So long, Sun! Farewell!



THIS IS IT!
Sun is now finally part of Oracle.

Its hard to put final thoughts about Sun into words. So I'll leave with this Sun RIF image (get commerative T-shirts and/or mugs here) that Sun uber-software-architect James Gosling drew as part of his farewell message.

Having worked at Sun for 21+ years, its hard to leave without a few words that I'd like to mumble out, anyway. I like Scott McNealy's parting words ("Kicked Butt, Had Fun, Loved our Customers, Never Cheated, Changed Computing forever"), but I'd like to put in my own. So here goes:

  • Sun was one of the best employee friendly company I know. Sun gave me an environment that nurtured my own technological and personal pursuits.
  • Sun always took the high road, sometimes even to the detriment of its own business model.
  • Sun could look forward and had a clear vision of where the technological world was headed and was ready to lead the road there (sometimes, again, to the detriment of providing help in immediate, present day matters). Its amazing to see, in retrospect, how often Sun got it right.
  • Sun innovated like crazy, and is perhaps the most shining example of Silicon Valley technology opening up new and expanding present markets.
  • Sun was decent. With its own employees. With managers and engineers alike. With customers. And even with its competitors. Sun (and sometimes I) had to fight FUD from other 3-letter companies (eg) but we never did it by putting them down. It wasnt just the decent thing to do, it was the Sun thing to do.
  • Sun was friendly and even-handed. Up and down the organizational chart. I even remember when Scott McNealy (then-CEO) talked of how he proposed to his future-wife. I remember Scott giving out beer at early beer busts. I remember Scott in Sun's cafeteria and cosying up to the engineering types, who were a bit shy about wanting to talk to him (what do you say to the one guy who's the overwhelming reason you came to Sun in the first place?). Sun was open-door. And it taught me as a manager to be equally friendly and open and that there was immense value in the (considered) opinion of every employee, from the newly-graduated to the most distinguished, industry-recognized leader and that the best ideas dont come from personal job-titles but from applying intelligence and knowledge to the problem at hand.
  • Sun was forgiving. If you made an honest mistake, you never got dinged for it but had a chance to learn from it. Learning from stumbles gave us all a chance to make Sun even better as a company.


And Sun was a fun place! From the innumerable April Fools pranks to water fights to Christmas parties to Beer Busts to "All Hands" meetings to too many other events to remember and enumerate, working at Sun was such joy. When you combine technological excellence with enabling employees to do their best, to caring for their families in the best way to being the most open and open-minded workplace anywhere, ever, you create an environment that is unmatched.

There will never be another Sun. Never. So, thanks for the 21 or so years. On a personal note, I know I will cherish my time here like none other.

PS. Folks who have subscribed to my blog, thanx for listening for all these years. Another chapter will emerge, but this one is now over. See you on the other side.

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About

I have worked with Sun and Oracle for 25 years now; in compilers and tools organization for most of these years followed by a couple of years in Cloud Computing. I am now in ISV Engineering, where our primary task is to improve synergy between Oracle Sun Systems and our rich ISV ecosystem

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