· Business
 · · Sun

Sun/Oracle Strategy Session · I’m live-tweeting the ses­sion, but Twit­ter is in trou­ble, I don’t see anyone’s tweets but my own, and I guess mine are go­ing in­to a black hole for most peo­ple who fol­low me. There is some news here, which you can see (I be­lieve) by keep­ing an eye on @tim­bray.
The EU and MySQL · [Dis­clo­sure: I have no non-public in­for­ma­tion on any of the MySQL-related as­pects of the Sun/Or­a­cle trans­ac­tion, nor on the cur­rent anti-trust re­view, and I am not speak­ing for any­one but my­self.] My guess is that the EU will even­tu­al­ly con­clude that it would be very dif­fi­cult for Or­a­cle to kill or crip­ple MySQL, even if they want­ed to. I think the more in­ter­est­ing ques­tion is whether Or­a­cle can turn MySQL from a use­ful tech­nol­o­gy in­to an in­ter­est­ing busi­ness, some­thing that in my opin­ion it’s nev­er been. What I’m wor­ried about, though, are un­in­tend­ed side-effects ...
OOW 2009 Day 2 · Fur­ther re­ports from a tribe not my own that speaks a lan­guage I have to work to un­der­stand. But I do like com­put­er­s, and the trade-show floors (note plu­ral) are be­yond vast and have lots of ’em on dis­play, so there are some big-iron pix in among the tourist nar­ra­tive ...
Big Red · Which is to say, Or­a­cle Open World. Ex­treme­ly big. Ex­treme­ly red ...
OOW Next Week · Yep, I’m go­ing to be at Or­a­cle Open World next week. It’s way big­ger than JavaOne, they tell me; the mind bog­gles ...
[1 comment]  
The Sun Web Stack · Boy, there’ve been a lot of re­leas­es go by, but of­fi­cial­ly, this is Web Stack 1.5. The Web Stack is a prod­uct I’ve been en­cour­ag­ing and cheer­lead­ing for quite a while. What’s in­ter­est­ing, of course, is the list of in­gre­di­ents, es­pe­cial­ly in­clud­ing the Continuous-Integration Suite Former­ly Known As Hud­son ...
Us and Them · I have been no­ti­fied by Sun’s le­gal staff that this post­ing may not be ap­pro­pri­ate at this time, and asked to take it down.
Pumping Iron · I work at Sun be­cause I like com­put­er­s, so when­ev­er we an­nounce some, that’s a big day for me. Today’s iron is built around Ne­halem. There are a cou­ple of blades, a bunch of rack-mounts, plus 10GE and In­fini­band switch­es (I have seen more than one in­ter­nal Ethernet-vs-Infiniband fist­fight; juicy stuff for geek­s. My per­son­al bet is on Eth­er­net). There will be tons of press re­leas­es and so on start­ing at the Sun home­page linked above, but for the re­al poop you need blog­ger­s; the peo­ple who built these box­es and ran the bench­mark­s. Tushar Katar­ki has ag­gre­gat­ed them in Sun rise over Ne­halem. Let’s cut Tushar some slack on the cheer­lead­ing, he’s been work­ing on these for a while and has earned the right to a lit­tle rah-rah; and he links to re­al blog­ger­s ...
The Sun Cloud · To­day at Com­mu­ni­tyOne in New York, we’re an­nounc­ing a bunch of Cloud-related stuff. Some of it has my fin­ger­prints on it. This is my per­son­al take on the in­ter­est­ing part­s ...
C1 in NY · Com­mu­ni­tyOne, that is. Just a few weeks from now: March 18th and 19th in Man­hat­tan. I’ll be there talk­ing about my An­droid work, and I’m al­so work­ing very in­tense­ly on some oth­er things we may, with luck, show the world. The pro­gram looks gen­uine­ly in­ter­est­ing; I’ll be there all day to take it in.
[Up­date: Oh hey, as Si­mon points out, it’s free.]

What Sun Should Do · Sun is go­ing through a lousy spell right now. Wel­l, so is the world’s econ­o­my in gen­er­al and the IT busi­ness in par­tic­u­lar, but this is about Sun. This is my opin­ion about what my em­ploy­er should do about it ...
Storage 7000 · This is cer­tain­ly our biggest an­nounce­ment of the year so far; just pos­si­bly the biggest since I showed up here in 2004. The of­fi­cial name is the “Sun Stor­age 7000” and there are three sys­tems in the line-up. As usu­al, the re­al ac­tu­al tech­nol­o­gy news is in the blogs; the hub is at the Stor­age News blog, but I’d start with the co-conspirators: Bryan Cantrill’s Fish­work­s: Now it can be told and Mike Shapiro’s In­tro­duc­ing the Sun Stor­age 7000 Series. I have some opin­ions too ...
Meat-Grinder! · It’s days like these that make it fun work­ing for Sun. The new server’s of­fi­cial name is the T5440; they call it a “mid-range” box, but to me it looks like a mon­ster; count the num­bers for cores, thread­s, RAM, and so on. It’s as­tound­ing what you can fit in­to a 4U box these days ...
Pronounced “Keen-Eye” · We launched Pro­ject Ke­nai very qui­et­ly last Fri­day. It’s a de­vel­op­er hub with SCM and is­sue track­ing and fo­rums and all the oth­er stuff you’d ex­pec­t. We built it be­cause we need­ed it, but it’s open for use by the world for free. For a new­born in­fan­t, it looks pret­ty good. Any­one can vis­it, but to cre­ate a project re­quires an in­vi­ta­tion, which I have some of; con­tact me if you want one. There are lots of in­ter­est­ing things about Ke­nai; among oth­er things, it’s a Rails ap­p. Here­with the de­tail­s.
[Up­date: Nick Sieger re­sponds to heat over “control”.]
Sun Web Server Open-Sourced · [This is one of four pieces of Sun news from last week; I ac­tu­al­ly got to make the an­nounce­ments at OSCON but was too busy to blog]. We’re open-sourcing Sun’s own Web serv­er (for­mal­ly the “Sun Ja­va Sys­tem Web Server”), us­ing (and here’s a sur­prise) the BSD li­cense; I don’t know if we’ve gone BSD be­fore ...
Sun + Joyent + Facebook · [This is one of four pieces of Sun news from last week; I ac­tu­al­ly got to make the an­nounce­ments at OSCON but was too busy to blog]. The news is that we’re part­ner­ing with Joyent to of­fer one year’s free host­ing for Face­book apps. I don’t re­al­ly un­der­stand the Facebook-app ecosys­tem, but any­thing that re­duces the bar­ri­er to en­try has to be good, right?
OpenSSO and Enterprisey Open Source · [This is one of four pieces of Sun news from last week; I ac­tu­al­ly got to make the an­nounce­ments at OSCON but was too busy to blog]. A cou­ple of years ago, Sun’s soft­ware group launched the OpenSSO pro­jec­t, the open-source ver­sion of our big com­pre­hen­sive suite of identity-management tool­s. Now, that project is a sup­port­ed Sun pro­duc­t: OpenSSO Ex­press. I don’t un­der­stand the soft­ware deeply enough to say any­thing au­thor­i­ta­tive about it, but the pricing-and-support mod­el is in­ter­est­ing ...
[1 comment]  
Sun Web Stack · [This is one of four pieces of Sun news from last week; I ac­tu­al­ly got to make the an­nounce­ments at OSCON but was too busy to blog]. The Sun Web Stack, ship­ping lat­er this year, is an ag­glom­er­a­tion of Web stuff (“Formerly known as CoolS­tack, al­so known as LAMP/SAMP”), and a fully-supported Sun prod­uct on both So­laris and GNU/Lin­ux. Read on for de­tails and dis­cus­sion; this rais­es some in­ter­est­ing is­sues ...
Mike vs. Dave · This is grip­ping stuff. To­day, Sun’s chief coun­sel Mike Dil­lon blogged a blow-by-blow re­port on our in-progress lit­i­ga­tion with NetAp­p. The sto­ry of the case is pret­ty in­ter­est­ing, but the fact that a ma­jor corporation’s Chief Coun­sel is blog­ging it in real-time is ground-breaking, I think. Just as in­ter­est­ing is the only-slightly-redacted dec­la­ra­tion by NetApp’s Dave Hitz (PDF), filed in the case, that Mike linked to. It’s a re­mark­ably un­var­nished take on the is­sues fac­ing closed-source ven­dors with a port­fo­lio of soft­ware patents in the era of Open Source. Wow.
Whatever One · I spent most of Mon­day at Com­mu­ni­tyOne, and it makes me won­der about the fu­ture of JavaOne ...
[1 comment]  
Sssssssssssssssssssssssun · As any­body who watch­es this space knows, we’ve been pour­ing in­creas­ing amounts of love on dy­nam­ic lan­guages re­cent­ly. Wel­l, er, on Ruby, to be pre­cise. But you know, Ruby’s not the on­ly game in town. So, as of this morn­ing, not­ed Python­ista Ted Le­ung and Jython lead Frank Wierzbic­ki are join­ing Sun ...
That Was Quick · Wow, the Sun-MySQL deal just closed. That’s amaz­ing­ly quick work for a cor­po­rate trans­ac­tion of this size. Mind you, our Chief Coun­sel crush­es patent trolls be­fore break­fast. Now we can ac­tu­al­ly start shar­ing the ne­far­i­ous plots we’ve been cook­ing up for Sun+MySQL; I hope those guys have been hatch­ing some too.
Hey, Nick! · There’s this guy named Nick Kew whom I’d nev­er heard of till last year, when I start­ed work­ing on mod-atom. He’s one of the core httpd gu­rus, and wrote the book on Apache Mo­d­ules, which is what mod-atom is. So he po­lite­ly tol­er­at­ed a flur­ry of clueless-newbie ques­tions from me, and I feel guilty that I didn’t buy the book. Any­how, he’s just come to work for Sun. I’ve al­ready told him glee­ful­ly that I shall now feel guilt-free about the ques­tion­s. But se­ri­ous­ly, it makes me hap­py to be bring­ing some more httpd ex­per­tise on board, giv­en that it’s per­haps the sin­gle most im­por­tant soft­ware com­po­nent of the whole World Wide We­b. Wel­come aboard, Nick!
[1 comment]  
Launch Party Vancouver Jan. 25 · There’ll be geek­s, VCs, hangers-on, and good times, all at the Launch Par­ty Van­cou­ver 3 this Fri­day at the no­to­ri­ous Lamp­lighter. And there re­al­ly is go­ing to be a launch: Sun’s Start­up Essen­tials will be do­ing its Cana­di­an launch. That’s a pro­gram that’s easy to un­der­stand. Be less than four years old. Have less than 150 em­ploy­ees. Get cheap hard­ware. I’ve got a gig in Austin that day and even though I free up in the morn­ing, will have trou­ble get­ting home for the par­ty. Pfui.
On MySQL · They’re join­ing the fam­i­ly. Sur­prise! Oh, yes. What a no-brainer ...
The T2 Servers · Th­ese T5x20 servers we’re an­nounc­ing to­day are a big deal. My bet is that they end up mak­ing Sun a lot of mon­ey; but on the way, they’re go­ing to bring the whole serv­er busi­ness (not just Sun’s piece of it) face to face with some re­al dis­rup­tion ...
Website Gems · It’s hard for cor­po­rate Web sites to be in­ter­est­ing. My feel­ing is that gen­er­al­ly, you’d like them to make it easy for peo­ple to find what they need, and oth­er­wise get out of the way. Hav­ing said that, there are two Sun-Web things that, just in the last week, gave me a big smile. First, FOSS Open Hard­ware Doc­u­men­ta­tion. One of the ma­jor ob­sta­cles faced by the peo­ple who build Free and Open-Source op­er­at­ing sys­tems (i.e. us, the pen­guin­istas, and the BSDer­s) is get­ting the hard­ware builders to pub­lish spec­s; his­tor­i­cal­ly, they’ve been fright­ened of those weird open-source hip­pies. Wel­l, we’re a hard­ware builder, and that page is try­ing to ag­gre­gate all the specs that kernel-builders might need. Si­mon Phipps tells me that this is a big job, with lots of le­gal due-diligence, and it’ll nev­er be com­plete. But at least a good start. Se­cond, check out this screen­cast about wik­is.­sun.­com. When this went by in the in­ter­nal email I skipped it—who’d watch a screen­cast about a wik­i? But hey, it’s good, check it out.
[1 comment]  
Green Biz · Wow, was my em­ploy­er ev­er busy while I was hid­ing in Saskatchewan. I think this whole Eco In­no­va­tion launch is maybe the most im­por­tant thing we’ve done since I joined in 2004. There are a whole lot of ar­rows point­ing the same di­rec­tion: The ris­ing, and gen­er­al­ly un­con­trol­lable, cost of en­er­gy. The space and HVAC con­straints in mod­ern da­ta cen­ter­s. The fu­ture of the plan­et. It’s not (quite) an emer­gen­cy yet, but there are plen­ty of en­vi­ron­men­tal, eco­nomic, and po­lit­i­cal sce­nar­ios that could land us in (not en­tire­ly fig­u­ra­tive) hot wa­ter pret­ty damn quick, alone or in com­bi­na­tion. I sus­pect the whole industry’s go­ing to be climb­ing in this band­wag­on; it would be ir­re­spon­si­ble not to.
NASDAQ: JAVA · Wow, they switched the tick­er. It will be lit­tle sur­prise to hear that the in­ter­nal con­ver­sa­tion has been sus­tained and loud. While there have been neg­a­tives along the lines of “OMG WTF PHB!?!?”, most of the in­ter­nal talk has echoed what they’re say­ing out in the bl­o­go­sphere. I’d like to add a cou­ple of points I haven’t seen else­where, one each on the pro and con side ...
Misreading the Tea Leaves · This IBM deal seems to me daz­zling­ly sim­ple to un­der­stand. Both of us think there’s mon­ey to be made in sup­port­ing So­lar­is, and IBM ap­par­ent­ly thinks there are sys­tem sales to be fa­cil­i­tat­ed by in­clud­ing So­laris in the pack­age. We think that any time anyone’s us­ing one of our prod­uct­s, that makes them a bet­ter can­di­date to use more of our prod­uct­s. On the oth­er hand, pun­dits like Dana Blanken­horn look in­to the bot­tom of their teacup and say we’ll be leav­ing the serv­er busi­ness; I saw some fi­nance site run­ning the same spec­u­la­tion. Um... I don’t think so.
wikis.sun.com · It’s been a lit­tle over three years since I an­nounced blogs.­sun.­com. Wel­l, wel­come to wik­is.­sun.­com and in par­tic­u­lar my cor­ner of it, The Tim Bray Sun-wiki Ranch ...
Atomic Financial Publishing · Wel­l, the first-ever re­lease of a ma­jor pub­lic company’s fi­nan­cials via the We­b, in ad­vance of the con­ven­tion­al newswire ser­vice, is his­to­ry. It went OK, but we can do bet­ter. Ob­vi­ous­ly, these dis­cus­sions have been go­ing on for a while, and ob­ser­vant read­ers may have no­ticed I vis­it­ed Wash­ing­ton last March. How­ev­er, the go-ahead to do the num­bers on the Web came very re­cent­ly, and so the mech­a­nism was an or­di­nary RSS feed. We should pub­lish this in Atom, and do it over a TLS chan­nel, and sup­ply a dig­i­tal sig­na­ture. Stand by for next quar­ter ...
FY07: Disclosure · I’ve nev­er be­fore com­ment­ed on Sun’s fi­nan­cials or share price, so I should start off by em­pha­siz­ing that I’m not a fi­nan­cial in­sid­er, in the­o­ry or prac­tice; I have ex­act­ly ze­ro ad­vance knowl­edge on how any giv­en quarter’s go­ing. I haven’t worked at a big pub­lic com­pa­ny since the Eight­ies, so I don’t know whether this is typ­i­cal, but I’ve been im­pressed at the da­ta con­trol; there’s cer­tain­ly a ru­mor mill here but I’ve nev­er heard a sin­gle whis­per on fi­nan­cial­s. Any­how, this all means I can buy and sell shares when­ev­er I wan­t, and I have been ...
[1 comment]  
Which “One”? · At the be­gin­ning of the week now end­ing was Com­mu­ni­ty One, an open­ing act or a curtain-raiser or a pre­lude or what­ev­er for Ja­va One. I was on stage twice, once in the open­ing, and man­aged to vis­it (I think) all of the track­s. I was one of three thou­sand or so peo­ple there. It’s tak­en me a few days to fig­ure out what I think about it ...
Three blogs.sun.com Years · Wow, the launch feels like yes­ter­day, or a life­time ago. I liked the an­niver­sary com­ments from Dave “Mr. Roller” John­son and Lin­da “Ms. Keep b.s.c. on the air” Skroc­ki. Stil­l, all these years lat­er, I find my­self talk­ing reg­u­lar­ly to jour­nal­ists and pun­dits about Sun’s blog­ging ex­pe­ri­ence, and I’ve list­ed off the up­sides a mil­lion times but I don’t think I’ve ev­er pub­lished them here so I’d bet­ter fix that ...
[1 comment]  
Anniversary Sale · The Sun blog­gers reg­u­lar­ly get tipped off when we’re go­ing to be rolling out a new com­put­er or OS or li­cens­ing scheme. This is some­thing dif­fer­en­t: the 25th An­niver­sary Sale. Un­less they were ly­ing dur­ing the brief­in­g, there are some re­al­ly de­cent deals to be had for the next cou­ple of week­s. I won­der if this works for servers like it does for de­part­ment stores? Al­so, whether ask­ing blog­gers to talk about it help­s.
California Trip Miscellany · Sun sched­ules the An­a­lyst Sum­mit and the World­wide Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­search Con­fer­ence in the same week in San Fran­cis­co, which works well, be­cause it lets those of who pitch in at both (which is ba­si­cal­ly ev­ery­one outward-facing) save on trav­el and tran­sit. But com­bine that with some re­al in­ter­est­ing en­gi­neer­ing dis­cus­sions and some VIP vis­i­tors and, well, there go three days ...
Intel Inside · For some cheap chuck­les, check the Web sites and con­sid­er the sub­tle dif­fer­ences be­tween Intel’s spin and ours. I had no idea this was go­ing to hap­pen this week, but a few months ago I was in a room where Andy Bech­tol­sheim al­lowed that, yes, In­tel was play­ing some damn de­cent catch-up, so the writ­ing was pret­ty well on the wal­l. Andy’s ex­pla­na­tion of the fin­er points of the trade-offs re­quires the best part part of two white­boards to lay out and an alert well-caffeinated mind to fol­low, so I won’t even try. But... ain’t com­pe­ti­tion won­der­ful? For the fore­see­able fu­ture, I bet al­most all sys­tems ven­dors will ship both In­tel & AMD sil­i­con. Hearty, hon­est con­grats to In­tel for get­ting back in the game. Both sides of the ar­range­ment look to me like a win for both sides; as Otelli­ni says, So­laris is a big deal in some mar­kets that In­tel wants more of, and if they say they can make it run bet­ter on the chips they build, I’d be in­clined to be­lieve them. Should be fun times in the serv­er biz, hang on tight.
[1 comment]  
Cheap Iron · What hap­pened was, very short­ly be­fore last month’s Start­up Camp, they start­ed cook­ing up this idea of sell­ing Sun gear re­al­ly cheap to star­tups. Some­one asked “Can we an­nounce it in con­junc­tion with that camp?” and the an­swer was “Well, uh...”, so we did. So, we all of a sud­den had a bunch of peo­ple want­ing in, and our lawyers told us “You have to ex­er­cise due dili­gence to make sure they re­al­ly are re­al startups” and some­one had to cook up a pro­cess out of nowhere double-quick. It seems to be work­ing; yes­ter­day Adam Kalsey got ap­proved and dumped the num­bers. I saw it and thought “Hah, got­ta blog that” but Jonathan beat me to it; damn he’s quick. Check those num­ber­s; I’m no ex­pert in our pric­ing but a cou­ple that jump off the screen at me are the big Ul­tra 20 and the Thumper (X4500). How can this not be a good idea?
[1 comment]  
Startup Essentials · I’m here at Start­up Cam­p, which is a blast and I’ll write about it. But I just heard that we’ve gone pub­lic with the Sun Start­up Essen­tials pro­gram. That page is a lit­tle marketing-heavy but I can squeeze it in­to a sen­tence: If your com­pa­ny is in the US, is less than four years old, has 150 em­ploy­ees or less, and you’re will­ing to run So­laris, you can get deep, scary-deep, dis­counts on our hard­ware. Check it out. Hm­ph, they don’t say what the dis­counts are, you have to join up and log in to see them. Al­so, it’s a bug that this on­ly ap­plies in the U.S., I as­sume we’ll fix that. But stil­l, this seems like A Good Thing. [Up­date: They re­moved the So­laris re­quire­men­t.]
Practical Transparency · A few days ago, our CEO Jonathan Schwartz sent a let­ter to SEC Chair­man Christo­pher Cox call­ing for SEC financial-disclosure reg­u­la­tions to al­low for pub­lish­ing ma­te­ri­al fi­nan­cials on the We­b. It’s ob­vi­ous­ly a good idea, but there are some im­ple­men­ta­tion is­sues. (Hey, I’m an en­gi­neer, I can’t help it.) ...
Sometimes You Win · Way back in March, I helped out on a sales call on the Ore­gon State Govern­ment down in Salem. It’s tak­en for­ev­er for the deal to close, but our part­ner­s, Propy­lon, won the busi­ness, against de­ter­mined com­pe­ti­tion, and from what I know of this do­main I sus­pect that they weren’t the lowest-cost of­fer­ing ei­ther. There’s some Sun busi­ness in there too. Propylon’s leg­isla­tive draft­ing sys­tem builds on OpenOf­fice.org in a se­ri­ous­ly cool way; it’s ex­act­ly the kind of thing we thought we were en­abling when we were de­sign­ing XML. I wish I got to do more sales call­s.
Blogging Surfing Lawyer · And not just any lawyer, ei­ther. Mike Dil­lon, our Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­den­t, Gen­er­al Coun­sel and Cor­po­rate Sec­re­tary, has joined the bl­o­go­sphere. I’ve talked to some of our at­tor­neys and it turns out there are prac­ti­cal rea­sons why it’s tough for a cor­po­rate lawyer to blog about their work; so it’s re­al­ly ter­rif­ic that Mike’s tak­ing the plunge. I sus­pect he won’t be shar­ing any juicy lit­i­ga­tion de­tail­s, but a fresh voice in the con­ver­sa­tion is an un­am­bigu­ous­ly good thing; I’ll be lis­ten­ing.
Shameless Hucksterism · They asked me to plug this SDN pro­mo on the Ul­tra 20 and, since I ac­tu­al­ly use one, it seems like a rea­son­able thing to do. I’m kind of out of touch with what work­sta­tions are sup­posed to cost, but un­less we’re charg­ing way too much, 35% off should be de­cen­t. And while I didn’t pay for mine, I can per­son­al­ly tes­ti­fy that these pup­pies are meat-grinders, it’s by a long shot the fastest per­son­al com­put­er that I’ve ev­er used. Mind you, it won’t en­hance the decor of your of­fice. And if you get one, take my ad­vice and run GNU/So­laris on it. [Up­date: Er, uh, there doesn’t seem to be any in­for­ma­tion be­hind that link on how you ac­tu­al­ly get the box, or what it cost­s. Blush. Will ask around and fill in­.]
Scott · I’ve been watch­ing our in­ter­nal lead­er­ship con­fer­ence and spend­ing quite a bit of time talk­ing in the vir­tu­al hall­ways, and I’ve been sur­prised at the in­ten­si­ty of feel­ing about Mr. McNealy. Yes, there are those here say­ing “About bloody time, now we can make some progress” but there’s a much big­ger group that is gen­uine­ly emo­tion­al about this tran­si­tion. Maybe it’s a func­tion of se­nior­i­ty: I nev­er met nor cor­re­spond­ed with Scot­t, and he hasn’t been much of a pres­ence in the company’s con­ver­sa­tion in the time I’ve been here. But there are a lot of smart, sea­soned, un­sen­ti­men­tal peo­ple mak­ing it clear that he’s been a ma­jor force in their lives, at a more per­son­al lev­el than I’m used to hear­ing when peo­ple speak about ex­ec­u­tives. I guess al­so that to a lot of peo­ple, Sun’s vi­sion, for which Scott gets some of the cred­it, was a rad­i­cal and won­der­ful thing. I first used Unix in 1979 and quit a nice big-company job to be­come a VAX-bsd sysad­min in 1983, so I’ve al­ways kind of lived in­side that vi­sion. But I’ll tell you one thing, what I’ve been hear­ing the last cou­ple of days makes me re­al­ly re­gret that I didn’t get to know Scot­t.
The Transition Explained · It’s not that com­pli­cat­ed, re­al­ly. Blog­gers are tak­ing over the world. Re­sis­tance is fu­tile; you will be as­sim­i­lat­ed.
24 Sun Months · Gosh, I missed my an­niver­sary a week back. I stand by pret­ty well ev­ery­thing I said this time last year. The things I’m try­ing to con­vince Sun to do now are much hard­er than turn­ing on blog­ging, so it’s more painful and slow­er and some­times I spend a whole day in a bad mood. But I’m not giv­ing up, no no no. I’ve got­ten emo­tion­al­ly en­gaged, this com­pa­ny still has some moss on the sides and some grit in the gears, but with a lit­tle more shak­ing out and scrub­bing down, has the po­ten­tial to be great again, and it’s worth try­ing. Here’s one rea­son: Right now, I don’t think any­one re­al­ly knows how soft­ware de­vel­op­ers are go­ing to be go­ing about their busi­ness in five years. In some re­spects a mo­ment of un­usu­al clar­i­ty, be­cause we know that we don’t know. Here’s some­thing cool: two or three times in the last few month­s, I’ve talked to some­one here who want­ed to do some­thing about some­thing, and I’ve said “You need to talk to...” and in­tro­duced them to some­one else here that they hadn’t known.
Discipline? · Hav­ing re­cent­ly agreed with Ni­cholas Carr on search eco­nomic­s, I’d now like to dis­agree with him on the sub­ject of my em­ploy­er. Carr is ob­vi­ous­ly a smart guy, but his re­cent Sun and the da­ta cen­ter melt­down seems baf­fling­ly sim­plis­tic. He’s com­plain­ing, it would ap­pear, that we’re do­ing too many things: we give Dell a hard time (yep), we holler that eco-responsibility is good busi­ness (yep), we ship what we claim is the fastest Web-server CPU on the plan­et (yep), we fo­cus on vol­ume (yep), we let any­one try our soft­ware for free (yep), we seem to be hav­ing fun (“pod duel”—yep). Hey, I’m with Carr on one item, I don’t want to go any­where near “Web 2.0”, but as for the rest... be­cause we ship fast chip­s, we shouldn’t wor­ry about vol­ume? Be­cause we think Dell is los­ing fo­cus, we shouldn’t push the free-software idea? And so on. This is a big com­pa­ny. We’re work­ing on a lot of things. Is this per­haps nos­tal­gia for a sim­pler era in which com­pa­nies had one sim­ple mes­sage at all times and spoke it with one voice? I don’t think the world in gen­er­al or the IT world in par­tic­u­lar are like that; there are a lot of prob­lems and a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties and we have the scale to ad­dress a bunch of them. Any­how, Carr left out Mi­crosoft in­ter­op­er­a­tion and grid com­put­ing and new pric­ing mod­els and and ob­serv­abil­i­ty and lots of oth­er good stuff we’re work­ing on. Right now is not the time to be do­ing less.
Angry at the Cat · This is my one-year an­niver­sary at Sun, and I just wrote a lit­tle ser­mon about the com­pa­ny. On a per­son­al note, by way of am­pli­fy­ing that lit­tle dis­claimer over to your right, I should say this: I wake up be­fore any­one else in the house, even when I’ve been work­ing late, which is usu­al­ly. When I come down­stairs our mangy old loud­mouth cat ac­costs me for break­fast and I have to feed him or he’s gonna wake up the fam­i­ly. And that 60-second de­lay re­al­ly ir­ri­tates me be­cause I can’t wait to get on­line and see what’s hap­pen­ing. Which is to say, I’m hav­ing fun. I’m in the com­put­er busi­ness where I be­long, and I’m get­ting chances, in a small way, to make a dif­fer­ence here and there. Thanks are due at this point to Si­mon Phipps and John Fowler for get­ting me the job, to Rachel Laxa and Lore­na Cer­il­lo for help­ing me fig­ure out how things work, to Juan Car­los So­to for good ad­vice and moral sup­port, to a lot of oth­er peo­ple at Sun for let­ting me run with some of my weird ideas, and to Lau­ren for putting up with my en­thu­si­asm­s. Oh, and as of to­day, I’m a share­hold­er too. So call me a soul­less cor­po­rate drone, baby, I can take it.
One Sun Year · To­day, March 15th, is my first an­niver­sary at Sun; an op­por­tu­ni­ty for dis­course on how I think we’re do­ing. There’s a uni­fy­ing theme which may come as a sur­prise: The im­por­tant stuff, well, it’s bor­ing. Which is both good and bad ...
Norbert! · That would be our Nor­bert Lin­den­berg, whose blog is about in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion and is called “World Views” and is ex­cel­len­t. A cou­ple of days ago he showed where we need to be bet­ter world-citizens in our customer-facing in­ter­nal tool­s, and to­day he fol­lows up with an ab­so­lute slam-dunk demon­stra­tion of why you’d be nuts not to do the right thing. His chart is su­per­b; you can bet I’m go­ing to be us­ing it to help get the mes­sage across, down the road. Oh, and the meta-message: when you em­pow­er your peo­ple to speak out, some­one who’s smart and coura­geous and has ini­tia­tive, like Nor­bert, can step up and ex­er­cise lead­er­ship.
I Didn’t Do It · Like she said, this wasn’t my idea and I didn’t grease any wheel­s. Con­ve­nien­t, though.
Working the Angles · Hm­m, I won­der if this means I can get a tick­et to the U2 Van­cou­ver gig? They went in about sev­en­teen sec­onds while I wasn’t look­ing. Looks like a good cause, any­how.
Analysts and Sex · On Wed­nes­day, I spent a few hours at the Sun An­a­lyst Sum­mit, which was sure ed­u­ca­tion­al for me, so I hope the an­a­lysts got some­thing out of it too ...
Listen to the Lark · Andy Lark that is, Sun’s VP of Glob­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tion­s, who’s on-stage for earn­ings an­nounce­ments and Mi­crosoft truces and so on. A con­ven­tion­al mar­ket­ing pro’s con­ven­tion­al mar­ket­ing pro, you’d think, right? Wel­l, maybe not; he’s got a home­stead on the bl­o­go­sphere where you can read Tri­an­gu­la­tion Of News, a clear-eyed take on the way the wind’s blow­ing. I won­der how many VPs of Glob­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions out there get it like this? And what the world’s go­ing to be like when they all do?
Meet! Meet! Meet! · Back in Van­cou­ver, thank good­ness, and I’m not com­plain­ing about the moist grey weath­er. Last week to Brus­sels to meet the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, then back to Van­cou­ver to pick up the tent and head to Foo to meet with, well, ev­ery­body, then to the Val­ley to put on my cor­po­rate hat for mul­ti­ple ses­sions around Open-Source and blog­ging and syn­di­ca­tion. Lots of peo­ple spend their whole lives in meet­ings; I’m not strong enough, but stil­l, a good week. Here­with a few words and a pic­ture ...
OpenOffice Furore · My good­ness, there are oceans of words be­ing pumped around about some sub­claus­es in the Sun-Microsoft agree­men­t. I love Slashdot’s ed­i­to­ri­al judg­ment but de­spise the id­i­ot­ic dis­cus­sion thread­s, so suf­fice it to say that the usu­al peo­ple said the usu­al things there about Sun and Mi­crosoft and lit­i­ga­tion; but then check out Danese Cooper’s take. Any­how, I think it’s sen­si­ble to be con­cerned about the po­ten­tial threat. Of course, that con­cern would van­ish if Mi­crosoft were to state that they won’t use intellectual-property lit­i­ga­tion as a com­pet­i­tive weapon against oth­er office-software pack­ages. Sim­ple enough. How about it?
JIS on Commodities · Nor­mal­ly, when I point to pieces by peo­ple from Sun, I try to fo­cus on the ones who are just get­ting go­ing and per­haps could use a lit­tle ex­tra traf­fic. Wel­l, Jonathan Schwartz is al­ready well-established; on­go­ing gets more traf­fic just from be­ing on his blogroll than from a Dave Win­er flame. So I’m flab­ber­gast­ed that Jonathan’s piece on com­modi­ties hasn’t been ei­ther slash­dot­ted or writ­ten up in the Wall Street Jour­nal, or both; how of­ten does the Pres­i­dent of one of the tech industry’s big play­ers drive a stake in the ground and shout “This busi­ness is like the rail­way busi­ness, and that’s good”? Go have an­oth­er look.
Java1 Day1 · Spent the day at my first-ever Ja­va One: here­with sto­ries and pix, in­clud­ing a no­table blog­ging first ...
San Fran, OK · I had an in­ter­est­ing Fri­day, up and down the Penin­su­la and with lots of tasty fla­vors ...
blogs.sun.com · It’s been run­ning for some time, and it’s sta­ble enough now to talk about in pub­lic: blogs.­sun.­com is a space that any­one at Sun can use to write about what­ev­er they wan­t. The peo­ple there now are ear­ly adopter­s; there’s an in­ter­nal email go­ing out to the whole com­pa­ny Mon­day of­fi­cial­ly re­in­forc­ing that blog­ging pol­i­cy, en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one to write, and point­ing them at blogs.­sun.­com. Here­with a few re­marks on the set­up and pro­cess ...
OO.o Online · Hah, I see that the OpenOf­fice crowd is de­cloak­ing. Some of it I found quite dif­fi­cult to read, but your mileage may vary. My fa­vorite so far is Eike Rathke, pret­ty geeky stuff but with the es­sen­tial spin: you-gotta-laugh-or-you’ll-go-nuts. Par­tic­u­lar­ly if you work with STL.
Planet Sun · Sev­er­al peo­ple have point­ed to Plan­et Sun, a rather good ag­gre­ga­tion of all the known Sun blog­ger­s. It’s done by David Ed­mond­son, whose own un­col­lect­ed thoughts is well worth vis­it­ing. Al­so wor­thy of note in re­cent days is Mike Duigou on Com­plex­i­ty, which to­tal­ly cap­tures the men­tal pain con­se­quent on con­fronting a big new hairy URI. (But that whole Java.net space is or­ga­nized in a weird way that I don’t quite get; hm­m...). Al­so, Plan­et Sun is a clever name... for the next such project how about Set the Con­trols For the Heart of the Sun? [For the under-40s, that’s a druggie-Sixties-music ref­er­ence -Ed. (Yeah, but a great tune! -Tim)]
Sunny Boy · As of to­day, I work for Sun. Let’s see; Ja­va rock­s. Mi­crosoft suck­s. I can play that tune ...
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
Random image, linked to its containing fragment

By .

I am an employee
of Amazon.com, but
the opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.