Free Advice for the Litigious…

Years back, Sun was under pressure in the market. Although many users loved our core Solaris operating system, others thought it was built for high end computers, not grid systems. Our computer business had failed to keep pace with the rest of the industry – which meant our volume systems looked expensive. In combination, and with a poor track record of supporting Solaris off of Sun hardware, we gave customers one choice – leave Sun. Many did. Those were the dark days.

Where did they go? They went to GNU/Linux, a free and open source operating system built by a growing community, running on x86 systems. Why? Because the pair (“Linux on a whitebox”) delivered, then, better grid performance, with more flexibility. We didn’t erect barriers to exit, we promoted customer choice. Even when it cut the wrong way, as it did here. And yes, it hurt.

With business down and customers leaving, we had more than a few choices at our disposal. We were invited by one company to sue the beneficiaries of open source. We declined. We could join another and sue our customers. That seemed suicidal. We were offered the choice to scuttle Solaris, and resell someone else’s operating system. We declined. And we were encouraged to innovate by developers and customers who wanted Sun around, who saw the value we delivered through true systems engineering.

So we took that advice. We started by securing the software assets we were building – so that we could convey them under trusted open source licenses to a community we’d just started nurturing. We redoubled our focus on innovation, in hardware and software, that would differentiate our offerings. Not just as good as the competition, but vastly better. We supported Linux on our SPARC systems, and forced ourselves to open up every business we operate – Solaris wasn’t the hammer for all nails. Nor was SPARC. Nor Java.

In essence, we decided to innovate, not litigate.

Net result? Our contributions, from Java to OpenOffice to Gnome and Mozilla, now account for in excess of 25% of all lines of code within your average Linux distribution (yup, read that sentence again – or see the report, here, page 51).
We joined forces with the likes of Google and IBM and Red Hat to drive the Open Document Format, accelerating document interchange. ODF is now accelerating globally, as the standard trusted by governments and academic institutions for multi-generational document interchange. It is an unstoppable force, no threat can kill a country’s drive for independence or self-sufficiency (remember, the network’s a social utility, too).

Over the past two years, since committing to build a broad community around OpenSolaris, we’ve distributed nearly 8 million Solaris licenses, with nearly 70% on HP, Dell and IBM hardware (yes, we were surprised). And we’ve seen the OpenSolaris community burgeon to roughly 48,000 members, with only 2,000 or so working at Sun. (And I was with a leading company in the blogosphere today who told me they’d moved their core search systems to OpenSolaris – adoption feels like it’s accelerating.)

We’ve seen Java’s acceptance made permanent, on servers and desktops and mobile phones and set tops, in no small part due to our decision to use the GPL license (to simplify the Linux/Java combination on consumer devices and industrial applications). And most importantly, we’ve seen our software business grow – as our revenue model migrated from up front licenses to a subscription model that put payment closer to the source of value (services rendered). Embracing free and open source led to more revenue, too.

We invented our multicore Niagara UltraSPARC systems, massively powerful systems that redefine power efficiency for web-scale businesses – and we have a spectrum of design wins that recover and amplify the business we lost five years ago. Innovation and an embrace of the community (we GPL’d the core design of the chips) have led customers and collaborators to return in droves.

So what’s my view on this interview in Fortune – in which one of Sun’s business partners claims the open source community is trampling their patent portfolio?

You would be wise to listen to the customers you’re threatening to sue – they can leave you, especially if you give them motivation. Remember, they wouldn’t be motivated unless your products were somehow missing the mark.

All of which is to say – no amount of fear can stop the rise of free media, or free software (they are the same, after all). The community is vastly more innovative and powerful than a single company. And you will never turn back the clock on elementary school students and developing economies and aid agencies and fledgling universities – or the Fortune 500 – that have found value in the wisdom of the open source community. Open standards and open source software are literally changing the face of the planet – creating opportunity wherever the network can reach.

That’s not a genie any litigator I know can put back in a bottle.


Filed under General

117 responses to “Free Advice for the Litigious…

  1. Sisir Koppaka

    Hi Jonathan,
    This is the most concise explanation for the ‘open source’ strategy of Sun. With Microsoft and Apple trying their best to tighten their hold on their consumers, it looks like either their men don’t read your blog or can’t understand what they read, either way, good for you and us !

  2. Azrul

    Now someone from the same company says that the same OS that violates all those patents doesn’t in fact exist []. Does that solve the problem?

  3. Dennis

    Can somebody show me a single line of code, that SAP has contributed to open source?

  4. Peter

    It’s a long way to fall for your partner, the writing’s on the wall. The have no future business model that could produce the revenue enjoyed by their incumbent products. Rather than innovate they are choosing to prolong the status quo.

  5. Nigel

    My read is Vista is just not selling and Microsoft are getting scared.
    I like your point on up front licensing vs subscription, it’s something Microsoft seem to be struggling to transition to, but they also seem incapable of making the transition from a time when users were prepared to spend time/effort to get things working, to a time where users want an ipod experience, ie. it just works & it’s easy.
    As an aside, the link to the fortune article has a ” at the end :).
    I’m glad to see Sun are back, a pity we lost SGI, but still 1/2 is better than 0/2.

  6. Re: “We were offered the choice to scuttle Solaris…”
    In 1999/2000, Sun announced the scuttling of ***x86*** Solaris off their
    own bat, without any external prompting. It was the <u>user base</u>
    that, after 10 months or so of exhortation, presentations, commitments to
    various levels of possible licensing cost, depositions, public discussion,
    et al et al, persuaded Sun to rescind that previous announcement.
    It turned out to be very beneficial for Sun three years later when
    the Sun Opteron-based x86 systems hit the price-list.
    This comment is not criticism of Sun, just a little historical perspective
    to emphasise that Sun’s “vision” is not always as solid and unwavering
    as Jonathan implies.

  7. Jin Chun

    Small type on the link url (trailing _percent_20). Otherwise, wow. I am simultaneously shocked and unwaivered. Personally, I don’t think that this is a tenable situation. Only a a few years ago, many C-level execs were outright forbidding the use of open source, in any flavor, until, that is, they realized they were already running it in many mission critical systems and governance organziations such as the Federal Reserve issued guidance on risk mitigation and incorportation.
    Eventually, open source and all the models of distribution, development, and content around it will become more and more bespoke, and the litigation averse executives who set policies will have a better understanding. I’m seeing this occur myself, both at my current workplace and through conversations with colleagues in different industries. At the same time, developers are creating a groundswell, and by sheer organizational osmosis I think it will bubble up to the top, where many of these ‘understandings’ are still done at the dinner table, golf course, and sponsored outings.
    I can imagine why brand name companies who have already entered into an agreement would be shy away from disclosure. Without trying to sound too overtop, I think it would affect them adversely in numerous ways, even down to recruitment of talent.

  8. Hi Jonathan, the last link seems to be broken (the URL includes an apostrophe at the end).

  9. TC Taylor

    An Open Letter To The Computer Industry:
    I, personally, have a copyright on “zero (0)” and “one (1)”…game, set, match. Please send retroactive and future payments to your favorite charity. Thank you.
    P.S. Will someone PLEASE check the drinking water in and around Redmond?

  10. BlueMan

    Wow, great post Jon. One thing that I think your “Business Partner” isn’t considering…. if Linux violates some of their patents, couldn’t it be argued — since pieces of Linux are far older than their OSes — that some of it is “prior art,” and in fact that their OS might be infringing on the GNU license?
    i.e. would this Business Partner have to open source their OSes at some point?

  11. Richard Chan

    Jonathan, one of the pet peeves out there is still Sun’s lack of openness regarding hardware specs such as your PCI host bridges. The whole OpenBSD Sparc64 port saga trying to figure out the Schizo/Tomatillo host bridge (buggy stuff apparently) while the FreeBSD Sparc64 camp has yet to get there (and here we are talking about Ultrasparc III era).
    So while you open up Solaris, the Sparc CPUs, can you look into opening the ancillary specs so that the whole community FreeBSD/OpenBSD/Linux et al can all scratch their Sparc64 itch.

  12. RJ

    Jonathan, can we assume that the alleged issue of patent infringement within OpenOffice, and therefore one would assume StarOffice, that Sun is confident that Microsoft does not intend to sue anyone – relying on the usual FUD tactics instead? Or is Sun exempt from patent litigation from Microsoft under some previous agreement?

  13. Gary L. Wright

    Can one assume, as one of many long suffering SUNW stock holders, that the possibility of MSFT litigation will only add to, and prolong, our continued misery?

  14. Anonymous

    Very good article!

  15. Stephen Chu

    I am really happy to see Sun is doing the right choice and driving to the right direction.

  16. When you look at Sun and Microsoft over the past seven years, you see that Sun has made so many “right” moves that are paying off, while on the other hand Microsoft has been one bad move followed by another. I don’t see a development future on the Windows platform, which is quickly translating into a great advantage for Linux, StarOffice/OpenOffice, etc.

  17. James

    Excellent article Jonathan. Through being part of the FOSS community, listening and working together companies such as Sun and IBM have garnered a great deal of respect and trust and indeed you’re the first companies we look to when we need a solution. We’re counting on you to defend the community in the face of these nasty threats. Please help us to help you.
    P.S. Richard, I hope the FreeBSD hardware requests get chased up 😉

  18. Amit

    For Dennis:
    SAPDB was GPL for a long time till they sold it to MySQL where it is still available as MaxDB under a dual license.

  19. RJ,
    I’ve tried to get Sun to answer that OpenOffice question too. As best as I can tell, the Sun/Microsoft pact covers “products” and OpenOffice would count as a community-cum-outside effort. You’ll find more on this here
    So, Microsoft could still sue, as I read it. Redmond, however, seems all talk at this point.

  20. Jack

    “Sun alone, in particular, is credited with 30% of the total code contribution in our sample, which highlights one of the flaws inherent in the technique used for identifying company code contribution, which is based on copyright credits. In the case of Sun, most of its contribution is accounted for by OpenOffice, for which Sun holds the copyright. The entire codebase of OpenOffice is not, in fact, Sun’s sole creation, but contributors – individuals and other firms, small and big – sign an agreement assigning Sun joint copyright of their contributions, in order to simplify licensing and liability management. Our algorithms only identify Sun’s copyright message; a similar effect may bias the crediting of lines of code towards larger firms.”
    From page 57 of the linked to report, emphasis mine.

  21. Argent Dawn

    Ballmer and Gates can certainly use a few reality checks, but your vision of the world does as well. If you compare Microsoft’s market capitalization and earnings growth to Sun’s over the last years, it’s quite obvious that what Sun is doing is not working. Sure, you get a lot of brownie points from the Slashdot community for all the open source handwaving, but this is not how you grow a company.
    From where non-insiders like myself stand, your choice to innovate and not sue was born out of necessity: you simply didn’t have the cash to do anything else.
    As for the supremacy of Java, it happened way before you open-sourced the JDK, and your choice of the GPL made this brilliant move one that is completely inconsequential (ask mobile software companies what they think of a GPL JDK).
    Yes, Sun has done a good job at trying to reinvent itself and attempting to innovate. You’re still alive, congratulations for that. But you haven’t grown, you keep following and copying software ideas from your competitors (Microsoft, Google and Apple for the most part) and most of the software you back up (NetBeans, Glassfish, Looking Glass and more recently, JavaFX) are being completely ignored by the industry.

  22. Spot on Jonathan. Those who can, innovate, those who can’t, litigate. None of this would have happened if the US PTO did not allow software patents. Fixing that is very important. At the same time, we need to keep a watch out for September 2nd when the fast tracking of the MSOOXML is due for voting by national standards bodies to elevate that to an ISO standard. That effort has to be defeated and your business partner is working really hard to try to “influence” national standards bodies to vote in favour.

  23. Hi Jonathan,
    I’m writing to congratulate you on your “Big Brass Balls.” I just was reading about Google news for a bit i do at, and came across another bit about a Google bomb story involving comedian Stephan Colbert, and the power of the web. Google bombs increase search results, and hopefully the tides will turn and your name will be on the top of that list there and on other search engines. Seriously though, it seems to me that the sea change of open source software is unstoppable and as Sun saw the inevitable and adapted, “other” companies have not. This hurts the customer, and the online Community. Your posting today was a clear entry, and sends a powerful message. I applaud that power and a brighter light now streaming from Sun.

  24. Clifton Hyatt

    You are coming dangerously close to making me believe you get it, and that is an encouraging development.
    In the final analysis every company and every craftsman has to decide if they are about the money or about The Craft; The Craft leads to money but money does not lead to The Craft.
    Know this lesson well.

  25. Gumbo

    Hey Jon I am a Windows XP user. I know about Solaris , but… I never see it on the screen before. What does it look like? Does it have graphic windows like Windows and Macs? What does the file system look like? I checked your website and couldnt find any photos of the interfaces of Solaris to give me ideas of how it looks. How does it differeniate from other OS? Yeah, it is an Unix OS , so what? I want to know what it looks like and the feel of it. Maybe you can mail out free Cdroms to interested parties to give them pictures or trailers . Like brochures on Cdroms. Like a dog and pony show, you know? I am just curious about what is so great about Solaris. Is it faster than Windows. Yeah, scott mcnealy called Windows a hairball or sometning, but hey I have no idea of my own. I am a shareholder. I wonder why Sun is unable to sell more stuff than IBM or HP .. You just said that Sun is too small to sell in cheap volumes. That is not my problem, man.. Is Solaris memory hungry? How long does it take to boot up Solaris? Is it better to leave Solaris on once booted up? Because of 64 bit which takes forever to boot up?? I can go on and on…. All you write about is Yuppie yuppie over the heads of regular Joe Six Packs like myself…

  26. Good to see Sun getting recognition for what it deserves. This post is a fitting reply to Microsoft’s patent threats.

  27. Ewen Chan

    While the recent innovations have been a great advancement for Sun, I think that the next big advancement is to improve of the serviceability and support aspects. I recently had an experience with Sun support and after about 6 weeks and $720 later, the end net result was nothing. If Solaris is the product engineering, then the support aspects should be a collective effort rather than being passed around from department to department; to the extent that the support representative changed twice on my without my knowledge.

  28. RJ

    Ashlee, I hope so. It would be fairly lame to go on and on about how harmless this is likely to be when you know you are not at risk.
    I guess only time will tell.

  29. Jon

    Dennis: … doing a google for gpl really wasn’t that hard …

  30. Amazing that the comments are the first place the word “Microsoft” appears!

  31. quux

    There’s an elephant in the room. Can anyone see it?

  32. Vision is Key

    I get tired of hearing naysayers that downplay Sun’s open source contributions as “not profitable” or “not the way to grow a business.” Sun is a hardware, software and services company… and too many folks forget that. Sun makes profits from a variety of offerings.

    Btw, Sun could have EOL’ed low selling items within its sw portfolio, yet it turned to open source to add longevity/revitalization. Amongst dozens of developers that I know, Sun is seen as a software champion. And they utilize Sun sw wherever possible. Look at their identity offerings: best in the industry. (Sun’s Directory Server kicks butt!) Look at Java: Write once, run anywhere. Look at Solaris: best OS around – truly scalable, secure and stable. The examples go on and on…

    I’m convinced that many developers look at Sun as a magic lamp. (It’s more than Java, too – it’s the entire sw stack.) And more importantly, many developers deploy on proven Sun systems/solutions. Sun chose to take risks to grow. The stock price might not reflect the true value of the company, but the “value” of Sun is felt on a global-scale by its products/services.

    Thank you Jonathan Schwartz (and Scott McNealy) for having kept Sun away from frivelous lawsuits, or selling off chunks of the company. I’m sure you’ve been tempted. Right here, right now in 2007, your choices have led your company to be profitable again. Stay the course. Bigger and better revenues will follow. The Sun is still rising.

  33. Hello Jonathan. First comment here but I’ve been reading a long time. My first interest in your blog formed back when you wrote about simplicity of the future, and how open and save are going to be universal functions to be executed anywhere, on any platform, at least for documents.
    I do have a question, I thought you and Microsoft signed a cross patenting agreement, and so I’m wondering, how can they now be saying Open Office is in violation of their IP? Is it only Star Office which is “Safe” from Microsoft?
    Thanks much for a great read and it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve said your company is the least appreciated company there is out there. This blog posting only confirms what I believe, that you all are trying to innovate, and I appreciate everything you’ve done for Open Source, perhaps more than even Stallman himself.

  34. Well said! I’ve been pretty lucky so far when it comes to negative comments,

  35. cybervegan

    Excellent article, Jonathan. Since Sun is back on the Lithium, it seems you have your clarity back again – and I’m glad to say it looks like you’re committed to keeping it that way.
    The days of paranoia and schitzophrenia at sun seem to be over at last. Welcome to the 21st century.

  36. Hi Jonathan,

    I’ve been a fan and constant user of Sun Microsystems products in numerous capacities for about twelve years. Just when I thought Tux and friends would pile-drive your predecessor into a fine silicon powder, and Sun would sink in a sea of open source and Linux incomprehension, you came along!

    Kudos to you for the advice you are giving in this post- keep focus here, and you’ll be a hero in your corporation’s history for sure!

  37. In Sun’s pas there were numerous starts and stops as far as reaching out to the open source community. Some of it was miss understandings between both groups.
    It is nice an refreshing to see Sun finally get opensource but also understand the benefits it can bring to Sun and its customers.
    Peace and Happy Hacking

  38. What if?
    I often wonder where the open source world would be if Sun had moved preemptively by releasing OpenSolaris way back when Linux was just getting going? I remember sending Scott McNealy an impassioned email in 1996 urging him to make Solaris open source. I was at a Sun resller at the time and it just seemed like the right thing to do.

  39. Suresh Kumar


    Agreed, Microsoft is the evil empire, but…

    Yet again I had to “upgrade” my PC for more power and memory (from DELL of course) and buy new OS – Vista (from MSFT of course).

    Didn’t someone say “Network is the Computer”?

    When is Sun going to deliver a Computer to a consumer, so I can go to my ISP and get a free SunRay client for a 2 year contract and connect to your service ( and *run* my favorite applications and *store* my favorite files (documents, pictures, MP3s and Videos)?

    Sun is the only company which already has the technology, hopefully it is not the last one to deliver it.

  40. Its the end of the story: Microsoft realizes it is not an innovative company anymore. They have realized its a cash cow, as such, they want to milk it as much as they can, building up barriers and playing hard to protect the remaining value.
    Value protection vs. value creation.
    Microsoft has become a laugh.

  41. marty

    Great message, Jon. Openness and inclusion are best ways of giving Sun’s customers what they need. It can’t be stated or acted on enough.

  42. Bravo Jonathan!

    I am in the process of attempting to get my municipal government (and employer) to adopt ODF as a standard and OpenOffice or SunOffice as our word processing suite and it’s articles like this that will help fuel my argument for adoption.

    It would however be helpful if people like myself had access to the resources we need to “sell” adopting ODF and OpenOffice. ROI reports, presentations, etc.

    Any chance Sun could offer some documents to assist me in presenting a solid and coherent argument for Open Source, ODF and OpenOffice.

    I have little doubt that Sun will again rise to greatness in the new world of open source. It’s a powerfully brave strategy and one that many are slow to realize is pretty much a necessity to survival in the new and open software/hardware world.

    Best Regards
    Matt Livingstone

  43. Rene

    One possible future…
    1. Microsoft uses the same aggressive tactics against the free and open source software movement (mainly but not limited to GNU/Linux) as it has against so many other technologies before it.
    2. Assumption: the only thing that can replace a monopoly is another monopoly (or at least another entity of reasonable competitive scale).
    3. New “monopoly” = Google + Apple + Sun (aka “GAS”).
    4. People love GAS.
    5. GAS outcompetes Microsoft in every significant consumer and enterprise technology market.
    6. The world is saved.
    * Sun has innovative operating system, hardware, and other software that enterprises can rely on and be free of fear, uncertainty, and doubt issued by Microsoft.
    * Google has software-as-a-web-service engineering innovation and positive consumer brand.
    * Apple has device and personal interface innovations and positive consumer brand.
    As such:
    * The strengths of each contribute to the whole which then becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
    * None of the three are so large that the combination would become equivalent to the next Department of Homeland Security. Sorry, HP and IBM.
    * None of the three can do it by themselves; not even two (any two) of them combined.
    * For once there can be a true competitor to Microsoft:
    MSFT market capitalization = US$295 billion
    GAS market capitalization = US$253 billion
    P.S. A better name than “GAS” would be thought of earlier rather than later, of course.

  44. Wayne

    Very nice article. I’m glad that Sun is still around, and doing interesting things.
    As to the rest of you:
    1) I have a copy of Open Solaris – it works well with one major issue. It doesn’t have drivers for my wireless card! To me this is a major flaw – hopefully Ian will get something done about that.
    2) Microsoft has never innovated. I’ve used Microsoft products since DOS2 was the hot new product, and all I’ve ever seen them do was imitate someone else’s product.
    3) People think that software patents are the problem – they are wrong. Patents in general are the problem. I’ve done an analysis of issued patents, and less than 5% should have been allowed. This imposes a huge “patent tax” on the American economy. Get rid of it and you’d see a golden age.
    Good luck to Sun – I hope to see many neat things with the Sun logo in the near future.

  45. karen

    as a shareholder, why don’t you spend your energies to get revenues up and profits up.
    It has been (5) years.. cmon this is ridiculous.
    you lost sight of what you are doing.
    no more blogs..get to work.
    get the revenue up. what is the problem?
    dont miss in the 4Q again!

  46. Sum Yung Gai


    I am currently using Ubuntu GNU/Linux 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) on some Sun Ultra 5’s (yes, those old dinosaurs are still very useful) for a variety of tasks. Ubuntu Dapper Drake works absolutely brilliantly on these boxes. Stick a hard disk of decent size in them, and they make terrific email and Web servers. I’ve also made firewalls out of them, both with GNU/Linux and OpenBSD. Those Ultra 5’s are like Cummins turbodiesel engines; they just run forever. They’re plentiful and cheap, too. I do some freelancing after work, and one of these customers needed a mail server. I tried Ubuntu on a Sun Blade 100 and bam, my customer was ecstatic. People say that Apple’s PowerPC hardware is good and solid. Well, so is Sun’s.

    And speaking of hardware….

    The OpenBSD team has been asking you for specs for the north/south bridges for the UltraSPARC III boxes, without NDA restrictions, for quite some time. Yes, I know that Theo is as abrasive as a diamond drill bit…oh hell, let’s be straight up; he’s an asshat. But his attitude aside, it would help all F/OSS platforms if Sun were to do so.
    Jonathan, there is no value to keeping those specs secret anymore; those boxes have long since been eclipsed by not just Sun kit, but also by just about everybody else’s, too. There is, however, value in publishing them without NDA. It would enable more developers (the folks that you need to target) to write for UltraSPARC without dropping a ton of coin. That’s why the Opteron and Core 2 (and thus x86-64) are so doggone popular; we can do 64-bit development, on a decently fast (actually, amazingly fast) box, without taking out a five-figure bank loan.

    Continue on with Free Software, and I sure do hope to see OpenSolaris–all of it–relicensed or dual-licensed under the GPLv3 when that license is released.

  47. jeff

    As a person who likes and uses Sun software and hardware, and owns none of their stock, I would prefer if the company were taken private.
    If the first priority of Sun’s management was to raise the stock price, they could cut R&D by three-quarters, drop all SPARC/Solaris systems, and move on to being a Lintel boxshifter. Hello, $30/share.
    Of course, they woulden’t be a systems company anymore. High-end HW would be done in cooperation with Intel, the low-end HW would continue to work better with Windows than Solaris (if you make motherboards, NICs, sound devices, video cards-who’s OS do you care about….?) and the Unix strategy would be dictated by Linus/some-guy-Linus-deputizes/Stallman/hacker-of-the-month-club.
    This is the most efficient way to be a computer company these days, and it is what Wall St. likes. It does not, however, represent what I value in a product I need to use. I’d prefer hardware designed for the task from the CPU on up, with an OS likewise developed in concert with that hardware. Today, I can get this sort of product from two companies, and I’d prefer to not deal with IBM.
    So I’m convinced that you can’t have a high stock price and place the emphasis on the product, where it belongs. There are too many things missed by shareholders and analysts who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. If Sun could continue to design & build products like they have in the past, I’d gladly rent space on a bridge & invite disgruntled shareholders to take a leap off of it.

  48. Stomfi

    Excellent analysis. Now that SUN is big enough, it can be a community member and put its altruistic desires into something useful for the development of IT.
    It’s a pity that SUN stuck so long with the client server model of the last century instead of going to the next logical step with client nodes in a data redundant distributed peer to peer “the network is the computer” model.
    Maybe now that we have new hardware innovations like GPL’d Niagra, the Open PPC, Open Phones, and the gridding Cell architecture, a global network computer will become a reality and we can finally lay the Wintel anomaly to rest and get back to the future.
    It is really important that SUN has gone Open Source, because a universal system is needed to enable a global computer, and a combination of all OSS technologies that includes Linux, Unix, Solaris, BSD and Plan 9 will make it happen.
    The second area of innovation that SUN has a very big foot print in with JAVA, is the human interface. The old ’74 XEROX WIMP model is showing its age in light of modern hardware, and is long due for replacement with a real time speech and 3D one. SUN Open Source JAVA is going to play an important role in this space especially on Cell architecture which has already been shown to have these the capabilities.
    So keep up the good work Jon, and innovate on other architecture as well as your own. I remember what a fantastic piece of hardware the inexpensive Motorola 68K SUN 3 workstation was. How about a modern Cell based variety so that developers can use it and your software to create the next interface. GPL OSS of course to marginalise the dominant player.

  49. Damon

    Karen, you have one of the most open and transparent CEOs in the world sharing his thoughts and insights about his industry on a regular basis and you want him to stop? You want him to “get to work?” What exactly do you want him to do? Assemble some hardware? Write some code? Perhaps deliver some CPUs in a big delivery truck? Sun is in the midst of innovating its entire business model. Its gone from a closed innovator to an open innovator and there are bound to be bumps along the way. There are no iron-clad guarantees of success but there are a lot of indicators that its working…but it’s going to require a little longer view than the next quarter.

  50. You have chosen the right direction not to litigate in the past and are now working in a positive direction. Keep up the hard work and good luck.
    As some one has already pointed out, when are the Sun Ray’s going to hit end users along with call centers,hospitals,Universities etc.
    Have you guys considered providing install images with different editions? I know solaris has core,user,developer edition options etc during the install, but the image still is large and makes downloads painful.
    Instead of maintaining the HCL for ever(HCL is good, but how long?), when will solaris have drivers for majority of the Ethernet and wireless devices out here? Possibly,Ian is working on stuff like this.

  51. mgsloan

    Our contributions, from Java to OpenOffice to Gnome and Mozilla, now account for in excess of 25% of all lines of code within your average Linux distribution (yup, read that sentence again – or see the report, here, page 51).

    Wow, what BS! I checked out the page indicated , and Sun has 25% of the contribution by all firms – completely ignoring the huge (indeed majority) contribution by individuals. The reason the statistic is astonishing is because it’s wrong.Sun’s a cool company, though.

  52. Seamus P

    HI Jonathan, your succinct and impactful blog on this litigous issue and open source is spot on, and very wise. In a world where people imagine litigation as the be-all, it is always good and joyous to see a wise pillar in the shifting sands, and especially heartening to see a corporate leader with this insight. Keep it up!

  53. FWIW, in relation to software patents, etc, I remember reading a document explaining patents from the local (New Zealand) Patent Office in the early nineties. It said that to warrant a provisional patent, an inventor had to give some quite exhaustive documentation on the product, including blueprints.
    When I paid attention to the little matter of software patents, I discovered that all that the US PTO needed was a waffle on what the patent was supposed to be about, and a pile of cash.
    I was insulted. These software patenters want me to pay through the nose – FOR THEIR WAFFLE!!!
    I put some thought into the matter, and concluded that the GPL contained much the equivalent of the requirement to divulge all relevant information about the invention the patent was being issued for.
    How about it, Jonathan? Convert all software patents to the GPL? I posed Bill Gates much the same sort of question a few years ago, using the contact address, but he’s never replied.
    I think, now that Microsoft has, rather gratuitously, opened that can-of-worms themselves, they should be made to eat it. There’s nothing wrong with a diet of worms – just ask your common-or-garden bird, or Martin Luther. 😉

  54. Sun Joo

    Jonathan wrapped up some of core OSS. The big tide is comding and one company will not stand against that. What goes up and comes I just wish not to witness unpleasant and unfair ways of attempts to stop the trends, welcomed by the majority of users.

  55. TSE in the trenches

    Jonathan, I know you read these comments. Please don’t discount the comments of customers like Mr. Ewen Chan, and his comments about the support he received. Those of us picking up the phones have alot of the same concerns and more. We don’t just want to “pick up the phone” to meet a bunch of phony metrics, we want to ADD value, FIX problems and WORK EFFECTIVELY with Engineering and other Sun teams. Otherwise, we may as well just outsource the whole kit and kaboodle and call ourselves “IBMGS”.

  56. Jim

    On a light hearted note…Motley fool ran an article identifying how to kit out a pc for free…from the OS through to office apps (Open office!), anti-spyware, viruschecker, firewall to media players, photo editing etc.!.aspx?source=ioowftxt0010011

  57. TT

    Hello Jon,
    Sun’s biggest problem – your sales department. All your marketing work – the benchmarks, the blogs, they’re a waste of time, as it’s just not possible to buy hardware from Sun.
    Just Google “Sun vs Dell”, first page of results:
    We got exactly the same experience – we have contacted sales 4 times already, every time they’ve promised to get back to us the same or next day, well, it’s been over a week and still haven’t heard from anyone.
    How do I as a potential customer feel about it? Well, I feel I’ve been _lied_ to four times, how should I trust such company, your benchmark results, or your hardware quality?
    What if the sales will contact me today? I don’t even want to imagine a situation where Sun hardware fails and we have to wait a week to get replacement equipment or any support.
    Business is run on trust, but after all this, how can we trust our business to Sun anymore?!

  58. Rick

    “Years back, Sun was under pressure in the market.”
    what? you’re not anymore? get real!

  59. Subair Mohammed

    You are too late and your business strategy is not stable. You cannot keep what you are saying. You do change your mind very soon as what you did with your company. Your history saying that..
    And I will say you are dead or going to be soon. If I say frankly I was expecting SUN’s this stage 8 years ago. And was showing to my friends the graph of each year where you will be. Thats exactly happened. There are many reason to explain..!
    Good Luck!!

  60. Gnusci

    I don’t believe it. Everybody know the sort of rat that Bill is, so who can believe that, of course nobody!, I spend all the time surfing all the web ocean and even the MS people will not change to Vista, so this is as false as the announce of patent violations. Microsoft is acting desperately and just trying to scare the people who is migrating to GNU-Linux. It is not a secret that Vista is not being sold, and just for MS there are successful sales, while in every blog nobody will upgrade or switch to it, MS sales are totally stuck. So the only way to get air is using the dirty strategy that MS always does. Only Ubuntu was more important and successful than Vista. Now that DELL have decided to ship their products with Ubuntu, that is something that really scare to MS, because with a huge company like DELL there wont be any obstacles to show to all the world how good and powerful GNU/Linux is.

  61. Sun has shown the technology industry that ‘open source’ is not just for volunteers who aren’t interested in making money. As you point out, since embracing open source Sun’s profits have gone up significantly. If only Microsoft would start doing what’s best for its shareholders (ie embrace the extra profit potential inherent in open source) instead of spreading FUD about competitor products.

  62. Jonathan,
    I’m glad Sun made the decision to “innovate, not litigate” because it has vastly improved the image of the company, and it’s standing as a leader in the industry.

  63. [Trackback] via his Blog
    Sun Microsystems are one of the champions of Open Source in the big business sphere and CEO Johnathos Schwartz has some wise words for the big fish at Microsoft. This really sums it up perfectly. I can’t really say anything other tha…

  64. “”In combination, and with a poor track record of supporting Solaris off of Sun hardware, we gave customers one choice – leave Sun. Many did.””
    I remember. We had a SPARC system that had to have the system board replaced consecutively 11 times in a row. That pissed my company off I remember. Other than that, you all have done pretty well over the years.
    A few trends I’m learning… On the desktop, presentation, usability, and design are everything. Also, power consumption… (more on that in the future, a reason not to upgrade to Vista in the Enterprise, they are adding a GPU to the requirements which make for power consumption)
    On the server, Windows is tough as hell to beat in the enterprise. There are 10 times more reasons to upgrade to Windows 2k8 than any I can come up with on the desktop. I think if Sun wants to stay valid in the enterprise you need to keep your Current Solaris, but then start a new server brand that embraces all of the hot stacks out there. You have to really loose all pride and look at what stacks are the best and then get behind them and make them better.
    All in all, I think Sun is the least credited computer company out there. You all are doing a fantastic job of envisioning everything but you never move to protect your great ideas… Even on hardware design, other companies have traditionally taken your novel approaches and then improved them to try and run you out of the market in some cases.
    I think Sun needs a software centric strategy and then you can utilize your hardware engineers to work with your partners in order to give you advantage in the marketplace. What does AMD’s roadmap for power efficiency look like when compared to Intel in the next five years? Have you all aligned to the wrong company? Right now AMD’s not doing so well from the little bit I’ve read.
    Best of luck to you and your company.

  65. I want to spank you with a Model M for helping to perpetuate braindead Web 2.0 slang by using the word “blogosphere”. I’m going to podcast a mash-up of this e-slight in order to strategically realign my Ajax modern business solutions API and have it all accessible via an RSS feed on my social network’s Meme wiki.

  66. Clinton Begin

    I think what this really means is that we software developers have become bad enough at our jobs that lawyers are cheaper. I agree with Jonathan and this blog post has made me less angry at Sun than I have been for the last couple of years. But if Ballmer is taking this course, it means it’s cheaper and less risky to sue than to innovate. Nothing more. It means that we software developers are getting worse at our jobs because we’re getting lazy and undisciplined. There’s no other excuse for the atrocities that are modern software including Windows Vista, Java 5, and whatever YOU (yes you) are working on. Innovation sometimes means correcting the mistakes of the past. But unfortunately that’s just too expensive. So let’s sue. Lawyers are cheaper and argue less. </semi-sarcasm> 😉

  67. AJ

    Been a big fan of Sun since the 3/180. Nice to hear sound philosophies and attitudes are
    driving the company as well as technical excellence. Keep up the good stuff, Sun have a
    loyal following and affection amongst us old timer computer guys. Hope you can continue to
    make it work at the high end of systems design.

  68. Shirish Pancholi

    Jonathan, I am a big fan of you and SUN. Everything you wrote about open-source is true. But, I am disappointed that SUN’s stock has not done much for last 7 years. Innovation is good only if there is monetary return for the company and shareholders. Otherwise, it is just a waste of time and money. I am sorry for being so blunt.

  69. I applaud you, sir. Sun was wise to follow the trend of what customers wanted and were demanding. Open source is definitely changing the way software is created. Keep up the hard work and good luck.

  70. nice and good article…

  71. Zaine Ridling said above “I don’t see a development future on the Windows platform…” VERY well put! For any Windows developers who are sitting on the fence, I recommend Sun’s “Try and Buy” program. You’ll fall off the fence on the Sun side, land on your feet, and not look back!

  72. Zaine Ridling said above “I don’t see a development future on the Windows platform…” VERY well put! For any Windows developers who are sitting on the fence, I recommend Sun’s “Try and Buy” program. You’ll fall off the fence on the Sun side, land on your feet, and not look back!

  73. Andi Valachi

    The moral attitude Sun takes on marketing. Last year, when working with ST Microelectronics on contract I was able to get my hands on a presentation a Sun sales representative made. It was about why use Solaris 10 over RHEL. It was thrashing Linux with almost the same arguments Microsoft abandoned since 2000-2002: from TCO to “Linux doesn’t have support” etc. It was the most unethical document coming from a company that continuously sides with OpenSource when times are hard and gets away from it when times are good. I personally don’t like Solaris and Sun although I have been administering them for 7-8 years. Not only is the OS way behind the current OS implementations on the market but the support system they offer (i.e. Sun will allow you to download the patch that fixed what we busted in the latest update only if you pay a support contract) is not quite at par with their fame. Finally, the OS is the implementations of very, very complicated minds – while a new technology in Linux can be mastered in a very short time, the same type of technology, its implementation, the bugs related to different Solaris versions etc. can take a year or more for somebody to master.

  74. Zoltan Farkas

    I would not predict the fall of Microsoft. For example the SUN Spot ( runs on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. They currently do not run on Solaris, and honestly I am very disapointed by this. I would not underestimate the power of monopoly. Several Sun products do not support Sun’s own operating system: Solaris. But they support other “futureless” operating systems … (that are not open source)

  75. Ian Lowe

    It’s good to see a bit of competition in the marketplace, but some of these comments are so far out of touch with reality it’s frankly ridiculous – and captures the problem in a nutshell: fanboys who live some alternate world do more harm than good to FOSS, and by extension, to the whole IT Industry.
    Criticise Microsoft’s licensing, sure. Predatory business practices, yep… but “I don’t see a development future on the Windows Platform”.. what the?? are you on the moon? Visual Studio 2005 is the definitive development environment at this point in time – and with continued development of the Mono project, can be used to build code that will run cross platform easily. Exchange+Outlook is still the definitive messaging platform (and will remain so, until the FOSS community gets over this webmail fixation and embraces products like Evolution, and produces a solid backend to match)
    Sun’s (and Novell’s) biggest mistakes were to spend copious amounts of time berating their competition (such as McNeally’s ridiculous stunt of getting a dog to urinate on a PC) rather than focussing on building better kit. It makes me cringe when FOSS advocates make the same mistake.
    I’m running Vista on this desktop. My laptop runs Edgy. I like both. Most people just don’t care about the whole “One true faith” rubbish, they just want software that works for them.
    FOSS doesn’t need people making crap up in order to be a success.

  76. Fabian

    That’s terrific. I use Sun servers at work and love them. It’s nice to see that these computers are engineered by people who embrace open-software/open-architecture. Cheers.

  77. Thank you Jonathan for posting this!

  78. Thanks for this. I very much appreciate seeing advice like this, toward Microsoft, from one of the big players in the field, in support of Linux and open source.

  79. Jason

    Man… this guy is good. Made me feel guilty that I’m not using more of Sun’s products. =)

  80. As others have noted, the “25% of open source software developed by Sun” factoid is completely bogus. The graph on page 50 shows that corporate contributions are somewhere in the range of 20% of open source offerings, so Sun has (at most) 25% of that 20%, or about 5%. Off by a factor of 5. (It’s always worth double checking when a statistic is surprising — often it’s because it’s wrong!)

  81. vh

    Sir, impressing comments, but just dont forget about java in the area of presentation(like flash vs silverlight).
    I mean, put more accents to this than you show you are.
    Start over with Java3D, with JavaMedia, give use hardware acceleration and a smaller footprint plugin that would rival with that of flash.
    Do something and keep java on top of those extremly proprietary companies

  82. @VH
    In case you haven’t noticed, Flash and in the future, Silverlight, is what Java was supposed to be. Give credit to Macromedia who put the users first from the get-go. Since day one they have made the size a constant priority.
    Don’t give up on Sun, they will leverage their IDE environment to publish to an up and coming “javalight” browser runtime. I’d like to see them shrink the JRE to a point where it can compete with Flash and Silverlight and still not loose too much richness and be nice with backwards compatibility. Obviously, at those super light loads you loose hardware acceleration amongst a slew of other rich features.

  83. well written jonathan…..i think if they do end up taking it into court, they will find, as the original article states, “the GPL has teeth”
    i hope it tears them apart, to be honest, all they want to do is take away our choice to use whatever software we want, all so they can turn a buck out of it, fascism has a price i guess, i hope they get to pay it

  84. Very well said Jonathan. There are definitely lessons to be learned here of the power of thinking. For Microsoft, going after Open Source is going to be a severely crucial confrontation, one that could have disastrous effects for the company.
    A wise man once said: “Nothing fails like success.”

  85. Prince

    “SUN is dead / going to be dead” – Some don’t get sleep if they don’t chant those. I believe SUN is in good growth path. All these free OS, free HW design etc will create a bigger eco system for SUN.

  86. benny yohannan

    hi Jonathan ,Sun solaris is an excellent OS to be around interms of stability, scalability and other core OS strengths . Having said that you still lack in the department of aesthetic of user interface and also on a office application suite. I have used SUN star office and it sucks w.r.t MS office. At the end of the day what does a common man ( the non geeks) use the computer for, is what really matters

  87. Night

    IBM sells hardware, software and services and has figured out how to make money with Linux but I have yet to see a consistent strategy embracing Linux and F/OSS from Sun. Merely token efforts. Customers and the communities they are involved with see through this and the waffling and quite frankly its weakening the Sun brand. Almost all data centers I enter these days have no new Sun equipment or old Sun equipment they are getting rid of. It really boils down to this either get on board and get a strategy that empowers your customer base or keep doing what you have been doing and getting what you have gotten.

  88. ChaosFire

    Yes I can. It is called – MaxDB

  89. EpsDel

    Man, I can’t believe the truth you are saying here.
    People at MS should read your blog and take advice.
    I like the “And you will never turn back the clock on elementary school students and developing economies and aid agencies and fledgling universities” part, because I am a student and I am using open source as much as I can at work and at home.

  90. Good work Jonathan .
    Good work sun.
    Continue and we hope good luck for you.
    Be good and fair , in other words
    Hope for others what you love for your self.
    I think sun should make
    the complete solution for companies will be good
    and of course integrating with the rival IBM is must.

  91. I am a big fan of SUN and their dedication to the free software comunity, It is important to show to the public that not everybody in the industry holds to their old dinosaur ways. kudos.

  92. piper

    Hi Jonathan,
    Yes Sun is in the forefront of innovation I agree, but failed miserably to monetize on assets. If you are trying to convince everyone that most of Sun’s revenue will eventually come from software, you need to have more customers or the balance sheet is going to look like the current balance sheet for the next decade or so, remember sun is a dot com not a non-profit dot org. Sun’s R&D is strong IMHO that is not the one to be blamed, not even the customer facing teams but the fact that Sun is always in a dream. When the top decision makers wake up it is already late. I like the idea of a 2 year service contract and a free computer, can Sun deliver on it – may be with big partners like google, apple. I know a customer who bought *many* of Suns new x4100 boxes and had a tough time to get them up and running. I’m not suggesting the product is bad, but the usability and customer experience is. It is really tough to *buy* from Sun, and the company I work for still buys and uses Sun computers, I’m one of the backers for that decision.

  93. Matson

    Wow, this is a great article, thank you!

  94. ockhamwasright

    One wonders if the guys in Redmond were off on a management seminar the day that everyone else in the world got the memo explaining that open source is an irresistible juggernaut and that the software industry can work hard to find ways to add value to customers in its wake, or they can be crushed by it.
    Its a shame really because if they had gotten the memo, they would have realized by now that there really is no third option available to them.

  95. Gil

    View from the cheap seats. Grading Sun’s direction, OS…Outstanding with Solaris 10, Video…Excellent video server package, Mobile OS….Nice move sure to pay off in the future, Share BuyBack….ok move but personally I would have let KKR buy more shares and kept the cash, Database….Sun is missing the boat in this area, by the time Sun’s experts say it’s time to be more aggressive in this area all the jewels will be bought up such as MySQL, Greenplum, EnterpriseDB, even Sybase.

  96. AJS

    Very well put.

    Open Source works like a bank where every customer gets paid interest depending on the total amount of all investments, not just their own investment.

    There’s a certain particularly toxic mentality around; an idea that bringing other people down is as good as building yourself up. It’s manifested in the mindless vandals who smash up bus shelters, in the stupid kids who steal things that are no use to them just to deprive other people of them, and in the idiots who put recyclable goods in their rubbish so the council not only loses out on revenue from their recycling contractor but has to pay extra to bury it in landfill.

    It’s exactly the same mentality that refuses to invest in Open Source for fear that someone else might benefit — the dog in the manger, one who would rather let something go to waste than give it away for nothing. There is simply no place for that mentality in the future. History has shown that all human progress has depended on co-operation in the face of adversity. Petty in-fighting harms everyone and helps no-one.

  97. There was a time i used to hate sun … it looked like an old Dinosaur about to go down after making a last kill …. why ? Java was impractical theoretical bull shit and with simple bugs taking years to get resolved … with simple thing taking 5-10 x of development time what it wud take in python , perl or php and even c ……and do remember those blood sucking ugly applets which use just paralyze system at time of loading ….and ULTRA who on earth will buy a system which cost twice as x386 box and with half of the performance …Solaris wud only run on SPARC and OH MY GOD that Ugly , crappy CDE enviorment ….netbeans was also pathetic bug ridden and Hey Did I forget about that mammoth , Utterly complicated and 100% wasted of time with 3x development time…yeah you guessed it right Ejb 2 . I rather stick to my fast portable linux who wud run happily on my celeron box since my student days ….and even freebsd ..If would I had to give a message to Sun Management of that time would “Stop Acting like University prof and take down that impractical bullshit down your A$#@….Simply things rather than complicate “…..Today after Linux , Eclipse and Apache foundation , AMD, Intel , PHP ,Ruby,Spring framework has changed a lot …its management is more dynamic and open and its going right way …..i hope with opening up java bugs will no loger take years to get resolve but months and practical innovation will come ….Netbeans is already great with really features like Web Pack , Matisse . One thing I about Netbeans (after years of eclipse user ) that it helps you get started really quickly and helps meet deadline at internet time and all tools built it in as packs same time …Java releases also faster and lot of new ideas coming up …EJB 3 is simpler (taking inspiration from spring and hibernate ) and fun to develop
    My suggestion to Jonathan would be
    1) Open customer feedback site similar to Dell’s Idea Strom and listen to your customers carefully and act !!(I know you already doing it but this will help accelerate stuff )
    2) Release solaris in Gpl quickly and merge best features of Solaris and Linux (also look at freebsd)…make best hybrid system in world …also launch desktop of the hybrid system
    3)Strip Down Java ….in the Pete sake pl do it !! I dont want ship 25 meg extra bloat ware with my products to my customer …make java system entirely modular and feature in netbeans that automatically build distributable jre based on lib used by Java application …and stripped down web version of java which core system not more than 2x size of flash …also add feature to browser to auto download jre packages (which are over and above core package) if needed by application
    3) In the name gaint panda loose that default look and feel of swing (metal look ) it reminds of old ugly applets …. get a good UI expert (maybe ex apple
    guy ) make a new look and feel for swing
    4) Pl do something about extremely slow start application of java application …it causes perception that java is still slow …pre caching of core java libs in memory help
    5) PL DONOT build a parallel alternative to Linux nobody have time leave a system already works so well… build a hybrid system and lead the community that would also drive the sales …do same with spring and other projects …..extend help hand to these folks ….do what IBM did and still doing and go beyond by developing hybrid system which is better than both
    6) Start a managed hosting business with virulized enviorments and easy to use grids which should be cheap.. …..more companies dont want to build thier datacenters as its pure waste of time …they just want to run thier applications …a stable , cheaper ,secure and easy to use managed hosting enviorment would help you see a mass migration… offer this free service to open source projects and free base version will drive up demand
    7) For you java business pl adopt business model of JBOSS dont attempt to sell it as product
    8) Pl DONT DELETE MY POST …show some courage
    9) For your multicore systems make sure linux runs best on them and cost less than AMD , Intel box . try a low cost linux desktop /server based desktop and servers for Govt and Universities and later banks
    9) If you want more detailed business plan / project plan hire me as consultant(and pay my bill 😉 ) or just follow stuff above if like for free

  98. I am one of the educators you mentioned in the last (fantastic) paragraph. I referenced you in my blog today and want to thank you for staying the course with open source. It has become the lifeline of schools.

  99. BR

    Drop Java Desktop, team up with Apple and port their Desktop to run on Solaris. OS X already sits on FreeBSD.
    That would bring Solaris “to the Desktop”

  100. Zoltan Farkas

    Ben Franklin’s stance on patents comes to my mind:
    “as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously”

  101. mickey

    Great post, Jonathan. Just waiting for the rising tide to lift SUNW. Start with the sales org. Bring in a PROFESSIONAL to run sales, dump the sales managers that lack the courage and ability to make smart business decisions, move the corporate headcount back to the field where the support is needed, and eliminate the overlays. Open source is great but making money will make Sun a better place to work.

  102. Dear Jonathan,
    You can optimize the digg submit process by at least adding one parameter to the URL:
    instead of
    I suggest to add &title=… and &bodytext=…, too.
    Keep up the good work, greetings from Germany!

  103. shrek

    I’m not a big fan of Microsoft, but I am tired of Microsoft bashing. How does bashing Microsoft improve your top-line or bottom-line? Sun needs to make money and grow their business. All this religious debate over free software (open source OS, Java, GPL blah blah blah…), how is it translating into real money earned? It’s one thing to be a non-profit organization ( and take a religious stand on free software, it’s quite another thing for a company to make a stand on it while spending investor’s money…

  104. this guy is good. Made me feel guilty that I’m not using more of Sun’s products.

  105. Dear Jonathan Schwartz,
    What I have noticed in what you have written is that there is no pun intended in this article. The article sounds sincere, well meant, and it appears that you mean it when you call your Business Partner a Business Partner.
    Where I live, in Tamilnadu, India, I came across a news item in an online IT portel called Chennel Times about Microsoft’s channel partners reacting to the litiguous assertions of Microsoft over its own channel partners -REMOVEALLSPACEHERE- merate/551-80525-741.html? I am not going over the question of who is right and who is wrong. Setting aside the apparent issue of software piracy in question, or about how successful or unsuccessful Microsoft is in handling the issue, the moral of the story is that customers and chennel partners would feel upset and betrayed if you send your attorney to visit them.
    With raids in the premises of its own Channel Partners Microsoft is breaking its own arm and with the threat of a law suit against its own customers, the corporation is on a path to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. And by the same threat on the open source community from where it has taken a lot, visible and invisible, Microsoft is trying to be up against the whole world???
    Microsoft seems to have missed this point in choosing to be litiguous and assertive. You have shared your own wisdom of choosing not to do that and it appears to me that you are CONCERNED about Microsoft. You seem more than concerned that Microsoft is making a fundamental mistake that could blow up into a bubble that would inevitably burst sooner or later.
    I don’t see much of a statement on the position of Open Source on this issue (which must have made YOU sound litiguous in a sense) as much I see a generous, very generous, smooth and gentle advise to your Business Partner, in his interest, for his well being, in a manner that is not insulting, in a manner that does not hurt its pride.
    And you gave it free. And it was open. What you have said is worth tens of billions of dollars to Microsoft or perhaps even be invaluable, and it comes to Microsoft free of the Counsel’s Demand Note to write a cheque for a hundred million dollars.
    (I don’t intend any pun in this comment either, nor am I sarcastic. I grew up as a Microsoft Windows user and am someone who feels that Microsoft Corporation can take a good share of the credit in making it possible for me to have a $500 dollar computer on my desk that is more powerful than NASA’s mainframe that sent man to the moon. Microsoft is pricey, trappy (in terms of its Exit Costs) but has been easy for me, so I can not possibly make an unhealthy anti-microsoft comment.)
    If I owned Microsoft, I would lure you with a pot of gold, a mile-long yacht and an excotic island to come and join my board.

  106. Jonathan,
    the ODF and opensource work have another “side” benefit that you may not be aware of, there is a [wee] little problem that has been around since the first digital document was produced and deemed a ‘record’ that has to be kept around either for legal or general corporate reasons. We refer to it as the 100 Year Archive Dilemma, I co-chair a committee on SNIA for this topic and deal with this ‘little known problem’ on a daily basis with global corporations utilizing archival technologies on a daily basis for their compliance, legal and data storage needs. In fact I met with a large Sun customer this week, who asked the very basic question, once we archive our legacy data, and you index it, categorize it, etc. How will we view our WordPerfect v4x documents, today that answer is not terribly daunting, but 50 years from now it’s a major problem.
    ODF, not PDF or TIF or … is the answer along with other opensource initiatives, especially around all of the moving pieces that surround and participate with the archival processing and process is the answer.
    So, Sun as a storage player, server provider and a mover in the opensource arena is solving a very big industry problem that is effecting major organizations today – it will take the ISV’s to connect all of the pieces and more education to understand that [file][save][c:\contract.doc] has very long term consequences today for the business and IT industry.
    Amazingly the answers are coming together faster than we realize.
    Peter Mojica
    VP, Product Strategy/Mgmt
    AXS-One Inc.

  107. Thanks for the resourceful writeup 🙂
    Deesha Communications

  108. joep

    very good post

  109. As a person who likes and uses Sun software and hardware, and owns none of their stock, I would prefer if the company were taken private.

  110. Gil

    You are probably wondering why Sun has made so many great announcements this year and the stock doesn’t respond.
    Not intended to post just want to help you connect with individual investors and Wall Street for that matter. Reading your articles you mention wanting to connect with customers well it doesn’t hurt to connect with individual investors who are very savy and big Wall Street firms such as Fidelity, Vanguard, Warren Buffet and the likes. The solution seems very simple and I’m sure there’s a million more like me waiting for the right signs from Sun. My take:
    The PR department should put out a little less “fluff” and little more “boring cash cow” announcements.
    Example Fluff- “fastest on the planet”, “change the world”, “coolest on the planet”, “downloaded 6 Million times”, “the world’s securest OS”, “most connected”, heck investors would be happy if Sun was just the best in it’s own neighborhood….this gives investors the impression of the World Wrestling Federation or even worse SGI. If it doesn’t effect the top and bottom line right away it’s a turn off. Boring cash cow is the way to go it’s what investors like Peter Lynch of Fidelity looked for and I’m sure Warren Buffet looks for the same.
    All the PR and “fluff” is really an insult to investors who are internet educated and have at their finger tips a suprising amount of accurate data for forcasting. Hope this will help you connect, probably my last post, time to retire. Gil

  111. Marcelo

    I would just like to congratulate for the great blog!
    Beautifl information!

  112. The word of truth and common sense

  113. <img src=”” border=”0″ />
    I love it!

  114. Ben

    I am still trying to figure out all of the aspects of the Intel deal. Have a look at what Tom Yager says about AMD (
    These guys are our friends and have the right idea. Why should we risk hurting them just to say that “Intel supports Solaris.”?

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