And I will always remember you

There are more tears shed in my office these two weeks than the combined of my entire career. They tore my heart.

Three years ago, I came to Beijing to accomplish four goals:

  • Improve engineering's operational efficiency to the parity of any other site in the world.
  • Cultivate its talents as a first class engineering center.
  • Strengthen the collaborative ties with the sales force to engender Sun's business and presence in China.
  • Improve the executive level communication between China engineering and headquarters (Menlo Park).

Looking back, they are reasonably done. During these same three years, I acquired wealth at Solomon's scale: I became a blogger and gained precious global experience; I now have insights that are hard to come by; I have honed my influencing skills working with government, universities, partners, customers, and field personnel; I expanded an invaluable network. Most importantly, have a renewed prospect of what should be the pursuit of my life.

Yes, this is the last entry of my Sun blog. I will soon lose the privilege to author new entries. Lack of new material will fade readership.

The thought of severing bonds is always anxious. Workplace relationships are complicated: alliance, group therapy buddies, collusion partners, mentors or mentees. Resignation distils them and left me with friends.

This gets heavier that my China community is so tight. I poured my heart and witnessed its growth over these 3 years. There are big plans for the future. Now the best I can hope for is becoming an interested observer for their fruition, probably from afar. Why does it have to come down to this sadness? Because life progresses, people make choices, and world turns. Plans must be executed, expectations must be met.

Of course, there is the ritual that comes with separation: drinks, talks, meals, warm hugs or hand-shakes. Then we have the cyber version of LinkedIn profile change. Through the exchange of pleasantries, a new relationship emerges.

If our relationship survives my Sun employment, please visit me at Nomadic Minds. My personal email is always open. Truly, I wish you the bests.


You are the best tutor I ever met, thank you so much. I got so much good stuff from you. Hopefully, I would go back to my hometown and start my own business.:) Pls keep in touch with us.Wish you the bests.

Posted by Fiona Duan on July 09, 2008 at 05:37 PM CST #

Sun started another round of major lay-offs today. No one knows how many at ERI, if any, will be affected, but a few of quite well-known names (in the US) received the sad notice today. There was a rumor (totally unsubstantiated) that Sun's CEO Mr. Schwartz may also be let go after August 1. This is a tough time for Sun.

If there is any regret regarding Sin-Yaw's departure, I really wish that he could have been more active in promoting OpenSolaris when he was in a position to make a big influence outside of Sun.

As a Linux veteran (I was heavily involved in the development of Corel Linux, and I underwrote the cost of its localization into traditional Chinese almost 10 years ago), I am seeing OpenSolaris as the only chance to become a credible alternative to Windows.

However, if even the bulk of Sun's own people don't use it, don't show passions about it, there is very little chance that this great operating system will be adopted by the general public in a timely fashion to even come close to its full potential.

I seem to be more anxious to see OpenSolaris succeed than many of Sun's own employees. This is not a good sign.

I spent most of my career at Exxon (now ExxonMobil). To the best of my knowledge, everyone of Exxon employees buys gas exclusively from Exxon's gas stations. The rationale is, if we don't buy Exxon gas, how could we reasonably expect anyone else to do the same, and Exxon may go out of business. I was always wondering why I don't sense the same anxiety inside Sun.

Even an outsider like myself can see that Sun is betting the company on the success of OpenSolaris. As a long-time customer (going back to my Exxon days), I know Sun is a very good company. Sun always has great people. And Sun has a very admirable reputation of willing to hire back its former employees. But now, Sun needs our help.

As we all know, Apple was resurrected by a single product--iPOD. Can we count on OpenSolaris to do the same magic? Don't know. But it won't take too much effort from our part, either. At least this is a good start.

Posted by W. Wayne Liauh on July 10, 2008 at 11:58 PM CST #

It is not my credit, but you should really check the OpenSolaris adoption numbers before and after my tenure in China. If I shamelessly take the credits, then I am not sure if any other VP at Sun has done more.

Posted by Sin-Yaw Wang on July 11, 2008 at 05:10 PM CST #

@ w. wayne liauh

you said "If there is any regret regarding Sin-Yaw's departure, I really wish that he could have been more active in promoting OpenSolaris when he was in a position to make a big influence outside of Sun."

not sure what is your ground on such claim or accusation. sin-yaw drove opensolaris adoption in china harder, more diligent, more effective and more successful than anyone i have come across in last few years.

you don't really know sin-yaw, do you?

Posted by me on July 11, 2008 at 10:55 PM CST #

@Sin-Yaw & "me"

I was going to change an inadvertent typo, but your blog does not allow editing.

I have meant to correct my statement from the original text of:

"If there is any regret regarding Sin-Yaw's departure"


--If there is any regret regarding Sin-Yaw's tenure--

I guess one small error could make a whole world difference. Apologize.

I believe you--yourself--have done a lot to promote OpenSolaris, but for an outsider, it is very difficult to find out. Another apology.

Posted by W. Wayne Liauh on July 11, 2008 at 11:31 PM CST #

@ W. Wayne Liauh

Posted by me on July 12, 2008 at 02:50 AM CST #



Indeed the stats are very impressive. However, I am most interested in how many of Sun's employees (worldwide, not just ERI) are using OpenSolaris on a daily basis as their primary OS?

Call that my personal pet peeve, but this is the Number One issue that I am most concerned about, and it IMO will be one of the best indicators as to whether Sun will not be another Motorola.

Posted by W. Wayne Liauh on July 12, 2008 at 10:28 AM CST #

@ Wayne
To everyone, "OpenSolaris Adoption" is a worldwide initiative. 30,000 Sun employees (getting less now) is not an interesting target. It is also not really my purview (neither John's). To "regret" my tenure for not pushing Sun's own OpenSolaris adoption is not really a fair statement.

Posted by Sin-Yaw Wang on July 12, 2008 at 01:22 PM CST #

@Sin-Yaw Wang#8

Sun has close to 100 Vice Presidents at various levels and Chief "Whatever" Officers. You 're absolutely right, it is really not fair to discuss this issue here.

Posted by W. Wayne Liauh on July 12, 2008 at 08:49 PM CST #

I'm amazed at the discussion here... so Sun's business strategy in China is - (step 1) wide opensolaris adoption. (step 2) <blank>, (step 3) profit profit profit!!! Please fill in the blank there...

In past few years, quite a few technologies have paid off with stellar results(virtualization, CMT etc ...). If you had bet on one of those, you'd be looking at growth, not cost-cut right now.

Posted by raiding party on July 17, 2008 at 07:12 PM CST #

since this is the last blog posted by sin-yaw at sun, let's take the heavy sun discussion outside this post and move it somewhere else. let's use this space to remember sin-yaw as a great leader, a great colleague, a mentor and a friend.

sorry sin-yaw i missed your farewell party and couldn't even say good bye to you in person. i am sure the bottle of scotch that you had in your office is long gone by now. i saw it last time when i was in your office and should have asked for a toast. i really should have.

Posted by me on July 17, 2008 at 11:30 PM CST #

Dear Sin Yaw,
You blog was a window into Sun and as well as China. It was like tv but with well thought out pauses and simple flow. I loved your observations on the changes (due to people returning/new businesses/old folks vs new generation) , occasional food reviews and some historical views. Hopefully you keep blogging. Waiting for newer entries at new blog.

Posted by Govind on July 18, 2008 at 06:57 AM CST #

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