, Oh wait! I totally forgot to mention search and indexing!  In Comms Suite 7 you are going to see search and indexing that will blow you away!!  At the same time we were doing all the other stuff, we had a team (a really great team) headed by one of our best development managers (Liqun Wang) go off and see what they could do with indexing and search!  They killed it by building a horizontally scalable Java based search and indexing engine with which they then built interfaces to the message store.  This is one you have to see to believe. It is fast...very, very fast!  Also the beauty of the Convergence UI makes it work without you learning anything new!!

So I hope this little behind the scenes look into Comms Suite 7 helps you appreciate why I am so proud of the team, the technology and the product.  I am sad that this is my last release at Sun, but I am totally happy to give this one to our loyal customers.  Special thanks to an amazing team of engineers, managers, marketing people, and a few very special sales people that made this happen!!


If I have to have a last release @ Sun, I am super proud that Comms Suite 7 is that release!!

Wednesday Apr 30, 2008

Comms Suite 6 Beta Documentation

Wow !!  if you want to see something really cool, go look at the new documentation for Communications Suite 6.


I am not normally a big fan of Wikis, but the neat part of this is our docs team, engineers and our customers

have all contributed to build this! No more paper docs, no more CD/DVDs for docs!! I guess this is a "green"

software product. No trees killed to produce documentation for Comms Suite 6!!


Also Joe Sciallo's blog will give you more detail. Joe has done a great job leading this effort!!


Very Cool, go take a look!

Thursday Mar 06, 2008

It is all Good!!

Sorry for the long blog, this is a bit of catch up. A lot news I wanted to share on the products and communities from the Developer, Tools and Services team.

First we want to congratulate David Ascher and the team at Mozilla Messaging. We are really excited about Thunderbird and the entire Mozilla Messaging project. We will continue to contribute code and also resources to support this project. More on Lightning later! Congrats on forming Mozilla Messaging, count on Sun's support!!

Busy day today for the OpenOffice community. As result of many activities between the community council, the engineering steering committee and the advisory council. The following things are happening;

--Moving to Subversion for source code control
--Creation of public Wikis for specification creation and management
--New Forums for support and sharing
--A new web site for that will debut in the next 2 weeks
--EIS/ Tinderbox for Integration
--Project leads approval for CWS (branches), easing the integration process
--Revival of regular meetings for release committee (weekly),
--Engineering Steering Committee (monthly)
--Community Council (bi-weekly)
--Program to mentor new contributors
--Community Award Programs
-- Version 3 that goes to beta in April will be LGPv3 details
-- A Contributor Agreement the is more flexible

The goal  is to attract more developers to contribute to OpenOffice. We where able to spend some time with Peter Brown from the Free Software Foundation. That has been saved as a Podcast, if you would like to listen. Peter provided us with his views of the OpenOffice changes.  I want to thank the Community Council and the Advisory Council for their input and their commitment. Also a special thanks and acknowledgment of the OpenOffice Community!!

Simon's Blog has more detail and also his review of the changes.

In other OpenOffice news the Mac port is going  very well. I am now using it on my Mac full time and have deleted the X-version. Go give it try and tell us what you think. You can get it from

The OpenOffice team also is working with the Lightning calendar community, the latest builds are very good. Many people at Sun are already using it. Go down load it and try it, I am sure you will find it very useful. It is not in it's final form yet so the community is looking for your input!!

Kendo our new Mail, Calendar and IM client has just shipped to beta customers. For the past few months we have had 100s of customers using Kendo and providing us feedback during the preview process. This process worked really well, allowing users to give us direct feedback during the development process.. Go take a look at our Wiki for more details.

I have recently joined the Netbeans and Studio team, these are some really great products and outstanding engineering teams. The Netbeans team just shipped Netbeans 6.0 with the best Ruby and JRuby developer tools in the industry! They followed that up today with Beta Netbeans 6.1, this point release has some great new JavaScript support and great improvements to performance. It is really really nice!! Go look at

The Jolt Awards are out and NetBeans was a finalist in 3 categories: Development Environments, Mobile Development Tools and Web Development Tools. We won in the category, for Development Environments. Congrats to the Netbeans Community and thanks to all the users and developers that help shape Netbeans !!

The last piece of news is that  Ted Leung and Fran Wierzbicki have joined the developer team at Sun. See Tim Bray's blog. I am personally excited about these guys coming to Sun and I have assured them that their focus on Python and Jython in the open source community is not going change. Sun is supporting them and the Python/Jython community efforts. We are committed to Dynamic Languages and we are just getting started!!

Welcome Guys!

As you can see " IT IS ALL GOOD "

Thursday Apr 19, 2007

What's Happening with Comms

It's never as good as you want it to be, but it's never quite as bad as you think either ! Not sure who said that but I have found it to be really true.

This applies really well to the Comms product suite. Part of my job at Sun is working with Comms team to re-invest in the product
and make sure that it is a strong Microsoft Exchange alternative.

I have seen many blog entries and emails from customers and employees (including our CEO) which express frustration with bug fixing, feature addition, etc.

I hear you and we are going to do something about it !

Priorities going forward

  1. Bring "Wow" back into the Web Client. Actively under construction is aWeb 2.0 client for mail, calendar, IM and contacts that will raise more than a few eyebrows.
  2. Complete rebuild of the install environment (so SIMPLE my mom could install it).
  3. Deliver a calendar server based on the latest CalDAV standard.
  4. Open Source Comms components
  5. Increase search and management  capability of the message store
  6. Enable large message store capability
  7. Bring carrier grade, push e-mail to the market.  Based on IETF/Lemonade standards.
  8. Granular and light-weight web services to all Comms backend data.
  9. Deliver SyncML support
  10. Improve and expand Outlook Connector
  11. Offer support for better /cheaper storage & mail-store integration.
  12. A connection back to Sun for to better support users
  13. Add a blogging engine to the Comms Suite

Just a partial list of what we are planning, and over the coming months we will be sharing more and more info with you as we get things released. So how are we going to deliver on this?  By making significant new  investment in sustaining and QA.  This will allow us to have developers spend most of their time doing what they are best at - innovating and developing cool new products.  Of course this won't all happen at once, but we have a strong server technology base to build on that makes this possible.

To learn more about Sun's Java Communications Suite and how it can help your business, you can  take a look at

Send your comments and feedback, we believe in our products and we know that Comms on Solaris can be a competitive advantage for you in your business.

 Coming soon.....

A screen shot of our next generation web client 

Wednesday Mar 28, 2007

Moving in....

Most people have had the experience of moving into a home or apartment that was previously occupied and wondering, as one gets familiar with the new digs, "Why did they paint it that color"? or "Whoever thought that this linoleum/tile/carpet was a good idea...what were they thinking!?"....

Something similar happens when you move into a new organization, with the difference being that if you keep your mouth shut long enough (not easy for me!) you will find that not only are there very good reasons for doing things a certain way, but also that there are a lot of very good things going on that you need to appreciate and encourage.

So, some of the great things I have found recently in my new organization:

StarOffice 8 supports ODF - Open Document Format. Important because ODF is a true open standard, and has been adopted and implemented by IBM, Sun, Google, Red Hat and even Microsoft. It matters because ODF allows you to create documents whose formatting is independent of the application used to actually do the creation. Guarantees availability of the content well into the future.  StarOffice 8 also works with the Sun Weblog Publisher, a terrific blogging tool!

  Really smart people who understand open source really well. 
 The engineers on Sun's Java Communications Suite and StarOffice have joined the Mozilla Calendaring Project which develops Lightning, a calendaring extension for Mozilla Thunderbird.

They have two goals: provide a calendaring solution for StarOffice & users and integrate support for Sun's Java System Calendar Server into Lightning. The current release of Lightning, downloadable from the Mozilla site, contains the WCAP code that allows for connecting to Sun's Calendar Servers.

Communications Products - A great team of people and what amazing IP. Turns out that one of the inventors of MIME, Ned Freed, works for Sun. He's currently doing some really cool stuff with MTA (Mail Transport Agent). "The data center on demand". Also known as the Sun Grid Compute Utility,'s release 1.1 is out with lots of new features and new ISVs. We have already committed 20 new user applications to open source with hundreds more to go. Go to to see the on line applications available and to sign up. In a few months they will be releasing the ability to access with an API and also to allow you to open network connection to other sites to read, collect, write and store data.

All this, still for only $1/CPU/hour. Great for developers looking for a cost-effective way of testing their code across a large number of machines.

Read More:
The Register talks about Grid as a "Developer thang"
Internet News  article on  the Grid as an "Application JukeBox"
Sys-Con Media with an article on the features in

ISV-Engineering This worldwide engineering team has a simple mission: MAKE APPLICATIONS RUN best on Solaris!  Recent successes include integration of Cisco's Secure Access Control Server with Sun's Identity Manager.  The integration of network access control and identity management gives the enterprise the ability for a truly centralized secure system. 

Sun's ISV-Engineering team recently concluded a tuning effort on Symantec's Brightmail. Running on Solaris 10 and Sun's T1000 we achieved an increase in message throughput of 6X to 10X!

The result;  per Symantec, Sun's T1000 "Niagara" platform is now the preferred platform for deploying Brightmail.  Price to performance and power utilization can't be beat!  A rack of T1000's can process over one billion messages per week and can support a million mailboxes.  When Brightmail is used with Sun's Java Messaging Server and Storage, it is a complete email solution!

And check out the latest on the Detroit Red Wings - my favorite hockey team. The latest news is in the right nav bar over here....




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