Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Sun Microsystems

Talk to Sun's 'Open Source Diva' 330

Danese Cooper is Manager of Sun's Open Source Program Office. A Google search on Danese turns up more than 1000 results. She's a frequent speaker at IT industry events and conferences, and is, without question, Sun's staunchest internal Open Source advocate. Sun is moving toward Open Source in fits and starts, and Danese is behind a lot of that motion. Feel free to ask her anything you want (one question per post. please) about the trials and tribulations of being an Open Source person within a company that hasn't yet fully grasped the concept, and how she goes about trying to change that. We'll post her answers to 10 of the highest-moderated questions within the next week or so. The only question she can't answer is whether/when Java might be Open Sourced. I already asked her, and she replied, "Sadly, I have no news on that..."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Talk to Sun's 'Open Source Diva'

Comments Filter:
  • How does it feel... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eaddict ( 148006 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:05PM (#2816697)
    to be a woman in such a male dominated field? How do you keep ahead of the game?
  • OpenOffice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kvandivo ( 207171 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:06PM (#2816699) Homepage
    Is Sun moving to put more resources into the
    OpenOffice initiative?
    • Which anagram of your name do you like best?

      Codes are open
      An opcode seer
      A code reopens
      A creed so open
      As code opener
      A score opened
      Redo open case
      CEO dares open
      Ease porn code?
      or for /. AC does reopen

    • by 2Bits ( 167227 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @02:56PM (#2818050)
      Sun spent money and effort to buy OpenOffice and put resources to improve and develop it. From the impression that we get as outsider, Sun seems to want OO to compete with MS Office.

      However, another impression that we have is that Sun wants other companies to use it, but Sun does not. I met quite a few people from Sun, and they don't use OO at all. A few Sun developers have downloaded it and played with it, and went back to MS Office. Funny thing is, those Sun presenters make jokes about Microsoft during their presentation, but they are all using MS Office and MS Windows. For that, I think it's not even funny.

      Is this OO initiative a political game only, or is Sun serious about pushing OO to the enterprise environment? What are the efforts inside Sun to push OO as the standard office tools? What office tools do you use? Same for Scott McNealy.
      • Some of them use it.

        Under Windows.

        Seen that quite a few times.

        Not entirely unexpected considering that Solaris s**ks on laptops due to lack of APM support and Sun's policy forbids using Linux or BSD for presenting anything to an external audience.

        So sun's unix geeks have no choice but to present with Soffice under windows presentations that have been written on a unix system.
  • by Sierpinski ( 266120 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:06PM (#2816705)
    I would like to know what you think of the antitrust situation with Microsoft, and how it would/could positively affect the open source market nowadays.

    Much appreciated.
  • by Hasie ( 316698 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:07PM (#2816709)
    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?

    • by Sanity ( 1431 )
      ..I would have phrased it differently to make sure there is no room for misinterpretation.

      Companies where their core business model is to sell support for Open Source software seem to be dropping like flies. While it is clear that Open Source can be a good way to support another business model (such as Open Sourcing software for hardware that you are selling), do you agree that selling or supporting Open Source software, as a business model in itself, has been a failure?

    • Very badly worded. Every company that tries to make money off a "free" product will fail, for obvious reasons.

      You are assumming "open source" == "free". The actual question is whether this assumption is true or not (and, despite claims to the contrary here on SlashDot, I think it is possible that this assumption is true).

      If you assumme this is true, a further question is whether some non-free product can somehow be linked to a free product so that the company makes money. Broadcast TV seems to indicate that vast sums of money can be made this way, but it is not clear if any such setup can be done for source code. Except for zealots on SlashDot, most people are asking if this is possible.

      However you worded the question as though you assummed "open source"=="free" is a true statement. That has not been proven.

  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:08PM (#2816715)
    This might seem like a thinly veiled attack in the form of a question, but it doesn't appear the StarOffice has really made a dent in Microsoft's ownership of the office suite market. Did Sun waste their time and money on this project?
    • The odd thing is, I heard that StarOffice 6 was going to cost money.
      For a couple of reasons - a lot of corporate cultures equate free with worthless, and for the benefit of bundled software sellers so they can say 'This PC comes with $600 worth of software'
      I don't know if that means it'll be available on a 'free use' license or not though. (which might sound odd, but I understand that their strategy behind this project is to take office suite market share away from microsoft).
    • That StarOffice was not developed bu SUN from the start. They bought it from some german company which name curently eludes me.

      In my company we have 2 MS Office Licenses (one 97 and one 2k) and the rest of us run StarOffice 5.2. It saves us some cash and spares us time in the evergoing "keep-your-licenses-at-handy-just-in-case-struggle ".

      Now that SUN moved away from the "let's teake over the desktop" strategy used in 5.2 I think that the suite will become even more attractive.

      Cudos to SUN from me and my pals for keeping StarOffice alive. We NEED alternatives. No matter if the are free or not.


  • by mfarah ( 231411 ) <> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:09PM (#2816724) Homepage
    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 []). What, in your opinion, is the proper balance between open source and closed source methods Sun should strive to?
  • by Vic ( 6867 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:09PM (#2816725) Homepage
    The popularity of Linux, *BSD, and other open source operating systems has continually increased over the last 10 years, and in many cases, it is replacing the proprietary technology offered by traditional UNIX vendors.

    Does Sun feel at all threatened by the increasing awareness and usage of other open source UNIX-like operating systems? Does Sun feel open-sourcing their software is a necessary step to compete with the free operating systems and software?
  • Not fully grasped? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JamesOfTheDesert ( 188356 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:11PM (#2816734) Journal
    ... the trials and tribulations of being an Open Source person within a company that hasn't yet fully grasped the concept, ...

    Um, I'm pretty sure Sun *has* grasped the concept, but it doesn't suit their busines model.

    But, for a question, how about "What is the general understanding of OSS at Sun?"

  • Open Source Solaris? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sobrique ( 543255 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:11PM (#2816735) Homepage
    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.
    • Solaris x86 is, for the most part, Solaris Sparc + some device drivers and a microkernel that are x86 specific. So, releasing just the x86 components of Solaris might not achieve too much.
    • An open-source Solaris kernel would be able to integrate the recently-released IBM-JFS and SGI-XFS filesystems (which both seem better than ufs), along with many device drivers from Linux (with some required rewrites, of course).

      Sun has come 90% of the way towards really riding the Open-Source wave. 100% would not necessarily require completely opening Solaris.

      An open-source Solaris kernel on Itanium would also really screw up your competetors hopes of selling proprietary UNIX on that platform, as well...

      The drawback would be that we might be able to see some sensitive information on e1[05]k partitioning and hot-swap features.

      Do the Sun decision-makers see it differently?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If I understand Sun correctly, they are, predominantly, a hardware company. They make most of their money on hardware sales and services to support that hardware.

    Why, then, would it be in Suns best interest to move towards open source when that movement could lead customers to a move away from their hardware?

  • Corporate culture (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stephan Schulz ( 948 ) <> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:11PM (#2816737) Homepage
    How is the corporate culture within SUN? As far as I an tell, it started out as a hacker company, with strong ties into academia. Now it seems to have switched into "serious business" mode and sells most of it's hardware with and to suits.

    But how is the internal climate?

  • by Marx_Mrvelous ( 532372 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:12PM (#2816745) Homepage
    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 soruce solutions to the problems we face?
  • by neo ( 4625 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:12PM (#2816750)
    When I try to explain open source to people who are pure capitalist, I have a hard to time explaining what can be gained. For people who are used to the concepts of Copyright and Patents, the idea that you can create value and profit from giving away ideas seems counter intuative.

    How do you explain Open Source to people driven by profit in a persuasive way?
  • With the recent announcement of no x86 Solaris 9 [], do you forsee aditional problems within Sun as more projects (potentially) move to 64-bit chip archetectures? (I mean to exclude external factors such as the potential that the consumer chip market may to fail to transit toward 64 bit chips.)
  • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:13PM (#2816757) Journal

    There has been some speculation that Sun is uncomfortable with certifying JBoss [] 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?

    - Rev.
  • by ACK!! ( 10229 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:13PM (#2816760) Journal
    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?

    Also, will Sun try this year to combat the misconception that buying Sun means spending big bucks on hardware?

    After all the $999 Netras and Sunblades have played well in Unix-only houses but the common IT professional still seems to think they have to beaucoup bucks to be a Sun house?

  • Internal resistance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by inerte ( 452992 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:14PM (#2816762) Homepage Journal
    What are the internal resistances (from upper management, for example) that you face on your daily work to promote Open Source inside Sun?

    What arguments are people that work with you using to counter-attack your proposals? And do you feel (or know) that this is also how other big companies react inside their offices to Open Source in general?
  • She has a common surname. Here's the correct search [], which returns 212 results.
  • Leaving x86 market (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jammer 4 ( 34274 )
    What were the motivations and decisions regarding the decision to leave the x86 market? And, does Sun see it's move as a "capitulation" to the Open Source OS's that currently reign on the x86 platform?
  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:15PM (#2816785) Homepage
    Do you think companies use Open Source as a political statement to say that they support individual consumers freedom? By allowing individuals to see how a product works and to contribute back to it. Or are companies finding that Open Source can give them an economic advantage over closed source in the software industry?
  • Open Source Java (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:16PM (#2816788) Homepage Journal
    The only question she can't answer is whether/when Java might be Open Sourced.

    Me, too. Me, too.

    This is the only thing that interests me, and I've often felt the way to keep the Microsoft wolves at bay was to Open Source Java, which I feel would push it much further than Sun can. Keeping a lid on Java may be the best gift to Redmond in terms of .NET acceptance, not that having hoards of PHB's saying, "Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM^H^H^HMicrosoft", hurts their efforts.

    If I had a question, which she may be demurring on already, it would be, "What's the big obstacle? Or is it one of those Committee things, where nobody will accept respobsibility for standing in the way and points fingers at the Committee"? I'll understand, if in the interests of preserving her position she can't answer that, either.

    • Maybe they're waiting for MS to bet the entire farm on .NET and only then open-source Java?
    • If Sun open-sourced Java, someone would immediately take it and fix all the problems (i.e. clean up the API, function pointers, enums and closures...the list is long but pretty easily achievable). This would cause an immediate fork between Sun Java and some newcommer.

      Sun has to maintain backwards compatibility with everything that is currently java, and thus would either have to stick with the current Java or maintain two seperate Javas (deprecation can only do so much...and it can't really effect more than the API). If they chose to stick with the current Java, customers would be likely to choose a competing java for non-legacy applications.

      No matter what Sun chose to do, it would end up hurting them. It may end up helping Java immensly which would help Sun in the long run, but that's a hard argument for people to swallow.
  • For a corporation, whose primary goal is to make money, what are the motives for going open source/FS? A number of companies seem to be using it for PR purposes rather than as a way to make money. How are you planning on bringing in more revenue by going open source and not just use it as a 'loss leader'? Or, since Sun is a hardware company, are you planning on using it primarily as a 'loss leader' for more hardware sale ala IBM?
  • Mono / .NET (Score:5, Interesting)

    by paulywog ( 114255 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:17PM (#2816792)
    Articles keep comparing J2EE and .NET. One of the unquestionable advantages of J2EE in an enterprise environment is its cross platform capabilities (specifically the ability to run on powerful high-end UNIX servers). With the Mono [] project building an open source, cross platform, .NET compatible framework, do you have any fear that the .NET style framework for web services might become more of a competition to J2EE than without the Mono project? Would Sun ever consider supporting Mono to enourage interroperability between J2EE and .NET components, or is this an example of an open source project potentially damaging Sun?
  • A Google search [] of CmdrTaco gets about 12,000 hits. I guess we know who would be on top in that relationship!
  • JBoss and Tomcat. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:19PM (#2816816) Homepage Journal
    Will you support JBoss and Tomcat for the Java community?
    For independent individuals to become J2EE experts, they need a web container to train on. The only inexpensive solution is Tomcat and JBoss (both open source solutions). And JBoss is the first to support the newest version of EJBs (2.0).
    I would find it in your best interest to support both projects. What does the future hold for Sun, Tomcat, and JBoss?
  • As the Open-Source person in a commercially successfull company, do you manage to actually have positive financial results or are you just working in order to advertise Sun's openness ?
    How is your position perceived inside your company ?
    Do you spend your time fight ing to get a budget ? Do your business plan includes the placement of Sun consultants in big companies ?
  • by Erich ( 151 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:22PM (#2816837) Homepage Journal
    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?

  • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:22PM (#2816840)
    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"?
  • by X ( 1235 ) <> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:22PM (#2816841) Homepage Journal
    Sun seems to have a lot of credibility problems with the open source community. Moves like SCSL, Jini, and limited support for SparcLinux have all lead to a mixed view of Sun. In some ways, I think the reason for this is that Sun didn't drink the open source "Kool Aid".

    So my questions are: do you encounter these credibility problems? Are they a problem for you? Are you (or Sun) doing anything to change these perceptions?
  • about the trials and tribulations of being an Open Source person within a company that hasn't yet fully grasped the concept, and how she goes about trying to change that.

    Geez Robin, you act like she's the only one, aren't most of us in that boat? I would guess that not all of us work with OSS-knowledgeable PHBs. They're learning slowly, but it takes time.
  • Working at Sun? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by broody ( 171983 )
    How would you characterize the work environment at Sun? Do you have any insider's advice for those of us caught up in the recent market downtown who are looking for new challenges at Sun?

    Sure it may seem cheesy but whatever it takes...

    Please read this document [].
  • Integrity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by augustz ( 18082 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:27PM (#2816875) Homepage
    Sun made an enourmous amount of noise about how it was Java was going to be an open standard. But after trying to prevert the standards process by becoming a "Publically Available Submitter", then withdrawing its application and attempting to get the ECMA to rubber stamp, then withdrawing from the ECMA as well, the simple fact is Java has lived up to none of its standardization promises. It claims a "covanent" [] with its users that means they all want Sun to milk them dry with licensing fees, but thats hard to beleive. Other standards like Ethernet seem to have done relatively well compatability wise, while using Java across multiple platforms is an exercise in frustration.

    At what point do users and developers need to pull the rug out from under vendors who consistently lie, such as Sun? What surprisies me here is that people seem to require no moral or ethical dimension to a company, despite the actual business harm dealing with such a company poses. There have been a number of other cases where soon-to-be open sourced software went closed source, so the danger in these situations is real.

    Microsoft, after a long history of BS, actually seems to be doing the right thing with C# standards wise, and I suppose the proof will be in the pudding if and the GNU Portable .NET are actually allowed to implement the spec freely. I for one am certainly hoping that the folks who play fairly in this space win out, and in that case Microsoft deserves the prize. Is it possible C# will be a standard everyone can use freely before Java becomes one?
    • There's an interesting article at Javalobby ( l), admittedly from a Java pro's perspective, that talks about what .NET's submission to the ECMA really means. Here's a quote:

      ***This ECMA effort may be primarily symbolic, however, since only a player with enormous resources and funding could possibly implement the standard. If you use .Net you can expect to be using it only on Windows for a long time to come.***

      Don't know if Mr. Ross is right, but I assume he's more connected than I am. :^) I'm intrigued by the idea of a GNU CLR or CLI or whatever it is now, but if it's going to be successful it'll have to progress quite a bit faster than GCJ (, as an example, before it's useful.

      With respect to your comment:
      >Other standards like Ethernet seem to have done
      >relatively well compatability wise, while using
      >Java across multiple platforms is an exercise in

      Tried porting any C other than straight ANSI? Believe me, though toasters running weather modeling might be "goofy", Java makes some real headway into writing once and running anywhere. and come to mind as pretty good xplat software that wouldn't be on our OS of choice without Java.

      Yes, I realize Netbeans wouldn't be anywhere without Java since it's a Java IDE, but you get the point. I've seen a lot higher percentage (for x software packages, y had a Mac version) of software come to Mac Classic (which didn't have UNIX underneath) from Java than from C codebases.

      I'm not against you being right about C#, and hope it does an even better job of making weather predicting toasters, but I'm not optimistic.
      • This ECMA effort may be primarily symbolic, however, since only a player with enormous resources and funding could possibly implement the standard. If you use .Net you can expect to be using it only on Windows for a long time to come.

        This is typical of Ross. Not only does it not make sense (is there some limit at which we consider a system "tto big" to publish specs on?), but its patently false. The larger the system, the more necessary the spec is, not the other way around.

    • Sorry, so my question would be, "Do you see C# becoming a more successful practical standard cross-platform (let's say that means Windows, Mac OS X, Linux x86, FreeBSD, and Solaris) than Java in the next 5 to 10 years?"
  • Since there's not going to be x86 support [] for Solaris 9, is there any chance that maybe Solaris 9 could be eventually Open Sourced (to at least allow for the possibility of an x86 version), à la Quake II []?
  • As we heard today [], Microsoft rigged a ZDNet poll [] to make .Net look more popular than Java. What do you think of this as a tactic, and why aren't Sun keeping up with industry practices? :-)
  • How can we help..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oobeleck ( 313907 ) <oobeleck AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:36PM (#2816948) Homepage Journal
    Most /.ers work with a number of Unix distros.(Solaris being one of them) I like many others would like to see Sun embrace the Open Source movement more fully. As customers/admins what can we do to help you push Sun more in this direction? Can you give us some practical ways to help you? (i.e. email and kindly request more involvement from Sun)
  • For all those who are dying to see what
    she [] looks like....
  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:41PM (#2816984) Homepage Journal
    While most discussion revolves around software companies moving to open source, how do you think other large companies such as the international investment firm I work for be convinced to switch to open source? I guess this is a question more of your customers. I want my company to move to GNU/Linux and open source, but being on the Microsoft train for so long they are afraid to even look at other options. How will Sun get their customers to embrace open source? (And any suggestions on how I can convince my company to switch would be much appreciated!)
  • Working as an opensource advocate within a primarily closed-source company, has your career trajectory been affected by your continuing advocacy of the open-source movement? For example, have there been career moves that you were unable to make because higher-ups were concerned about placing someone with your views in a position to make relevant decisions? In that vein, do you have any advice for the rest of us suits who wish to advocate open-source tactfully, without giving the impression that our primary goal in life is to give away the company's assets?
  • iPlanet vs. JBoss (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rgraham ( 199829 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:46PM (#2817016) Homepage
    The people over at JBoss [] are very high on their software (rightfully so in my opinion) and have proclaimed that their J2EE application server will be the death of WebSphere, JRun, iPlanet, etc. Presumably the big draw to JBoss is not only that it works but also that its free and open source. Is Sun planning on open-sourcing iPlanet or making it free to compete with JBoss?
  • Why Sun should adopt Open Source? Or adopt Free Software? When their major competitors, like MS, Compaq are not? Should Sun go to a business plan IBM style? Selling consulting and not products?
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:56PM (#2817090)
    Although hardware, by definition, can't be "open source (code)". But how does/can any of Sun's hardware business meld with the open source concept?
  • Why OpenSource (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmu1 ( 183541 ) <`jmullman' `at' `'> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:56PM (#2817092) Journal
    I am an OpenSource and FreeSoftware advocate, so please spare me the usual advocate diatribe. I would like to know why it is you support and push OpenSource software in your company. Sun, is by definition, one of the companies that OpenSource and especially the FreeSoftware Foundation is trying to topple. Why would you, or Sun wish to adopt an opposing strategy which has, unfortunatly, failed(for the most part). I realize that there are projects which have been extremely sucessful(Apache comes to mind) but so far, most other OSS projects have gone down in flames or sit in obscurity(Linux, *BSD). How do you think you can make it work, and how can it benifit the public as a whole?
  • by mydigitalself ( 472203 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @01:03PM (#2817124)

    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 [].

    Secondly, there is also an open source source initially from .GNU for this central authentication service []. 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?

  • by flacco ( 324089 )
    Will the netbeans IDE ever start in under 70 seconds on my machine?
  • Will Sun ever port this office suite to Mac OS X since OpenOffice isn't making any progress?
  • .*?BSD and Linux does just about the same thing. AIX, IRIS, and Solaris also does just about the same thing, roughly. We have seem motions that companies release their software as open source instead, for example XFS. There has also been work done the other way around, where non open source companies use open source software.

    What that in mind, what do you want Sun to do as far as software as a whole goes. Should they take all that is good with Solaris, open source it and try to unfied it as one OS that Sun will use, or will there only be certain pieces of software that will be open sourced?
  • Making money from Open Source is one often raised topic but not this time. Lets say that Open Source is a 'Good Thing (TM)'. While advocating it, you spend time and effort to convince customers and co-workers that the benefits are real. Well, that's nice. If you are right, they believe you, they follow your advice and they get the benefits. Very nice. But how do you make sure that some of those benefits will spill over to you? Or even to your company?
  • The JCP (Java Community Process) gets lots of critique from many in the open source community, since they claim it is basically run by Sun. It isn't open in the same way as ANSI, ISO or ECMA standardization. I would argue that it is open in other ways, where ANSI/ISO/ECMA are closed, or limited.

    However, could you enumerate exactly in which ways Sun as a company is granted extra priviliges in the JCP, compared to other companies, and elaborate upon why these extra priviliges are there? Removing them could be a huge boost of the popularity of Java within the open source community.


    Mats Henricson
  • I was interested to know, the rational behind the recent losses on the open source front that were directly connected with Sun. That being that the Solaris code is no longer available, and there is no x86 support in Solaris 9?
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @01:31PM (#2817399) Homepage Journal

    Scott Mc Nealy (your esteemed *cough*cough* CEO) once said : "You have no privacy. Get over it". I may have a couple of words wrong, but you get the drift.

    Considering Sept. 11th aftermath, the new rules being put into place in the USA (some say they are privacy-invading) and the fact that a lot of Open Source software reject the position of Mr McNealy, what do you think will happen?

    • Will we see a more privacy-oriented Sun as it embraces Open Source?
    • Or is it going to be business as usual? (Meaning: "You have no privacy. Get over it").

    I think this question is especially relevant, since a lot of users are getting very wary of large companies (Redmondia comes to mind) tracking each and every gesture through the latest version of their software.

    Many thanks in advance.
  • by fiori ( 45848 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @01:46PM (#2817527) Homepage
    What the the limitations that you have found with respect to Open Source software when you have been able to incorporate it in to your product portfolio? Where is it a success and where has it been a failure?
  • It's difficult for business people to understand that there is value in giving something away. What are the biggest obstacles you face in speaking to executives about the business value of open source, and how do you work through them to get buy-in? What are the objections, the communication barriers, the comprehension gaps, and how do you counter them? Can you explain to them the value in such a way that they can understand it from a "business value" perspective, or do you need to get them outside the typical "business value" framework to communicate with them?

  • You go girl (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @01:56PM (#2817600) Homepage Journal
    How do you convince a company that its not loosing assets on opening source?
  • Although any potential date of Java going open source can't be commented on at the moment, is there any likelihood that there will be a link between it going open source and being resubmitted to ECMA?

    (It seems to me that the only reason C# is really going before ECMA is to rub Sun's nose in the fact that Java has been pulled from ECMA a couple of times before now.)

  • While many of Sun's efforts seem laudable from traditional 'open source' perspectives, there are some curious relapses (i.e., Java as an open standard.) Does Sun see open source as something to be encouraged for its own sake, or is it seen more as a weapon to use against the competition (specifically, Microsoft)? Personally, I worry about the future of projects such as Star Office: given that Microsoft's lead in office software is so huge, it seems to me that alternatives to MS Office will have a long road in front of them before appreciable progress (market share) is seen. Does Sun's committment to open source and Star Office extend to perhaps a decade of underdog competition?

    Thank you.

  • by mlinksva ( 1755 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @02:17PM (#2817759) Homepage Journal
    Has interaction with the open source community contributed to any changes in Sun's internal development practices and/or toolset and/or do you see this happening in the future? I'm speculating that perhaps the toolset being developed at Tigris [] may be funded indirectly by Sun via CollabNet with an eye towards internal use in addition to use in Sun's collaboration with the community on projects like OpenOffice, Netbeans, and JXTA.
  • os ethic.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oscarcvt ( 226856 )
    Have you read the Hacker Ethic, if so do you agree with the concepts of open source there exposed?
  • After scanning all of the comments about this article, I've found that most of the controversial/antagonistic comments are about java versus Open Source.

    How do you deal with these type of questions when you are speaking internally?

    Are you an "Open Source is the One True Way [TM]" kind of person, or are you an "Open Source Can Help Us Crush Our Competitors As Long As We Don't Give Up The Good Stuff [Java]" kind of person?

    I realize that this question is kind of trollish, but I'd really like to know where you personally divide "Open Source" and "Good for Sun".
  • by rjrjr ( 28310 ) <rjrjr @ p o b o x . com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @02:46PM (#2817978) Homepage
    Way back in the 1990's, Sun bought Lighthouse Design. Lighthouse published a suite of top notch productivity apps (spreadsheets, presentation, diagramming) and other good stuff for NextStep and OpenStep -- the predecessors of Mac OS X.

    After these apps were end-of-lifed, an effort was made to tidy up their source code and release them as some flavor of open source. For reasons that have never been clear to me, the release did not happen.

    Can you shed light on this? Or perhaps give someone or something a nudge and get the balling rolling again?

    Ray Ryan
    Former UI Lead of Lighthouse Design
  • Is it that sun "doesn't get open source", or does sun get open source, but still see value in other models as well?
  • Will Sun ever make a native compiler for Java which allows for binary executables?

    The advantage of native compilation (as the GCJ folks already know) is a bit of improvement in performance, as well as a reduction in startup time amd memory usage because JVM/JIT compilation is not needed (though the runtime still is). Sun has already put a lot of optimization tricks into Hotspot, so putting all that into a native compiler shouldn't be too hard. Native compilation would probably be most beneficial for desktop apps using Swing.
  • Why was the Solaris source closed, and the x86 version taken off of Sun's free download section?
  • The first Sun Workstation I used, a Sun 1, Serial number 184, had an OS very close to vanilla BSD and, in order to put an Ethernet card and a slip line on it (so it could be used as a router) we could modify the drivers and recompile the kernel.

    So, Sun was an Open Source leader in the 1980's -- before the term was even coined.

    Could you give us any insight as to why Sun decided to close its OS' source? And start charging extra money for its compilers? (Why, so SUN could have $$ to devote to developing NeWS?)

    It seems to me that the reason SUN needs an "open source advocate" at all is their fall from grace 15 years ago. You had it right the first time.

  • by spitzak ( 4019 )
    Why doesn't Sun open-source NeWS. Granted the chance of it being useable now is slim, but it would be nice to see Sun try to make up for one of the biggest sins in the history of computer science.

    I truly believe that if Sun had open-sourced a reference implementation of NeWS back in 1985 that right now it would be Scott McNealy on the government witness stand right now and everybody as SlashDot would call them $un. This is because Sun would be in control of the NeWS standard and could propose and release any enhancements to it before anybody else. They could also close-source it, or close-source the enhancements (like people worry about MSoft doing with .net), if they wanted. But to do any of this it had to be accepted, and it was not going to be accepted when it cost vast amounts of money and there was another thing (X) that, while obviousy 100 times crappier, was free (well $115 for a tape of the source code).

  • What do you think would be needed to qualify a product as of more danger to Sun's competitors' markets than Sun's own markets, which seems to be the main business reason that OpenOffice was selected for support and promotion by Sun?

    How would Sun feel about, for example, a RAD tool which competed directly with VB+ASP but was not (or at least not primarily) aimed at Java?

    How about a truly open Exchange+Outlook killer suite?
  • NeWS [] was an advanced, Postscript-based network windowing system develped at Sun that was later dropped as a product in the late 1980s. NeWS contained advanced technologies that many people still praise today. Is there any possibility that Sun will release source code of NeWS under a free software/open source license? That should be a great contribution to the community.
  • I understand that SUN did an incredible donation to the community by GPL'ing OpenOffice (the Free Software version of StarOffice). But, as it stands, OpenOffice still depends on GPC (General Polygon Clipping Library) which is not free for commercial use. This means that business use of OpenOffice, if deemed a commercial use, might need an authorization from Alna Murta (GPC's author) or else be illegal, which is more likely because most people don't even know about this issue. Are there any plans to deal with this last roadblock ?

This universe shipped by weight, not by volume. Some expansion of the contents may have occurred during shipment.