OpenSolaris: Too Little, Too late

“Too little, too late” is my favorite hit on OpenSolaris. It seems to be the most pervasive hit, too, probably because it’s just so easy to say. It’s kind of catchy, don’t you think? Omar Tazi thinks we are doing too little and are doing it too late. But, as is generally the case, it’s baseless and he offers no substantiation whatsoever. This is what he says:

I may be wrong but I think it’s too little too late and I even wonder if Sun’s move serves the Operating System open source community. It was doing just fine focusing its resources on the thriving Linux, sometimes more is less. Somebody must be happy up in Redmond.

Yes, Omar. You are wrong. We’ll prove it over time … this is just a heads up.

First, why would Redmond be happy? Microsoft’s Windows is a competitor of ours in many markets. Microsoft can’t be happy that yet another enterprise operating system is going open source while Windows is still locked shut. Second, why are you denying Solaris developers and users from contributing to the OpenSolaris community the same way that Linux and BSD developers contribute to their communities? Seems pretty selfish to me. OpenSolaris will simply help provide more validation for open source around the world, particularly in emerging markets where we have teams hitting the streets right now. The more open source communities the better. There’s room for us all, Omar.

Actually, the timing for opening Solaris simply could not be better. We have serious executive support. We are multi platform. We have new SPARC and Opteron systems coming out that fly. We scale from tiny laptops to supercomputers (and don’t be surprised to see Solaris on your cell phone in the future). We have really great code in Solaris 10 with features not found anywhere else, and we have numerous areas for improvement in which the community will immediately contribute. We have an excited market that has downloaded a million or so copies in just a couple of months. We have an innovative open source license that will help enable the new community. We are building a responsible co-development model that our customers expect. We have a solid community advisory board. We’ve been running a pilot program since September. Seems like things are lining up, don’t you think? But above all, we have some nervous competitors out there who simply don’t know how to react to all this. After all, this wasn’t supposed to happen. We were supposed to be dead by now. I guess it’s not too late, after all, eh?

OpenSolaris: Too little, too late? Bullshit.


8 thoughts on “OpenSolaris: Too Little, Too late

  1. Hi Brian,
    I’d have to agree with your statement. I have always been somewhat upset with trying to run Solaris on x86 hardware and lack of driver support for many devices that are really quite common. I just heard about OpenSolaris today (05/06/2005) and think its a great idea, especially in the realm of x86. On Sun boxes, Solaris is definetly the bomb! But on x86, like I said, I have always been less than impressed. Can’t wait to see it released. Does anyone know if x86 support will be improved for more driver support?
    Thanks all, and give the naysayers a big finger for me (the middle one of course!) 🙂


  2. Jim, I don’t think I am. You cleary said you think “too little too late” is bullshit. I’m saying I think it is too late. If Sun really wanted to open solaris up, they should have done it when they could afford to. Giving away IP i something you can get away with if you are either a) a start-up with no operating costs to cover or b) a cashed-up company with massive profits in other areas of your business.
    Sun is neither of these. It is a 30 year old company that spent the 90’s bitching about (or making fun of) Microsoft instead of innovating and now it is losing money and has declining sales. Is this really the time to be giving stuff away? Is there a strategy behind this that leads to growing revenues and growing profits for Sun?


  3. To DS and Cameron: Nice attempt, guys, but you come up short. Just *where* in my post do you see me suggesting what you are saying in your responses? Where? You are putting words in my mouth.


  4. Jim, are you suggesting that the best time to give away your product IP is when your revenues are going backwards and your company is losing money?

    That’s funny, but I always thought of Sun as a dot bomb with a slow burning fuse.

    Profit, we don’t need no stinking profit, we got technology.


  5. I really enjoy these blogs. The above rebuttal would have never come out of Sun’s press releases.
    BTW, people seem to be targeting Sun so much, but can’t admit to themselves the super-huge loser in all this will be Microsoft. Only Microsoft still charges up-front for their OS!


  6. <hr>
    Sometimes you need to use small words with these people.
    <big>Y</big>ou needed to put things in clear and simple terms for these people. The expression &ldquo;too little, too late&rdquo; deserves an equally simple expression for these simple minds.

    <big>I</big> think you nailed it dead on.



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