Sun Shines at Oracle OpenWorld

Larry Ellison Joins Scott McNealy on SUNday's Keynote Stage

Moscone North, Hall D filled quickly for the final keynote on SUNday, day 1 of Oracle OpenWorld. As attendees made their way to their seats, they were greeted by sun-themed music blasting from the room's speakers, including the high energy of "California Sun" from the Ramones.

When the lights went down, video highlights of Sun Microsystems Chairman and Co-Founder Scott McNealy rolled. Clips from promotional videos, JavaOne appearances, and interview segments showed the serious, and seriously silly, sides of Sun.

When McNealy took the stage, he hinted at the pending Oracle Acquisition, noting the color of his sweater. "It's the closest thing I could find to red, since we're not quite there yet."

"The big theme here is innovation," McNealy continued, "but sometimes engineers get a little out there." With that, he presented top ten signs that engineers have gone wild, including a thumb drive in shape of sushi, a mainframe running on Linux, and the Java Ring.

Then, McNealy got down to business. "Technology has the shelf-life of a banana," he said as he began listing his 10 favorite Sun innovations. Like a self-proclaimed proud papa, McNealy cited, among others, SPARC, Java, and Project Blackbox. He added that he was proudest of going to work every day with the innovators at Sun, saying they, "kicked butt, had fun, didn't cheat, loved our customer, and we changed computing forever."

A bit later, Vice President and Sun Fellow James Gosling joined McNealy on stage to talk about Java and Oracle. Drawing an analogy between Oracle's dedication to Java and a plate of ham and eggs, Gosling said, "the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed. Oracle is committed. Over the years, Oracle has been involved all over the place ... my God did Oracle help."

McNealy then asked John Fowler, Systems Executive Vice President at Sun, to join him. Fowler pointed out that his team had been working with Oracle for decades building optimized systems, and announced their new #1 status in all 7 key commercial benchmarks.

Finally, McNealy said, "I'd like to bring up the oracle of Redwood City, my hero, Larry Ellison." The Oracle CEO took the stage saying that Sun's innovations over the years were dazzling and that merging the companies' technologies would allow them to do things neither company could do by themselves.

Ellison went on to detail the speed of the new Sun Oracle Database Machine, highlighting its eco-friendly FlashFire technology, and the 16-times faster response compared to what IBM has delivered. He also pointed out how much more energy the IBM machine requires over the Sun Oracle Database Machine. "I don't know what building a smarter planet means, but at Sun and Oracle, we're going to build smarter machines," Ellison said.

McNealy wrapped up the keynote saying, "I believe our board and shareholders made a very wise decision ... I'm counting on Larry and the Oracle team to take very good care of a very important legacy of mine." With a sly grin, he added, "Enjoy Oracle OpenWorld; the drinks are on Larry."


Sun really made a spectacular show. And Scott's appearance was a very nice thing to watch. He looked a little upset, that he might not have a chance to rule such a nice company and to work with such smart people, as he had in the last 27 years. And since I've seen 2 days of the conference now, I really understand what he means. Oracle is a marketing machine, and they really might kill the innovation... I mean not to get rid of the innovations already achieved, but to slow down future innovations. When Larry commed to the stage - all he was talking about was - we're going to be better than IBM, and we're going to make money out of everything SUN does now... When Larry talks about innovation - he see only money, only budget. He no longer sees ideas, he no longer sees passion... Larry is a bussinessman. I understand that, but his corporation is soon going to become like IBM corp... Nobody said anything about their plans on OpenOffice, or about OpenESB , or about GlassFish... So it seems SUN is shining for the last time... and after it is swallowed the darkness will come to the world. And the only hope that I have is that the smart and bright people will continue the innovation processes (in or out of the corporate giant).

Posted by Mihail Daskalov on October 13, 2009 at 02:38 AM PDT #

You nailed it, Larry is more like an Accountant than a Technology Innovator. I understand his passion, success of any corporation counts in financial terms. But, if all he wants money, nothing else, then one day, Oracle will be in the Smithsonian museum for display; or more likely another behemoth with no teeth. Innovation drives growth, Oracle have assembled many small fishes under its belly, let's see how Larry swallow them in fusion?

Posted by Roger Cohen on October 15, 2009 at 10:46 PM PDT #

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