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Sun Banks On Open Source For Its Survival

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the cutting-costs dept.

Sun Microsystems 211

CWmike writes "In moving to cut its current workforce by between 15% and 18% today, Sun is trying to stay ahead of a falling knife. And today's announcement made it clear that Sun officials are banking on the company's open-source strategy to help it pull through. A cut of up to 6,000 employees at Sun will hurt, but CEO Jonathan Schwartz contends users will be more inclined to try open-source products such as MySQL, OpenSolaris and Sun's GlassFish application server during a time of economic stress." Reader Barence also pointed out that Sun will begin to auction "branding space" in OpenOffice.

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211 comments

Guide To The Barack Obongo Presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25769599)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER bitches ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

No f**ing way. (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769629)

If they want to stay afloat, they want the support of businesses. And from the position of a business owner, there is no way -- I mean NO WAY -- that I will accept advertising on my business documents. If somebody tried this STUPID move I would not only stop using their free product, I would refuse to use their commercial version. The idea is ASININE.

Schwartz needs to stop believing in the Mel Brooks idea of "the Schwartz be with you". This is not a Mel Brooks movie.

Sun needs market share. And they will never get it if this is the way they want to roll.

Re:No f**ing way. (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769709)

On or alongside? Obviously nobody would go for any free service that inserts ads INTO their business documents, but I think most people aren't especially bothered by the idea of having automated advertisements sitting next to what they're doing. It's never once bothered me in Gmail, and I honestly don't even know if they're present in GDocs. Neither is Sun's product of course, but Google seems to be doing quite well by, at it's core, providing free products to people.

Something tells me that I'd find it significantly more distracting in OpenOffice, but that's probably more due to its interface being more than cluttered enough already. I'm sure part of it is that we're used to seeing ads in a browser window but nowhere else; I think the bigger issue is that giant stupid flashing banners that some people try using to monetize their freeware is hugely distracting to the point where it makes the product harder to use. OO is a respectable piece of competition for MSOffice for 99% of users, but after having been spoiled by the interface in Apple's $80 iWork08 suite, OO is never something I'd pay for given its paid competition. If they could revamp it with a clean interface and wanted to put a narrow strip of text ads at the top for unpaid users, I suppose that's an option.

It's a bad position to be in - right now, OpenOffice is just burning money, it's not easily monetized through advertising (probably ineffective, lower acceptance, too small of an audience), and it probably wouldn't stand a chance of competing as paid software. Even if it was $10 at Best Buy and still free for download (identical versions, you're paying for the CD and distribution basically), people are so tuned into "Microsoft(R) Office[TM]" as their office suite that it would just get ignored in stores.

MySQL at least seems to have a business model behind it, and one that's at least not losing money even if it's not immensely profitable (I have no idea what the numbers look like, but it can't be bringing in a ton or else they wouldn't be having these issues).

Actually (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770247)

I have been amazed that they are not in MicroCenter or fry's with OO, mysql, or even solaris. Put these on DVDs, buy the shelf space in the Windows area as well as Linux area. Think about what they spend today on ads. This is MUCH cheaper.

Re:No f**ing way. (2, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770297)

I think most people aren't especially bothered by the idea of having automated advertisements sitting next to what they're doing.

Except when you have a mobile dial-up, and you get 3 Gb a month. Then, anything that tries to download anything I didn't tell it to gets deleted, fast. Like MSN Messenger.

Re:No f**ing way. (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770421)

>I think most people aren't especially bothered by the idea of having automated advertisements sitting next to what they're doing.

Maybe at some places, but the odds are against it. For example, think of the PDF converters that left a watermark and ask you to pay in order to clear it. No serious business will ever deliver a "free software watermarked document" to a client or partner (that's the reason people indeed pays for clearing it.)

Some sectors can accept more advertising, for example, inside a university you may actually look cool/smart if you provide a document with a tag pointing to its "free processing", but of course, that community is not going to make Sun to profit.

Re:No f**ing way. (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770529)

Google seems to be doing quite well by, at it's core, providing free products to people.

.

Strip away the add revenues from Google search and how much is left? When consumer sales hit bottom what happens to Google?

Re:No f**ing way. (4, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769725)

Certainly not a smart move with Novell doing their repackage with Go-oo, and IBM basing Lotus off an earlier version. I can just see the users flocking in droves to either of those two suites now. This is Novell's chance to basically steal OpenOffice.org right out of Sun's hands. I'm not sure if Novell would handle it well, but they can hardly do worse than Sun, from what I've heard about their management of OO.o.

Re:No f**ing way. (4, Insightful)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770557)

...but they can hardly do worse than Sun, from what I've heard about their management of OO.o.

Sun's management of both OpenOffice [oooforum.org] and Java [java.net] is lousy. They don't listen to their users -- the Java bug-tracking and voting system is bogus, and OpenOffice is "primitive".

Read the threads linked to above to get an idea of Sun's utter cluelessness.

Re:No f**ing way. (5, Insightful)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769839)

I don't _think_ they mean that; it wouldn't really work anyway as someone would fork the project. I _think_ they meant assisting companies that was to brand the office product, so if say Dell wanted to pre-load an office suite, they could install a Dell branded Star-Office or OOo.

I could be wrong of course! But what you are suggesting is sooooo off-the-scale-dumb that really can't see that being what they meant!

Re:No f**ing way. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25769933)

Ac cause I'm modding

There are many different kinds of branding. Schwartz didn't specify (in his blog) what he meant by 'branding', so don't jump the gun.
I seriously doubt that an office doc is going to have 'Sponsored by Dell' either as a watermark or a footnote on a printed page.
What I do see if that every time OO3.x starts up, you'll see 'OO3.x Sponsored by Dell' and their logo. Maybe even a splash screen before a saved document opens. You may even see a Dell logo on a toolbar, like FF or IE.
That's acceptable use of branding.

Re:No f**ing way. (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769955)

there is no way -- I mean NO WAY -- that I will accept advertising on my business documents.

That is not even close to what Schwartz is planning. In his blog he compares how Sun gets paid for the optional bundling of the Google Search Bar with the Java installer. He then goes on to say that he plans on selling that kind of 'space' to other companies. He makes the point that Sun distributed 60 million java runtimes last MONTH - that is a lot of eyeballs to advertise to and that's what he as apparently monetized even further with microsoft in addition to or instead of google.

As for similar bundling with OpenOffice, he's talking about including links (not just URLs) to services, similar to the Google searchbar - e.g. fax services, place kinkos for bulk printing, sign printing, cloud-based document storage, and database hosting, etc. It is the same thing we are used to with free software, the software is one a time cost so make it free once its paid for, but the individual, optional but useful services around the software have ongoing costs so use them as a source of income.

You won't have to use any of the "cobranded" services, but if you want to, Sun will make it really, really easy for you to do so, and in return they get a cut of whatever you spend in the services.

Sun doesn't understand marketing. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770003)

Sun has always been TERRIBLE at marketing.

Re:No f**ing way. (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770405)

Is that the Google Search Bar which installed by default when I installed a minor update to the JRE? Cocksuckers didn't even ask me, if I used the "Recommended Settings" - it just suddenly appeared.

Fucking terrible behaviour.

Re:No f**ing way. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770347)

I totally agree.

Koffice wont have that advertisement noise.

daft (4, Insightful)

superskippy (772852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769637)

Much as I like open source, giving stuff away is really not what a business that need some cash needs right now.

Re:daft (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769883)

I don't think they see it as much as giving stuff away as potentially getting developers for free.

They need further development, they can't afford it right now, open source code offers a solution.

They earn their money on supported versions, hardware and also support of running the systems I assume.

Re:daft (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770263)

No one said it has to be $free$.

Strategy (1, Insightful)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769653)

Java good, Netbeans good, MySQL good, OpenOffice OK, Glassfish good, OpenSolaris.... WTF? Why burning cash on redudant OS when few advantages over Linux could easily moved to Linux kernel? Do they understand amount of money needed to implent at least decent amount of hardware support?

Re:Strategy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25769677)

You are an idiot, the very point of OpenSolaris remaining is so it doesn't give any advantages to the Linux world. If everyone can use the OpenSolaris stuff, why bother with Sun at all, get it?

Nutbars like you need to shut up about Linux, and start with thinking before preaching about your faggy operating system.

Re:Strategy (5, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769695)

Opensolaris is substantially more stable than Linux, along with having some unique features of its own. But more than anything it provides a platform that is all Sun's, complete with backwards compatibility going back over ten years even in the drivers (compare with linux where I struggle to compile modules from six months ago against new releases). You're right that hardware support is currently lacking, but there's still time for that to come - and architecturally Opensolaris has the potential to be a much better OS than Linux. It is not at all redundant.

Re:Strategy (1)

Adam Hazzlebank (970369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769797)

I'm keep thinking about Opensolaris and that I should try it out. Perhaps someone here would be kind enough the highlight it's key advantages?

OpenSolaris Advantages (5, Informative)

Ralish (775196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769989)

OpenSolaris has all the advantages of Solaris 10 and more. So you're looking at things such as ZFS, DTrace, Containers, etc..., that are already in Solaris, as well as entirely new things not yet in Solaris, such as a much improved and more user friendly installation system.

OpenSolaris is basically to Solaris what Fedora is to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It's the cutting edge of Solaris development, with numerous Solaris devs contributing to it; it's an incubation ground. As the features mature and the bugs are ironed out, key features are then moved into Solaris, which is expected to be deployed on servers, mission critical systems, mainframes, and so on. Only recently did Solaris gain the ability to boot off a ZFS root fs for instance, but OpenSolaris has had that capability for quite some time.

If you're interested in Solaris, OpenSolaris is the way to go, as you're less likely to be worried about some minor bugs and more interested in seeing everything it has to offer, including the cutting edge. I'd recommend you review the Solaris and OpenSolaris wikipedia pages for a good overview, which can link to more in-depth information on some of the specific features I mentioned above.

Re:Strategy, here's one (1)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770293)

You can create zones (like BSD jails), which are not limited to running Solaris apps:

(From the lx man page)

The lx brand includes the tools necessary to install a CentOS 3.x or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.x distribution inside a non-global zone. The brand supports the execution of 32-bit Linux applications on x86/x64 machines running the Solaris system in either 32-bit or 64-bit mode. The lx brand emulates the system call interfaces provided by the Linux 2.4.21 kernel, as modified by Red Hat in the RHEL 3.x distributions. This kernel provides the system call interfaces consumed by the glibc version 2.3.2 released by Red Hat.

Re:Strategy (1)

mickwd (196449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770709)

The post above has already highlighted some advantages, so this is just to point out how easy it is to try out.

Just download the OpenSolaris ISO (the last one was 2008.05, with 2008.11 imminent): OpenSolaris [opensolaris.org]

If you're a little masochistic, try running it as a live CD.

A better way is to download VirtualBox (another Sun open-source product, although there is a more-complete non-open-source version that is also free (of charge)): VirtualBox [virtualbox.org]
Just install OpenSolaris as a guest OS and try it - no need to re-partition or dual-boot, and no problems with unsupported PC hardware either.

Of course, you'll be limited in your ability to try out some of its more advanced features with this approach, but for just trying it out and kicking the tyres a bit, it's very simple.

Re:Strategy (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769913)

complete with backwards compatibility going back over ten years even in the drivers (compare with linux where I struggle to compile modules from six months ago against new releases)

Reminds me when an upgrade to ArchLinux just removed whatever USB-device handling stuff there was earlier and replaced it with something else which made it so no USB-devices worked. Awesome stuff! I will never try ArchLinux again. Or Yoper, or plenty of shitty Linux dists.

At least with things like Debian and the BSDs things keep on working, I have no interest in spending my time with a by the distribution developers voluntarily messed up machine. And I do assume that there would be much less mess in Solaris once things is up and running.

Re:Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770045)

If you are going to say something, then make the effort to say something meaningful.

"Opensolaris is substantially more stable than Linux" What is this supposed to mean?

Installations vary. It depends on what applications are installed and running. There are many Linux based servers around the world with up times running in years. Your blanket statement is nonsense.

Opensolaris is substantially more stable (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770367)

And FreeBSD is more stable ( and arguably mature ) then OpenSolaris. If SUN becomes pain in the butt, then people will move away from them. As long as there is still competition, you cant just sit on your laurels.

Re:Opensolaris is substantially more stable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770459)

And FreeBSD is more stable ( and arguably mature ) then OpenSolaris.

Maybe.. but talk to me when FreeBSD handles 128 processors in the same box and can handle them effectively.

Re:Strategy (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769697)

CDDL over GPL is one advantage, to some. Another is binary drivers.

Lets face it, neither is ever going to be in Linux.

Re:Strategy (3, Informative)

superskippy (772852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769699)

I disagree. Whether you think Java is any good or not, Sun have made a profit of 0c over all time on it, and will never make any money on it. I think MySQL is cack, but even if you don't, if you've got money to spend on databases, you aren't going to give it to MySQL.

Solaris on SPARC hardware is the gold standard of reliability and quality. So if need the best reliability and you've got money to burn (i.e. banks), that's what Sun should be able to persuade you to buy. If you own the best OS in the world, and you can't make money, you've got big problems.

Re:Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25769853)

> Solaris on SPARC hardware is the gold standard of reliability and quality.

(Lack of) Momentum behind Solaris, SUN's own sales figures and many more things disagree with you.

Re:Strategy (1)

superskippy (772852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769875)

That's exactly what I'm saying! If you've got the best platform, and no one wants to buy it, you suck at selling stuff.

Re:Strategy (3, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769905)

Or maybe Solaris on SPARC isn't as fantastic as you think. Back in the day when SPARC hardware actually mattered, the Linux SPARC port was rather successful. People actually chose to run Linux even though Solaris came free with the hardware and had perfect driver compatibility.

I don't see a future for Sun, no matter which part of their business they focus on, except possibly MySQL. Sun can't live off of MySQL unless they turn themselves into MySQL AB, and then what was the point?

Back in the day.. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770699)

Solaris was relatively stagnant feature-wise. This is not a bad thing for Unix, but the company focus of the late 90s included a lot of people who appreciated the moves that Linux was making. Sure, application compatibility across versions was non-trivial, and behaviors got tweaked constantly, but at a given moment by and large they had interesting ideas relative to Sun. So Sun hardware tended to get Linux thrown on it in some circumstances (the Sun hardware was leaps and bounds better than x86 based hardware of the time, excluding crap like the Ultra 5 and Ultra 10).

I was never a fan of HP-UX, and the Itanium move in particular I think screwed them. It's really hard to sell a Unix customer on a total architecture change, as one of the big values of Unix vendors is longevity of the architecture. They were probably sold on Intel's vision that the architecture would become ubiquitous in the desktop market, which of course did not happen.

Sun managed to successfully ride the tech bubble of the late 90s, but as a consequence, they rode it down fairly closely. Much of their customer base went out of business. Many of the rest cut back on IT and went to x86 Linux. Some others didn't feel the benefit of stagnant featureset of Solaris as a good thing, and went to distributions.

SGI killed Irix, ancient history.

Apple is technically a Unix vendor, but they don't quite fit in business wise with the rest.

IBM I think is current king of the Unix hill. AIX seems to have been slow and steady. As much as I don't particularly feel it, the leadership of Unix shops very much get it.

Now Sun seems the be reinventing their product portfolio. For a while, they seemed to de-emphasive Solaris for their Linux efforts, and then returned. Now they are trying to replicate the success with Linux, but with Solaris. They have successfully gotten things like ZFS and DTrace ingrained in the hearts and minds of the technical community as interesting features. Ian was a fantastic choice for architect, as he really got package repository first, and everything else has been imitating his implementation.

Now the problem they face is whether they can overcome Linux. I think they recognize the AIX owned slice as too difficult as the base is too risk adverse to jump ship readily. Overall, it makes sense to chase Linux, as those customers tend to be more willing to try new things. Howerver, the technical gains they made were only through their direct funding (ZFS in particular has sucessfully been seen as a unique, useful technology outside of OSes run on NAS systems). Laying off 6,000 now to bank on community support is way premature, they just don't have a solution with enough suport behind it to pull that sort of move.

Re:Strategy (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770401)

That's exactly what I'm saying! If you've got the best platform, and no one wants to buy it, you suck at selling stuff.

History is littered with the corpses of companies that had great products but were lousy at selling them.

Re:Strategy (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770451)

That's exactly what I'm saying! If you've got the best platform, and no one wants to buy it, you suck at selling stuff.

Sometimes the best just costs too much. If the extra expense doesn't produce any extra return then no matter how hard you tout it, provided your customers have the sense, you won't sell it.

I love sirloin steak, but beef mince fills me up too.

Re:Strategy (3, Informative)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770639)

But they do make money from Java. In FY2008, Sun made $220M from Java, $208M from MySQL, and $216M from Solaris and Virtualization.

In addition to that, they made a little over $4B from hardware and software support.

There software business is up 27% from FY2008 Q1 to FY2009 Q1. Compare that to their systems business that is down 17% over the same time frame.

Re:Strategy (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769731)

All of these things have advantages over other things.

Your mistake is in thinking that Sun won't sell you a solution that isn't based on their technology. They will. They'll sell you whatever will do the job and they can get a decent price on the license so they can make some profit.

Re:Strategy (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769801)

Two words: ZFS.

Re:Strategy (1, Troll)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769899)

lol, yeah, leenucks is so much like the better one! Everything must be leenucks! Linus = god, Sun = shit. Why would one want to have a choice when it comes to OSes!?! Linux is like so much the best in everything!! We don't need no other OS or development.

Have you used OpenSolaris? Have you had issues with hardware support yourself? Have you used the BSDs or Linux 10 years ago?

Why burn cash and developers time on Gnome!?! Why on Firefox? Anything except Amarok? Another terminal than aterm!?!

We need plenty more of you! Windows, IE, WMP and MSN 'ought to be enough for everyone!

Ford T is the best!

Re:Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770283)

Pardon me, but do you happen to be retarded? Considering the amount of stupidity in your post, I'm amazed you managed to figure out this "keyboard" thingy well enough to sprout such garbage.

Long term prospects are not good for Sun (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25769667)

Suns long term (5-10 year) prospects just don't look good. Their core of products are all up against strong competition. The Sparc architecture is not significantly better than x86-64 to justify the additional cost and "non-standard" architecture to buyers, Solaris has some nice features but is up against both Linux & itself on x86-64 & IA32, where Linux continues to eat into the market share of traditional UNIX systems, and their x86-64 servers are commodity boxes which you can (& do) buy from someone else. Oh and of course Java and OpenOffice are established products that they have no way to capitalise on, essentially making them money-sinks on the balance sheet.

Sun has to find a way to create a sustainable revenue stream, and it doesn't have much to work with.

Re:Long term prospects are not good for Sun (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769685)

They're a systems integration company. They don't need to sell "invented here" to be profitable.

Sun will sell you whatever you want. Invented by Sun, or not.

They sell solutions, not widgets.

Re:Long term prospects are not good for Sun (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25769711)

That looks great on paper, but doesn't provide a significant revenue stream in practice. The last time I saw anyone buy a "solution" from Sun was, well, never.

Re: integrator as well as builder (1)

davecb (6526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770165)

Sun mostly sells hardware, and adds anything whatsoever the customer needs to build a solution. This includes software, obviously, but also cisco gear, racks, UPSs and the like.

--dave (biased, you understand) c-b

Re:Long term prospects are not good for Sun (4, Informative)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770671)

Their FY2008 services revenue was $5.26B, storage revenue was $2.35B, and their computer systems revenue was $6.26B.

While the services revenue is up 3% from FY 2007, storage revenue is only up 1.6%, and computer systems revenue is down about 3%.

Given that 38% of their revenue is derived from services, and that services is their fastest growing growth sector, what makes you believe that services doesn't provide a revenue stream in practice?

Re:Long term prospects are not good for Sun (4, Insightful)

superskippy (772852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769727)

No, that's IBM.

I remember Sun adverts during the dot-com boom days that mocked IBM for having a huge range of stuff, where as Sun sold only one simple stack of stuff- theirs.

Post dotBOOM (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769979)

I remember Sun adverts during the dot-com boom days that mocked IBM for having a huge range of stuff, where as Sun sold only one simple stack of stuff- theirs.

That was during the dot-com. After the dotBOOM, the only companies that survived are those who sell solutions.

Re:Long term prospects are not good for Sun (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770355)

Lets hope they don't take good things like open office and java down with them. ( like it sounds they are doing.. )

Advertisements? How stupid can you get.

Re:Long term prospects are not good for Sun (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770763)

The Sparc architecture is not significantly better than x86-64 to justify the additional cost and "non-standard" architecture to buyers,

they pretty much stopped doing sparc stuff years ago. their new gig is the T series (t1000 and t2000 series). these are high-cpu (thread) count chips and when you do the equiv of 'show cpu' (so to speak) you get 32, 64 even 256 lines of output on status per 'cpu' (thread) that you can turn on or off (on a running system) or put into pending-standby. you CANNOT do anything even close to this on x86 arch.

these are dog slow in fpu but on webservers and commerce boxes (what they are meant for) - they shine. you can have 'lotsa cpus' in a thin 1U box. can't quite do that in x86 land.

(ob disc: I work at sun, but not actually on these boxes, just with the boxes)

Niagara servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770769)

Suns long term (5-10 year) prospects just don't look good. Their core of products are all up against strong competition. The Sparc architecture is not significantly better than x86-64 to justify the additional cost and "non-standard" architecture to buyers ....

Try their Niagara servers on highly parallel workloads, at a fraction of the power requirements for x86. Trust me, it's better in quite a few places.

They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (5, Interesting)

Phantom Gremlin (161961) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769683)

I'm not a software guy, so maybe I'm missing something. But paying $1 billion for MySQL (less than 1 year ago!) didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Wasn't a lot of the code GPL?

As of yesterday the stock market values the equity at $3 billion. And actually values the company at only $1.6 billion (they have $2.6 billion in cash but also have $1.3 billion in debt).

Maybe a company that throws money around so freely deserves to go out of business. Even in 2008, a billion US dollars is still a *lot* of money.

Re:They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769717)

MySQL's business model was to sell commercial licenses to people who were too legal risk adverse to use it without one.

Sun, thankfully, has a completely different business model.

They sell solutions. If they don't have to pay for licenses for MySQL they can offer solutions that include MySQL for cheaper than if they have to. Does that add up to a billion dollars? No idea.

Re:They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769807)

I think the point was that Sun could easily sell solutions with MySQL without buying the company. So in essence they spent $1 billion on the name.

If they think it will bring in that amount of profit in contracts, then I guess it's worth it. But I wonder if they have the staff left to do that kind of volume. Just some back of the envelope calculations:

    10% profit over loaded labour rate
    $100K loaded labour rate (in order to undercut in-house development)
    equals 10K profit per man-year of development.

or 100K man years of development to break even. Nope... I can't see it working out.

Re:They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (3, Interesting)

BlackCreek (1004083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770025)

I think the point was that Sun could easily sell solutions with MySQL without buying the company. So in essence they spent $1 billion on the name.

I believe that part of the purpose of a buyout such as that is to also get hold of the developers.

I am not saying that the whole deal was worth 1 billion, but you have to take the "getting the core developers to be on our boat" into account as well.

Re:They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25769823)

The question isn't "does that add up to a billion dollars". The question is: "after how many months does this add up to a billion dollars". Usually not 12 months; far more. I'd bet on 36, but thats a wild guess.

Re:They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (5, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769833)

Actually the thing they sold(and still do sell) is a more "up to date" MySQL(including security fixes). The community version of mysql is always a little bit behind the Enterprise version in terms of bug fixes etc. They also sell support and probably engineering as well(don't know, haven't used that). We bought the MySQL enterprise edition where I work because we are being forced to be paranoid about security, and that includes always having the latest and greatest db software(whether or not MySQL is more or less secure than Postgres is another matter altogether)

Re:They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769973)

They also sell "MySQL boxes" - that their engineering group has tuned specifically to squeeze every ounce of performance out of the hardware and give it to the database. Schwartz talks about doubling the performance of MySQL on certain equivalent hardware platforms. Presumably anybody could do that, or they could pay for the MySQL engineering team to do it and get it right. Schwartz is banking on it being more cost effective for customers to rely on the MySQL engineering team to do the optimizations than to do it themselves.

Re:They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770441)

whether or not MySQL is more or less secure than Postgres is another matter altogether

Now that statement puzzles me.

If your systems are designed for maximum security, the database is on a separate server to the application, both servers are firewalled to only allow known-good connections through, the connection between application and database may if necessary be encrypted, the user the application connects to the database as will only have the permissions it needs (and indeed won't even be able to establish a remote connection as any other user) and the application should always be using parameterized SQL queries..

All of these things can be done just as easily with MySQL as Postgres.

What else could you do?

Well, they didn't go to the government ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770089)

... like everyone seems to be doing these days.

Maybe a company that throws money around so freely deserves to go out of business.

No, they need help from the government, so they can throw YOUR money away! (Sorry, I tend to get cranky after reading "The Economist" these days.)

Maybe this Open Source Strategy will work for Detroit:

"(ring) Hello, President Obama here. Oh, Hi GM. What? You want how many BILLIONS? Get yourself Open Source! Good-Bye! (slam)"

Re:They dropped $1 billion on MySQL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770353)

I really cannot understand that purchase either, the MySQL team isn't making that good money. And their database is the worst database on the market by far.

How can people live with a database that cannot do a simple self join in an update statement. Or even worse, doesn't support check constraints(they have to be emulated through triggers).

Sun should have stayed with PostgreSQL and instead used 1/1000 of the MySQL purchase amount to improve PostgreSQL.

branding? (2, Interesting)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769705)

Does Star Office having plans on "branding"? I wouldn't mind paying to turn this off, but if Sun forces me to look at McDonalds & Starbucks logos all day - forget it.

Message to Jonathan Schwartz (4, Interesting)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769803)

From my perspective (I've used and bought Suns for decades), Sun is heading full tilt down a path towards the cliff edge. What they're doing is 100% wrong.

Their interest in open source is fine, but it's not a good strategy for business profits unless they want to become another RedHat providing Linux services and support --- a role in which they would be coming up from behind very slowly. It's a role for which they're not cut out, because their reputation in the open source world is marginal at best because they've always been half-hearted about it.

Sun needs to stop thinking of open source as a business strategy, because for them it's merely what's referred to as a hygiene factor in social sciences --- it's not a benefit when it's exercised, but it's a severe demerit when it's not exercised. In other words, yes, be fully open with software, but not because it's a source of profits, but because you'll be shunned without it.

For profits, capitalize on what you have: awesome hardware and competent Professional Services. Invest more in your CPU division with its great Niagara processors, so that when Intel is offering 16-core CPUs and talking about 64, you can be offering 256-core and talking about 4096. Take on nVidia and AMD on the SIMD front, so that while they're toying with noddy graphics cards for GPGPU, you can offer 64k SIMD stream processors far more tightly coupled to your host cores.

We've recently entered the Age of Multicore, and you (Sun) have a good reputation in that area, and you know how to build good hardware (nobody has ever marked you down for that). Why not capitalize on your existing skills, resources and reputation in this area, instead of chasing rainbows?

You've never used a Sunfire x4100 x86_64 server (3, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769917)

What a piece of crap these things are. There are two big problems:

1. Build quality. They have a small power switch and LED board mounted near the left front that is activated by a pen. Invariably, people press it too hard and destroy the switch, which results in a nonbooting server. But the boards are service parts (they probably are worth 10 or 15 bucks tops) and cannot be purchased in bulk. I mean, i'd be ok with this if we could buy 20 or 50 of them and keep them on hand. They're not so hard to replace. But WTF. I mean, people with little physical strength can render the server inoperable.

The front panels fall off regularly, the optical drive bezels might as well be scotch taped on. Video hardware is chancy and may not work in some cases. I have over 50 of these things so I know whereof I speak, bought in several waves. I mean, if this was Dell i'd understand, their stuff is cheap. But this server is not cheap!

Anyway Sun warranty service is also pretty slow to respond to us, though they do eventually fix the problems, at the cost of devices being out of action for significant stretches of time.

2. Poor integration and poor choices for third party parts. For instance, PXE booting on all four included NICs must execute during bootup. No disabling this is possible. Dell used to do this shit too, but at least Dell was cheap. The x4100 is expensive for an x86 server of its meager specifications.

In addition, the RAID controller is an utter piece of garbage. Most RAID controllers - think Dell PERCs, or HP/Compaq Smart controllers, will treat the disk array as a set of disks that can be transported between servers as a unit, and will be read by the controller as the same unit regardless of the system it is put in. Not so the Sun DPT controller. It apparently stores the RAID config in flash on the card or something, so when you move the disks between systems it basically refuses to recognize the array as a unit. You pretty much have to perform a recovery on the first disk of a RAID 1 set and then reintegrate the second drive, which is a scary prospect when you have data you care about and time is of the essence.

Why DPT of all vendors, anyway? And why did DPT screw the pooch so bad with this one? They have perfectly workable RAID controllers that do not have this flaw. Oh and the controller is dog slow too.

Anyway, they got the contract for a particular large government agency's servers for a particularly large program, so that's why I have the things and they keep getting airdropped on me. I'd like to shitcan them all but I have to make the ones that aren't broken at any given time work until they finally get EOL'd. Hopefully soon.

But yeah, i'll never even look at Sun gear again.

Re:You've never used a Sunfire x4100 x86_64 server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770031)

At least you managed to buy a Sun Fire, consider yourself lucky!

I spent 5 weeks researching what I wanted (in the UK), until I finally narrowed all brands and models down to just the Sun Fire X2100 M2 on merit of specs. I'm not a big buyer, but I could have bought several if the first one proved good.

Then I spent over a week trying to get Sun UK to take my money, to no avail.

The Sun quotations system is broken, their salesforce doesn't phone back, there is no relationship between Sun online figures and those of their resellers, the resellers' sites are an utter mish mash of totally non-uniform crap where you can't find anything and you have to have to start your research from scratch, the resellers stock is threadbare (no I don't want to wait a week while you get an option in from Sun), and the reseller system itself is so disastrous that, in effect, unless you have a major corporate business account, there is no outlet for Sun equipment in the UK. I finally gave up the torment, and after an hour online, I bought a few more Dells.

A company that doesn't want to take my money deserves to die. Period.

Message to Sun Sales: learn from Dell how to sell hardware.

Re:You've never used a Sunfire x4100 x86_64 server (5, Interesting)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770271)

Why is it that stupid people always put the blame on the vendor. There must be a pattern in there...
We have over 50 xfires (4100s, 4200s, 4600s) in production, so I feel an obligation to comment on this drivel.

  1. If you really have mouthbreathers on your team that manage to break a server with the pen switch (of all things!) then you have much bigger problems to worry about. I see no difference between the pen-switch design that Sun uses and the stuff that you find on Supermicro or Dell Chassis everywhere. So better keep your "people" far away from those, too...
  2. I don't buy your "front panels falling off" story either. I have no idea what the hell you guys are doing to your servers (curling them through the datacenter?) but anyone who has worked with xfire hardware can attest that design and build are generally stellar, no less. Just by looking at the picture [sun.com] I can only wonder what part of the panel is coming off on your xfires, and how?
  3. I cannot comment on the video hardware problems that you were having, other than that we never had a problem with that. Our xfires are generally dead-on-arrival (yes, that happens with sun, too) or work flawlessly. So far we had only two 4200s make it through the burn-in but fail later on (flakey PSU, flimsy backplane respectively) which is a pretty good ratio when compared to our expiriences with supermicro hardware.
  4. Yes, PXE booting can be disabled for each individual NIC. Read the manual sometime?
  5. You're saying you have "over 50" xfires, yet you keep buying a raid controller that sucks? Honestly, if I were your boss...

Sorry, either you're just making up shit here or you're the wrong guy for the job.

Re:Message to Jonathan Schwartz (2, Insightful)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769937)

The problem with Sun is that they're WAY behind the curve compared to even IBM in supporting Open Source (remember, IBM spent a huge amount of money porting Linux to run on their "big iron" platforms back in better economic times).

Because IBM has a great reputation as a computer services company nowadays, they can easily offer powerful enterprise-wide computing platforms at reasonable prices--and IBM has much more name recognition than Sun.

Re:Message to Jonathan Schwartz (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769949)

There's one little problem with your suggestion, Morgaine: A huge cashflow and credit crunch is in progress, and companies are NOT choosing to buy big, expensive new servers right now. According to the AP [tinyurl.com] ,

...[S]ales of its high-end servers... fell 27 percent in the latest quarter to $576 million. That's a staggering shortfall for a division that contributes a quarter of Sun's overall revenue.

"Build it and they will come" is not going to work in the current economic climate.

Re:Message to Jonathan Schwartz (2, Insightful)

jamesswift (1184223) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770073)

their reputation in the open source world is marginal at best because they've always been half-hearted about it.

I'm not really agreeing or disagreeing with that but just to provide an alternative opinion

"I think Sun has, well, with this contribution, have contributed more than any other company to the free software community in the form of software. And it shows leadership. It's an example that I hope others will follow." - Richard Stallman

http://www.fsfe.org/en/fellows/ciaran/ciaran_s_free_software_notes/sun_s_choice_of_the_gpl_and_rms_in_the_webcast [fsfe.org]

Re:Message to Jonathan Schwartz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770251)

Quite funny quote, given the situation Sun is facing. I highly doubt other companies want to follow that example.

Re:Message to Jonathan Schwartz (1)

jamesswift (1184223) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770289)

Maybe they will though. Freeing your code can be the software equivalent of an economic stimulus package.

Re:Message to Jonathan Schwartz (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770111)

I'm amazed that Sun are doing nothing in the mobile arena. ZFS would be amazing on small form-factor devices with flash storage, especially if you used the recording / transmit features for automatic backup when you docked the device. SPARC was designed to scale from very small to very large devices and there are a load of SPARC32 chips in embedded systems. From what I've seen of the OpenSPARC designs, the T2 would only need some small changes to be an amazing chip for handheld computing. It already has many of the same advantages as ARM, and Sun could sell a SPARC / Solaris / Java solution to mobile ODMs.

Re:Message to Jonathan Schwartz (3, Interesting)

davecb (6526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770183)

I quite disagree: open source needs something to run on, and the price-performance of the Niagara is impressive. In the machine room, I'd rather have Sun, IBM or H-P gear than anything built on mas-market PC parts: I hate fixing critical components (;-))

Open source software, on the other hand, is improved by being in a mass market: the price is already as low as you can get, so the effort goes into improving the quality. It's very welcome in my machine room.

--dave

"Branding space?" Really? (1)

nysus (162232) | more than 5 years ago | (#25769857)

I think people are weary of euphemisms and see right through them. What people are looking for these days is a little honesty. I suggest "shit content zones".

Jonothan Schwartz is safe, at least! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25769861)

Sun is both laying off 6,000 people (which will significantly impact vital groups that provide support and engineering for major customer contracts who are already short staffed) AND freezing all salary raises for FY09.

Thank god this is coming after Schwartz already got his $11,000,000 bonus for the reverse stock split that saw Sun lose 85% of its value in just over a year. Thank GOD Schwartz still gets his $60,000 per year stipend for his chauffer. Thank GOD Schwartz has nothing to worry about and can address every problem with more layoffs just as Sun has continued to do since 2001.

Sun has laid off more people since 2001 than currently work at the company. The problem is, they NEED those people and wind up hiring a lot of them back. So the layoffs are constantly necessary to appease wallstreet.

Sun will fire 6,000 people. They will take a $700m charge for this. That will screw up their numbers (like it does every quarter and year) which will further anger wallstreet and devalue Sun in their eyes. And they'll hire a lot of people back in that time. So to appease wallstreet for the negative numbers partially caused by the charge-off for layoff costs, they'll lay off more people. And get back to the number of employees they had just prior to the last layoff. And then they'll take another charge. And then repeat the cycle.

They've done this for most of a decade. It is nothing new.

BUT THANK GOD JONOTHAN SCHWARTZ WILL STILL AFFORD SHAMPOO FOR HIS PONYTAIL AND A CHAUFFER FOR HIS DAILY COMMUTE!

Re:Jonothan Schwartz is safe, at least! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770009)

I work for Sun, and I suspect that you do, too. I'm an "individual contributor" and I have nothing to do with management. Nor do I own any Sun stock.

Since I can't give you the Flamebait mod you deserve - since you should and do know better - I'll point out a couple of things for the benefit of those playing along at home.

The cuts are not likely to come from "vital groups that provide support and engineering for major customer contracts". That would be suicidal; Schwartz, Green, and others at the upper levels have said as much. They are more likely to come from areas that are consistently failing to meet targets or provide cashflow. Software, support, and allied services currently stand the best chance of generating near-term revenue.

And I'm sorry you're so upset that you won't be getting a pay rise this year. Guess what? I won't, either! But you don't see me bitching about it. WTF do you expect? "We're having a major downturn, here's your hefty salary increase"?

If you want to keep your job, you'd better quit whingeing about how you're not getting rich as quickly as you might like and that you're not going to be able to expense quite so many lattÃs as you've been, quit worrying about what Jonathan Schwartz' ponytail is having for breakfast, and start doing something to generate value for the company and customers, because if you can't show that you are, you're going to walk.

Here's a tip: If you're not doing something relating to software or support, get your arse over there and start doing something with a demonstrable benefit to the firm's bottom line ASAP.

Re:Jonothan Schwartz is safe, at least! (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770365)

....Green, and others at the upper levels have said as much...

I don't work at Sun, but I believe Rich Green is leaving, again. Maybe the others didn't agree.

Way to miss OP's point. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770393)

Way to miss the parent's point. He wasn't complaining that there are no raises this year. His complaint was that a guy whose only contribution was to do a reverse stock split cosmetic alteration that resulted in more layoffs and massive reduction in value of the stock to pre-split prices did NOT get a raise freeze.

I used to work at Sun too and it was typical that someone would be laid off and hired back. If you're not going to maintain staff cuts then all you're doing is making press today and eating layoff charges tomorrow. I left because I was tired of being painfully understaffed. I DID work in software at Sun for a decade and in the last few years saw a lot of people laid off with no way to arrange staffing to fill their vacancy. There are no sacred cows at Sun. Even if you don't have enough staff to meet obligations.

Re:Jonothan Schwartz is safe, at least! (2, Insightful)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770521)

WTF do you expect? "We're having a major downturn, here's your hefty salary increase"?

$11 million sounds like quite a large bonus - that's gotta be a smack in the face for all Sun employees if the company is saying they can't afford to give them an inflationary pay increase. I bet there are people working harder at Sun than the CEO, the myth that managers work harder/deserve more money than others needs to die. You can't blame an employee for being angry at that.

Incidentally share holders couldn't care less (on the whole) about "value". They care about short-term monetary profit, nothing else. If you're an uber coder that produces great products it doesn't matter - you can probably be forced to work faster and produce poorer code that will still sell.

Why they won't apply these principles to the executives I don't know.

But I thought this economy was killing os!? (1)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770039)

A recent /. story touted that this economy was going to kill open source because everyone was going to want to get paid for their work.

First they say the economy was going to kill OS, now they say it's helping. This does not compute! Circuits overloading....this does not compute......Hiss... bang...smoke.

Please fix the goddamn tags CSS on front Page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770041)

What insane web browser are the Slashdot web designers using that makes them think that the Stylesheet that displays front page tags is working in Firefox, Safari, or Opera.

It has to be IE that it displays correctly but, I'm sorry but I'm out of browsers that I will put up with to render this shit.

I'm a software developer, and a lot of my applications use html/css for display, and I spend a hell of a lot of time making sure my shit works in IE, FF, Opera, Safari, Chrome. I *HATE* IE, but that doesn't mean I don't *make it work* somehow. It is a shitty job, but Slashdot you are not exempt from this bullshit, especially if you do not at least working in god damn Firefox or Webkit.

Take the afternoon out and fucking fix it.

Re:Please fix the goddamn tags CSS on front Page (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770255)

Doesn't always work on IE either, so quityerbitchin (or atleast direct it to where it should be directed, which is not at IE but rather at the lame developers who hacked this POS).

Newsflash (2, Insightful)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770079)

Sun's approval rating drops by 15% - 18% today.

"but CEO Jonathan Schwartz contends users will be more inclined to try open-source products such as MySQL, OpenSolaris and Sun's GlassFish application server during a time of economic stress."

So, during a time of economic stress people will just be crawling over themselves to pay for MySQL, OpenSolaris, and GlassFish when the reason they would use those during such a time would be that they are free?

MySQL and charging people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770109)

Why not start actually charging all the people who've been using MySQL and not paying?

By by Java (0, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770125)

Scott McNeally used to say that he had no idea how he was going to make money off of Java, by giving it away. Well, now we know that he didn't and his successors didn't and it looks like there's about 6,000 less reasons for that platform to advance.

What is the point exactly? (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770159)

In moving to cut its current workforce by between 15% and 18% today, Sun is trying to stay ahead of a falling knife.

What does it mean for a company to "survive" if it lays off most of its employees? I don't see what the point is.

I've often thought about this notion of a company's lifespan. Where is it written that companies should live forever? They are made up of people with finite lifespans. Companies clearly go through similar "life" phases: enthusiasm of youth, conservatism of middle age, fatigue of old age. It would be interesting to know what the average lifespan of a company is in each country. We calculate this all the time for people.

Re:What is the point exactly? (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770453)

The 'stay ahead of a falling knife' is a misplaced metaphor; 'chewing off a leg to escape a trap' may be more appropriate.

Sun is a huge company, that employs lots of people both directly and indirectly. Sun has contributed greatly to the computing world; and been well compensated for those contributions. It appears they overextended themselves, and face two choices: find a sustainable core to continue on, or sell whatever is left.

There is a point to the survival, but - to borrow from the Solaris 8-ball - "Outlook not so good".

-----
For all of my adult life I have been really afraid of your country.

Re:What is the point exactly? (0)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770535)

In moving to cut its current workforce by between 15% and 18% today, Sun is trying to stay ahead of a falling knife.

What does it mean for a company to "survive" if it lays off most of its employees? I don't see what the point is.

I think they mean [simplistically] that it continues to employ the poorer working to make profits for the wealthy elite. That's "survival".

No branding (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770267)

Since OO is FOSS, someone will simply fork the code with all that crap commented out.

A new Fork of OO (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770357)

Sounds like a new fork of OO is needed, one that is 'ad-free'.

Sun is done. (1)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770361)

They cannot compete with lower cost alternatives. The broad acceptance of the web and the victory of scale-out over scale-up has destroyed their market. They have the best buggy whip, only nobody wants a buggy whip these days. We all want racks of interchange-able throw-away blades. And there's no way Sun competes in that market. They're as dead as Cray, DEC, SGI and Data General. They just don't know it yet.

Re:Sun is done. (1)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770649)

Computing had a bright future. Now all we're left with are the lowest common denominators: x86 and windows.

I like Sun's strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770387)

I've been very impressed with Sun's strategy of late, and I hope they don't let short term interests stand in the way of their long term vision. Look at their latest storage appliance [sun.com] , for example. Because of their open source strategy, the entire software stack has commoditized, so they can provide a storage appliance without the overhead many other vendors must add on. Plus they have done some very innovative work with their OS and ZFS, so they can offer a solution that does really cool things that no-one else can offer.

As a customer, I'm absolutely drawn to consider Sun for my hardware needs before other vendors. It's clear that from the top down, they understand the way business operates these days. While other vendors play lip service to any and every trend in the business, Sun really "gets it", so I feel like I can trust them to help me get where I want to go without scheming to hook me on a bunch of shit that has nothing to do with their schmoozy marketing schtick (I'm looking at you IBM).

I would love to work at Sun. I would love to have enough extra cash to buy lots of Sun stock. Sun today is where Apple was a few years ago before Jobs came back and reinvigorated the company. Sun's bottom line is connected to the economy like everyone else's, but they are also bottoming out because they are in the middle of reinventing themselves. I like what I see, and I'm confident that if shareholders can keep their panties unbunched long enough to let Schwartz's strategy unfold, they will be very happy indeed.

Never hear from Sun anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770445)

I've always been suprised how little I hear about sun despite using their software all the time. I really don't think they know how to do commercial advertising.
Anyone have a Grandmother who has heard of Sun? A Mom who knows they make something for her computer? A sister who knows that bejeweled runs on Java?

Outside of Star Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770447)

I don't think I have ever seen a Sun anything just sitting on a shelf or rack for sale. I've seen IBM, Apple, HP, etc, etc over the years. They are limiting themselves to 1% of the planet's population when they try to sell anything, the business "computer fleet" sales segment. Granted, that's a pricey segment, but it is still 1% of the population. Where is a Sun branded competitive desktop or laptop or netbook or SOHO server or even a PDA/smartphone for sale at any retail place? Where is an advertising campaign to direct joe public to their site to try and wade through to find something for sale? Where is any Sun software for sale on the shelf at some retail place? Now I wouldn't expect to see any 100 grand to million buck computer sitting on the retail rack, but there is all the other stuff that can be sold in computer-land. Hottest segment of consumer spending lately oncompiters, advanced smartphones and netbooks..Sun doesn't even have one even if you go to their site. They have no wider mass market presence of any note, and seems like you need to cover every possible base in this economy, grab your nickles where you can. If people can't even *see* your stuff for sale, why golly gee, they aren't going to be buying it. Their big stuff gets sold, but their medium stuff starts to get rare, and they have no small computing needs, even though that is a two billion person plus market globally and rising fast. Bad car/vehicle analogy, Sun sells SUVs to medium to heavy trucks to fleet purchasers, but they have no regular scooters or motorcycles or commuter cars or family sedans or sports sedans or small pickups, and no dealers lots for anything, nor advertising.

Ads will devalue their asset. None for me!!! (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770525)

I have contributed to OpenOffice.org (testing) since earlier days. I had to switch away from it in January because trying to pass a contract back and forth with someone who uses MS Office resulted in a corrupted layout. (lots of other problems like that in the past, now I don't know).

Let me just say that as much as I have wished well for OpenOffice and Sun, there is no way at all I would use OpenOffice if it had ads in it. Sure they can make money but just don't put advertising in it. I wouldn't use it for free, and I wouldn't consider buying it either. Sun would use up all the good will it built up with me by trying to make ad dollars off of open source. Money fine. But don't put If that's all the brains they have left, they should start digging their own grave.

Scratching my head (3, Interesting)

bangzilla (534214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25770673)

Couple of data points:
1. My kids go to school in the Bay Area. Both have an impressive wardrobe of Sun-logo'd t-shirts (the designs are much better that your average "slap-a-logo-on-a-white-T"). While I'm not complaining, why is Sun clothing my children while laying off 5,000 staff?
2. I've been in the computer business for ~25 years. I've done work with Sun in the past (~15 years ago). I can tell you what business Microsoft is in. I can tell you what business HP is in. Ditto Oracle. Heck I even think I could tell you what business IBM is in these days. I have *no* idea what business Sun is in. Oh I know they own some Open Source apps and once upon a time they made computers around the SPARC processor - but what do they do now? How do they intend to make money and return a profit for their shareholders?

This is very sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25770757)

to see such a big, historic player go down. Sun had, and probably still has, some incredibly smart people. I think the combo of Sparc and Solaris, which for years could scale and take load without breaking a sweat in environments that would crush the Linux kernel, was a tech landmark.

It's extraordinarily hard to make it work when you control hardware and software. It's easy to be blinded by your own success. Sometimes it takes a near-death experience to rejuvenate a company, as it did Apple. Apple controlled hardware and OS, they still do now having used the unfettered BSD license to get the guts they needed. But they had the iMac and then the iPod to print money for them while OS X was improved. And they had Jobs. Sun didn't have Jobs; they had McNeeley, the Typhoid Annie of Tech.

Schwartz is fighting the good fight but the foundation for the disaster was laid down years ago by McNeeley. A grand company goes under and good people lose their jobs but as always the brass still play golf at Pebble Beach.

I hope Sun pulls it off; Linux (which I don't use), would be the better for it.

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