Getting the Word Out

David Berlind a couple of weeks ago nicely summarized a recent Rich Green interview — Rich Green: Sun’s green machine? Skim down to the last paragraph and you’ll find this observation:

“More importantly, Green is right. Sun has a software stack that is one to be reckoned with, if only Sun can get the word out.”

I still hear this quite often, and I generally agree with the statement in most cases. But something bothers me about it and it’s this — what more could we do? I mean this quite sincerely. We now have thousands of bloggers liberated to talk about all kinds of technology, we’ve opened more code — both hardware and software — than we know what to do with (with still more coming), we have that fancy “Share” and “Participation Age” branding campaign going on that fits nicely with all the open stuff we are doing, we send engineers and executives all over the world to participate in industry conferences, we invest millions holding our own conferences, we spend lots of money on marketing at multiple levels, we contribute to open source and standards communities all over the place, we are placing more ads about Sun in tech and business magazines now (especially with all the new products we have lately), and our press and analyst coverage seems to be increasing in volume and quality quite steadily. We are quite literally one of the loudest companies out there. Now, I realize that we have a Chairman and a CEO who are both a bit on the shy side, but we’re working on that. But seriously, short of spending five or six hundred million on carpet bombing advertising, what more could we do to get the word out?

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20 thoughts on “Getting the Word Out

  1. I agree with the comments here about the fact that Solaris is open source (mostly) and free for deployment being met with incredulity by colleagues. Somehow you need to get that message out in a more forceful way.
    As for me, OpenSolaris was the final deciding factor in picking Sun for the servers for a large project. My philosophy is simple, if at times challenging to implement: the companies’ "family jewels" will never be beholden to an external organization. That means we want the code and data formats to be open. So while Sun’s advanced server technologies were always attractive, they were not by themselves enough.
    I have no heartburn with proprietary software per se, just not in mission-critical areas. For example, for desktops and notebooks, we are standardizing on Macs for ease-of-use.-admin, etc. But for an Office Suite, NeoOffice, until the OpenOffice.org port is ready for the Mac OS X because we will not trust critical documents to an opaque proprietary format. It isn’t fear of spending money, it’s unwillingness to pay a tax for continued access to our own data, among other things. We deviate from this only for the most compelling of reasons.
    Anyway, the opening of Solaris has turned us into a customer of both your software and hardware and very soon also your services.
    Cheers

    Like

  2. Hey ….

    Jim.Grisanzio@Sun.COM wrote On 08/07/06 23:13,:
    > ux-admin wrote:
    >
    > Jim, there are several major problems with (Open)Solaris
    marketing.

    OpenSolaris marketing is a community effort. Not a Sun effort. In fact,
    I started it back in the pilot program with the specific intention of
    making it a community effort. Now, others have subsequently taken it
    over and managed it, and I’m just a participant. Sun employees
    participate and many times lead, but that’s probably a temporary
    situation given the life of the project. If you have any complaints
    about OpenSolaris marketing you need to address them to the community
    marketing alias — which has hundreds of people on it — and
    participate in the discussion as well. That’s the whole point of
    OpenSolaris marketing … so non-Sun community members can participate
    directly.

    > Solaris is still (and probably will forever be) an operating
    system and
    > an operating environment for professionals;

    Ok, so just so we are clear. You are on to Solaris now, Sun’s product,
    right? Sure, I’d say that Solaris is a system for the pros right now,
    I’d agree. But what’s wrong with that? I mean, it was only a
    server/workstation OS just a short while ago. High end guys. General
    computer users at home don’t use Solaris unless they are using a Sun
    Ray. But why do you assume Solaris will remain in only those markets?
    We ported to x86/x64 specifically to enter new (volume) markets. We
    opened the source specifically to build a community, so we could expand
    the system and ultimately enter new markets as well. Who’s to say that
    the OpenSolaris community will not take Solaris technology (in whatever
    form) to new, more general users? I’m in Japan now, and they are all
    about devices. Desktop OS’s here in Asia are nothing compared to the
    markets for devices that embed the OS.

    > and even most of IT
    > professionals (especially in Europe!) don’t have a clue about
    Solaris;

    Sorry, but I just can’t accept this. It makes no sense give that we
    sell billion of dollars of Solars systems. And I’m willing to bet that
    every single AIX and HP-UX and Linux customer out there — billions
    more dollars — knows about Solaris. Now, more people at the lower end
    may know about Windows, sure, but Unix is far from dead. Yes, Solaris
    has lost some share in recent years, but that was *before* the x86/x86
    port, *before* Solaris 10, and *before* OpenSolaris.

    > for most people Solaris is this scary, complicated thing, provided
    they
    > even heard of it. Average Joe User can barely turn on a computer
    and use
    > Windows, I’ve seen this more times then I cared to.

    I’m not in Sun’s Solaris product marketing group, but I bet that the
    “average” user is not the target market for the current version of
    Solaris. Look, all I’m saying is that as Solaris becomes easier to use
    — and it is — don’t be surprised when “average” people start using
    it. Why are you so negative about Solaris? Give us a chance.

    > Running Solaris is
    > science fiction. And not that there is anything wrong with that,
    au
    > contraire, but it’s just one of those things that will remain a
    barrier
    > to entry forever. People don’t understand computers, and they
    don’t care
    > about understanding them either.

    Forever is a long time. Too long to make such assertions. And I’m fine
    with some people (even many people) not caring about computers. I don’t
    see who that helps or hurts us on the OpenSolaris project. We are
    engaging developers, people who do care.

    > Finally, if Sun wants more market
    > penetration, they have to hit more university students. And
    heavily. The
    > computer science students of today are the decision makers of
    tomorrow.
    > I have an apprentice that just started his three month internship
    on
    > containers and zones in Solaris 10. With no previous UNIX
    experience
    > whatsoever. By a lucky stroke he landed with me who can show him
    the
    > ropes on UNIX and Solaris in particular. And when he goes back to
    > complete his degree, guess which operating environment he’ll be
    talking
    > to his colleagues about? Sun has to spread out the word about
    Solaris at
    > many more universities than they do today, and Sun has to focus
    > especially hard on educating these students — the decision makers
    of
    > tomorrow — on Solaris themselves, more proactively. This is
    critical.

    I totally agree. And we have many programs in place, both at Sun for
    Solaris and with the community on OpenSolaris. Teresa is doing a
    wonderful job. OpenSolaris is now part of the curriculum at more than
    30 universities around the world. Last year that number was 0. We are
    just starting.

    Like

  3. Hey ….

    Jim.Grisanzio@Sun.COM wrote On 08/07/06 23:13,:
    > ux-admin wrote:
    >
    > Jim, there are several major problems with (Open)Solaris
    marketing.

    OpenSolaris marketing is a community effort. Not a Sun effort. In fact,
    I started it back in the pilot program with the specific intention of
    making it a community effort. Now, others have subsequently taken it
    over and managed it, and I’m just a participant. Sun employees
    participate and many times lead, but that’s probably a temporary
    situation given the life of the project. If you have any complaints
    about OpenSolaris marketing you need to address them to the community
    marketing alias — which has hundreds of people on it — and
    participate in the discussion as well. That’s the whole point of
    OpenSolaris marketing … so non-Sun community members can participate
    directly.

    > Solaris is still (and probably will forever be) an operating
    system and
    > an operating environment for professionals;

    Ok, so just so we are clear. You are on to Solaris now, Sun’s product,
    right? Sure, I’d say that Solaris is a system for the pros right now,
    I’d agree. But what’s wrong with that? I mean, it was only a
    server/workstation OS just a short while ago. High end guys. General
    computer users at home don’t use Solaris unless they are using a Sun
    Ray. But why do you assume Solaris will remain in only those markets?
    We ported to x86/x64 specifically to enter new (volume) markets. We
    opened the source specifically to build a community, so we could expand
    the system and ultimately enter new markets as well. Who’s to say that
    the OpenSolaris community will not take Solaris technology (in whatever
    form) to new, more general users? I’m in Japan now, and they are all
    about devices. Desktop OS’s here in Asia are nothing compared to the
    markets for devices that embed the OS.

    > and even most of IT
    > professionals (especially in Europe!) don’t have a clue about
    Solaris;

    Sorry, but I just can’t accept this. It makes no sense give that we
    sell billion of dollars of Solars systems. And I’m willing to bet that
    every single AIX and HP-UX and Linux customer out there — billions
    more dollars — knows about Solaris. Now, more people at the lower end
    may know about Windows, sure, but Unix is far from dead. Yes, Solaris
    has lost some share in recent years, but that was *before* the x86/x86
    port, *before* Solaris 10, and *before* OpenSolaris.

    > for most people Solaris is this scary, complicated thing, provided
    they
    > even heard of it. Average Joe User can barely turn on a computer
    and use
    > Windows, I’ve seen this more times then I cared to.

    I’m not in Sun’s Solaris product marketing group, but I bet that the
    “average” user is not the target market for the current version of
    Solaris. Look, all I’m saying is that as Solaris becomes easier to use
    — and it is — don’t be surprised when “average” people start using
    it. Why are you so negative about Solaris? Give us a chance.

    > Running Solaris is
    > science fiction. And not that there is anything wrong with that,
    au
    > contraire, but it’s just one of those things that will remain a
    barrier
    > to entry forever. People don’t understand computers, and they
    don’t care
    > about understanding them either.

    Forever is a long time. Too long to make such assertions. And I’m fine
    with some people (even many people) not caring about computers. I don’t
    see who that helps or hurts us on the OpenSolaris project. We are
    engaging developers, people who do care.

    > Finally, if Sun wants more market
    > penetration, they have to hit more university students. And
    heavily. The
    > computer science students of today are the decision makers of
    tomorrow.
    > I have an apprentice that just started his three month internship
    on
    > containers and zones in Solaris 10. With no previous UNIX
    experience
    > whatsoever. By a lucky stroke he landed with me who can show him
    the
    > ropes on UNIX and Solaris in particular. And when he goes back to
    > complete his degree, guess which operating environment he’ll be
    talking
    > to his colleagues about? Sun has to spread out the word about
    Solaris at
    > many more universities than they do today, and Sun has to focus
    > especially hard on educating these students — the decision makers
    of
    > tomorrow — on Solaris themselves, more proactively. This is
    critical.

    I totally agree. And we have many programs in place, both at Sun for
    Solaris and with the community on OpenSolaris. Teresa is doing a
    wonderful job. OpenSolaris is now part of the curriculum at more than
    30 universities around the world. Last year that number was 0. We are
    just starting.

    Like

  4. Jim, there are several major problems with (Open)Solaris marketing.
    Solaris is still (and probably will forever be) an operating system and an operating environment for professionals; and even most of IT professionals (especially in Europe!) don’t have a clue about Solaris; for most people Solaris is this scary, complicated thing, provided they even heard of it.
    Average Joe User can barely turn on a computer and use Windows, I’ve seen this more times then I cared to. Running Solaris is science fiction. And not that there is anything wrong with that, au contraire, but it’s just one of those things that will remain a barrier to entry forever. People don’t understand computers, and they don’t care about understanding them either.
    Finally, if Sun wants more market penetration, they have to hit more university students. And heavily. The computer science students of today are the decision makers of tomorrow. I have an apprentice that just started his three month internship on containers and zones in Solaris 10. With no previous UNIX experience whatsoever. By a lucky stroke he landed with me who can show him the ropes on UNIX and Solaris in particular. And when he goes back to complete his degree, guess which operating environment he’ll be talking to his colleagues about?
    Sun has to spread out the word about Solaris at many more universities than they do today, and Sun has to focus especially hard on educating these students — the decision makers of tomorrow — on Solaris themselves, more proactively. This is critical.

    Like

  5. Hey, Rich … you ask, “How do we do a better job of evangelizing (marketing) … without having to compete with the huge marketing budgets of IBM, Oracle, Microsoft….” Well, I think James nails it — “improve your sales and channel models, for starters.” I think this is critical at this point. The most important thing is a direct relationship with a customer or partner or developer. No filters. No spin. I think we are as good as anyone with “marketing 2.0” but I think we need to bring “marketing 2.0” directly into the field. Field issues are what interest me most right now.

    Like

  6. you could improve your sales and channel models, for starters. its not as eay to address Sun through people as it should be.
    blogs and columns, and even CEO rants only go so far. I was at SAP this week- this guy were saying SeeBeyond had gone off the radar screen.

    Like

  7. Stephan … Yah, Solaris Express is really geared more for customers. Sorry about that. I should have been more clear. In an effort to make things more complicated, though, we have “Solaris Express, Community Edition” — which is synchronized with the same build as the OpenSolaris source. That’s the developer binary release of the OpenSolaris sources from Sun plus stuff not released to OpenSolaris yet. Developers use it as the base system to build OpenSolaris. Same basic download format, though. The OpenSolaris source is available via BitTorrent, though, and that was a requirement we stuck to early on (though it wasn’t easy, as I recall). Links to Solaris Express Community Release and the torrent for OpenSolaris here: http://opensolaris.org/os/downloads/on/. ZFS list here: http://opensolaris.org/os/discussions/. ZFS is the most popular single bit of technology discussed on OpenSolaris right now, by the way. Check in on opensolaris-discuss@opensolaris.org or zfs-discuss@opensolaris.org and let us know how you’re doing. At least there, you’ll find people who actually know what they are talking about. 🙂

    Like

  8. Hi, Philip. Very strange. I only just got this mail now. I get comments mailed to me so I know when they come in on blogs.sun.com, but I only got yours today. I’ve always had problems with that feature. Oh, well. Anyway … yes, many people still don’t know Solaris is free and open source. With this one issue, I think it’s going to take more than time. I think some people feel burned by Sun changing its mind on things in the past (Solaris 8 source program, Solaris on x86 flip-flop etc). But I’m convinced that these changes we’ve seen in the last few years will be very, very long lasting. Our word needs to mean something, and the only way you earn that is to be consistently honest. In that respect, we’ve improved greatly. I so completely didn’t agree with some of those decisions in the past, and I’ve been at Sun long enough to remember. Some of them, anyway. So, I understand the reaction of some developers and customers. We need to earn them back on their timetable. Not ours.

    Like

  9. Hi everybody, thanks for your comments and advice. The HCL was exactly what I was looking for. Regarding development speed, I have to agree with Christopher: Linux seems to be moving much faster, which of course might be due to the fact that Solaris focuses more on stability.

    That Solaris Express tip was a good one too. But that offer seems to be geared towards business users. During registration I had to answer questions which do not make sense if I’m not evaluating Solaris as part of my job. I have to agree (again) with Christopher: where is the ISO I can just download, preferably with bittorrent? That would also make it possible to put the whole DVD ISO online as one big file, instead of me needing to download and put together those five parts.
    I’m downloading it now and will try to run it as a guest OS under VMWare Server. I’m particularly intrerested in ZFS, seems to be cool technology. Especially in light of the linux flamewars regarding their potential next generation filesystem Reiser4 – Solaris seems to be quite ahead in this area. I will report back as soon as i have something up running. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Stephan

    Like

  10. Christopher … I’d like to see us move much faster as a community, too. Many of us would. I don’t really think we’re moving too slowly, though, but I do see value in moving more quickly. Some things on OpenSolaris are really quick, and other things are taking more time. Governance, for instance, has been under discussion for a year. Also, I think that we’ll more faster in general when some of these systems are in place (like SCM) and have an approved governance and development process, etc) Sometimes setting things up takes a lot of time, but once the systems are in place we can sing. 🙂 Thanks for our encouragement, too. We appreciate it, believe me.

    Like

  11. [Trackback] Sun’s Opteron-based Galaxy servers offer excellent price/performance, attractive thermals, and run Solaris 10, which is arguably the best implementation of Unix on the market and certainly the most open now thanks to the OpenSolaris project.

    Like

  12. [Trackback] Sun’s Opteron-based Galaxy servers offer excellent price/performance, attractive thermals, and run Solaris 10, which is arguably the best implementation of Unix on the market and certainly the most open now thanks to the OpenSolaris project.

    Like

  13. Hey, Stephan …

    Sorry I’m late … got tied up with my move stuff. Moving countries is
    really, really hard. God …

    I’ve heard really good things about Ubuntu Linux. I just got a new Sony
    Vaio laptop and it has enough space for me to tuck another OS in there,
    and I’d like to put Ubuntu on it. I’m not a techie, so I have to have a
    little help. Right now I have Windows and build42 of OpenSolaris. I
    have an old laptop I can use to experiment with, too. Maybe I’ll play
    around with Ubuntu and Nexenta.

    I think you bring up a lot of good points. I probably can’t answer them
    in enough technical detail, but these are all issues that we are
    addressing in one way or another.

    Regarding your hardware support … check for your stuff on the HCL:
    http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/hcl/. That’s probably the link you are
    looking for.

    On software, I’m not up on where we are with VMware completely — maybe
    someone else can chime in — but I know Solaris is supported as a child
    and we have an active community around Xen as well. I don’t use KDE,
    but I have friends who do, and I’ve not heard of any major complaints
    (aside from the various KDE vs Gnome debates). And I know the guy who
    is one of the maintainers of the KDE port to Solaris, and that
    community seems to be doing pretty well. They participate on the
    OpenSolaris desktop community, too. I use JDS Gnome, and it runs just
    fine on my Sun Ray and my laptop (though my Sun Ray is a bit slow
    here). We certainly ship a lot of open source apps as part of the
    Solaris distribution, but it will take more time for some apps to come.
    Personally, I’d like PhotoShop, but I know that’s not open source. Very
    nice app, though. 🙂 I’m getting more and more used to Gimp, though, so
    it’s only a matter of time when I’ll dump PhotoShop. My feeling is that
    we were a server OS but are now moving to be a desktop OS as well. All
    in good time. 🙂 This is one of the key reason we opened, by the way —
    more developers, more apps.

    Yes, we are opening Solaris in pieces. Or stages, I guess. First we did
    DTrace, then the main OS/Net consolidation (that was the big drop of 10
    million lines or so), and then all year this year we released more
    tools and consolidations, such as ZFS. The roadmap should be pretty up
    to date: http://opensolaris.org/os/about/roadmap/

    Keep in mind that OpenSolaris is a source community at this stage. It’s
    the development source of the future of Solaris (Solaris 11 or whatever
    they’ll call it). If you want the very latest code as binary, use
    Solaris Express, which is Sun’s distro of OpenSolaris. That has the
    OpenSolaris bits plus the stuff not opened yet or can’t be opened for
    whatever reason. All our most advanced stuff is out there, though.

    Regarding Solaris being different from Linux, well, you’re beyond my
    technical ability already. 🙂 I’m sure it is, though. And there has
    been some discussion on our forums about just this issue — writing
    better documentation and also writing docs for specifically Linux
    developers. Or from their technical perspective, I guess. Hopefully
    this will come as the community grows and matures. Max Bruning has
    written some stuff that may help:

    Kernels:
    http://opensolaris.org/os/article/2005-10-14_a_comparison_of_solaris__linux__and_freebsd_kernels/
    Drivers:
    http://opensolaris.org/os/articles/?startDate=2005-04-01

    There’s a lot of resources and articles on BigAdmin for Solaris (the
    product), but for OpenSolaris here are some quick developer references:

    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/onnv/devref_toc/
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/onnv/install_quickstart/
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/tools/building_opensolaris/
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/tools/building_opensolaris_part2/
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/onnv/os_dev_process/

    Yes we need more, we know that. 🙂

    I’ve heard technical people from the Linux community and the
    OpenSolaris community argue about the technical advantages of their
    respective systems. The reasonable ones from both communities, I mean.
    I could care less about all the religion going back and forth.
    Personally, I’m perfectly willing to believe that there are areas where
    Solaris is way ahead and there are areas where Linux is way ahead, and
    I don’t see a problem with that. I’ve been a strong supporter of Linux
    inside of Sun for six years, and ran it on my laptop when I was in
    marketing. A little friendly competition is a good thing. Just one
    example: I can install Linux pretty easily, but I really, really
    struggle with Solaris (and I’m not at the level of building the source
    from OpenSolaris, either). I think in the area of usability, we have a
    lot to learn here at Sun in general on all of our products. Keep in
    mind, with respect to Solaris, we opened it to engage more developers
    so we could improve the system in our weak areas or to enable it to
    grow in ways we couldn’t even foresee or didn’t have resources or
    skills for. We talked about this at great length. We think Solaris is
    extremely advanced in many areas (DTrace, Zones, ZFS, blablabla) but we
    certainly recognize that there are areas we can grow.

    Code contributions …. yah, I think Karyn chimed in on that too.
    That’s just the non-Sun guys. We just want to point to the fact that
    external guys are contributing via the request-sponsor program, which
    is cool. The gate is not external yet, but it will be, which will
    reflect the Solaris organization’s 1,000 or so engineers with hundreds
    and hundreds and hundreds of code contributors. Personally, I think at
    that point we should stop counting and just let the community mix —
    Sun, non-Sun. No distinction. SCM is coming, too:
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/tools/scm/

    I do think we need to get faster and more efficient, and I think we can
    learn from the open source community here. However, we also have to
    strike a balance with stability for our customers. Where that balance
    is I don’t really know, to be honest, but there is a push here to get
    faster, no question. Our development methodology and engineering
    culture are probably a bit different from that of Linux community, but
    I can see value in both.

    Like

  14. Hey, Stephan …

    Sorry I’m late … got tied up with my move stuff. Moving countries is
    really, really hard. God …

    I’ve heard really good things about Ubuntu Linux. I just got a new Sony
    Vaio laptop and it has enough space for me to tuck another OS in there,
    and I’d like to put Ubuntu on it. I’m not a techie, so I have to have a
    little help. Right now I have Windows and build42 of OpenSolaris. I
    have an old laptop I can use to experiment with, too. Maybe I’ll play
    around with Ubuntu and Nexenta.

    I think you bring up a lot of good points. I probably can’t answer them
    in enough technical detail, but these are all issues that we are
    addressing in one way or another.

    Regarding your hardware support … check for your stuff on the HCL:
    http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/hcl/. That’s probably the link you are
    looking for.

    On software, I’m not up on where we are with VMware completely — maybe
    someone else can chime in — but I know Solaris is supported as a child
    and we have an active community around Xen as well. I don’t use KDE,
    but I have friends who do, and I’ve not heard of any major complaints
    (aside from the various KDE vs Gnome debates). And I know the guy who
    is one of the maintainers of the KDE port to Solaris, and that
    community seems to be doing pretty well. They participate on the
    OpenSolaris desktop community, too. I use JDS Gnome, and it runs just
    fine on my Sun Ray and my laptop (though my Sun Ray is a bit slow
    here). We certainly ship a lot of open source apps as part of the
    Solaris distribution, but it will take more time for some apps to come.
    Personally, I’d like PhotoShop, but I know that’s not open source. Very
    nice app, though. 🙂 I’m getting more and more used to Gimp, though, so
    it’s only a matter of time when I’ll dump PhotoShop. My feeling is that
    we were a server OS but are now moving to be a desktop OS as well. All
    in good time. 🙂 This is one of the key reason we opened, by the way —
    more developers, more apps.

    Yes, we are opening Solaris in pieces. Or stages, I guess. First we did
    DTrace, then the main OS/Net consolidation (that was the big drop of 10
    million lines or so), and then all year this year we released more
    tools and consolidations, such as ZFS. The roadmap should be pretty up
    to date: http://opensolaris.org/os/about/roadmap/

    Keep in mind that OpenSolaris is a source community at this stage. It’s
    the development source of the future of Solaris (Solaris 11 or whatever
    they’ll call it). If you want the very latest code as binary, use
    Solaris Express, which is Sun’s distro of OpenSolaris. That has the
    OpenSolaris bits plus the stuff not opened yet or can’t be opened for
    whatever reason. All our most advanced stuff is out there, though.

    Regarding Solaris being different from Linux, well, you’re beyond my
    technical ability already. 🙂 I’m sure it is, though. And there has
    been some discussion on our forums about just this issue — writing
    better documentation and also writing docs for specifically Linux
    developers. Or from their technical perspective, I guess. Hopefully
    this will come as the community grows and matures. Max Bruning has
    written some stuff that may help:

    Kernels:
    http://opensolaris.org/os/article/2005-10-14_a_comparison_of_solaris__linux__and_freebsd_kernels/
    Drivers:
    http://opensolaris.org/os/articles/?startDate=2005-04-01

    There’s a lot of resources and articles on BigAdmin for Solaris (the
    product), but for OpenSolaris here are some quick developer references:

    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/onnv/devref_toc/
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/onnv/install_quickstart/
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/tools/building_opensolaris/
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/tools/building_opensolaris_part2/
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/onnv/os_dev_process/

    Yes we need more, we know that. 🙂

    I’ve heard technical people from the Linux community and the
    OpenSolaris community argue about the technical advantages of their
    respective systems. The reasonable ones from both communities, I mean.
    I could care less about all the religion going back and forth.
    Personally, I’m perfectly willing to believe that there are areas where
    Solaris is way ahead and there are areas where Linux is way ahead, and
    I don’t see a problem with that. I’ve been a strong supporter of Linux
    inside of Sun for six years, and ran it on my laptop when I was in
    marketing. A little friendly competition is a good thing. Just one
    example: I can install Linux pretty easily, but I really, really
    struggle with Solaris (and I’m not at the level of building the source
    from OpenSolaris, either). I think in the area of usability, we have a
    lot to learn here at Sun in general on all of our products. Keep in
    mind, with respect to Solaris, we opened it to engage more developers
    so we could improve the system in our weak areas or to enable it to
    grow in ways we couldn’t even foresee or didn’t have resources or
    skills for. We talked about this at great length. We think Solaris is
    extremely advanced in many areas (DTrace, Zones, ZFS, blablabla) but we
    certainly recognize that there are areas we can grow.

    Code contributions …. yah, I think Karyn chimed in on that too.
    That’s just the non-Sun guys. We just want to point to the fact that
    external guys are contributing via the request-sponsor program, which
    is cool. The gate is not external yet, but it will be, which will
    reflect the Solaris organization’s 1,000 or so engineers with hundreds
    and hundreds and hundreds of code contributors. Personally, I think at
    that point we should stop counting and just let the community mix —
    Sun, non-Sun. No distinction. SCM is coming, too:
    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/tools/scm/

    I do think we need to get faster and more efficient, and I think we can
    learn from the open source community here. However, we also have to
    strike a balance with stability for our customers. Where that balance
    is I don’t really know, to be honest, but there is a push here to get
    faster, no question. Our development methodology and engineering
    culture are probably a bit different from that of Linux community, but
    I can see value in both.

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  15. I’m gonna echo Stephan: Linux is moving fast. The packges are moving fast too. Python moves fast, Apache moves fast. The kernel stuff is moving fast.

    But the trend I see is that development is actually accelerating, getting faster and faster, Heck even Debian is starting to accelerate.

    There is a lot of efficiency being realized in the open-source world. The tools of open-source themselves are getting better and better. Compilers, languages, installers, editors, source control tools, bug trackers, and wikis are all getting better (faster, easier, newbie friendly) and are allowing more people to join in as well as making experienced people much more effective. That, and chat, irc, and a truckload of other well-designed utilities are making open-source development highly productive.

    Open Solaris has learned to jog along; but to stay in the race, one must sprint.

    Become more efficient.

    I am not criticizing. I am encouraging. Run OpenSolaris, Run!

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  16. I think these are all great points. I do want to comment on one of Stephan Jaensch’s points:
    6. Speed of development. Linux is changing fast. If I read about another 50 putbacks in X months all I can think is that nothing’s happening. 🙂
    There are far more than 50 putbacks happening a month: that was 50 external contributions putback in a month. For the last snapshot the following number of changes were made — in the period of a week:

    Total Putbacks: 75
    Total Issues Resolved: 129
    Total Files Changed: 550

    (You can get full details at http://dlc.sun.com/osol/on/downloads/b40/on-changelog-b40.html for this snapshot.)
    And this number is just for the OS/Networking area: other consolidations have changes happening on a daily basis as well. Not to mention the fact that these are all changes going into the main code — even more is happening within the project source bases.
    I’m thrilled that there have been 200 external contributions submitted to date (with 116 integrated), and hope and expect to see a higher external contribution rate in the future.
    – Karyn

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  17. Off the top of my head:

    A) A live-cd

    B) Free OpenSolaris CD sets at Best Buy, Fry’s, CompUSA, etc.

    C) A download site that doesn’t suck, with bittorrent. Look at jigdo, too.
    When I go to http://www.opensolaris.org/os/downloads/ I ask myself: where is the .iso?

    D) Get Solaris to run on the upcoming $100 laptop. I know I’ll be getting one if they ever become available to the public. (long shot I know)

    E) Free 1 gb Solaris system accounts for anyone who signs up for it, with 1GB of monthly bandwith, ssh, and ftp. Show how easy it is to do with ZFS and zones etc. (yeah, that’s gonna cost you, but I don’t know how else to solve the hardware driver issue Stephan mentioned.)

    F) Really really consider making OpenSolaris GPL2. Think hard on this one. It’s gonna be really tought for Sun to swallow that pill. But if you want to make Linux sweat, that’s what you adsolutely have to do.

    G) Get mediawiki to run on solaris, and make a .iso of that, preconfigured and ready to go. Drop into a amd64 server, and poof, instant wiki.

    H) Set up and host a wikipedia cluster, like yahoo did. (see Yahoo in http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_servers#Hosting)

    I) Do the 60 day trials for solaris developer workstations. Make sure those are beefy as hell.

    J) Make an Open Solaris Virtual Appliance for the free vmware player.

    K) There is no K 🙂

    And that’s just off the top of my head.

    I would just put a word of emphasis: I have spoken to several people about Solaris, and when I tell them it’s free, the answer invariably comes back: “It may be free to download, but it won’t be free on production.”

    When I tell them it is free on production, they walk off with glazed eyes as though I had just announced the Pope is my uncle.

    You guys have to absolutely make it brain-dead simple to understand that Solaris is free to use in a production environment, on as many machines as one wants.

    People get that about Java. People get that about Linux. They really do. They don’t get that about Solaris. You have to simplify the message.

    You have to say: “Solaris in production: $0; support contract costs extra but is optional. Enjoy.”

    Remember: developers developers developers developers.

    Neh!

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  18. Jim, here’s the common challenge facing may of Sun’s products and technologies. How do we do a better job of evangelizing (marketing) them without having to compete with the huge marketing budgets of IBM, Oracle, Microsoft. I expect Sun will be at the forefront of defining Marketing 2.0.
    – Rich

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  19. I’m not sure how to get the word out but I still regularly meet people who don’t know that Solaris is now free. Working in education we get a lot more from Sun which is free but people who don’t even know about free Solaris will hardly pick up on all the other software Sun make available to us at no cost.
    When I point it out I sometimes get the “yeah but Sun had free stuff in the past which they then started charging for. If we take the free stuff now they’ll only start charging us for it in a few years once we’re hooked.” [ I get the same comments when I point out that IBM also give academia free licenses for pretty much every software product they produce. ]
    I also get the “Sun isn’t committed to x86” argument. For some reason those people think that Opteron is simply a stop gap to keep you in the game until you can get a fast SPARC chip or two out of the door again.
    In response to Stephen:
    1. Check the Hardware Compatibility List at: http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/hcl/overview.html
    2. VMware. Solaris has been a guest OS for some time and VMware should be providing host support soon (see: http://www.virtualization.info/2006/06/vmware-to-offer-host-os-support-for.html). KDE and Gnome are stable. A lot of open source Linux software runs on Solaris and, if you have to, you can always use a Solaris Branded Zone to run Linux binaries.
    3. There isn’t as much software bundled with Solaris as with Linux, I expect it will always be this way.
    4. At least Solaris has the big documentation so you can look things up. Too often I’ve tried to get things to work on Linux only to find the only piece of documentation I can find is an out of date Howto. Sun could do better here though. How about offering free registration onto web based Solaris training Jim? Perhaps the basic user type courses and the low level Admin ones. It will surely help adoption of Solaris to have more people trained in using it.
    5. Advantages as a desktop system – not many, stability being the only one which springs to mind. Advantages as a server system – faster, more stable, better diagnostic tools, zones, zfs, live upgrade …
    6.The 50 putbacks are just from the community outside of Sun. Sun themselves have a big group of engineers working on Solaris. They are the guys who come up with clever ideas like dtrace, ZFS, zones, live upgrade and so on, all areas where Solaris is ahead of Linux. There is lots of development happening in Solaris, its just a lot more focused than that which happens in Linux.,

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  20. Hi Jim,
    I don’t know what more you could do, I’ll just tell you why I haven’t tried Sun Solaris yet (even though I am subscribed to your blog). I use Ubuntu Linux almost exclusively with a Windows partition thrown in for the occasional gaming.

    Hardware support. I don’t know if all of my components will be supported, and I have never seen you post a link to a hardware database (well, maybe I missed that). This is especially important to me since I have a Laptop with ATI graphics and wireless, both of which need to be supported.
    Software support. Will VMWare run? How stable are KDE and Gnome on Solaris? Do all those popular open source applications work just as well as under Linux?
    Completeness of the system. Admittedly I haven’t looked much into this, but I always read from you that you are opening up pieces of Solaris. So my impression is that even if I try out one of those few OpenSolaris distros, maybe things are still missing.
    I’m a Linux guy. I briefly tried out Solaris 10 as part of that 60 day server test drive, and it’s significantly different from Linux. I would need something like a Quickstart guide for Linux users. Looking up bits of information (e.g. how are services managed) in the big Solaris documentation is no fun.
    Unfortunately I’m not having as much fun as I used to have just tinkering with stuff and trying new things out. What, exactly, would be my advantages in using Solaris as a desktop system over using Linux? What about as a server operating system?
    Speed of development. Linux is changing fast. If I read about another 50 putbacks in X months all I can think is that nothing’s happening. 🙂

    Maybe that’s a start for you. I know that many points are probably just misconceptions on my part, so that would be some low-hanging fruit for you. Of course I have no idea if I’m the only one asking myself these questions or if others feel the same.
    Cheers,
    Stephan

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