As you’re probably aware, we’ve been working very hard to rebuild the community, and the momentum, around all our software assets at Sun, most notably the Solaris operating system.
Why notably Solaris? As a systems company, the operating system (OS) is among the most important lenses through which our microelectronics, software, systems and service innovations are seen by the marketplace – if the lens is cloudy, you can’t see much. As is the case with few other products, our overall market is defined by how big a community of skills, applications and developers we can build around Solaris (and its younger sibling, OpenSolaris) – and only then, by how many customers we can generate.
The work to rebuild that developer community was begun in earnest in January of 2005 – the date on which we made the first source code to Solaris available under a free software license. But the investment in innovation (the main reason people care about source code, after all) began far earlier, with projects like ZFS and DTrace beginning about seven (yes, seven) years ago. Other enhancements were more recent – like our embrace of the
Postgres community (who delivered a fantastic new 8.3 release into OpenSolaris today), the evolution of Glassfish (which has a similarly long history), and even the inclusion of CIFS (which allows Solaris to be a first class file server for Microsoft Windows machines).
The developer community surrounding Solaris – as opposed to the user community – is best measured by OpenSolaris. Like its brethren in the Linux community, OpenSolaris is always the most up to date release of Solaris innovations, and is used by those who not only tolerate changes to the underlying OS, but eagerly anticipate it in hopes of eeking out incremental performance, features or functions.
Which is why I was so thrilled to read a report from Forrester that showed great progress in Europe – for open source broadly, and for Solaris and OpenSolaris specifically. You can read the report here.
In it, executives in European Financial Services companies point to Solaris as one of the three most important OS’s for their business – and the only modern/open source OS (the other two are proprietary). This bodes well for our capacity to grow, and the early return on what’s been a long innovation cycle, not solely in features and performance, but in community, too. (I doubt OpenSolaris was even measurable last year.)
It represents data as of nearly a year ago. If two points make a trend…
To the teams involved – inside Sun, and in the community… thank you. Your work is making a measurable difference.