Sun and the Cluetrain

11:19 am General

Quite a few people around the GNOME community are still suspicious of companies who invest in free software – do they really get it? Is their investment fickle, or are they in it for the duration?

When I see Sun’s CEO announcing initiatives like this, it’s hard for me not to get excited about the company. I like what Sun are doing, I like the blogging CEO who answers personal emails himself, I like their investment in free software, I’m confident that Java will follow the lead of JDS and OpenSolaris. Sun are on the cluetrain, in a big way.

3 Responses

  1. Paul Cooper Says:

    I too get the warm and fuzzies reading that blog post from Jonathan, however my big worry is that it’s all perhaps too late. It would be a shame if they did the ‘right thing’ but Sun, as a company, didn’t see a revival. It may never be the stock market darling it once was, but it would be nice to point ot some positive effect of being on the cluetrian, other than have the likes of you and me blog nice things about them.

    The danger is, and this is the best analogy I can come up with, is that they end up like the Dutch football team of the 70s. Universally admired for the way they played football, but always remembered as the team that didn’t win the World Cup (twice).

  2. segphault Says:

    Sun is not on the cluetrain. Sun is exploitative, opportunistic, and rapidly decreasing in relevance.

    After Sun gave up on its own custom Linux distribution in March of 2003, the company began an incomprehensible smear campaign against the open source operating system. In an interview later that year (,1759,1495200,00.asp), former Sun CEO Scott McNealy compared Linux users with music pirates, and equated the SCO-Linux dispute with the music industry’s legal actions against Napster. To add insult to injury, Sun became one of two major software companies to buy licenses from SCO (the other company was Microsoft), effectively providing SCO with millions of dollars for use in a vapid and baseless legal assault against Linux and individual Linux users.

    On the subject of trying to create an open source virtual machine, Richard Stallman says:

    “Sun continues to develop additional ‘standard’ Java libraries, and nearly all of them are non-free; in many cases, even a library’s specification is a trade secret.”

    Even if Sun does open the Java source code, I doubt that it will be released under a license that will be conducive to collaborative development. Sun will do whatever it can to create the illusion of openness without actually giving up any of its control. Don’t believe the lies.

  3. Simon Phipps Says:

    Hi segphault. I’ve met plenty of people who think like you. I hope the new Sun can win your trust. If you’re at GUADEC let’s talk over a beer.