Thanks for the creative comments. (The link from the graphic to the NetBeans download page was a distraction… I didn’t want the test to be too easy.)
This is the picture I put in front of an investor group recently, along with a couple of OEM customers wanting to know how free and open source software helps us (and thus them).
Each pink dot represents a connected Solaris 10 user – not a downloader, but an individual or machine (independent of who made the server) that connects back to Sun’s free update service for revisions and patches – applied to an individual machine, or a global datacenter. This doesn’t yet account for anywhere near all Solaris 10 downloads, as most administrators still choose to manage their updates through legacy, non-connected tools. But it’s directionally interesting – and shows the value of leveraging the internet to meet customers (new and old).
There’s no way we could match this kind of global growth by sending out compact disks or sales reps – free software allowed interested developers/customers to identify themselves to us – rather than the other way around. And allows us to build vibrant relationships and communities across the globe – based on a free basic update service for individuals or small businesses, and higher value offerings for larger businesses. We are meeting new customers because Solaris no longer requires our hardware (or a human being to deliver it).
You can click around on the map in this mashup – customer information is obscured to protect privacy, and connections are localized to a city or zipcode only. The color of the dot relates to the number of unique users in that zipcode – the brighter the dot, the more customers connecting to Sun for updates.
For those wanting to know how our Wall Street initiatives are going – the area with the single highest density of connected Solaris users turns out to be New York City. Nearly every zipcode is brightly lit. It’s great to see our success in Japan, Brazil, Australia, and all across Europe, as well.
What’s disappointing in the data is how few downloads are connecting from India and China – both areas dense with great developer communities (eg, some of our most active NetBeans communities are in those countries). We have a few theories on why, most related to bandwidth and network quality of service (Solaris is, after all, many gigabytes to be downloaded) – both problems we can work around. Innovation like this really helps.
The northernmost download I could find was far north of Helsinki – for those that observe Christmas, rumor has it Santa Claus runs the entire North Pole CRM and distribution facilities on a large Solaris/PostgresSQL grid (running on recycled Dell boxes, curiously enough). He lets our update center handle all the patch management.
But I’d like to stress that’s just a rumor at this point. We do not have Santa’s permission for a customer reference.
That’s still with his legal team.