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Sun Microsystems

Sun's Linux Exec Departs 167

HyperbolicParabaloid writes "The NY Times (free reg blah blah) has an article about the departure of Sun's no.2 exec, but also mentions that Stephen DeWitt, the vice president of an important business unit that leads Sun's efforts with the Linux operating system, quietly left Sun on Friday, the company confirmed today."" And the question is: How will this affect projects like OpenOffice release and the on-again, off-again McNealy Linux relationship.
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Sun's Linux Exec Departs

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  • by forged ( 206127 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:36AM (#3450074) Homepage Journal
    On the same topic, enjoy these:

  • Bad news for Sun? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 00_NOP ( 559413 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:36AM (#3450075) Homepage
    I think this is worse news for Sun than for Linux.
    There is little or nothing Sun's OS can do now that Linux can't. And if Linux can't now, it will do soon.
    I know that MS haters like to see Sun as in some way a friend - my enemy's enemies and all that - but the logic of a free OS applies just as much to Sun's offerings as it does to Microsoft's - maybe even more so as what Unix application will run on Solaris and not on Linux.
    Sun will sooner or later have to realise that Linux will dominate the Unix OS market to an ever greater extent in the future. They will not have much oa future if they don't factor that into their plans.
    • There is little or nothing Sun's OS can do now that Linux can't.

      What are you smoking, boy? Solaris is a focussed OS that's consistent and scalable. Not a collection of contributed code that creates conflict as often as synergy, and won't scale on big iron. And if you don't think people need big iron, go talk to some CTO's who are buying E15K's.

      • by __aanonl8035 ( 54911 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:56AM (#3450701)
        Also (Larry McVoy) wrote:
        OK, I think I can handle this. Tell your friend that I used to work at SunSoft, in the kernel group, I did posix, ufs clustering, the sun source mgmt system, started 100baseT, architected the cluster product line (from which came vlans which I invented), etc. I think my credentials are probably enough to impress a sys admin :-) The main reasons that Linux is faster than commercial Unices:

        * the system call entry is a better design. All Unix systems other than Linux use the design done by Bell Labs 20 years ago and the Linux design is simply lighter - it approaches a procedure call in cost. The complaint is always that Linux can't possibly be supporting all the features, such as restartable system calls, if it is that fast. Those claims turn out to be false - Linux supports the same features, including security, as any commercial Unix. It's just designed better. And commercial Unices are starting to pick up the ideas.
        * Linux kernel hacks count instructions and cache misses and eliminate them. This is a biggy. When each "feature" is added into a kernel, people will do gross measurement to show that it made no difference. And each feature doesn't make a measurable difference - one or two more cache misses in a code path won't show up. But do that a 100 times and all the "features" taken together start to hurt. Linux is far ahead of the rest of the world, including NT, in that Linus and the other senior kernel folks do not kid themselves that a cache miss here and there doesn't matter. I frequently see the Linux development effort keep working at it until the feature they are working on can not go faster because it is running at hardware speeds - there is no more room for optimization. Contrast that with the commercial approach of "well, it didn't slow down for me" and you can start to see how things get out of hand. Kudos to Linus, David and Alan for being the smartest coders in this regard. I'd like to be that good.
        * Linux is a redesign. Many ideas have been rethought using current thinking. All other Unix implementations (exceptions are things like QNX - which also performs at Linux like speeds and has also been shown to be posix/xpg4 etc compliant) are basically the same under the covers. It isn't surprising that fresh minds can do better - one would hope that we have learned something in 20 years
    • you seriously think that linux can rival solaris? i think you are a little overzealous because there are a vast number of things that suck in linux. (this is not the same as saying that linux sucks though. i know i am going to get flamed for this, but look at : _faq.shtml everything has its disadvantages. linux is no different.
    • There is little or nothing Sun's OS can do now that Linux can't.

      Careful, here.

      Solaris and Linux each satisfy the needs of different markets.

      Solaris allows Sun Enterprise and Sun Fire servers to break, be dismantled, and put back together--all while the server remains available to its users.

      Solaris scales extremely efficiently with the size of the server. I would not hesitate to put Solaris on a server with hundreds of CPUs. Linux is probably more appropriate for a cluster of smaller servers.

      Solaris also fully supports all of the subtle, yet important, RAS features that Sun servers have.

      In short, if you have a Sun server, Solaris is the only OS that allows you to use it to its full potential. Linux is extremely useful in a wide variety of applications, but, when I last checked, the SPARC ports still didn't support the same scope of Sun hardware that Solaris does.

      Sun will sooner or later have to realise that Linux will dominate the Unix OS market to an ever greater extent in the future.

      Be aware that Linux isn't the only non-commercial UNIX OS in the world. There are other kernels, such as GNU HURD, or even other OS models, such as Plan 9, that may suprise us one day. Of course Sun would be negligent to be unaware of Linux, but Linux isn't the one-and-only thing Sun needs to keep tabs on.
      • In short, if you have a Sun server, Solaris is the only OS that allows you to use it to its full potential. Linux is extremely useful in a wide variety of applications, but, when I last checked, the SPARC ports still didn't support the same scope of Sun hardware that Solaris does.

        But that's not an advantage for Sun. On the contrary. If you have an IBM server, no matter how big, how powerful of how reliable (and IBM has bigger, more powerful and more reliable boxes in its range than Sun has), Linux will drive that box to its full potential. So Sun don't just lose the software spend - they lose the hardware spend as well.

        If you're holding Sun stock, offload it now.

        • Linux will drive that box to its full potential.

          Only if IBM has added what is necessary to Linux to make this possible. They may very well have done this.
      • Be aware that Linux isn't the only non-commercial UNIX OS in the world

        Who said Linux was non commercial? Most of the more popular Linux distribution are produced for commercial reasons. I think the word you are looking for is Open Source or Free.
  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) <> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:38AM (#3450093) Homepage
    Overall, Sun seems to be stuck between that proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to Linux.

    Linux is probably their #1 competitor, and #1 hope. If I have a choice between Solaris, or Red Hat, I'd pick Red Hat every time. Cheaper, runs on cheaper hardware, and I still get great support for $60 to $240 a year, as well as getting all the power of Open Source, which is making Linux more powerful every single day.

    If they support Linux, then they become another fish in the ocean with IBM, HP, Red Hat, and others, and they have to compete as one. If they support Solaris, then they can make the rules - but watch as their market shares erodes thanks to that "cheap, open system".

    So what can Sun do? Good question. Java is probably Sun's best product, and perhaps it would be best if IBM bought Sun and then open sourced Java to keep combatting the .Net initiative.

    But either way, I love watching the competition, and that's the #1 reason why I'm glad Linux is on the market.
    • Linux is probably [Sun's] #1 competitor, and #1 hope.

      Sun is stuck even worse fighting their own words with both their board of directors and the consumers of their products. For years they have been touting Solaris and Sparc hardware to be the best solution for every business. Now, they have to go into meetings stating they were wrong and maybe Linux on Sparc hardware is best some of the time, and maybe Linux on other hardware is better some of the time. The credibility of their developers and executives does not hold up, and their stock prices and board reports show it. Unlike some other companies that have fully embraced Linux, Sun seems to think it is enough to just place Tux on their website.

      But, the business community does like Sparc equipment, and if they can run Linux on it, it is a wonderful mix of expensive hardware with inexpensive software, coming out to a decent bottom-line cost. If Sun can stay afloat as a hardware and design consulting company, leaving Solaris behind, they might have a better future.

      • For years they have been touting Solaris and Sparc hardware to be the best solution for every business. Now, they have to go into meetings stating they were wrong and maybe Linux on Sparc hardware is best some of the time, and maybe Linux on other hardware is better some of the time. The credibility of their developers and executives does not hold up, and their stock prices and board reports show it.

        That's incompetent marketing. Anybody with half a brain could present that in a light that doesn't hurt their credibility.

        "The computer field is fast-moving. Thanks to the great skill and dedication of the UNIX community, which as you know is the backbone of how Solaris came to be, Linux has made great strides in recent years. It now makes sense to deploy Linux in some places where, even a couple of years ago, Solaris was the clear winner. But Sun retains our commitment to giving our users the most possible bang for their IT buck, and so we offer a Linux solution for the low end, based on our award-winning sparc processing architecture. When you're ready to scale up to the high end, we offer Linux application compatibility on our best-of-breed Solaris-based systems."

        God, I feel so dirty for typing that. But anybody with a day of experience in marketing could turn that into gold. Golden bullshit, but gold nonetheless.
      • I just don't get this assumption that Sun would sell Linux on Sparc for less than Solaris on Sparc. Like piles of other stuff, the OS is just something bundled for free to ship hardware. Now, if you're another company reselling sparcs with solaris (fujitsu), Sun's going to make u pay a license fee. You run Solaris because it scales to 106 processors better and you want to have binary compatibility between your $1000 workstation and massive server. What Sun needs to do is make the application transfer seemless between Solaris Sparc and Sun Linux on x86. Then they can incorporate cheap servers into their seemless stack. Only IBM really has the capability to compete with them in delivering a total stack. Dell can fight for the low end, EMC can grab a bunch of storage, HP-Compaq are falling out of the server wolrd. When it comes to delivering tiny to huge computers, storage and software. It's a two horse race.
      • IBM has been able to pull it off.

        I mean, IBM still sells all of their other operating systems. They still sell Mainframes with OS/390, and AS/400's and RS/6000's running AIX. They also sell Intel servers running Windows 2000 and who knows what all else.

        They don't say "This is good for everything you do", they instead ask you what you want to do and then provide a recommendation.

        But I would have to agree that McNealy's mouth get's him in trouble and it's not just him. They basically have made the same mistakes that Ken Thompson made at DEC when he discounted Unix as being unimportant.

        It's the old Innovator's Dilemna.

    • i'm not sure about that. i personally am convinced that future moneymaking opportunities in IT are not largely covered by selling operating systems (no i'm not talking about the next 5 years, but after that).

      i think sun has great opportunities in the webservices department, and are probably the only one who can offer an alternative for the .net threat posed by microsoft.

      i hope i'm wrong, but this might be a signal that they don't think linux offers a viable/competent enough alternative to their own operating system. wich is silly of course since it will cost them considerable amounts of money to maintain solaris, while adapting linux to their needs is to a large extend done by the "open source community" or whatever you like to call it. which costs them nothing. free as in beer as well, see ;)

      i wonder what their long term strategy is...
      • Could observation. I think Linux is still important in the shipping hardware out the door long term strategy. The other part of that is making sure Microsoft doesn't sell the world's software for servers. The SunONE / .NET battle is gonna be cool. SunONE is complete now but parts are weak and marketting has been poor. .NET framework is 80-90% complete MS centric and very well hyped. As an average suit and they'll tell you Microsoft invented web services. This is the other fun battle to watch. Sun's bringing open standards to the table against MS and they are going to try and beat eachother to death. Sun has initial developer mindshare (Java Good) while MS gets initial suit mindshare (MS says they are better, MS doen't lie).
        Gonna be fun to watch. This IBM /MS alliance is scary though.
    • You know, when I read comments in the Linux fora (like Slashdot, for example) that imply or explicitly declare Linux superior to Solaris, I have the impression that not many Linux evangelists have really administered Solaris. I don't mean just telnet to a Solaris box and run IRC or compile something.

      I am not saying that Linux is worse, but I am sure that Solaris has some very davanced features, which start to make a whole lot of sense on bigger systems. Most people here knows the advantages of Linux, but they think those advantages will always give Linux the upper hand, in every situation and on any hardware. That's not the case, Solaris really does have it's place in the enterprise, and once the Linux evangelist becomes aware of this, it will be the day Linux itself has matured.

      Would you throw away your grinder just because you bought a drill? See, they are both good for what they do best, so why would Sun throw away a very good OS like Solaris, even if they use Linux on some of their servers?
      • I am not saying that Linux is worse, but I am sure that Solaris has some very davanced features

        Indeed. The fact that ps doesn't take 95% CPU with 100 logged in users with thousands of processes gets kind of important on those sunray servers. NFS integrated with LDAP is also fairly nice.
      • You know, when I read comments in the Linux fora (like Slashdot, for example) that imply or explicitly declare Linux superior to Solaris, I have the impression that not many Linux evangelists have really administered Solaris. I don't mean just telnet to a Solaris box and run IRC or compile something.

        The problem isn't "Isn't Solaris sometimes better?", it's "How large a market do we have where Solaris is substantially better? And how much will people pay?".

        I've heard people complain about the GUI, the useability, the friendliness, etc. of Solaris. But I haven't heard anyone (except, perhpaps, HP or IBM) say that it didn't handle large environments better. But the "large environments" is a relatively small market. And it currently has IBM, HP, and Sun (plus others?) already in it. Well, IBM has decided that it can scale Linux from the bottom to the top, and therefore gain a different kind of advantage. And that it can handle the large machine problem by running several different sessions of Linux. I'm not clear what HP is going to do, and I'm not sure that they are either. Except for merge with Compaq/Dec. So HP is currently distracted, but when they come back they'll have some new hardware behind them, and another version of Unix (so they'll be supporting HPUX, Linux, and, perhaps, Dec Unix (well, maybe not). IBM is saving on development costs, and, additionally, tuning the commodity OS (Linux) in directions that favor it's hardware. (Consider all of the contributions that IBM has been making recently. I would bet they generally have the effect of making Linux run better on some piece of hardware that IBM sells. Would you bet against that?)

        So Sun is needing to pay for the development of Solaris anyway. They can't drop that without greatly offending a huge number of customers. And if they want Linux to run better on Sun hardware, they need to do something to cause it to be tuned for that, but what? OpenOffice was desireable because it was both good for Solaris systems and bad for MS Office. And it got them a lot of favorable PR among developers. But anything that they put in on Linux is to the detriment of Solaris. And Solaris is their proprietary system. Which they have to keep paying for anyway. But if they don't support Linux, then it won't run as well on their hardware. And it's the system that an increasingly large number of people are already familiar with. So they would loose that advantage.


        If their hardware was sufficiently much better than the rest, then they could just switch most of their development over to making Linux run better on their hardware. As Solaris died back to a bug-fix mode their expenses would decline (it costs less to help Linux run well on your software than it does to develop a complete OS). But this would mean the loss of their captive market. (Everyone could suddenly move from Sun to, say, IBM with no conversion costs to speak of.) Not desireable (for Sun).


        I don't see any good way out for them. Only by concentrating on making better hardware cheaper ... and trying to keep a positive cash flow. Which isn't an easy market.
    • I too when given the choice between Solaris and RedHat would go with Red Hat, except I would be uncomfortable about it.

      When I pay more for the Sun Solaris system I know I can also pay (alot of money, yes) for support from Sun using their Sun Spectrum support. Their support is great. If there is anything wrong they will fix it. I don't use their support that often but when something comes up and I call them and they do.

      I don't know that the support for the RedHat box would be as good. I know the support from the Dell, the hardware vendor that my agency uses for thier x86 servers, is not as good as Sun by far.

      An example: I call up Sun and am attempting to find out why I'm getting some errors on my raid array. After a little troubleshooting with a technicition they have me run a utility which gathers all the relavant information about my system and I ftp it to them. (I don't remember the name of the utility as its been a long while since this happened). They call me back in 10 minutes and tell me that it has to do with the OBP firmware level. I upgrade and it works.

      With Dell, my latest example is a bit more recent. We have a 130T tape library. Its one of those four tape drives 1TB DLT jobbies. We have three other L1000 units in various places (and ALT library relabeled and supported by Sun as their own) but we have this one 130T library connected to two Dell servers (which are running windows, even more unfortunate). Its not working. One Dell server is connected to the robitic controller and two drives and the other server is connected to the other controller. We call Dell and they have a guy (from Unisys who subcontracts for Dell repair in Portaland Oregon) who comes out and they start replaceing stuff. They replace virtually everything, including the controller board, on the 130T. We call up Dell support while we are doing this. This is their 24x7 gold-super-important-system support line. They get wind that the 130T is connected two not one server, but two. That's it. We aren't supported. The system has worked since we installed it a year ago, and aside from a few server related issues, the library hasn't been an issue, and there certainly isn't a problem doing the same thing with any of the L1000 units. But once the technician heard that our library was connected to TWO servers, we where in an unsupported configuration. Our Techie on the phone with them was so flabbergasted that they would do that he didn't even argue, he just hung up the phone and got the library kinda working with the two tape drives he could get working.

      So if I could be sure that I can get Sun Spectrum support for my linux box, even at a premium price, I would go with them. They could proclaim that they are selling Linux boxes, and they have ported Linux to Sparc or they have started using 64 bit x86 chips in a new line of servers that run Linux and they have opensourced the Solaris kernel and have people working on kernel patches for Linus. These are all just idea's which their bean counters don't see the botom line on but would get people like me announcing they are going to join the church of Sun. They could be to the unix system what Apple is to the desktop system. Well they do have a bit of that going on already with their expensive cute purple boxes.

      In the mean time Sun will have a product to sell but I suspect they will be suffering from hypoxia if they don't change something quick. I hope they do, because I do like their stuff.

      Their 880R servers are prices quite reasonably when configured with 8 CPU's, compared to a DELL box.
    • Something is brewing at top execs leaving in a short time isn't "normal employee churn" by any strech. Hopefully some of the folks working there can shed some light on this so those of us running predominantly Sun based networks can get a grip on it all.

      I think everyone who is watching can see that Linux is eating up Sun. Sun will be fine on the high end in the short term, but the low and medium Solaris arenas are in trouble. There is little incentive to use Solaris in those areas, regardless of its superiority, because of cheap x86 hardware and the decent to very good performance of Linux. It's getting harder and harder to justify buying SPARC based products in those areas.

      So what can Sun do?

      Get with the program. They need to stop fighting the future and instead embrace it. Vertically integrated, proprietary computer companies always fall by the wayside. Apple, DEC, SGI--once at the top of their game, now nothing more than niche players. Sun will end up the same way unless they do something about it, and I know there are enough smart people working there that realize this as well. I suggest Sun start leaveraging their incredible Unix experience and aggresively move to Linux. Strike up a partnership with AMD to use the Hammer family for a complete lineup of Sun brand Linux servers. Start agressively bringing features from Solaris onto Linux. Put out their own Linux distro. Offer support service for Linux and Solaris. I know a bunch of these efforts are underway, but I don't think Sun moving fast enough on them.

      Also, Sun needs to stop talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to Linux. One day they like it, the next day they don't. Sun had better figure out soon that not only do they like Linux, but that they love it and cherish it and that it is the future of Unix. Otherwise they'll be just another marginalized computer company.
    • by pmz ( 462998 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:04AM (#3450768) Homepage

      Not any more.

      runs on cheaper hardware

      Not when your professional reputation is at stake.

      as well as getting all the power of Open Source, which is making Linux more powerful every single day.

      Remember that most Open Source software works well on Solaris, also.

      So what can Sun do?

      Both. Solaris and Linux can each be a perfect fit for diffent Sun customers. Would I buy an entry-level server from Sun with Linux, if Linux were my OS preference? Certainly. Would I buy an entry-level server from Sun with Solaris, if Solaris were my OS preference? Certainly.

      My point is that Sun is a hardware company, who produced Solaris to fully support their hardware. The hardware speaks for itself. CPU2000 zealots out there, who think the Pentium 4 is the Supreme Being, don't see the larger picture, which is that Sun hardware is typically very well-rounded and very well-engineered. They build their hardware from the CPU innards on out to be consistent and robust.

      I do bet my reputation on a well-configured network of Sun servers. I could also bet my reputation on a network of Intel-based servers, but I know from experience this is a riskier choice. And this remains fairly independent of whether I am using Solaris or Linux, because the hardware has its own merits.
    • They're damned if the support linux, damned if they don't. Supporting linux completely erodes the entire reason Sun has gone the proprietary route - controlling the platform.

      Not supporting linux means fighting not just one or two companies, but an entire economy. Intel. AMD. IBM. HP. Dell. There's just no way that Sun can win this battle. None.

      The bottom line is that any platform business is hosed once their platform falls from grace. SGI is a classic example.

      Sun is doomed.

    • Linux is probably their #1 competitor, and #1 hope. If I have a choice between Solaris, or Red Hat, I'd pick Red Hat every time. Cheaper, runs on cheaper hardware, and I still get great support for $60 to $240 a year, as well as getting all the power of Open Source, which is making Linux more powerful every single day.

      Since when is Solaris cheaper? I should point out that both Sparc and x86 versions of Solaris 8 are available for free download here. []

      While Sun announced that it would it would kill Solaris x86 in v9, they are also reconsidering [].

      So, at least for the moment, Linux and Solaris are the same price: free (beer).
    • If they support Solaris, then they can make the rules - but watch as their market shares erodes thanks to that "cheap, open system".

      What cheap open system are you talking about. Intel x86??? how is sparc and less open than x86? have you visited lately.

      Now that AMD is whoring to microsoft for sledgehamer. Who else is left to compete in the market place. Intel and IA64. Do you think IA64 is open just because multiple vendors are putting it in thier boxes. Or is SPARC open because anyone can get the spec and implement it.

  • an: not to be used for talking about a person. An should be entirely left out of this article.
  • by gazbo ( 517111 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:41AM (#3450116)
    Wait a minute....he had something to do with LINUX?!? OMG!!!!!!!!!! The sky is falling in! Normal employee churn doesn't work the same with LINUX!
    • I know you're making a joke, but seven top execs quitting in one week is by no means "normal employee churn." Something is happening behind the scenes at Sun...
      • Undoubtedly - and the article does mention the low stock etc, so this sort of event is definitely prompted by something.

        I was poking fun at the true Slashdot effect, which is to ignore n execs leaving, but when exec n+1 leaves and happens to have something to do with Linux, a front page story is posted with implications that this is some sort of Linux related event.

  • Sun/wipro was the driving force behind GNOME 2 development.

    So how will this affect GNOME 2? We can expect more delays presumably.
  • OpenOffice 1.0 is out. It works. And, in any case, an exec departing isn't the same thing as all the projects getting scrapped.
  • Infoworld has coverage too:

    Key Sun Linux executive departs as drain continues []

    One analyst was a bit surprised to hear that DeWitt is departing before Sun launched its Linux products. The company has only said it will roll out the servers later this year.

    "I suspect it had something to do with unhappiness with the overall product organization," said Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata, which is based in Nashua, New Hampshire. "I assume there was unhappiness, some disagreement or something there."

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project ( []

    • by dagnabit ( 89294 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:40PM (#3451567) Homepage
      I worked at Cobalt prior to the acquisition. I still work at Sun now, in the Cobalt group. SDW left on his 4 year anniversary with Cobalt, when all his options vested. No major mystery there. He's getting married and kicking back to enjoy his mega-bucks... all there is to it. Life at Sun (and Sun Cobalt) is progressing normally...
  • Article (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kronos666 ( 555566 )
    Here's the article if you can't access the site:

    SAN FRANCISCO, May 1 -- Edward J. Zander, the gregarious executive who oversaw daily operations at Sun Microsystems [], plans to retire on July 1, the company said today.

    Mr. Zander, the No. 2 executive at Sun, a troubled computer maker, is the fourth prominent executive there to announce a retirement in recent weeks. A fifth manager, Stephen DeWitt, the vice president of an important business unit that leads Sun's efforts with the Linux operating system, quietly left Sun on Friday, the company confirmed today.

    Investors showed their disappointment with Mr. Zander's departure. The stock plunged $1.21, or 14.8 percent, to $6.97, a low not seen since 1998. Mr. Zander, who is 55, was credited by many analysts as the driving force behind Sun's rapid ascension before the Internet bubble burst.

    Sun, which makes high-powered computers and software for networks, will not immediately replace Mr. Zander as president and chief operating officer. Instead, Scott G. McNealy, Sun's chairman and chief executive, said he would assume the role of president on July 1, the beginning of Sun's next fiscal year.

    "You've literally had the top three executives outside of McNealy resign within two weeks," said A. M. Sacconaghi Jr., an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. "It has to raise the same kinds of doubts that investors raised today among some customers."

    Mr. Zander said he had decided to leave Sun last year but had wanted to wait until the company showed signs of emerging from a slump brought on by a slowdown in corporate spending and a sharp downturn in its main customer base, dot-coms.

    In an interview, Mr. Zander, who joined Sun in 1987 from Apollo Computer, said his future plans were not set. But he did not rule out taking the helm of another company as early as next year. As it became clear that Mr. McNealy had no intention of leaving soon, Mr. Zander said, he realized that he would have to leave if he wanted to be a chief executive.

    "That's not necessarily saying that I wanted to be C.E.O.," he said, "but I knew that Scott was going to be in control here. If I was going to experience something else in life, whatever that is, I had to move on, but I didn't want to move on until I felt the company was in a shape that was a lot better than a year ago."

    In the last two weeks, three other top executives have announced their plans to leave the company on July 1. They include the chief financial officer, Michael E. Lehman; the executive vice president of Sun's computer systems business, John Shoemaker; and the head of Sun's enterprise services business, Larry Hambly.

    Another executive, Mr. DeWitt, who resigned without a public announcement on Friday, had served as vice president of Sun's content delivery and edge computing division since Cobalt [], the company he had led as chief executive, was acquired by Sun in September 2000. He had been viewed as an up-and-comer within Sun and was featured prominently at the company's meeting for Wall Street analysts in February.

    In a conference call with the company, some Wall Street analysts criticized Sun officials for stringing them along with four separate announcements of the retirements. They also expressed concern that other retirement announcements would soon follow -- a fear that Mr. McNealy did not dispel during the call.

    Mr. McNealy said several executives had wanted to retire last year but had decided to stay on through the end of this fiscal year to help the company through "the rough patch."

    "The fiscal year is the right time to go do this thing," Mr. McNealy said. "I know it looks like a flurry here, but I think it's been positive and planned out."

    While Sun's fortunes are tied heavily to the overall economy and the return of corporate spending on information-technology systems, Mr. McNealy said that Sun was in better shape than it had been in the last two years. Its losses of $37 million for its fiscal third quarter, which ended March 31, narrowed in spite of flat sales, and Sun said it expected to turn a profit in this quarter.

    As the top field marshal for Mr. McNealy, Mr. Zander has been responsible for intensifying Sun's competition with International Business Machines in high-end computer systems that run networks and corporate data centers.

    Laura Conigliaro, an analyst with Goldman, Sachs, said it was unclear how Sun would replace Mr. Zander's mixture of intelligence and deep understanding of the marketplace. Mr. Zander has been an effective foil for Mr. McNealy, the brash and visionary leader who sets Sun's strategy and has jousted on the public and legal stage with Microsoft [] for years.

    "When you look around the computer industry, or even more broadly," she said, "it's hard to find the qualities that Ed Zander has brought to Sun."

  • by nachoman ( 87476 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:46AM (#3450151)
    I don't think this will effect OpenOffice at all. It has been unleashed to the open source community, so even if Sun *wants* to abandon it, someone else can pick it up.

    What about Java. There are currently 3 main platforms for Java pushed by Sun: Solaris, Windows and Linux. Mac also, but this is more of a push from Apple. I'd be much more concerned with what might happen with Java than OpenOffice.
    • yeah... but sun DOES own all the copyrights. I don't think we have to worry about Sun though.
    • Java is fucked. That is all there is to it. Its a lame language of the week thats been replaced by a different language of the week (c#) just like modula 2 trashed pascal. In 10 years java will be like Ada. It was trendy once but now dead. sun needs to understand that but they are clueless and so they will kill off a few tens of thousands of jobs but they aren't my job so I could care less.

      My attemtps to get sun clued in to modern realilty have failed. I've invited sun reps to a number of socal meetings of technical people but they never show so screw them. I've been running sun hardware for over a decade and some these markting idiots have been in diapers before I ran my first sun box but they want to fuck me over, but in the months to come they may get to worry where their next meal is going to come from. I don't have that problem and I'll jump the sun ship when needed.

      God they are F*cking clueless.
      • Java is fucked ... so screw them ... they want to fuck me over ... they are F*cking clueless

        No need to obscure your profanity at this point, I'd say.

  • when sun aquired staroffice, they were committing to open source.

    the only criticism i read on /. at that time was along the lines "don't trust sun, they wanna be just like microsoft". i tend to share that opinion, but a lot of people commented we should give them a chance and don't distrust them just because they're a big corporation.

    in itself, that's an argument which already made my point. i think it's dangerous to trust any corporation in these matters since their prime objective is making money and not supporting politics/freedom/whatever. well, it is, as long as they can make money by supporting open source ;-]

    i hope i'm wrong, but first charging for staroffice, and now the departure of the guy in charge of linux strategy... it doesn't sound very promising.

    • i hope i'm wrong, but first charging for staroffice, and now the departure of the guy in charge of linux strategy... it doesn't sound very promising.

      I agree with a "wait and see" attitude and not having blind trust. But I don't see these events as solid indications. Yet.

      First, charging for StarOffice is mostly a non-issue. Sun supports OpenOffice and bases their StarOffice offering on it. Unless you need the business-directed (and other value-added tidbits) functionality of StarOffice, your free download is OpenOffice. And OO tends to be more on the cutting edge than SO anyway.

      Secondly, its a bit early to tell what this departure means. Was it a personal? Was it internal company politics? Or is it signaling a major move in strategy in the area that this executive oversaw? That's the speculation right now. And as of yet, the public does not know.

      It might not look good. But its still too early to tell. Keep watching.

  • In this day and age, in a corporate setting, one man cannot have that much effect on something as large as Linux support (someone else will do it) or the OpenOffice release (too late, already done). There are exceptions, of course, but usually it is the person in charge of the corp.

    On the other hand, if Sun decides to turn its back on Linux support or anything else along those lines, we can always hold them up like most of /. does with MS....

  • rise and shine sun/cobalt. cobalt seems to be their linux mechanism, and with dewitt leaving, one has to wonder what sun is up to with cobalt. especially, since they have not updated the cute little beggers in way too long. hello is anyone @home? sleepy time! i wnated to buy a few raq 5's with real processors (thanks, but i'll pass on the xtr, but maybe some sun 100s), but apple may actually have a rack mount out before sun/cobalt updates their machine. the breakfast of champions, web objects!
  • It Amazes Me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zentec ( 204030 )

    Sun's opportunities continue to dwindle.

    Those companies that need big iron are finding that they can get by with cheaper x86 hardware. Fighting the trend and not evolving seems like a sure way to run yourself out of business.

    There will always be a demand for big Sun hardware. The problem is that the demand is in a mature market, so the stockholders have to either get used to lower returns and lower value of stock, or slap Mr. McNeily around the ears and tell him to get with the program.

    Sun (and SGI) have tremendous talent and abilities. They *could* make a lot of money by helping existing customers that are already considering dumping Solaris (or Irix) deal with the migrations and getting their foot in the door on supporting the new hardware and OS. But that requires forethought and vision, and I'm afraid Sun's management just doesn't get it.

    • Sun must factor in the cost of developing an entire platform into the per unit cost. They can't leverage the entire economy of technology that linux can (Intel, AMD, Dell, HP, IBM). So inherently they are going to lose on cost. Now they are also losing on performance, and when you are a boutique solution, you cannot get outperformed.

      Sun is simply in a no-win situation. They are the next SGI.

  • Sun and Linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Believe it or not, Sun IS good for Linux.

    Sun has quietly been giving some assistance to the "corporate" Linux developers. Sun makes its money on hardware, and witha majority of the younger generation coming into the job market with a strong knowledge of Linux, Sun is smart enough to know that their OS (which they don't make money from) has its days numbered.

    Sun's best bet is that they gradually convert Solaris to a more Linux-like system if not going Linux entirely.

    Why do you think they were going to drop Solaris x86? Why do you think they didn;t complain when people started porting the Linux OS to the Sparc platform? Why do you think Sun GAVE machines to people porting Linux to Sparc brand-new systems to continue their work? Why do you think since Solaris 2.6, the Sun OS has started to go back to its BSD roots and take on more of the Linux characteristics? Why do you think that with Solaris 3.0 the OS is going to have a more RPM-like system of patches and installs instead of the antiquated PKGS?

    Think about it...
    • They've tried to promote linux to dislodge Win2k on x86, but in the meantime other companies are using linux to dislodge the entire Sun platform.

      Who do you think linux will destroy first...a server company or a client software/OS company?

  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:56AM (#3450232) Journal
    As someone who recently had some admin work to do on a Cobalt RaQ3 I can only testify to the bone headedness of SUN's Linux efforts. I have the following points to make about SUN in relation to their so called Linux efforts:

    It is nigh on impossible to get updates for third party packages (.pkg's) for older Cobalt machines. Cobalt had the brilliant idea of making a web browser based admin interface, thereby supposedly making it easy for newbies to administer the machine. This has the tangential effect of making the machines vulnerable to cracking (like IIS) because the admins have no idea of what they're doing and what they should be updating. Turning the machines over to someone who knows what bash is doesn't help immediately because installing software from the commandline is difficult as the whole system has been modified by SUN to make it difficult to get those CLI installs reflected in the web interface.

    The news groups and online Cobalt boards of full of irate users asking for help, and , more importantly, not getting much from SUN. Almost all help is from other users. It took me almost three days of constant searching to find SUN documentation on how to roll my own .pkg installer. Considering that the system is based on the RPM system one does wonder why they didn't go a more compatible route.

    I needed a PHP update and a custom Webalizer in German. The PHP "make install" exited with an APXS error and after about a week someone told me that the Cobalt APXS script is buggy and outdated, after which I managed to do the install by hand. The Webalizer compilation was less error prone but the fact that I had to do it and the PHP installation by hand because there were no packages available says legions about SUN's commitment to the platform.

    To get help from SUN you have to pay, and considering that you already payed for the machine and ISP costs etc, it is a slap in the face.

    The experience was frustrating and only strangthened my conviction that SUN has almost no idea of what consumers and smaller operators want, and possibly that SUN will go out of the market because of this if they carry on in this manner.
    • "To get help from SUN you have to pay, and considering that you already payed(sic) for the machine and ISP costs etc, it is a slap in the face."

      Is this any different from what Microsoft does? I'm not playing favorites, really, but that's exactly what they do. Release a product...then say "If you want us to make it work right, pay us more."

      At least Sun's products (Java, etc) are free. What does Microsoft make that's free? Hmm. Right. That'd be the null set. Heh.
      • Don't you think it would do SUN's somewhat tarnished image some good to provide at least a few months of free support to people who buy the boxes?
        • Erm, if you wanted a general purpose Linux server, why didn't you get one? The Cobalts are appliances and aren't meant to be fiddled around with.

          Why it took you three days to find a guide to creating your own PKGs when the technote's on the Cobalt developer website is a little beyond me.

          Also, the Raq 3 was not even brought out when Sun owned Cobalt, so it's not really a Sun product either!

          As for the 'somewhat tarnished' reputation - tarnished in front of whom?
      • "At least Sun's products (Java, etc) are free. What does Microsoft make that's free? Hmm. Right. That'd be the null set. Heh."

        Umm... .NET is as free as Java. i.e. I can download the SDK off the web site and start compiling my code. The only piece which is charged for is the visual IDE and other advanced tools.

        I suspect if you actually knew something about Microsoft you'd be amazed at the wealth of stuff they offer for free.
    • As a former Cobalt business partner... we dropped them shortly after Sun acquired them. They tech support was virtually non-existent and they yanked updates and stuff. It was just too much of a pain to go through it.

      So, you know what we did? We built our own 1U rack server that is SMP-capable, has dual 10/100 ethernet, and supports RAID0/1 (IDE or SCSI) internally. I can run almost any OS on it, and we came out with it almost 6 months before Dell started advertising their 1U rack server.

    • Cobalt Developer Site [] (where you can follow the step-by-step instructions to roll your own packages -- pre-packaged versions of Webalizer and PHP 4.1.2 for Cobalts [] (and others)

      cobalt-users mailing list [], where you can find help on all of the above topics
  • "And the question is: How will this affect projects like OpenOffice release and the on-again, off-again McNealy Linux relationship."

    Who cares!!! First priority is to get some new people in there that can make a difference and get their stock out of the shitter.
  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:00AM (#3450252) Homepage Journal

    Sun is facing an inexorable onslaught.

    If they thought "Wintel" was creeping up their food chain, "Lintel" is lower priced still and hungrier for the UNIX market.

    Sun needs to capitalize on its UNIX experience and to become part of the Linux solution, rather than reactively viewing circumstances as the Linux problem. They've made some good moves already, in terms of StarOffice acquisition and having some developers work on Gnome. But they need a coordinated vision that puts everything together. E15K database ervers working well with Linux server appliances which interact well through all the built-up Unix infrastructure (NFS, etc.)

    IBM and HP have already seen the handwriting on the wall and are doing things to take advantage of the shifts going on in the marketplace.

    Sun certainly has a lot to offer, they should put someone in charge who knows how to leverage that UNIX experience and to grow new markets based on their existing network of sales staff.

    Java could figure prominently in such a strategy; but promoting Linux on SPARC seems to be more of an uphill battle, AFAICT.

    • The long term vision is all well and good, but Sun stock is taking a beating, server sales are down and they are losing market share. The pressure is on McNealy to act fast to get Sun hardware and software sales up, not to promote some altruistic future vision. He knows this. So did Zander, and so did the linux guy who left. Their departures are no coincidence - look to see Sun go on the attack in the short term against anything but Sparc/Solaris. Anything but and there is going to be a shareholder revolt with McNealy's head on a plater.
    • IBM and HP have already seen the handwriting on the wall and are doing things to take advantage of the shifts going on in the marketplace.

      I have yet to see HP do anything (excpet maybe printer dirvers) that really gets behind Linux. Carly is going to destroy HP!

      IBM on the other hand is makeing some very shrewd moves to get in a real good position with thier hardware and Java with respect to Linux. They are putting thier money where thier mouth is.

      On a side note: if sun decides to shoot itself in the foot and somehow try to screw over the Java community IBM will be there to save the day. HP will be there say "me to, and buy a printer... We like linux". Well that is enough of being off topic...


  • Dimming of Sun (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It appears to me that Sun has decided to focus attention to solaris and money. I would suggest that the openoffice developers and those that work for sun in linux department to look for other jobs as soon as possible.
  • They announced this on the radio during the stock market news on my drive in this morning. The guy doing the reporting said: "Sun goes through executives faster than french pastries at a Weighwatcher's convention."

    • by scrytch ( 9198 ) <> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:40AM (#3450533)
      "Sun goes through executives faster than french pastries at a Weighwatcher's convention."

      Huh, a tired form of a joke that wanted to be said so the first company that came to mind was popped in. They still have the same CEO. Same chief scientist. Matter of fact, the top still looks a lot like it did just out of Stanford.

      Don't let that stand in the way of being ... funny?
    • "Sun goes through executives faster than french pastries at a Weighwatcher's convention."

      Um, most (all) of the big bosses leaving have spent more than a DECADE working for Sun (which is quite an achievement as Sun is only now celebrating its 20th year). The reporting guy was a moron. That they are leaving as a herd is one thing but so far there's no revolving-doors-employment situation?

  • If Sun was smart... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:08AM (#3450290)
    ...they'd embrace the upcoming AMD Hammer architecture [] and build high-end Linux/Hammer workstations and entry- to mid-level servers around them. Kind of a Sun/Linux meets Apple deal: clean product line, not a lot of overlap, well designed, very cool. I say Linux rather than Solaris if only because it's impossible to do Solaris/x86 device drivers for everything, whereas Linux has a decent chance.

    Of course, that'd freak out their SPARC people, so they'll never do it. Pity.
    • by pmz ( 462998 )
      There are reasons [] Sun still uses its own processor: scalability, ECC on all interfaces, secondary diagnostic busses, and binary compatibility.

      If the AMD Hammer can guarantee the same uptime that the UltraSPARC processors do, then you have a point, but, in general, there is more to a computer than just the CPU.
      • You're right. When the goal of your hardware is to be robust and scaleable would you really trust the new kid on the block with it? AMD makes fine products but the maturity level just isnt there in the hammer line, it hasnt been proven in any environment let alone one which demands as much as sun's market does.
  • by Bowie J. Poag ( 16898 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:09AM (#3450298) Homepage

    I'm telling you people, Sun has kicked off the quarter by announcing a new "Insanity First" initiative within the company. Nobody believes me. Here's a brief run-down of corporate goals within the next 4-8 months:

    1) Replace all technical staff with tigers.

    2) Replace the tigers with African bushmen who communicate with clicks and grunts. Scrap x86 Solaris, and release "Solaris For Hamsters, Gerbils, And Other Small Rodents". Meanwhile, move the tigers over to Technical Support to handle incoming calls.

    3) Include a free copy of "The 1979 Guinness Book Of World Records" with every purchase order under over $3,000,000, with every instance of the word "from" highlighted.

    4) One word: Mebibytes!!

    5) Begin intentionally misrouting customer purchase orders and inventory shipments. Establish two divisions within the company, the Product Obfuscation Division, and the Product De-Obfucscation Division, overseen by a third division called "Buh". Staff all three departments with goats.

    6) Give the goats stock options.

    7) Pour billions of dollars into quantumcomputing with one simple goal -- To write an infinite loop that fires and re-hires Scott McNealy billions of times per second, so when the shit hits the fan, its impossible to determine whether or not he was in charge the moment any non-profitable decision was made.

    8) Buy Compaq.

    9) Cut off all business relations with any company that has the letter "B" in its name. Refer to all the companies who remain as "The Divine Council Of Broktou."

    10) Stop selling Linux on the grounds that it screws up the company's expense reports. When you sell a free product, the profit margain is infinite, and Excel doesn't know how to handle that sort of math.

  • maybe... (Score:3, Funny)

    by ZoneGray ( 168419 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:09AM (#3450307) Homepage
    >> the on-again, off-again McNealy Linux relationship.

    Suspect Scott's going to be having an on-again, off-again relationship with Carly or Lou before this is all through.
  • Woah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by NiftyNews ( 537829 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:09AM (#3450308) Homepage
    Woah, an executive just departed from a large company?

    This is a rare opportunity, people. Party's at my place.
  • What has Sun ever done for linux really?

    Linux doesn't need Sun. Sun needs Linux. and I'm being very objective about that. I'm no free software zealot by any stretch, but free software has this self-renewing momentum that every other company wishes they could immitate.
  • Sun's dilemma (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sun's basic problem is simple and very hard to overcome: Their basic business model, selling high-priced hardware and software with unique capabilities, is being decimated by Linux and Moore's law. This leaves them with only a few options in the long run, none of them attractive:

    1. Find a way to turn Java into a cash cow. There's almost no chance of this happening.

    2. Make Solaris/SPARC a cost effective competitor with Intel architecture boxes running Linux. This will only be possible at the very high end, as Intel (and AMD) architecture systems keep getting faster and Linux's SMP capabilities keep improving. Sun doesn't even have a clear edge on the service front, thanks to companies like IBM on the server high end, HPaq in the middle, and Dell on the low end.

    3. Embrace Linux and find a way to turn it into gold, essentially the "mini-IBM" strategy. There are serious questions about whether Sun has the corporate culture needed to embrace Linux this fully, or if it's even possible for a company of their size to pull it off.

    • ...essentially the "mini-IBM" strategy. There are serious questions about whether Sun has the corporate culture needed to embrace Linux this fully,...

      Why not EVEN IBM changed(!?), if in the past most of the hardware & and the biggest software companies, use monopolistic tactics they all learned it from IBM.

    • Sun is a boutique platform vendor. To be a boutique vendor you have to provide some substantial unique gain over commodity products, be it either in price, performance, software availability, or service.

      Sun is the next SGI. They're hosed.

      McNealy needs to put results on the balance sheet NOW, not in two years, NOW. That means dumping anything that is not a cash cow. Shareholders want this mean's head on a plate and he can't afford to look much further than the next two quarters for some relief.

  • by majcher ( 26219 ) <slashdot@majche[ ]om ['r.c' in gap]> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:21AM (#3450385) Homepage with automatic URL filling and submit, like a real gateway should: . []
  • by abischof ( 255 ) <alex @ s p a m c o> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:23AM (#3450400) Homepage
    They may have lost their Linux Exec, but they recently acquired Whitfield Diffie []! (For those not aware, Whitfield Diffie [] is one of the inventors of public-key cryptography, the technology used in PGP and elsewhere)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, he has been around for years, as it said in his promotion announcement. He did not have this fancy title earlier, but was doing something similar.
  • Sun's in trouble (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alexander ( 8916 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:37AM (#3450495) Homepage
    DeWitt, was a very talented CEO and did great things for Cobalt.

    His leaving will have absolutely NO direct effect on Open Office (there's a political assumption made by the poster that doesn't fit), and might be a good thing for Linux in Cobalt.

    In fact, the sooner Sun realizes it is in a very difficult position because of x86 Linux, the better. The Cobalt appliances are overpriced and underpowered, the Cobalt line has all sorts of issues, the not the least of which is a non-standard distribution. Standard Distribution is what the customer wants, not an appliance. Linux seems to be eating Sun's lunch as much, if not more, than NT.

    The Solaris faction will never allow Linux to co-exist peacefully within Sun, the SPARC faction will never adopt x86, not to mention push x86 Linux, so neither the software side nor the hardware side, politically, will ever truly adopt Linux.

    Furthermore, the sales force is keen on the BIG hardware sale. No Sun sales person wants to sell a $2,000 x86 Linux box.

    About the best thing you can say for Linux within Sun is there's a small amount of hope that the former iPlanet team will maintain some semblance of autonomy with regards to OS support for their software. Unfortunately, Sun marketing can't position them to gain mindshare against competing technologies, so the hope is fairly small (and I might add that the ONLY reason that iPlanet has any real non-Solaris support is because it's the Netscape Enterprise stuff).

    No, Sun is not in a good position as Linux starts charging into it's space. It's already killed the small workstation market for them (mmmmm.... IPC), UNIX shops that were buying SPARC 20s in the mid 90s for IP services have mostly migrated to some "free" UNIX on x86, and now IBM is pushing big Linux iron (FYI, there was a point not too long ago when IBM Global sold more SPARC than Sun sales force.... interesting when viewing the ramifications of IBM's Linux Lovin'). I've made assumptions here about Linux being able to succeed in what's left in Sun's core space, but I'd imagine that by now IBM, Dell, and HPAQ have all realized that the sooner they are able to push x86 Linux into competition with Sun where they've reallly had little, the better. After all, to these guys, it's all about either volume (Dell) or services (IBM/HPAQ). Dell's a price point leader with good enough quality, and IBM/HPAQ realize that (at least in the "enterprise space" they both have big profitable niche's outside of where they compete with Sun and their services arm) their hardware/software efforts are simply the tools to sell more services, and if they can sell hardware/software profitably, good for those business units.

    A Sun shareholder or fan can only hope that these mix ups bring about a new focus from within Sun - but frankly McNealy will have to turn the charging elephant, it'll take a heck of a turnaround with HUGE amounts of organizational change.

  • "You gotta pay for having me wearing this []." - McNealy
  • by DaveWood ( 101146 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:45AM (#3450573) Homepage
    Printing $50,000 Solaris CD binders is a major source of profit for Sun, and they are not in a position to endanger any sources of profit right now.

    Linux is already putting the big hurt on Solaris' server marketshare. Remember, unlike Microsoft, Sun is in the untenable position of competing _directly_ with a free product. Solaris X86 was a response to the nascent Linux threat (a dismal failure, as any closed source product was bound to be, even if it didn't suck goat ass to begin with). The disastrous reluctance to support Linux Java was another byproduct of Linux Paranoia at Sun.

    But the Java issue clarified things a bit for the Sun people. They saw that trying to isolate and marginalize Linux would hurt Java, and then began to realize that it could hurt their whole company. They began to wonder if Linux's rise might be inexorable. Inevitable. That was when things started to change. The Cobalt acquisition, the Gnome support, the Open Office work... and of course the tier 1 Java support.

    But when hard times come, people look at the P&L and they get the Fear. Bold, risky moves like moving towards Linux start to be questioned. You become desperate about the bottom line _right now_. I don't know if this is why DeWitt left or not, but I imagine what he represents could be feared inside Sun.

    I expect cooler heads to prevail, eventually. Sun will continue to sell Solaris forever. But eventually, when the numbers finally work out, they will start offering "Sun Linux," hopefully with some useful "value adds," on progressively more expensive hardware, and as Solaris 3rd party development slows and Linux 3rd party development accellerates, Solaris will eventually be relegated to legacy status, and hopefully by then Sun will have emulated IBM's rise into the services sector.
    • Printing $50,000 Solaris CD binders is a major source of profit for Sun...

      Since when did Solaris media cost $50,000?

      Today, $50,000 would be about 500 to 1000 licenses...this is probably the top 3% of Sun installations. I'd figure Sun gets more money from that other 97%.
      • The licensing structure is broken up so that, depending on your needs (compiler, etc), you have to buy many pieces separately. Hence, "binder." The full suite, as far as I am told is far in excess of $50,000.

        I'd welcome actual references to the contrary.
        • The full suite, as far as I am told is far in excess of $50,000.

          That's a binder almost no one buys. Solaris comes with so much by default (<$100), that additional software is really on an if-needed basis. Even then, there are Free alternatives to much of it.

          For example, Forte is a really good compiler for UltraSPARC processors, but GCC is workable and is free. iPlanet is a really good application server, but Apache, Tomcat, and jBoss are workable and are free.

          Buy the commercial stuff when it is warranted; use the free stuff when you just need to get by.

          In short, the only time I've seen someone spend $50,000 on software is for commercial databases, high-end CAD systems, commercial application servers, or (jokingly) all the stuff needed to make Windows useful.
  • if you don't want to bother with a login of your own, feel free to use this one:

    user: qwerty474, passwd: qwerty


  • quietly left Sun on Friday

    And here i was wondering for a while how he left on two different days. =\

  • After all, its open, out there, and not going anywhere.
  • The moment that Sun releases the Solaris kernel, or a portion of it that scales to 8 cpus (i.e., the "Free Solaris" standard version) in an open license, either BSD or GPL, they will kill Linux.

    Apple is becomming a server threat. If Sun distributes a free Solaris kernel that is difficult to scale beyond 8 cpus that Apple takes up, Sun might be able to relegate Apple to the low end of the market, and give Apple vendors a high-end migration path. Apple is already rumored to be maintaining a SPARC port of Mac OS X and is dissatisfied with POWER.

    AMD is adopting a NUMA architecture. If Sun works with AMD on a NUMA Solaris, design decisions there may provide Sun with new ideas for the SPARC line (for which they now will not report TPC-C scores, presumably because of shame).

    Sun could also kill the Itanium UNIXen (HP-UX, AIX 5L, a future Tru64, and even OpenVMS) with a free Solaris kernel for ia64.

    Sun must investigate the question of embedding Solaris technology in the products of other vendors (Apple and Red Hat immediately come to mind), preferably through an open license. The growth of Sun's server market will stagnate without such an envigorating act.

    • Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

      Firstly, Solaris has sucked for a long time on the x86 platform. Maybe people will drop OSs like bad habits, but not hardware platforms.

      Secondly, linux has a huge amount of momentum in the open source community. Arguably it is killing even the BSDs. It is doubtful that a newly opened OS could take away much of the mindshare at this point - the people working on linux have invested to much of themselves just to drop it.

      • What if you took Red Hat Linux 7.2, removed the Linux kernel, and substituted the Solaris kernel?

        On x86, you would immediately have 8-cpu scalability with no problem, with much greater efficiency than RH Advanced Server.

        However, if you needed greater than 8-cpu scalability, porting Red Hat/Solaris to an e15k would give you a max of 106 cpus in a system architecture originally designed by Cray.

        In other words, Sun could get control of the low end, provide a market-wide migration path to SPARC, and cut the throat of any high-end UNIX on Intel. They would instantly own the "Linux momentum."

        They need to do it now. Right now.

  • by feldkamp ( 146657 )
    the on-again, off-again McNealy Linux relationship.

    Well, maybe if Scott picked up his socks once in a while, and his drunk friends stopped showing up at all hours of the night, our relationship would be a little more long-term.

  • what's going on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Derkec ( 463377 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @01:43PM (#3452002)

    This is retirement season at Sun. They tend to change things up and do re-orgs when their fiscal year rolls over in July. About this time, they need to stary announcing what these changes are going to be. This means that when Ed Zander tell Scott he'd like to retire sometime last year. Scott says, "sure, we'll let the world know end of April/early may." That's why these changes tend to come in bunches for Sun at this time of year.

    The other big thing is that Sun does best when it has it's back to the wall. Look at it's history and time and time again, people have said Sun will be dead in 2 or 3 years. It has thusfar managed to reinvent itself. It's in that position now. It has changed it's look (purple is gone), is rebranding its product line and knows it needs to play well with Linux. That their Linux head is leaving might indicate either a frustration with Sun from him, or a new dedication to Linux from Sun. Sun might want to see more from that group. Or it might be folding it's Linux efforts in closer to the Solaris group.

    Sun sees itself as having survived the nastiest downturn it has faced. It's letting people leave who wanted to leave a year and a half ago. It's also gearing up to reinvent itself and go kick butt. I think it's going to be fun to watch and see if they pull it off or not.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor