Confessions Of An Ex-Sunite

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. Jeremy “Samba†Allison used to work for Sun, and here’s his view on their
    decline and fall <http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=31418>.

    So why did Sun die ? Partly it was their custom designed hardware that
    couldn’t keep up with the immense commodity power of Intel and the x86
    clones. Even in the early 1990’s there were warning signs when Sun
    canceled the replacement for their early foray into x86 hardware, the
    Sun386i. Rumor had it that the Sun 486i was canceled when early
    benchmarks showed it out performing the Sun-designed SPARC chips of the
    time...

    But in the long run it was the software that ended up being unable to
    compete.

    ...

    Sun was originally born from a combination of BSD-licensed and
    proprietary code. ... BSD-licensed code is available to be used freely
    by anyone without restrictions, and Sun took full advantage of this.

    ...

    Sun was the poster child of a company trying to retain complete control
    over everything they released into Open Source.

    ...

    This desire for control cost them dearly. When my own Free Software
    project, Samba, was first released, SunOS and Sun Solaris were the
    major platforms people wanted to run our code on. Once Linux got
    networking code added to the kernel, people started to move Samba
    servers over from Solaris to Linux. The control of your own destiny and
    the freedom that people got from Linux was the main advantage, even
    though the Linux kernel didn’t work as well as Solaris did at the time.

    ...

    Sun is the classic case of Clayton Christensen’s book “The Innovator’s
    Dilemmaâ€. The disruptive force of Linux left them unable to compete,
    with their high priced product that didn’t have enough advantages over
    the community developed project to get people to pay for it.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 3, 2010
    #1
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  2. In message <hmkcbe$vk$>, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > <http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=31418>.
    >
    > Sun was the poster child of a company trying to retain complete
    > control over everything they released into Open Source.


    Here’s an illustration: Michael Meeks’ analysis from over a year ago of the
    health of OpenOffice.org
    <http://people.gnome.org/~michael/blog/ooo-commit-stats-2008.html>:

    Oo_O peaked at around 70 active developers in late 2004 and is trending
    downwards, the Linux kernel is nearer 300 active developers and trending
    upwards. Time range - this is drastically reduced for the Linux kernel -
    down to the sheer volume of changes: eighteen months of Linux' changes
    bust calc's row limit, where Oo_O hit only 15k rows thus far. Diversity:
    the linux graph omits an in-chart legend, this is a result of the 300+
    organisations that actively contribute to Linux; interestingly, a good
    third of contribution to Linux comes from external (or un-affiliated)
    developers, but the rest comes from corporates. What is stopping
    corporations investing similarly in Oo_O ?

    Crude as they are - the statistics show a picture of slow disengagement
    by Sun, combined with a spectacular lack of growth in the developer
    community. In a healthy project we would expect to see a large number of
    volunteer developers involved, in addition - we would expect to see a
    large number of peer companies contributing to the common code pool; we
    do not see this in OpenOffice.org. Indeed, quite the opposite we appear
    to have the lowest number of active developers on Oo_O since records
    began: 24, this contrasts negatively with Linux's recent low of 160+.
    Even spun in the most positive way, Oo_O is at best stagnating from a
    development perspective.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 3, 2010
    #2
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