Communities, Then Customers (Forrester on OpenSolaris)

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.)

But what’s really the best part about the report?

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.


Filed under General

24 responses to “Communities, Then Customers (Forrester on OpenSolaris)

  1. Anantha

    There has never been a doubt in my mind about the resurgence of Solaris with release 10. I’d put it in the blockbuster category and single handedly made the company relavant in IT. Keep the momentum going, good luck.

  2. Raghunath

    Solaris 10 is catching up Linux in web server market, Only flip side is it’s patching procedure is getting complicated with many reboots required to for some big Jumbo patches.
    Also patching takes lot of time,this is time would add up to the system downtime chart.
    Why cant this be simplified? is there a way we can install these patches paralally rather than sequentially?
    it’s frustrating to see patching windows taking 4 to 6 hours to complete.

  3. Why cant this be simplified? is there a way we can install these patches paralally rather than sequentially?

  4. Kebabbert

    MySQL has lots of code that could be omitted if it was built upon ZFS. It
    would be very interesting to try to release a version of MySQL that would require
    ZFS. This way you could have more customers switching to ZFS. And, a combo
    of ZFS and mySQL would allow new features never have been seen before.
    Best of luck!

  5. Avinash

    Everthing is turning up for good. It would be even good if Sun provides professional Certification ( at a considerable cost ) for PostGreSQL, MySQL, Glassfish etc which spread a word of confidence among the Users as well as Professional who want t o make a career out of those DB’s and App server.
    Wish All Good

  6. Raghunath, emlak ilanları,
    have you ever heard about "Life Upgrade"? Thi sis the parallel patching, that you are looking for,
    Or ever heard about Sun Connection? A product/service to help you BIG time in selecting the appropriate patches, and using a Sun Knowledgebase to insure dependences will not break something.
    Give those two a look, they might solve all your nightmares!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Two issues with Sun Connection. It is not simple to use for releases prior to Solaris 10. There is not a way that I have found to disable reboot patches that are scheduled if for some reason you need to. Say a server has to go down for emergency maintenance.
    One other item that needs to be simplified is adding packages and all their dependencies at one time. FreeBSD has had this for quite some time. Blastwave does this (still have not recieved my cd’s 5 months after ordering them), Blastwave does not use gmake.
    These are two basic functions that should be a very simple administative task. But, They are not.
    Jonathan, Thank you for the good work. I am confident these issues will be resolved.
    What else would I like to see. I would like to be able to send and recieve mail from my sun account. Yeah I know I am talking ISP. I however do not see a better alternative. With Google I have to open up my cookies and Yahoo may go the way of MS. Please help.
    Thank you.

  8. Hi Mr. Schwartz,
    I’ve been using Solaris for Intel since Solaris 7 was introduced. I am promoting OpenSolaris wherever I can and I have the experience that from a Linux point of view, that can be dangerous.
    Hence we have to be careful. Some put emphasize on the differences between Linux, BSD and OpenSolaris, I pay attention to the similarities, and the option to purchase professional support if needed. In Germany for the moment Nokia is very unpopular, because they close down facilities in Dortmund.
    Please Google "Nokia close down in Dortmund".
    It could be fatal for Nokia which runs Symbian OS, and it can be good for Android and gPhone,
    and hence for us.
    Please make sure that Java and Android will be compatible. Will you be available at CeBit?
    Currently I maintan TNTNet C++ server pages, it still experimental due to some differences between linux and opensolaris. I still hope that all userland software finally can be ported to opensolaris. I also know that the Debian CEO Ian Murdoch is workin for sun on Solaris. Well done.
    That is the way to go.
    Best regards

  9. Raghunath and emlak ilanları,
    Take a look at what is going on at project Indiana in regards to package management. There is some pretty interesting stuff going on that hopefully will find its way into Solaris some day.

  10. The apps, you need to have more apps and easier to install for the average sysadmin. We just started releasing Solaris stacks at Hopefully that will help 🙂

  11. ilovesolaris

    I love Solaris so much, I think it can win a popularity contest!

  12. Take the demeanour during what is starting upon during plan Indiana in regards to package government . There is a little flattering engaging things starting upon which hopefully will find the approach in to Solaris a little day.

  13. Hmmm Jonathan,
    with all due respect to both you and Forrester, but I think the survey separated some things which belong together – like Solaris and OpenSolaris, and also Linux and "Linux SUSE Novell" – whatever drove them to differ between those is beyond my understanding.
    However, if you combine these numbers, you are sharing your third place with Linux. Still a good way up as it seems.
    Thanks for sharing this report with us, and thanks for your blog in general – it’s highly appreciated.
    best regards,
    Wolfgang Lonien

  14. SunTSE

    The only reason I can think of to separate Solaris from OpenSolaris is the former is supported by Services and the latter is community based support.

  15. ilovemysql

    I like MySQL much more than PosgresSQL. So much more, that I think Sun should have paid 2 billion dollars for it.

  16. ash

    completely orthogonal but this question has been lingering in my mind for a while, so i though better post it some where.
    where do you think java is headed?
    i love java. i have been learning it all my self just because i like it and lately been able to think in that language. but now after spending 3 years in this industry and seeing the progress in C# i think C# will eventually dominate or maybe it has already done that.
    C# has selected a clear path forward and sticking on to that eg. next on road map is LINQ which i think aims at solving a very old problem data access and the real improvement that generics provided.
    i dont see/hear anything like that on java’s front. seems java stopped innovating long back and is merely doing a second grade copy for face saving. eg. generics implementation in java.
    i fear in years to come java will become what COBOL is today.

  17. Ramon Garcia Fernandez

    Please read this about issues with OpenOffice development.
    The building of a community for OpenOffice development is a complete failure. The reasons is that there are too many technical barriers of entry for someone from the outside to develop with OpenOffice code.
    The tools used to build OpenOffice code are too strange for most developers. OpenOffice uses its own make tool DMAKE. It uses its own perl scripts to build the code. There is no README in the top directory of the source with building instructions. And so on.
    The result is simple: Sun is giving away its intellectual property without getting nothing in exchange. How much outside development is there? I bet very little. Only fully commited people, perhaps workers of other open source companies such as Linux distributors.
    So, if you want to get the benefit of sharing the code, my advice is to ensure that the best is done to make it as technically easy as possible for someone from the outside to start playing with the code.
    I have experience because I was granted a Google Summer of Code for OpenOffice development.

  18. I agree with ash on the changes we are facing nowadays. COBOL big now, Java will follow.
    A side comment, I also liked PosgresSQL more then MySQL 🙂

  19. Feedback

    IMHO, MySQL is a great buy. This gives Sun an opportunity to scale and perform both vertically and horizontally with tools like dtrace etc…
    And nice services story… The key going forward is in integrating successfully MySQL with Solaris, xVM, ZFS, NetBeans and Glassfish…
    I am long for Sun…….

  20. Peter Yang

    Last week, i spent one day to go through all docs about SPOT system.
    I do think this is a killer technology for Sun to make big revenue and also prompt NetBean etc software stacks obviously.
    Most Java developers have no idea how to control external devices. But if SPOT makes this possible, lots of Java developers can do projects or career on control software related industry, which is mainly only available for C/Assembly languages currently.
    It is very easy to require those Java developers switch to NetBeans etc Sun Technology…
    I wish what my understanding is correct and Sun managers also foresee its business values. The most important thing is to make the sensors good enough to solve as many real industry problems as possible. Technically, i do not think this is a big challenge for Sun.

  21. Glimpse

    Are you sure you prefer communities before customer?

  22. MySQL is a product for mass. Postgres is for engineers. Solaris – for CEO.

  23. Hi
    Any one can give more info about SPOT device?
    Such as whether or how it can support/connect to more external devices. I only see three demo projects. I want to find out whether it has more potential ….
    I will not buy Sun Share because of mysql and solaris etc, But i will if Sun push java devices hardly 🙂

  24. Gil

    Innotek, MySQL 2 excellent buys. Have you thought about distributing StarOffice to yahoo users who would appreciate an affordable office package or maybe it’s already there. Late

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