It's a Round World, and Sun Wishes it was Flat

Story: The Real Sun versus Red Hat StoryTotal Replies: 6
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Oct 08, 2004
11:29 AM EDT
It has become clear to me that Sun currently require leadership from someone who understands the mass commodity market Sun have to compete in. Unfortunately, you and their executives just can't comprehend it, and even if McNealy and Schwartz did it has become clear to me speaking to Sun employees that they don't have the foggiest what they're up against let alone how to react.

I read George's editorial in the comment section of ZDNet U.K. -- not what I think most people would consider a serious section of the ZDNet universe.

Oooh! Temper, temper.

If Sun Microsystems intends to kill Linux, then why are they installing it internally? Why have they continued their relationship with Novell SUSE by building beta releases of the next Java Desktop System with GNU/Linux? Why does a separate business unit for Linux exist at Sun?

Because not even Sun has the confidence that Solaris will be the end-to-end OS that they want it to be. They also need a back-up plan if their plans fail, as they have so often with any new desktop strategy. Fills you with confidence, doesn't it?

The vetting seems to have no authority other than Colony, the CEO of Forrester. It did create quite a controversy in the ranks of the open source world. It sounded convincing.

Since Sun is an extremely schizophrenic company these days, all people have is plausible speculation about what Sun will do:

"I guess I did a miserably poor job of communicating with George Colony."

There's an admission from Schwartz right there.

Sun has the ability to go through their restructuring in a more graceful manner than IBM. Sun's CEO and new executive team do not follow the slash and burn techniques of other companies. They put their customers first.

IBM was in serious trouble, and could have went under. Lou Gerstner put in a lot of hard work, didn't mouth off to the press and turned things around with a clear strategy. Sun, McNealy and Schwartz have had no such experience, and worryingly, they just don't comprehend the commodity market that Sun are now in - like it or not.

Something else might help Linux advocates get a sense of Sun Microsystems. They are performing the largest Linux desktop rollout in US history. That's correct, Sun Microsystems is rolling out Linux internally. They are their own customer.

They also rolled out Network Computers and Java Stations, and look how that turned out.

Their experience adds to the Linux knowledge base everyday. So, if you think Sun wants to kill Linux tell it to the employees with dozens of different brands of laptops using WiFi cards and numerous pieces of Intel based hardware at Sun Microsystems.

Because Solaris currently cannot do any of that as an OS on commodity hardware in the same way that Linux can, all Solaris is to Sun is an overhead they'll have to carry the burden for themselves.

Also, in case you haven't heard, Sun hired system integrator EDS to perform the Sun internal rollout. Sun calls their rollout the "Sun on Sun" initiative. The desktop is the Linux Java Desktop System.

Holy ****, I didn't know that! Anyone who has had experience of EDS' handywork, especially in the UK within public services, will know that this project is doomed to failure before it starts.

If Sun cannot rollout their own software and product within their own organisation, what on Earth does that say? It says that Sun haven't got the faintest idea what they're doing with their own software. Do Novell need third-party providers? No. They're rolling out based on the new open source experience they have and the established experience within the company.

Those who have worked with Sun in the past recognize Sun's professionalism.

That's a matter of opinion, especially those dumped with Cobalt.

Sun looks at Red Hat and sees a company that needs mentoring. Instead of working with Sun, Red Hat thought they could knock off the 800 pound guerilla. So they tried.

Based on Sun's bottom line, they're succeeding. Who is Sun to believe that they should be mentoring Red Hat?

Red Hat's attitude hasn't been that gracious to people looking for help in the open source community. Some of this may come back to haunt them.

So Red Hat aren't 100% saints then? Wow.

Red Hat are heavily involved in the open source community, especially with such efforts as Freedesktop. Part of this is an IPC messaging system called D-BUS which is simple to use. Sun and Java over the years have been heavily taken to the cleaners by Microsoft, COM and DCOM because they just cannot comprehend that CORBA is a solution that is too complex and takes far too long to get anything simple up and running. This is a classic case of Sun's stupid over-engineering. There is a good possibility that this system will become a large part of Gnome, the open source desktop environment Sun's JDS is based on. If they resist this then Sun may eventually end up being marginalised and supporting a fork of a free and open source desktop internally that will increasingly become more disconnected from the community.

Sun and open source? Don't make anyone laugh.

We do care about getting the job done. In this case, I can count on Sun to deliver the solution and provide managers and technicians.

Many projects are split up into manageable chunks. It is just too expensive to do things in one go and have several dozen hangers-on involved on a project. That's the reality people are finding out about now.

Do you think that any of the people charged with delivery care what executives say to the press?

Yes. If they are lambasting the competition so much, you have to wonder what the competition is like.

This is where Linux advocates need to get a grip. Linux loses business everyday because we lack the resources to deliver. When companies perform due diligence, they find unsatisfied customers.

I think you need to get a grip on where companies like Sun lose money to Linux. Sun is now a niche-player, going ever higher at the high-end. Linux companies can quite easily provide what is necessary at the low-end and in the middle. Worryingly for Sun, the high-end business they thought they had is being sucked up into the medium and low-end sectors. That's the commodity market Sun are now a part of, as much as they like to pretend that they're not. This is the single biggest reason why Sun are in trouble, and unless they realise and understand it they will sink on the spot where they're currently just about treading water.

The business that Linux does win falls in our laps.

Precisely why Sun is being killed. Linux companies win the business that falls into their laps, which is mass market demand.

They have found good outsourcing partners. People will turn to Sun and EDS to fulfil their enterprise needs. Sun will win the web services war and become the preferred platform for things like HDTV backbone deployments.

Based on what? If Sun need EDS to implement their own products internally, then they have no direction for them.

Red Hat is a niche player and they need to find more niches.

A very, very, very bad misunderstanding of the situation. If this is what Sun thinks, then they're going to drown very quickly.

It is Sun who are the niche players here, at the high-end of computing. Red Hat are able to provide low end and medium sized solutions without the incredible amount of overhead Sun thinks that it needs on a project. That's where the vast majority of business is these days, that's where the future expansion is and Sun just isn't a part of it. If Sun try to turn the low-end and medium sized business into the high-end revenue they're used to, as they have always done, then they are a very dead company.

They are vulnerable to Microsoft's "Get the Facts" campaign because of the "Total Cost of Ownership" issue.

Oh, the mythical Total Cost of Ownership issue. The Get the Facts campaign is obviously having a major effect. The Total Cost of Ownership doesn't mean anything, and hasn't worked for the past few years since it was brought up simply because no one understands it. People look at what they need more and pick the cheaper and more flexible option rather than the over-engineered and expensive stuff they've found they can live without. That's exactly what businesses and enterprises understand.

Red Hat's book value and revenue streams do not justify the image Red Hat executives convey to themselves and the market.

Throw your toys out of the pram if you want to. It doesn't alter the current situation, and the reality is going to be that companies like Sun are going to have to accept the nature of the market and reduced revenue streams or die.

Red Hat will discover that it takes more to compete with Novell and Sun than telling people to fax them a purchase order.

I'm afraid that's what businesses want. Rather than paying a huge amount of money and having ten dozen Sun engineers and hangers-on trudging around on their project for a ridiculously over-engineered solution, they can simply look at what they need and split a project into manageable chucks. They can then simply fax a purchase order (laughing out loud here) to Red Hat and get it done. That's the way other industries in the world work today and that's the mass commodity market. Either Sun understands it or it's already a corpse. Crying about it isn't going to make a difference, and when you look at how the consumer world and other service industries work today it is just incredible that they (and you) don't understand that.

Today, Red Hat has dubious allies in HP and Dell since those companies rely on Microsoft for their core competencies. If the people at Red Hat want out of the corner in which they have painted themselves, they need better friends.

Oooh, let's see if we can destabilise the relationships that Red Hat has with other companies and their partners and see if they buckle. That's pretty desperate to be honest, as is everything in this article. A good rule of thumb is that if a company starts thrashing around and lashing out at others, it's in its death throes. This message was edited Oct 8, 2004 2:39 PM

Oct 08, 2004
12:02 PM EDT
I have absolutely nothing intelligent to add to this thread, but I just thought I'd say, damn is it entertaining to read. *brings out the microwave popcorn*

Oct 08, 2004
12:49 PM EDT

I agree with you totally. I have nothing more to add to the thread other than I am totally amused.

Oct 08, 2004
1:13 PM EDT
I'm amused as well. Sun's death is quite well encapsulated in it.

Oct 08, 2004
3:34 PM EDT
I cannot tell you why I know this nor where I observed this: however, a very large company that was all Sun on UNIX side was moving its databases to Linux servers. They were quite happy to have one RedHat engineer on site during the certification phase.

I was told by a very savvy individual that this same company would never break away from MS's Windows or Sun on UNIX. While the latter may still be true, the former was happening with increasing rapidity prior to my leaving.

Oct 08, 2004
4:51 PM EDT
Wow segedunum! I wish have a clever mind like yours :) Well done, I wish tadelste could say something in his own defense...

Oct 08, 2004
6:47 PM EDT
Don't let the Sun go down on me.... Ah what am I saying, let em starve themselves to death. There are plenty of Linux jobs out there for ex-Sun employees.

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