This morning we sent an open letter to HP’s CEO, Mark Hurd. You can find the text of it here.
I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of open letters – but every once in a while, they help explain our position, or motivate customers to engage in driving the industry. And customer involvement has led to some remarkable innovation (my favorite example being here).
With full disclosure, we’ve been trying for a while to engage HP in a dialog around converging our Unix efforts – their Unix, called HP-UX, was the second most popular Unix behind our offering, Solaris. But HP’s customers are increasingly moving away from HP-UX – not because they don’t love it (many do, and there are a lot of folks that have a deep respect for it at Sun, as well) – but because HP has limited where customers can use it. As the exclusive OS for HP’s Precision Architecture, HP has built up an installed base of more than $100 billion – for a reason. It was a great platform.
But then HP decided to end of life PA-RISC – and in so doing, left their user community with a very tough choice: if you want to preserve your investment in HP-UX, you have to rearchitect your entire datacenter to adopt Intel’s troubled Itanium project. But if you want to enjoy HP’s high volume Proliant line of x86/x64 computers, you can’t run HP-UX – unlike Sun, HP elected not to invest in supporting their Unix, HP-UX, on their own x86/x64 servers.
So we’d like to offer HP, and the HP user community, a third option: to converge Solaris 10 with HP-UX, running on HP’s very own Proliant product line. We’ve spoken to HP about it, thought we saw a glimmer of interest, and now we want to get their customers and partners involved.
And we’re going to continue extending the olive branch to the HP-UX user community, with tools, technologies and partner support. But we’d like HP to contribute to the effort, on behalf of and in concert with their customers and developers.
So now it’s up to you – the HP user and developer community. Talk to your HP sales rep or management contact if you’re interested in seeing such a project flourish. You have all the power in this dialog. And Sun would be very supportive – I commit that. You shouldn’t have to abandon HP-UX, and we’ll gladly work to ensure it.
At bottom, a converged Solaris/HP-UX roadmap would offer our joint customers choice, innovation, and a broad spectrum of qualified hardware – while preserving your investment in skills, your confidence in the underlying intellectual property and technology… and most importantly, given that Solaris is open source, your choices going forward. That’s all upside, as far as we’re concerned.
Now we just need to get HP on board…