[Update & Correction: It was not Dave Rosenberg who made these statements below on which I’m commenting. It was Peter Yared. I guess I got confused by Dave’s post. I thought he was summarizing and adding commentary to Peter’s post. Apologies to Dave for the mistake.]
Dave Rosenberg writes about how he thinks open source has changed the business models of some big companies — Big Company Behavior Patterns Around Open Source. This is how Sun is reacting — according to Rosenberg, I mean:
“We’re Open, Too” players open source their competing proprietary products long after a successful open source project has eclipsed their proprietary alternatives. Sun open sources their products in this way to much fanfare, but not much avail, examples include Solaris vs. Linux, NetBeans vs. Eclipse, SunONE Application Server vs. JBOSS, SPARC vs. x86, etc. This strategy is a stark contrast to the IBM “join the party” strategy, where IBM takes the best of their proprietary products and adds it to existing successful open source project like Linux.
Wrong on many fronts. Simon Phipps points out most of the errors in a comment to the original post. I couldn’t find a permalink to comments in the blog, but you can easily find it off the main post. There are only two comments currently. Anyway, I wanted to point out a few other items …
First … we didn’t release OpenSolaris “to much fanfare” as Rosenberg states. In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite, and anyone who knows anything about this project would know that. Last year we opened 10 million lines of code with one press release and a couple of hundred engineering blogs. That’s it. There was no big advertising campaign or proclamations and all that crap. Instead, the engineers led the launch in absolutely every important way. And since then we’ve opened more code — sixteen times — with absolutely zero fanfare.
Early on, we intentionally understated the marketing, PR, and advertising on the project, and I’ve been a strong proponent of that strategy from the very beginning of the project. Not that we didn’t want to get the word out — far from it — but more so because we wanted the project to gain credibility with OpenSolaris developers from the ground up, not from the top down with some billion dollar advertising campaign. We wanted to earn our credibility from the quality of our code and from the talents of our developers, not from the spin of our messages. Basically, we wanted to engage developers, not commentators. It’s really that simple. Code comes first, not spin. Also, we were opening Solaris in stages, and we knew it would take time to not only release all the code and tools but to also build the community and the infrastructure for open development. That’s all happening at the same time.
Now, however, the situation is changing. We have an enormous amount of code out there, the community is growing, and more infrastructure is in place. So I would expect — and would support — a stepped up marketing strategy that reflects our current position and direction. The engineering comes first, though. OpenSolaris is a developer program, not a marketing campaign.
Second … the “but not much avail” comment is rude and dismisses the entire OpenSolaris community — thousands of people working hard to build an innovative project we can all be proud of. An apology would be nice, don’t you think?
Third … Rosenberg says that we are opening our “competing proprietary products long after a successful open source project has eclipsed their proprietary alternatives.” He then juxtaposes SPARC vs x86 as an example of this. Fascinating. I didn’t know that OpenSPARC was in response to the previously open source x86 project. I must have missed that one.