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Sun Microsystems

Danese Cooper (of Sun) Finally Answers 177

Posted by Roblimo
from the hurry-up-and-wait-for-approval-from-lawyers-and-PR-people dept.
We put up the original Talk to Sun's 'Open Source Diva' call for questions on January 10, 2002, which makes this the longest lag we've ever had betweeen a set of Slashdot quesions and their answers, a record previously held by the late Douglas Adams, whose question post went up on May 2, 2000, but didn't get his answers to us until June 21, 2000.
Danese:
First of all, I have to tell you that everywhere I go, people ask me when my Slashdot answers will be coming out! The Slashdot effect doesn't only impact websites ;-). As a loyal daily Slashdot reader I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to answer your questions and I want to thank Slashdot for their patience in waiting for them. It wasn't for lack of trying but since I first penned my answers there have been a steady string of announcements that we'd been working on a long time and I didn't want to tell you all one thing and have the answer change just a couple of weeks later. I was very impressed with the questions, which showed a lot of understanding of Sun and interest in where we're headed with respect to Open Source. As a result of so many people asking me about the answers, I've had some great conversations about working on Open Source in a big traditional company and of course the inevitable "What's it like to be a woman in technology?" (questions you folks didn't ask). I plan to stick around today to participate in the threads resulting from these answers, and after that I'll retire to the discussion forum at http://www.sunsource.net which is a site I moderate. I'm always available there for more discussion.

Danese Cooper
Open Source Diva
Manager, Sun Open Source Programs Office

1) OpenOffice
by kvandivo

Is Sun moving to put more resources into the OpenOffice initiative?

Danese:
There are already several hundred Sun employees currently working off the OpenOffice.org codebase to produce StarOffice. The StarOffice product is Sun's branded and supported version of OpenOffice.org. This is a recurring pattern for Sun's engagement on the Open Source communities which we sponsor: we work the codebase in the clear but we're working towards producing a Sun-branded binary. We encourage other developers to work on the codebase as well and the licensing allows anyone to benefit from the work they donate by freely using the code. More on this in the answer to question number 7.

BTW, you may have noticed that this month OpenOffice.org just announced their 1.0 version as well as a first Developer Release of the MacOSX port.

2) Money From Open Source/Free Software
by Hasie

A large number of open source/free software companies have ceased to exist in the last while because they couldn't make money from a free product.

In light of this do you believe that it is possible to make money from open source/free software alone or does a company need a hardware arm like Sun?

Danese:
It seems to me to be a question of scale. There have been a few Open Source companies who've managed to make a go of it and return decent salaries and some security to their employees using some combination of the models discussed in Eric Raymond's papers. But Sun was already a publicly held company with previously established earning patterns when these Open Source business models began to be discussed, and because of our obligations to shareholders it wouldn't have been appropriatefor us to try to transition for example to making all our software revenue off of support because the returns just wouldn't have been satisfactory to the shareholders. So, I guess I'm saying that if your business plan is to make all your revenue in open source ways, then you need to be a organized that way from the start or else privately owned or not trying to convert from a more traditional publicly traded, higher margin model with all the obligations that implies.

About hardware. I've noticed that having hardware as a revenue generator definitely can make a software business more "fault tolerant" (less subject to strain from the occasional bad quarter), but its not the *only* effective hedge. Building real professional services, enterprise support services, and other sorts of product offerings can work to increase economic fault-tolerance. Some companies use Open Source to gain an influx of innovation which feeds their complex business models in ways that are difficult to quantify.

What we're going through now in the Industry is more extensive than just a bad quarter and all companies are feeling it, regardless of product mix or orientation (open or closed). At the start of the current downturn, many of the Open Source companies were still in their infancy and were therefore more vulnerable to downturn. That doesn't necessarily mean their business plans wouldn't have had some success if the economy had been more sheltering. Many of the stronger ones are now morphing to business models similar to the one Sun most often employs for its pure Open Source projects, use Open Source base technology to gain ubiquity and make money on the value-adds.

One last thing. I was talking to someone the other night who said he thought that Open Source is suffering because people don't understand it yet. I still get the question all the time whether applying Free & Open Source methodologies to a project will reduce engineering costs. This belies a huge misunderstanding. For traditional companies with existing closed source development models, going to Open Source costs more, not less. Of course in "total cost" terms the equations equal out. Open Source developers aren't going to code your product for you, but their feedback can dramatically reduce the time it takes to get the product where it needs to be to truly satisfy customer needs and can also have a huge positive impact on total quality of the product. In proprietary efforts, the activities designed to determine customer needs and Total Quality usually live in Marketing, not Engineering. At the end of the day Market and Customer Requirements analysis may be the problem Open Source solves for traditional product teams.

3) Open source for everything?
by mfarah

While it's true that a lot of "attractive/sexy" work can be done via open source methods, there's still some areas that traditional programming models (i.e., closed source) still function better (even though ESR says otherwise in The Cathedral & the Bazaar [oreilly.com]). What, in your opinion, is the proper balance between open source and closed source methods Sun should strive for?

Danese:
First let me say that I really appreciate the thought and writing that ESR has done. His writings are so well known and contributed hugely to proprietary companies' inquiries into Free and Open Source, but there are of course many metaphors in addition to his which try to describe the differences between proprietary and open source methods.

In my opinion, the secret sauce of Open Source is Transparency. Transparency teaches formerly proprietary engineering groups to trust the customer and vet plans before committing expensive resources to implementation. It generally uplevels coding quality as the potential for public embarrassment increases with increased scrutiny (the famous "massive peer review"). It often enhances job satisfaction since well-written or cleverly implemented code is publicly praised and hard work recognized. Reputations are built based on contribution and willingness to engage in constructive dialog. Trust is built in to Transparency as well, since the choice whether to trust organizations saying "We know better than you" or those saying "Here's how we work. We have nothing to hide" is easy. Not coincidentally the Open Source methodology companies like CollabNet and SourceForge are starting to sell Transparency methodology to proprietary companies for use internally.

But as mentioned above, its not appropriate for a successfully proprietary company to open source *every* scrap of code. At Sun we've tended to follow a pattern with our Open Source projects.We open source a base architecture and make money on value adds.The base technology becomes ubiquitous and that creates demand for the value added products we sell. They also tend to support our standards efforts or to be in themselves a de facto standard.

The best example of this is the relationship between NetBeans and Forte for Java. NetBeans is an integrated development environment (IDE) for Java, publicly launched as a fully transparent Open Source project 18 months ago. Forte for Java is a Sun-branded product line built on the NetBeans code base with feature enhancements developed at Sun. We sell Forte for Java, Enterprise Edition and also sell support contracts, professional services and related products.

As noted earlier, companies with a mix of hardware and software revenues like Sun can afford to liberate a larger percentage of their software in programs that support or in some conceivable way entice customers to buy the hardware. In the case of Forte for Java, providing good cross-platform developer tools is key to provisioning the platform.

4) Open Source Solaris?
by Sobrique

Since Solaris X86 is not going to be supported any more, is there any chance of getting that donated' to the user community? I appreciate that there's a fair chunk of intellectual property in there (and probably a fair amount of overlap with Sparc), but it'd be nice to see.

Danese:
First of all, Solaris continues to be a supported product on x86. In fact an update was just shipped in March. What we announced was that due to resource constraints we are deferring (not cancelling) the productization of x86 for Solaris 9. Solaris is already the most open of the traditional Unix distros, and we continue to look at ways to make it more open within the constraints of resource and user demand. We are actively working with the Solaris on Intel community to find ways to make that happen.

Generally however we've found that the cost of open sourcing code for a proprietary product is non-trivial. I know it seems counter-intuitive but consider this: the reality is you can't just toss code over the fence. You have to first scrub it to make sure you have the rights to release it (your question acknowledges this difficulty). You also have to provide resources to answer questions and generally support those who are trying to pick up the code. Typically you have to develop additional documentation as well. Lastly there's the issue of ongoing liability. Large companies have deep pockets. When a company releases a product it at times comes with a warranty which the company is willing to offer because the risk is offset by revenue. There has to be some significant value to the licensor to justify the risk. Make no mistake, whenever a large company converts a product to Open Source it's because that strategy has in some way been positively tied to the bottom line.

RMS and the Free Sofware Foundation have a vision of liberated software that takes care of all of these problems by socializing code. Personally I love that vision but it doesn't explain who funds initial R&D if the profit motive diminishes (now that even universities have recognized the potential for profit in research). Discussions on the "Free Software Business" mail list run by Russ Nelson have occasionally come to the conclusion that the US Federal Government will have to step up to fund research (as they did when the Internet was ARPANet). But of course any government will tend to support research that matches its goals, for instance better defense, and often social benefits are unintentional or at best ancillary.

In my opinion the best we can do as people who want to see infrastructure code socialized is work together to make Transparency and code liberty more attractive to organizations engaging in R&D so more code will be developed in the clear *from the outset* Once code is liberated it can't be taken back, and the community can seamlessly take up support for code if the original licensor changes priorities.

5) Fitting Open Source in a Corporate Environment
by Marx_Mrvelous

I work for a very large company (Fortune 100), and we are, very slowly, moving towards using open-source programs like Linux, Apache, etc. The IT department likes and supports these applications, but it's very difficult to convince management that these applications have the same stability and reliability that commercial applications do. What is the best way to approach management to help evaluate open source solutions to the problems we face?

Danese:
Companies like to know that somebody is responsible for supporting the products they select. For instance, they want enterprise level support. They want a warranty and someone standing behind it. Its easy to understand they want some security for their investments. The shift to pervasively liberated infrastructure code will be regulated by the trustworthiness of the code (since tying trust to shared risk doesn't work if the licensor has nothing to lose). Some members of both the Free and Open Source movements are personally committed to non-conformity at the expense of credibility with typically conservative IT decision makers. This further hampers deep and wide adoption.

Luckily, the other key factors in IT decision making are cost and control. In a real sense the current world economic situation is hugely helpful to the Open Source cause because cost becomes a more significant factor. Companies like RedHat are working to address the total cost equation to make it easier to choose open source. Notice that the "pattern" Sun uses is similar to RedHat's. They essentially brand and support open source base technologies (GNU/Linux) and increasingly provide proprietary value-adds.

If I were trying to convince my IT boss to adopt an Open Source technology I would be looking at the total cost to use it (i.e. Is it easier to use,learn or manage? Is the cost differential big enough to justify whatever risk? Is real support available?) in addition to evaluations based on feature set. In the area of control I would focus on the flexibility that comes from having Open Source rights to the code. No longer are you at the mercy of vendors who may or may not class your issues as high priority. I would point out the national governments and NGOs who are chosing to mandate use of Free and Open software as evidence that Open Source has entered the governmental mainstream. However, its important to recognize that the mass migration to liberated infrastructure software will be evolutionary because a revolution would be too disruptive to Business.

6) Why isn't JBoss certified?
by revscat

There has been some speculation that Sun is uncomfortable with certifying JBoss [jboss.org] as a J2EE-compliant container. Mark Fleury, president of the JBoss team, has said "Sun quoted a price for that certification suite that is beyond the current financial resources of the JBoss team." Is there any possibility that Sun will relax these certification fee requirements for open-source initiatives such as JBoss, especially when they meet the technical requirements as specified by Sun?

Danese:
I've had several conversations with the team that authors Java Technology about this one. They point out that the J2EE Specification License is really clear on how the specification can be used. It requires new implementations to be licensed and to pass the compatibility tests because compatibility and the portability it enables are the fundamental value proposition of Java Technology for the millions of developers actually using it. The certification test suite and the basic licensing of the Reference Implementation are the key mechanisms that protect that value proposition. The best example of this was the Sun vs. Microsoft lawsuit, which forced Microsoft to stop shipping their incompatible Java implementation.

Historically the problem with JBoss was not so much whether or not they could afford to access the certification test suite, as whether it or any Open Source project was potentially a weakening of the value proposition. JBoss is an open source project. According to the Open Source Definition, JBoss can't pass on compatibility requirements to subsequent code licensees. Open Source advocates have repeatedly assured us that the social contract (which is the primary method of enforcement in the Open Source world) is strong enough to protect the value proposition if branding was optional, but readily admit they can offer no guaranty. Java-related open source activities such as TomCat have been very popular, but uptake for the associated compatibility suite has been limited.

This is a really hard problem. Sun strongly believes in Open Source for infrastructure software, but also believes in protecting the value proposition of Java Technology. There has been at least one famous attack on that value proposition, but even among the members of the Java Community Process there is a dynamic tension between maintaining compatibility and allowing individual implementations enough room to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Multiple software companies have bet their entire business on Java compatibility and are counting on the JCP to maintain an economically, as well as a technologically, level playing field.

After extensive work with the Apache Software Foundation Sun announced at JavaOne this year that it is working to change the JSPA (the legal agreement for participation in the Java Community Process or JCP) so that the JCP projects (JSRs) can be run as Open Source projects at the specification lead's discretion. Sun also announced that as future Sun-lead specifications are finalized it will allow compatible alternate implementations (including J2SE, J2EE and J2ME) under Open Source licenses. Additionally, Sun announced that it will make compatibility test kits available at zero cost to non-profit Open Source and Educational organizations and individuals, and will establish a $3 million dollar fund to provide support to qualified entities' use of the compatibility test kits. Sun's intention in making these changes is to enable compatible non-profit Open Source and Educational efforts to flourish.

It is my hope that this new willingness to allow compatible Open Source implementations will prompt Sun to also allow JBoss, which although licensed under the GPL is decidedly a *for profit* effort, to submit to the compatibility test suites so the world of Java can go forward compatibly. JBoss arguably has the largest market share of application servers claiming to be J2EE compliant, garnering awards and much attention, and it would be good form IMHO if Sun helped them to achieve true compatibility. I attended part of their "JBossOne" alternative conference and they told me they've secured funding to buy a support agreement for the J2EE 1.3 CTK like any other for profit implementor.

7) OpenOffice and Sun perceptions
by ACK!!

I was wondering what contributions of the OpenOffice group actually made it into StarOffice 6.0 beta? Did only contributions make it in or is 6.0 based off of OpenOffice code?

Danese:
OpenOffice.org is the code repository for the StarOffice 6.0 product, so the short answer is that StarOffice 6.0 is based off OpenOffice.org. As mentioned above, the common pattern of engagement for Sun with Open Source is to periodically roll a Sun-branded version which then becomes a fully supported part of the Sun product line. In this we are acting similarly to RedHat and the other Linux distros. Of course we contribute all bug fixes made during the productization process back to OpenOffice.org.

However, to answer the question of what types of contributions have been accepted you have to look at the types of contributions we've received. We conducted a survey on OpenOffice.org last summer which told us that the majority of the large community we've attracted are end-users. They contribute by reporting bugs and enhancement requests and recently have organized to provide marketing support but they rarely contribute code fixes. I went to GUADEC this last month to try to get more developers interested in contributing to OpenOffice.org, and we *are* getting more interest due to the recent announcements of version 1.0 and the First Developer Release of the MacOSX port).

So far, the developers who have attached themselves to the project have mostly contributed ports to alternative platforms and small-audience localizations which are not supported in StarOffice. StarOffice 5.x also included some proprietary components which had been licensed for use by StarDivision before the Sun acquisition. There has been some excellent work on OpenOffice.org to replace some of those with open source alternatives. Lastly there has been lots of activity in the area of enhancing distribution. The community has set up several mirrors and have even produced a CD delivery service.

8) "Linux" package management / GNU utils
by Erich

Solaris has had packages for a long time, but nothing compares to Debian or RedHat as far as package management goes. With Solaris I can download patch clusters and run them all in a script, but it's not nearly as easy "apt-get update; apt-get upgrade". Similarly, hunting down some package and all the utilities it requires and compiling them all is much more tedious than "apt-get install that_package".

Do you see Solaris incorporating some of the package management features found in Linux systems?

Also, Unix vendors many times have very feature-incomplete versions of utilities compared to their respective GNU versions. For instance, GNU tar (while lacking some of the Solaris tar options) has many features that are extremely handy. Do you see Unix vendors in the future incorporating more free tools over the proprietary ones they have, and if so what do you think the time frame is? Do you think that Unix vendors that move towards GNU tools and make their installations more "Linux"-like will have an edge, or will moving to unfamiliar tools be a hindrance?

Danese:
Since Solaris 8, Sun has shipped a "Companion CD" with many of the most popular utilities and programs in use by the free Linux and BSD distros because we recognize that some customers prefer to use those tools (and they run great on Solaris). Solaris 9 includes tighter integration of many of the most popular free tools (including GNU tar) within Solaris itself. We also added support in our C/C++ compilers for GNU compatibilty. One of the core things we are doing with Solaris 9 is ensuring even tighter Linux compatibility.

BTW, the currently available Companion CD already include the RedHat package manager (RPM), but for the time being we'll continue to support the System 5 pkgadd format because it is the consistent choice for our customer base and they tell us it still provides several advantages. We'll continue to consider other formats for future inclusion in response to a changing marketplace. We tend to think that what's good for Unix is good for Sun, because Solaris is simply the premier version of Unix.

9) Big Iron, Little Iron
by bfree

Do you forsee Sun having their own OS in 10 years time or do you forsee Sun selling hardware with their own optimsed version of another OS? If Yes, are we likely to see such an evolution climbing up your chain from the small workstations up to the big iron OR will we see a new OS for all boxes at once? Will Sun ever make an offer like IBM's offer for AIX with Solaris i.e. "You can have anything you want from our OS"?

Danese:
Sun's position on Linux has long been friendly, since we see it as a commodity unix variant which has been very successful at growing the community of Unix users. Many of our customers continue to say that Solaris is their operating system of choice but other customers have been calling for "Edge of the Network" Linux alternatives. Our February announcement to expand the Cobalt product line to include new general purpose Linux systems was a surprise to some but I think it makes sense for us to be responding to customers and leveraging a great market opportunity.

As it said in the announcement, Sun sees a time in the future when it won't matter which operating system you're running and many consumers won't even know which one they have. Part of that future as Sun sees it will be accomplished by pervasive Java platforms, but we also support efforts to make unix available as broadly as possible because it is a well-documented and industry tested open standard. Sun's Founding Principle, "Cooperate on Standards, Compete on Implementation" means that we'll continue to offer what we believe to be best of breed, standards compatible implementations for the markets we choose to enter.

So, in 10 years will we still maintain our own kernel? Will it look more or less like Linux? Will it look more or less like BSD? 10 years is a LONG time in this industry. In my opinion efforts by the community to enhance the Linux kernel to the level of "carrier-grade, high-availability" will have happened way before then. Vendors with Linux offerings will hopefully have learned how to provide fantastic Enterprise-Level Support and Professional Services for Linux way before then. The San Francisco Chronicle may be running a regular comic strip about a the adventures of a cute and politically liberal penguin by then! Whatever happens, Sun will continue listen to its customers and offer best of breed solutions.

10) The future of Liberty Alliance
by mydigitalself

I've been following Microsoft's .NET strategy for quite some time and have been quite interested in the Passport vs Liberty Alliance scenario.

Firstly, what exactly is happening with Liberty Alliance at the moment? I got the impression that the iniative was started as a marketing oppositing against Passport as there doesn't appear to be any visibility of the implementation on the web site [projectliberty.org].

Secondly, there is also an open source source initially from .GNU for this central authentication service [dotgnu.org]. Essentially both Liberty Alliance and .GNU are trying to provide an opposition framework to Passport - and yet the nature of the concept and the existance of the two projects seem to be self depricating. If everyone and their dog develop a centralised authentication service that spans services across networks - people would probably use Passport purely because of its market share.

Would it not be a good idea to somehow merge the work done to offer a unified opposition to Passport?

Danese:
I'm really glad you asked about the Liberty Alliance because I recently attended a Web Services conference in San Francisco and got really riled up about the problem that the Liberty Alliance is trying to address. The organizations in the Liberty Alliance and the folks working on DotGNU have all recognized the danger of allowing identity profiles to be controlled or even exclusively architected by a single company. As my friend Tim O'Reilly first said about Identity last year, "There are some things nobody should own". Sun took on the initial work to launch the Liberty Alliance, but now that it exists Sun is taking a peer role.

Passport by design is a potential chokepoint for Internet commerce. What's really concerning is that passport has already been deployed and is collecting membership from every user of Windows XP, Hotmail and the rest of the WinTel stack! Lately Microsoft has gotten pretty quiet about Passport, but that doesn't mean they aren't continuing to execute a strategy to dominate Internet commerce. As a technologist my tendency is to want to hurry up and impulsively code an alternative, but I recognize that it will be difficult at best for even superior technology to win in a horserace to achieve compelling membership.

That's why the Liberty Alliance is so important. As you notice there has been precious little technical information released about any actual Liberty implementation. If you look at the makeup of the Liberty Alliance founding group they are overwhelmingly organizations with large existing membership databases. The first problem is to assemble enough membership to actually challenge the "sole architect" position of the dominant player. In my mind this strategy is the only way to effectively mandate a truly open and decentralized architecture. Last month it was announced that AOL has joined the Liberty Alliance and at this conference I mentioned above a Liberty Alliance member confirmed that Microsoft has been invited to join.

I was very happy to see Apache in the list of charter organizations endorsing the concept of the Liberty Alliance because it effectively ensured that the Liberty Alliance would have to accept non-profit membership and indeed they have defined a no-cost Affiliate membership level. This opens up the possibility for efforts like DotGNU to join and bring their perspectives (or their technology) to the table. Since DotGNU is a Free Software project the traditional challenges of working in concert with profit-motivated organizations will definitely arise but as your question points out the alternative is diminished impact.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Danese Cooper (of Sun) Finally Answers

Comments Filter:
  • Open Source (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Transient0 (175617) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:12PM (#3492017) Homepage

    ---Quote---
    Generally however we've found that the cost of open sourcing code for a
    proprietary product is non-trivial. I know it seems counter-intuitive
    but consider this: the reality is you can't just toss code over the
    fence. You have to first scrub it to make sure you have the rights to
    release it (your question acknowledges this difficulty). You also have
    to provide resources to answer questions and generally support those who
    are trying to pick up the code. Typically you have to develop
    additional documentation as well. Lastly there's the issue of ongoing
    liability. Large companies have deep pockets. When a company releases
    a product it at times comes with a warranty which the company is willing
    to offer because the risk is offset by revenue. There has to be some
    significant value to the licensor to justify the risk. Make no mistake,
    whenever a large company converts a product to Open Source it's because
    that strategy has in some way been positively tied to the bottom line.
    ---EndQuote---

    I'm a strong supporter of the Open Source movement, but I find Danese's comments here very interesting. The things that he says are unquestionably true and point to a large part of the likely reason why even companies which are firendly towards the Free Software movement are often reluctant to open their code.

    Hackers need to remember this. Too many times I have heard people attacking companies for not "putting their money where their mouth is" because they support Open Source in their statements and press releases, but continue to produce closed products. It's good to see such a considered view on why you can't always just "throw code over the fence".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:13PM (#3492024)
    Great, when an interview subject responds, blast them on the front page of slashdot for taking so long -- that's a fabulous way to guarantee plenty more people will want to be interviewed.

    In fact, that's a great life lesson in general -- make fun of people at every opportunity! You are ENTITLED to prompt service from everyone and anything!
  • by TuxLuvr (578149) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:15PM (#3492044) Homepage
    I have a sense of the giant, lumbering corporations (the dinosaurs) entering into a symbiotic relationship with the up-and-coming, smaller, more agile Open Source methodologies (the mammals).

    Some may call it co-opting, but I think it's actually and interesting evolutionary twist.

    And the "Ask Slashdot" format puts a human face on the process, which is very useful.

    Sorry if my analogies are not airtight : - ) ...

  • Seeing as it's been five months since the questions were asked I had to do a quick scan-through and make sure that they were all still relevant!
  • Oh, speak english! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brooks_talley (86840) <brooks@frn[ ]om ['k.c' in gap]> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:18PM (#3492067) Journal

    Danese seems like a pretty bright person, but damn does she ever go for corporatespeak. In case slashdotters aren't up on the latest productivity implying circumlocutions, here are my translations:

    It generally uplevels coding quality...
    It generally improves coding quality

    we are deferring (not cancelling) the productization of x86 for Solaris 9
    we are deferring (not cancelling) the release of x86 for Solaris 9

    The shift to pervasively liberated infrastructure code will be regulated by ...
    The shift to open source will be regulated by...

    Cheers
    -b

    • LOL... You too can talk the talk! [dack.com]

      Though you can't be too hard on her.. that's the way folks in her environment are required to talk to the Public!

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:09PM (#3492735)


      Danese seems like a pretty bright person, but damn does she ever go for corporatespeak.


      I've always found this aspect of language interesting. Sure, we're all familiar with buzzword laden speech that use a lot of words to say nothing. However, there are some environments that develop their own language for more than buzzword effect. Often this odd dialect conveys additional meaning or understanding. Although that additional communication is lost to those who are not a part of that environment.


      I'm guitly of this. When within a technical peer group, I talk tech. When within a corporate setting, I tend to speak corporate. And when I was in the military (which creates a unique social and professional environmen), my speech was heavily laden with acronyms, military jargon, and... errr... colorful terms. In fact, the military lifestyle is so removed from civilian life that I wasn't aware of how much it affected my speech until I went to visit family and friends. They would often gave me blank looks if I didn't think about what I was going to say (unless they had a military background of their own).


      Yea. Danese hit us with a heavy dialect. But I would hazard a guess that she tends to address coporate people most often when talking about this subject. So I don't find it suprising she would automatically find herself using a corporate dialect.


      And I still find that facinating.

      • by Tony-A (29931) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:54PM (#3493723)
        Dialect is used to capture distinctions that are lost in "english".

        It generally uplevels coding quality...
        It generally improves coding quality
        Like the difference between grade A and grade B product. It's a difference in viewpoint. It implies that code quality does matter.

        we are deferring (not cancelling) the productization of x86 for Solaris 9
        we are deferring (not cancelling) the release of x86 for Solaris 9
        Release is the final step. Productization includes all those steps required before it can be released.

        The shift to pervasively liberated infrastructure code will be regulated by ...
        The shift to open source will be regulated by...
        Pervasively liberated infrastructure code. It's a mouthful, but it says a lot. It implies open source, but not everywhere. Pervasively liberated implies a lack of concern or interest in exactly which model of open source. Pervasive also carries the sense of a relentless pressure that ultimately makes it all liberated (for some definition of it all). Infrastructure means all those things that everybody should be able to take for granted. It's easier to get at the meaning by imagining the opposite. If GM cars only go on GM roads and GM bridges and Ford cars only go on Ford roads and Ford bridges, then everybody has a problem.
        • by OSDiva (578566)
          (a) "Uplevels" is a word I actually use a lot...and I agree with this comment about what it means. Upleveled quality means not just better but quantifiably better. (b)"Productization" means something really specific in corporations, but I have to admit that a marketeer inside of Sun gave me the edit (I think I originally used "ship" which means the same as release). (c) "Pervasively liberated infrastructure code"...thanks for pointing out that translating that to "open source" is imprecise. Folks inside of Sun didn't like it that I used the word "liberated" because it sounded too political (they thought it implied a Free Software bias, when in fact we employ different licensing models as the situation dictates), but I kept it because what draws me personally to Free and Open Source is a desire to see technology move beyond "what's good enough to make us a profit". You're right on about the use of "infrastructure". I didn't mean ALL software, just the stuff everybody should be able to take for granted. I think customized software (which is the bulk of software actually created, and consultant programmers are mighty glad that's the case) will remain proprietary by its very nature. "Pervasively" just means "as widely as possible" to me.
          • I think customized software (which is the bulk of software actually created, and consultant programmers are mighty glad that's the case) will remain proprietary by its very nature.
            By its very nature is right.
            Not to give you nightmares, but imagine running Sun with IBMs internal business software. There's a reason for the NIH (not invented here) syndrome. The reasons to keep such confidential are not the code itself.
            Oh, and thanks for the nice reply.
    • The poster translates:

      we are deferring (not cancelling) the productization of x86 for Solaris 9

      as:

      we are deferring (not cancelling) the release of x86 for Solaris 9

      Not necessarily so. "Release" means to make a product available to your users. "Productize" means to turn a product into one suitable for release: this usually involves QA-ing, packaging up installers, writing documentation etc. This is not the same thing as releasing.

      I've frequently seen the assumption that "corporatespeak" is either a trivial translation of some other term a wooly and empty phrase. Terms like "productizing" have very clear and specific meanings that are not well captured by existing terms.


      • Please

        Its nothing more than the verbing of a perfectly good noun.

        when the word was first use people werent sitting around thinking, hum... I need to come up with a word that doesnt mean the same as release, they just wanted to sound important, I spent years watching people do this, Ive even dabbled in it myself.

        • ya, but it does make sense. typically in software you go:

          idea->prototype->project->product

          release isn't really part of that idea, it's more of development terms, a release relates to the cumstomers, or comersializtion of a product. so the above might be like this in those therms:

          press_release->alpha->beta->shipping_prod uct

          make sense?

          -Jon
    • Can you imagine, she having a conversation with Marcelo Tossati?

      Danese - It generally uplevels coding quality deferring (not cancelling) the productization to pervasively liberated infrastructure code (...)

      Marcelo - No.
    • We all have to be ready to leverage a paradigm shift in lingual architecture.
  • by CaseyB (1105) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:19PM (#3492077)
    a record previously held by the late Douglas Adams...

    "Come," called the old man, "come now or you will be late."

    "Late?" said Arthur. "What for?"

    "What is your name, human?"

    "Dent. Arthur Dent," said Arthur.

    "Late, as in the late Dentarthurdent," said the old man, sternly. "It's a sort of threat you see."

  • "due to resource constraints we are deferring (not cancelling) the productization of x86 for Solaris 9"

    That is the best news I've heard all day.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:19PM (#3492080) Homepage
    It should be pointed out that there is another open digital ID scheme if dotGNU isn't your cup of tea by the name of PingID [pingid.org]

    It's been set up by the guy who started Jabber Inc, who have successfully balanced open standards and code with commercial success. The stuff they're developing is completely open source, with one caveat, they can sell it if you want more than 5000 users connected to one server (ie for large ID carriers).

    I've been personally involved since the beginning, as we [theoretic.com] rolled the Genio project into it. Before we did so, we tried talking to the Liberty Alliance, but didn't get too far. They were a bit busy sorting out all their internal politics methinks....

  • Man, 5 months lag to get an article on the index page sure beats the hell out of me typing this trying to pass these spelling mistakes as crappy insight to get a first post.
  • First, does Sun have any plans for StarOffice Schedule Server? It's not part of 6.0 (or OpenOffice that I can see).

    Second, how would Sun feel about another large company (IBM?) rolling and selling its own version of OpenOffice?
    • by OSDiva (578566) <danese@gm a i l .com> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:18PM (#3492792) Homepage
      On StarOffice scheduler, there have been extensive discussions about this at OpenOffice.org (see whiteboard) and I think they've about decided to use an Open Source project instead to try to replace that functionality. If I remember correctly that part of StarOffice wasn't written to be easy to maintain and we felt that there were better alternatives. On large company versions of OpenOffice.org...what do you think the Compaq port to A64 is? How do we feel about it? Great (as long as they submit their bug fixes and changes to OpenOffice.org like any other porting project). If it broadens the ubiquity of the XML file formats and helps people get work done without paying outrageous money then its good. How do you feel about it? Danese
      • Thanks for taking the time to respond. Apologies for the delay in my reply. Hopefully you're still tracking this thread.

        Thanks for the info about scheduler. I'll take a look more closely at the whiteboard - i'm new to OO and so far haven't really checked out the site other than to get the builds when they've been released.

        I wasn't aware of the "HPaq" port to A64. I agree that ports are a good thing (more platforms = more choice), and I think the more resources that can be devoted to the project, the better. BTW, aren't they required to submit bug fixes and changes back to OO? Or am I misunderstanding the license terms?

        Thank you for your time - I look forward to seeing what comes next from the project.
  • by TheAwfulTruth (325623) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:40PM (#3492198) Homepage
    get the answers through Sun's Legal and PR departments!
  • I see this question didn't make it, so I'll offer it up here - what is the status of the Lighthouse and Sarrus apps? Given the progress the GNUStep team is making, the possibilities of those tools as open source productivity apps is intriging.
    • by OSDiva (578566) <danese@gm a i l .com> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:09PM (#3492741) Homepage
      There has been a fair amount of talk at Sun about this topic as well. That rant I did in one of the answers about the cost to prepare EOL code probably applies here. Might be surmountable if there was somebody willing and qualified (meaning, already understood the codebase, etc.) waiting to take over maintenance, because I generally try to keep Sun from just dumping code over a wall. No promises on outcome, but I would be willing to look into it. Danese
      • From what I remember an ex-colleague who went to Lighthouse saying, the code of quite a few of the apps was a bit of a mess, and came from several different sources (sometimes in the same app) with different licenses...

        Having said that I'd love a look at WetPaint with a view to porting it to (or using it to write a similar app on) MacOS X!
      • Here are some links for those of you, who like me have never heard of either Sarrus or Lighthouse until now.

        http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-03-1998/jw -0 3-lighthouse.html
        warning to supporters of Sun, the article makes very unflattering suggestions and comparisons between Sun Microsystems and Microsoft.

        Lighthouse Design:
        "object-oriented productivity applications" (aka Office Suite) "word processor, spreadsheet, presentation system, and even a database"

        "written in ... Objective-C ... and the platform ... OpenStep"

        More information about Lighthouse, the premise of the article is Sun should sell Lighthouse to Apple OS X users.
        http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0012/21.maco sx . html
        Interestingly their word processor was called OpenWrite.

        Sarrus Software, a java calendar application called "pencil me in". (the domain http://www.sarrus.com has expired). The press release about the aquissition of Sarrus by Sun earlier this year http://search.java.sun.com/ClickThru?qt=sarrus&url =http%3A%2F%2Fjava.sun.com%2Fpr%2F1997%2Fdec%2Fspo tnews%2Fsn971203.html&pathInfo=%2Fsearch%2Fjava%2F index.jsp&hitNum=1&col=java&col=jdc&col=wireless

        --
        why doesn't slashdot automatically make valid URLs into clickable links?
  • by kaladorn (514293) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:42PM (#3492217) Homepage Journal
    Interestingly, my company just had some dialog with a high technical muckety muck involved in X-box development. Interestingly, they demand (and I assume it is backed up in the licensing) that everyone use THEIR billing system for X-box stuff. No alternatives. Also, they don't seem to interested in supporting other technologies (unsurprisingly) - not supporting even the old Java VM most MS products support, no C# crosscompiler from Java, etc. Yet again, they go out of their way to plant their boot on everyone's neck.

    Just imagine, even assuming the X-box has laggy sales (it does have some cool games), the fiscal impact of getting a cut on every e-commerce transaction systems like this may eventually handle. ARGH! And MS already has more money than God....
  • I don't see where people can get off saying that apt-get is easier than pkg-get. See www.sunfreeware.com for this tool. It's very similar to apt.
    • I don't see where people can get off saying that apt-get is easier than pkg-get. See www.sunfreeware.com for this tool. It's very similar to apt.

      I do believe that the question was meant for packages that come with solaris...

      You have to get pkg-get yourself.

      • I do believe that the question was meant for packages that come with solaris...
        You have to get pkg-get yourself.

        Actually, you can use pkg-get with solaris packages. Point it at a CD or nfs-shared dir.

        Also, while sunfreeware.com frames the pkg-get page, its home page is actually http://www.bolthole.com/solaris/pkg-get.html [bolthole.com]

        Additionally, if you for some reason prefer the 'companion CD' packages to the sunfreeware ones... you can use pkg-get for them too. configure it to point to one of

        • USA: http://ibiblio.org/pub/packages/solaris/companion/
        • DENMARK: http://mirrors.sunsite.dk/solaris-companion/
        • JAPAN: http://SunSITE.tus.ac.jp/pub/sun-info/solaris-comp anion/
  • by OmniGeek (72743) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @02:53PM (#3492268)
    I manage a number of Sun Ultra 5 stations running Solaris 7, and recently tried to buy CD recorders from Sun for them. To my amazed disappointment, the Sun salespeople told me that Sun does *NOT* sell or support CD-R for its workstations.

    Lest the reader think this is a technical question, let me assure you it is not: The Ultra 5 internally uses standard IDE and floppy interfaces, and I've been able to use standard commodity replacement parts (even the power supply) with never a problem. In the present case, I was able to borrow a standard IDE CD-R drive from my MIS department, download cdrtools-1.10 from http://www.sunfreeware.com, and have CD recording capability running within 3 hours from start. The only weird part was writing scripts to turn volume management on and off (5 minutes work).

    I have since talked to Sun sales and support people who have run into this before and are equally chagrined with this state of affairs. I'm not alone here, either: Last month, I talked with systems folk at a *BIG* aerospace firm who had the same unfulfilled need ('till I clued them in to the solution.) Sun, you're missing an important opportunity here! Every commodity Windows machine in my plant (hundreds!) has a CD-R as standard equipment, and it is unparalleled as a backup medium. For Sun not to support this medium is inexplicable; in today's world, CD-R is simply basic and essential. (DDS tapes do NOT fill all needs; CD-R is FAR more robust.) I'd have been glad to buy CD-R drives from Sun at the usual drastic markup, and the software is a trivial matter (apparently, Solaris 8 even includes the cdrtools package); Sun, by not selling CD-R for your iron, you're leaving unsatisfied a customer need you could be filling at a profit...

    Now, if I could only use a *standard* keyboard with my Ultras, one with the backspace and ~ in the *right places*...
    • Sun does support CD-R{W} drives; install the SUNWcdrw package off one of the sol8 CDs. No need to even disable volume management, or build the scg driver.

    • "... a CD-R as standard equipment ... is unparalleled as a backup medium. ... (DDS tapes do NOT fill all needs; CD-R is FAR more robust.)"

      You are out of your mind.

      "I'd have been glad to buy CD-R drives from Sun at the usual drastic markup ..."

      You are totally and completely out of your mind.

      • "... a CD-R as standard equipment ... is unparalleled as a backup medium. ... (DDS tapes do NOT fill all needs; CD-R is FAR more robust.)"

        You are out of your mind.


        I've seen many, many more bad backup tapes than I've seen bad CD-R disks in both my home and office environments. Plus, CD-R are portable, which DAT and HP Colorado are not, at least on my hardware. Poor statistics, maybe. Insanity, no more than the average geek.


        "I'd have been glad to buy CD-R drives from Sun at the usual drastic markup ..."

        You are totally and completely out of your mind.


        1) I tend to vote with my purchases. That's why I *pay for* Linux distros. Gotta feed that golden-egg-laying goose something...

        2) It's not my money, but it IS my (expensive and irreplaceable) time spent setting 'em up instead of meeting schedule. 'Nuff said?
    • As for the keyboard they make PC style keyboards, you just have to ask for them. Where I work we use Ultra 5, Ultra 10, Ultra 60, and Blades and we all have Sun "PC Style" keyboards.
    • Now, if I could only use a *standard* keyboard with my Ultras, one with the backspace and ~ in the *right places*...

      And here I've been wishing I could use a *standard* keyboard on my PCs for the same reason. I'll be damned if <Caps Lock>-C interrupts *anything*.

    • It'll take you a good five minutes to get a CD-R drive working on an Sun Ultra machine. Get the Schilly SCG driver and cdrecord, and any MMC compliant CD-R drive will work. I've got a 16x plextor drive in my ultra 10, works like a charm.
  • It is important to recognize that the mass migration to liberated infrastructure software will be evolutionary because a revolution would be too disruptive to Business.

    It is certainly true that Business is adverse to change. Entrenched interests within an organization that would be hurt by Revolution will fight to keep things the same.

    Progressive leaders, however, will make change happen when it is absolutely necessary. Think about Ecommerce, which I would call a revolution. Ten years ago essentially no company had a Web presence, but now they all do. And the changes required in IT departments to make Ecommerce work were revolutionary -- think Component Architecture.

    Certainly at this point it would be hard to argue that many progressive business leaders see moving to Open Source as absolutely necessary. As Danese says, things are therefore moving at an evolutionary pace, i.e. real slowly.

    So the question is how to change Management's perspective on this? Or can it be done? Is moving to Open Source fully necessary right now? I haven't yet seen any companies fail because they haven't gone Open Source, whereas plenty of companies have been screwed because of bad Web strategies. Think Time Warner or Toys R Us.
  • Just like open source software "deadlines" she was waiting to send then answers when they were ready. :-)
  • by binaryfeed (225333) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @03:43PM (#3492558) Homepage
    Two things:

    First of all, JBoss is LGPL licensed, not GPL licensed. I belive the license change took place with the 2.x JBoss tree.

    Secondly, the fact that something derived from JBoss may not continue the "compatibility and portability" should not inhibit JBoss from getting certified. A proprietary piece of software could do the same thing, the result being that the derived work would not be certified while the original would. Why should JBoss be any different?
    • by OSDiva (578566) <danese@gm a i l .com> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @03:58PM (#3492669) Homepage
      Well, I admit I didn't catch the licensing change, thanks for pointing it out. I'm agreeing with you that JBoss should be certified. The issue about JBoss being open source is that proprietary implementations are done by SCSL licensees (and that license prohibits unfettered redistribution of incompatible code which can only be done for research purposes and only to other SCSL licensees). SCSL licensees can only make productive use of the code in compatible ways. I'm an Open Source advocate, and have said for a long time that Open Source implementations should be allowed. The JCP changes are finally going to do that. Danese
      • I'm not sure what the trademark situation is with JBoss, but couldn't this be managed with a combination of the license and trademark grants?

        ie, Sun states that the JBoss(tm) framework is a certified J2EE implementation, while the JBoss group does not grant use of the JBoss trademark to derivative projects (unless they also pass certification).

        Still, I'm sure there are issues I haven't considered...

  • ..which makes this the longest lag we've ever had betweeen a set of Slashdot quesions and their answers, a record previously held by the late Douglas Adams, whose question post went up on May 2, 2000, but didn't get his answers to us until June 21, 2000.

    Doesn't Metallica hold this record? I seem to remember an Ask Slashdot feature [slashdot.org] about the Napster lawsuit in 2000; although they originally agreed to answer the top ten questions, they *never* replied.

    --

  • Some members of both the Free and Open Source movements are personally committed to non-conformity at the expense of credibility with typically conservative IT decision makers.

    She's talking about you RMS =)

    • Re:Hear that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OSDiva (578566) <danese@gm a i l .com> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:37PM (#3492900) Homepage
      Actually I *wasn't* talking about Richard. I had him come speak at Sun last year and he was great. He's commmitted to freedom and human decency. He's original, I'll grant you that. By some measures I'm too original for conservatives. My best friend's husband and I had to agree not to talk about politics because I upset him! The sentence you've exerpted is a reference to members of the Free and Open Source communities who flame or personally attack anything that moves in the guise of supporting the movement (boy, I can feel those flames heading towards me already). On literally every project I've worked on at Sun somebody asks the question, "Why are there so many unpleasant comments made?" The people those comments are directed at are people too. What I like about Open Source is that it has the potential to push technology ahead in the service of people, not corporations (or governments, or political parties, or races...). I know from my talks with RMS that we share that belief. I work for a large, for profit corporation and that makes me an easy target but I'd like to see the Free and Open Source Communities harness some of the vehemence with which they react to anything that smells of establishment towards building bridges. Okay, let the flames begin! Danese
      • I apologize, it was actually a parody of typical comment about him. Unfortunatly the smiley was evidently not enough to distinguish that.

        Maybe I should have user a ;) instead.
  • 10 years is a LONG time in this industry.
    &lt snip &gt
    The San Francisco Chronicle may be running a regular comic strip about a the adventures of a cute and politically liberal penguin by then!

    Don't tell Danese Cooper, but they already do [sfgate.com].

    Salon [salon.com] also runs the strip; here [salon.com] is one of my recent favorites.

  • by Deven (13090) <deven@ties.org> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @05:34PM (#3493285) Homepage
    Generally however we've found that the cost of open sourcing code for a proprietary product is non-trivial. I know it seems counter-intuitive but consider this: the reality is you can't just toss code over the fence. You have to first scrub it to make sure you have the rights to release it (your question acknowledges this difficulty). You also have to provide resources to answer questions and generally support those who are trying to pick up the code. Typically you have to develop additional documentation as well.

    For a project like OpenOffice, this is true. What about dead products? If a product is no longer being sold or supported, why not just toss the code over the fence? Okay, you have to scan the code to make sure you own the copyright, but how difficult is that? Surely any file coming from another company will be clearly marked with a copyright notice? Rip out anything you don't own the rights to, add a couple lines in a README file to identify what was removed (if anything was), and then just toss the code (and any existing documentation) over the fence, gaping holes and all.

    Don't spend a lot of time on the extras and supporting those who want to pick up the code, if it doesn't make business sense. Just toss it over the fence, unsupported, and leave it alone to find its own community. Maybe it will, or maybe it won't, but at least it'll have a chance.

    If you don't release the code because there's no business justification to polishing it up and supporting the release, that just guarantees that nobody will benefit. If it's a dead product that's not making you any money anymore, what's to lose? A few hours scanning the code for copyright notices, and a few administrative and legal approvals to go ahead?

    Why not give that code a chance for a second life as free software, if it has reached the end of its days as a commercial product? The sunk costs of developing the software are already gone, and there's always the chance that the code could become something worthwhile. It certainly can't hurt, and it could potentially benefit you, in PR value if nowhere else.

    Let me give a concrete example. I'd like to see Sun's old NeWS (Network-extensible Windowing System) codebase released as free software. Not the bastardized X11/NeWS merged server, but the old NeWS 1.1 standalone server. It was mostly (if not entirely) Sun's code, and it ran remarkably well, even on the anemic machines of its day. On a present-day machine, it would be quite snappy indeed. The NeWS code could probably be merged with Ghostscript to make a very powerful Display PostScript-like windowing system. Another attempt could even be made to merge it with X11, if that's what people wanted to do with it. NeWS was a very promising technology that was never supported much by Sun, and it was clobbered by X11 mostly because X11 was free and NeWS was proprietary. Like the VHS vs. Betamax wars, the inferior but cheaper product won. X11 has improved greatly in the past decade, but there are still things it can't do that NeWS did in the late 80's.

    NeWS is a dead product and it's not making Sun any money, which makes all the effort that went into it wasted. Why not toss it over the fence? Even if nobody picks it up, the code would be better off "in the wild" than locked up in Suns vaults!

    Lastly there's the issue of ongoing liability. Large companies have deep pockets. When a company releases a product it at times comes with a warranty which the company is willing to offer because the risk is offset by revenue. There has to be some significant value to the licensor to justify the risk. Make no mistake, whenever a large company converts a product to Open Source it's because that strategy has in some way been positively tied to the bottom line.

    What liability? If you're tossing the code over the fence, obviously that's not a release where you would choose to offer a warranty. Even commercial software is usually plastered with warnings about how it comes with NO WARRANTY, etc. This sounds like a red herring. Do you know of any actual examples of such liability actually having a material effect? A large company sued (successfully) over software that was released with NO WARRANTY disclaimers? Or is this just paranoid legal speculation that there could be some sort of theoretical liability, so we have to run far, far away from it?

    And really, if it's such a risk, SELL the rights to a small company (for $1), who can then toss it over the fence and take the risk of someone suing them, with their smaller pockets...
    • by OSDiva (578566) <danese@gm a i l .com> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @06:52PM (#3493717) Homepage
      I promise to look into NeWS. I've actually heard nostalgia and desire to see it published expressed inside Sun as well, so there might be a chance. Meanwhile, on the subject of EOL code in general. I didn't believe how expensive it could be to toss a dead project, either. We know that there will be questions from the world (even if we make it clear that we don't intend to answer them). We get "I know you're not taking questions, but I have this little teeny one", only hundreds of those. And then some Sun employee who remembers the project has to figure out the answer. People tend to think corporations have limitless resources, and that releasing dead code should be like recycling. Electonically scanning a codebase of, say, 8 million lines throws about 20K possible instances of 3rd party code...each of which needs to be researched by a lawyer or removed by an engineer. This is what happens when the pockets get deep. You get very cautious because you're required to by law (there are shareholders). And due diligence takes resources. And resources cost money. And money doesn't grow on trees...But hey, what if recycling code was "required by law" (as recycling CPUs is about to be). This could actually work, IMHO. Until then, traditional corporations will seldom altruistically liberate code, that was my point. You and I may agree they should, but I'm trying to explain what I see happening. Your best bet (this is a hint) is to organize so you can lobby effectively and promise to pick up maintenance of the code. Sun has done several EOL technology transfers on that basis.
      • NeWS was the first proper windowing system I saw - SunView doesn't count, as it was kernel based. It seemed to make the old 4MB 3/50s run a bit slow though. But NeWS was a *much* sounder idea than X - while multiple object in X have to be drawn by pixels, you could draw an object in NeWS and then tell the display "I'll have another one of those in green, but 20% bigger and rotated 45 degrees".

        An interesting side note - Sun moved the windowing system from the kernel (SunView) into user space (X/NeWS). OTOH, Microsoft moved it from user space (Win 3.1/NT 3.5) into kernel space (Win95/WinNT). An interesting sidebar to the "What's part of the operating system" debate.

        Dunstan
        • I remember using SunView/SunWindows on a Sun 3/50 before NeWS came out. Slow hardware, yet it was VERY snappy. I used NeWS for as long as I had it available to me, but eventually I ended up using X11 by default. NeWS was quite a bit slower than SunView, but I didn't find it unacceptably slow. Today's machines are so fast that I can't imagine it would feel slow at all on a current system. (Porting it to run under Linux on an x86 system might take some effort, though.)

          Even at the time (1988?), I wished that Sun would distribute NeWS as freely (source and binary) as X11 was, and I was sure that the difference in licensing would doom NeWS to an early demise. I wish I had been wrong about that one, but NeWS died much as I expected. I've always wanted to be able to go back to using NeWS, but without the code, it would require reimplementation of a clone. Even with Ghostscript available, that was a daunting project to consider, though I know that I'm not the only one who contemplated it.

          Maybe we should take the hint and try to organize a group that would be willing to pick up NeWS and maintain it. I'll take a shot at coordinating such an effort. Anyone who is interested in seeing NeWS released, who would be willing to help maintain it (if we can get Sun to release it), please email me [mailto] about it. Please be sure to include the word "NeWS" (in mixed case like that) somewhere in the Subject line, so my mail filter can catch the messages before they end up in a spam-catching folder!
  • by AG (3175)

    Sun also announced that as future Sun-lead specifications are finalized it will allow compatible alternate implementations (including J2SE, J2EE and J2ME) under Open Source licenses.

    As a contributor to gcj [gnu.org] I was very happy to read this when it was first announced.

    I started contacting people at Sun to sort this out and get details on the how and when. While I feel I'm getting closer to the right people - it's taking a frustratingly long time to sort out.

    Looking forward to some real progress...

    AG
    • it's taking a frustratingly long time to sort out. Hey, I've been pushing for that change for something like 3 years. Tell me about frustration! I actually spent some time yesterday getting an update about it all and there are some good folks (Managers in the Java group, Apache members who work inside of Sun as well as the Executive Committee and Project Management Office of the JCP) working out the details. I had a call about it again first thing this morning. Progress is being made! First thing that needs to happen is JSR 99 (the changes to the JSPA) need to be completed and ratified. Simultaneously, the terms of the Specification and TCK Licenses that Sun uses must be modified to reflect what's possible now. The 3-person committee that determines whether or not applicants to the support fund should qualify has to be created....I'm probably forgetting something but that's a pretty good list of what's happening.
  • Here's [google.ca] the Google cache incase the site gets /.ed ;)
  • I've been working and needing GNU tools on Solaris and the best site that I've found to date is www.sunfreeware.com [sunfreeware.com]. The site rocks in terms of the software you need as well as how it's organized. Try it once and I promise you will be hooked.

    And, oh yes, Yahoo! Messenger now has an officially supported client on Solaris (as well as updated clients for other Unixes 0.99.17), available at in.messenger.yahoo.com [yahoo.com]. And for more human interest value, this version was built by a bunch of folks in India :)
  • Bring Back OpenStep (Score:3, Interesting)

    by robertchin (66419) on Friday May 10, 2002 @02:26AM (#3495178) Homepage
    I wish Sun would just bring back OpenStep, the king of all programming environments. This way code for OS X could be cross compiled for Solaris, and it would make my life a lot easier.
  • [a few months] which makes this the longest lag we've ever had betweeen a set of Slashdot quesions and their answer

    Not at all! I'm still looking for [slashdot.org] the replies from Kevin Lawton (Bochs, Plex86) to reply to his questions [slashdot.org] which were raised in December 2000.
  • With the agreement about free Java implementation I wonder how Sun's relation to Kaffe [kaffe.org] is. Will they get the free compatibility test kit? I think they are very inportant for Sun because Kaffe is definetely the most portable VM today.

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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