Opening Up

I think I’ve said pretty much everything I could say as CEO of Sun Microsystems.

The more interesting stuff was What I Couldn’t Say. And that’s what this blog (and maybe a book) is going to be about.



Filed under General

33 responses to “Opening Up

  1. I’m actively following you on this Jon and I do seriously look forward to what will be coming in the near future. On the name for a blog I have a few ideas – schwartsblog, jpontiff, schwartstalk, get the idea.

    Alani Kuye
    Phantom Data Systems

  2. It’s always what goes unspoken which is most interesting

  3. Looking forward to “read all about it”! Adding your new RSS-feed to Google Reader as-we-speak.

  4. It’s going to be very interesting I bet! Thank you for the initiative.

  5. Added to reader … I will read all about it too 🙂 … Why sometime it’s more important things that you can’t say that the ones you actually said? This humaity … Like when you think in the bed and prepare a brilliant and deep thought but when you wake up at the next day those toughts never come again … disturbing

  6. manny

    Whatever happend to that dinner invite – you know, Torvalds, wine and ZFS?

  7. kamau

    I really enjoyed your time as CEO of Sun, opened my mind to the world of open-source. I’m very interested to know the things you couldn’t say as CEO. One thing that comes to the top of my list is how does a management team arrive at a valuation for a project/company especially with respect to MySQL. 1 billion dollars? How did the management team arrive at this figure.


  8. han

    ok, so, you’ve been *very* quiet for 9 months.


    what couldn’t you say?

    why not?

  9. Ray

    Jonathan, I really enjoy your blogs. Looking forward to hear more from you and more often!

  10. Thanks, Jonathan. I’ve been a fan of the openness you’ve shown as CEO, and your support for free and open source software.

    Hopefully, you can expound a little on the limits of JCP and OpenSolaris openness and the reasons for such, as well as the GPLv2 vs GPLv3 decision with OpenSolaris. Also, how the spread of Linux servers affected the market for Solaris.

    I’m also really looking forward to knowing more about the valuation of MySQL, the NetApp vs ZFS story, the SPARC vs x86 competition in server hardware, and how Sun wound up as part of Oracle instead of IBM.

    I’ve added this blog to my feed reader.

  11. Exciting, and welcome to 🙂

    Let me know if there’s anything we can do to help.

  12. Fredrik

    Jonathan, I would really like to read what you couldn’t say before but I guess the most interesting parts will have to stay private anyway.

    I didn’t always agree with Sun’s view of things but I think you turned Sun into something modern, appealing and strong which is why I am following you on twitter and going to read this blog to see where you surface next.

    Why Sun kept investing in Sparc, the story behind almost killing Solaris X86, having it resurrected and finally making it open source and a really attractive alternative for the customer base that would have selected RHEL if it wasn’t there would be interesting but in a way it is all history. Please share not only your view of the history but also your view of current and future things. I am sure I am not the only one who would appreciate it.

  13. Ron

    I’m curious to know if Apple made an offer to buy Sun, or if Sun was interested in Apple buying them versus Oracle. That would have been realllly interesting.

  14. Sabari Balaji

    I wish you all the very best for your initiatives on bringing up book and a blog. I am really a dedicated follower of you Mr.Johnathan. 6000 students knows about me via my professional and all these people knows about JonathanScwartz. I did it and i will do it and i keep motivating People Like You Did.
    i suggest this name JohnathanForPeople. Happy Life.:)

  15. Hi, Jonathan,

    Great to see you doing this – I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to what you will be talking about.

    Back in 2008, I picked up on something that your ex-colleague Bob Worrall, Sun’s CIO at the time wrote about. He was talking about in effect, the death if IT.

    I wrote a piece in my blog about it. I wondered what your views are on this?

  16. Elena Efimova

    Hi Jonathan, I would be very glad to read your book if you finally decide to write it.

  17. Hi Jonathan,

    I’ll be tagging along too. Am very interested in what happened with IBM, man they missed a great opportunity and were probably, IMHO, a better fit than Oracle.

    Take care.

  18. Madhu

    Hi Jonathan:

    I’m ready to pre-order your book and the title can be “What I Couldn’t Say” 😉

    Good luck.

  19. Richard Stiller


    Make sure the book includes the part where you told me back when we bought Lighthouse that you were going to vest your original shares in two years (or so) and leave Sun to go work for Steve Jobs at Next. I then told you you weren’t going to leave anytime soon and when you asked me why, I said that you hadn’t gotten to know Scott (McNealy) yet. I went on to tell you that Scott would really like you and that if stuck around you would become an exec.

    Now here it is all these years later and it all came to pass. You became an exec. Heck you became the Chief Exec.

    Just want to make sure that this is in there.


    Your “once” HR guy


  20. Vincent

    Thank you for your open and honest tenure as CEO of Sun. It was both fascinating and refreshing to see someone in your position embrace transparency.

    As a software engineer and entrepreneur, I’ve at times been a consumer of Sun products, and a critic of Sun. I can definitely say that your vision and direction turned me into a fan of Sun.

    In particular, I truly believe your treatise on “When Free is Too Expensive” articulated a coming revolution in the technology industry.

    I hope it’s something you continue to explore, and look forward to watching whatever you engage in next.

  21. Tom


    I think WordPress lets you register your own domain name so that you can have a shorter name.

    Now you can really blog your mind! I wish Oracle would have kept you on, but maybe you just want to try something different, something new.

  22. Tom

    I’d like to add, I think it would be interesting to get your take on software/hardware/technology. Where do you think the world goes from here? Is Cloud computing a Panacea? What about SOA?

    Will Oracle be open minded and let OpenSolaris/MySQL flourish? What about their virtualization strategy?

    Do you think Oracle goes after Citrix to get Xen? Do they ever purchase Redhat? If So, what do they do with glassfish/jboss/oc4j/Oracle App Server/J2EE/Weblogic etc suites. Do they go after Informatica?

    I see Oracle buying everyone and jacking up their costs, but I am starting to see it rub some customers the wrong way (we for one). I love Oracle technology but I hate the company. IBM I hate the company, their technology used to be great, but I could care less for it. Microsoft leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but they ALL are profitable and make money, which is what you need to do in Software.

    Now the lines are blurred more than ever. You have Google and Apple going out it. You have IBM and Oracle and Microsoft going at it. You have Microsoft and Google going at it. Pretty soon you will probably be able to throw Cisco/EMC/VMWare into the mix as I think these companies may merge and then Cisco just might buy a PC maker like Dell. What does HP do?

    Maybe you should be happy that you are out of this mess : )… I think Open Source wins. Companies will pay for value and there is a lot of it out there. Companies will also pay for support, but there are so many options out there and it is hard to say which direction the world will be going in. No doubt about it though, technology will proliferate. Companies need it to compete and win. Just look at Amazon for example. They leveraged technology to win and now they are able to turn it into services (See EC2, and their storage cloud).

    Yes the lines are blurred. I think you would make an excellent resource with a company like an Amazon, where you use technology to be a vital asset and then offer something that is world changing to the public :)…

    So what’s the next big thing? We saw it was search, then social networking, then real time socialization with twitter. It seems like everyone wants something NOW!

    If I knew that though, I wouldn’t be here typing right now.

    Nice to see you blogging and sharing your incites with the rest of us.

  23. Doug

    Is this the real Jonathan?

  24. greenido

    Would love to read the posts/book.
    I’m sure it’s going to be ‘interesting’.
    Good luck.

  25. Jonathan, greetings from Seattle. I’m looking forward to following your blog and reading your book.

  26. Hi Jonathan,

    I hope you will share and discuss what you couldn’t say as Sun CEO freely in this blog (and may be turn the content of the discussions and thoughts into a book).

    Have fun and I’ve subscribed to your blow already.

  27. A

    I’ve always been interested in what you thought, but really no need to go on a tear defending yourself. (Unless you are being sued) Attempting to rewrite history is only useful if it can help you make an argument about the future. Please focus there.


  28. Pingback: jardenberg kommenterar – 2010-02-16 | jardenberg unedited

  29. mike

    Hi Jonathan, I have lots of questions.

    I would like to hear why Sun did not used GPLv3 for software it set Free. Especially OpenSolaris and Java. I thought it was perfect licence for OpenSolaris – incompatible (at least few years till they change) with Linux’s GPLv2, restrictive enough to keep competitors from poaching and not giving back, and least but not least, it would have given even better name to Sun among Free Software community. Also, with copyright assignment policy it would have enabled Sun to sell licenses for appliance makers who want SunOS kernel and dislike GPL. That is something that no Linux vendor can, and would give an edge to Solaris, even when Linux switches to GPLv3. Solaris would be tivoizable for a fee, while Linux would not be.

    As for Java, GPLv3 would again ban tivoization, which would lead to more alternate license sales to those control-freak device makers.

    So, did you thought of that in time of open sourcing, and why it have not gone that way?

    I also want to know why ROCK is dead. It seemed like game changer for Sun, but it did not came to market and probably never will. And why did you let Mark Tremblay go to Microsoft?

    Also, do you think that Oracle will not play nice with FLOSS? If they will play nice, why they not kept you then?

    • Programmer

      Yes I’m agree with you, right now. Oracle silent on opensolaris make me nervous as I already invest my money and time to study it.

      Does opensolaris and other former sun open source portfolios community are powerful enough to shape their own destiny? It kind of worrying me.

  30. Sree

    Can’t just wait to hear from you.

  31. Programmer

    Sir, your transformation of sun to more open and open source approach, really admired by me. For me as a students and developers, the former SUN under your leadership the most friendly and most open technology company recently.

    Many of former SUN technologies (Java,OpenStorage,OpenSolaris, SPARC) really inspires me to be a good student. I’m even building my programming skill around Java and C programming. I see a lot of potential of your vision on SUN, open sourcing and energy efficient products to gear the next revolution on computing.

    Sadly the timing isn’t right, with the economic downturn really swipe away all of the good expectations and it hurt everybody in their path especially former SUN.

    However, the spirit of innovations of former SUN will always embedded in my heart.

  32. Lubos Kocman

    Hello Jonathan,

    well that term What I couldn’t say would be a nice title of the book.

    I can believe that book consisting from technician point of view e.g. about society in company where do I work, could amaze millions of people, some of them wouldn’t even believe. And CEO’s book can do even better job 😉

    Good luck Jonathan

    Ps. Could you please explain (e.g. in the book) why was the development of “UltraSparc Rock” stopped? I don’t think that it was only financial problem.

    JavaFx internals could be also interesting. (I heard that somebody was speaking about replace it with something better, than fixing all the issues ;-)).

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