“The Most Important Initiative”

A couple of nice quotes about OpenSolaris from a piece in ZDNet today:

That Sun would offer an open-source version of its flagship operating system shows just how seriously the company takes this technology trend. “I was stunned” when Sun announced OpenSolaris, said David Ray, a manager of information systems at a large hotel in St. Louis. “The open-sourcing of Solaris 10 potentially may turn out to have been the most important single initiative” Sun has going, added Mark Stahlman, an analyst at Caris & Co.

The “stunned” comment is interesting. Early on (like 18 months ago early) when we were just starting to talk to customers and developers about OpenSolaris, some people were stunned, true enough. Not all, though. In fact, most people reacted with a blend of outright  excitement tempered by some healthy skepticism. Some thought we were not really going to do it or that we’d open Solaris 9 and keep the really advanced stuff in Solaris 10 closed. We did the exact opposite, of course, but convincing some guys that that was our intention was challenging at times because of our less than consistent past. The only thing I could do from my level was bring them into the pilot program and toss the code at them, but that was still a pilot and under NDA, so it wasn’t real. I’ll tell you this, though. Those early conversations began before the Solaris engineers started blogging on blogs.sun.com. Heck, back then, BSC had just launched, actually. The “stunned” and “skeptical” comments all went away when customers and developers started chewing on the content from the Solaris engineers — content that grew weekly and outlined quite clearly that Solaris was going to be opened. Then the question wasn’t if but when. Which was another question altogether, believe me. 🙂  The second quote above says it all, though. That’s one comment that the vast majority of people told us early in the process — “this is the most important thing you guys have done.” I agree.

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3 thoughts on ““The Most Important Initiative”

  1. Having the source, is not about making the system faster, it about being able to understand and debug a complex system, or even understand a complex API.
    For many people, Solaris is the reason they stayed with Sun, so the idea that they (Sun) would give away (layman term) their key assest probably was a big deal, remember not everyone really understands the concepts behind open source and the benefits its brings to the entity providing the source…
    PS: With understanding you buy the polariod sunglasses not the tinted ones and the grass really is greener – at least under certain conditions 🙂

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  2. Having the source, is not about making the system faster, it about being able to understand and debug a complex system, or even understand a complex API.
    For many people, Solaris is the reason they stayed with Sun, so the idea that they (Sun) would give away (layman term) their key assest probably was a big deal, remember not everyone really understands the concepts behind open source and the benefits its brings to the entity providing the source…
    PS: With understanding you buy the polariod sunglasses not the tinted ones and the grass really is greener – at least under certain conditions 🙂

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  3. It seems that people observing that this is the most important thing Sun has done tells you more about those people than the actual importance of open sourcing Solaris. Does open source really make their servers faster (or their grass greener)?

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