Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Jun 2008 15:13 UTC
Oracle and SUN Sun UK's chief open-source officer, Simon Phipps, has a high-profile role to play as the company is seeking a complete its move to 100 percent open software development. When asked about the criticism over its commitment to open source, Simon re-iterate its commitment with a "Pig and a Chicken" story: "Both animals were asked by the farmer to bring something along for breakfast one morning to show their worth. The chicken turns up with an egg, while the pig turns up with a side of bacon. The farmer looks over the offerings and says: "Well, the chicken has contributed, but the pig is committed."
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awesome
by helf on Fri 27th Jun 2008 15:20 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

That is the best quote ever. I love Sun.

Reply Score: 7

Won't the pig die?
by John.Gustafsson on Fri 27th Jun 2008 15:25 UTC
John.Gustafsson
Member since:
2005-08-08

Seems like the chicken has a more sustainable idea going to me...

Reply Score: 11

RE: Won't the pig die?
by tyrione on Fri 27th Jun 2008 19:05 UTC in reply to "Won't the pig die?"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Seems like the chicken has a more sustainable idea going to me...


Depends on the size of the commitment offered, but the willingness to commit and not just contribute speaks volumes of the pig. They're in it for life.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Won't the pig die?
by John.Gustafsson on Fri 27th Jun 2008 20:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Won't the pig die?"
John.Gustafsson Member since:
2005-08-08

Remove the bacon from a pig, and its lifespan usually drops quite drastically... ;)

Reply Score: 2

Bad analogy
by bolomkxxviii on Fri 27th Jun 2008 15:27 UTC
bolomkxxviii
Member since:
2006-05-19

So Sun is comparing themselves to a pig?

You think they could find a better analogy.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bad analogy
by sanctus on Fri 27th Jun 2008 15:38 UTC in reply to "Bad analogy"
sanctus Member since:
2005-08-31

If you read the article, He never says that they "re-iterated their commitment". Thus they are more like the chicken who contribute without killing their business.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Bad analogy
by tyrione on Fri 27th Jun 2008 19:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Bad analogy"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

If you read the article, He never says that they "re-iterated their commitment". Thus they are more like the chicken who contribute without killing their business.


It's a 50/50 proposition. The business wants to contribute to the movement, but the engineers want to be committed to the process.

Reply Score: 2

The Sun is Getting Hotter
by hibridmatthias on Fri 27th Jun 2008 15:37 UTC
hibridmatthias
Member since:
2007-04-11

It would seem that Sun is making a lot of moves into the Open Source pool, and Microsoft is dipping its toes in as well. A lot of articles on all the bulletin boards/blogs/news sites as of late...

For a company who talked of write once run on many, I find it interesting it took them longer to wade into the pool than, say IBM who dived in with wreckless abandon vis a vis a crazy Superbowl ad and a crazy Chicago publicity stunt (see http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2001-04-25-ibm-linux-graffiti.htm )

It would seem Free Software and Open Source Software(no one seems to separate them in the lay press these days...) is a Zeitgeist whose winds are finally blowing into the mainstream consciousness...

Edited 2008-06-27 15:44 UTC

Reply Score: 3

The New World
by fretinator on Fri 27th Jun 2008 15:47 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

OLD:

1. A company employs a team of developers.
2. It figures out what it believes other companies want.
3. It codes up the amazing solution.
4. Pictures, whitepapers and demos of the awesome application are proffered.
5. Companies decide they want it, pay the price, and install the app.
6. If something doesn't quite work, the companies whine and moan to the vendor. Often little _real_ support is available, unless you are a large organization with a lot of money.
7. If enough noise is made, changes are implemented and released over the wall, otherwise consider a competing product.

NEW:

1. A company either grows or joins the community around a cool product
2. The company leads and drives the open development of the product. It employs experts and contributors in the product.
3. The company creates stable, tested, SUPPORTED snapshots of the product.
4. Companies purchase supported versions of the product.
5. If something doesn't quite work, the purchasing company uses their support to request intervention, often from actual engineers involved in the product. Larger companies may actually employ their own experts to modify and patch the product.

The key difference is that a company that generates revenue off an open-source product must maintain a high degree of expertise in the product and provide first-line support that is worth paying for. In the closed world, the hiding of information locks the purchaser into the vendor. The focus is on the purchase, not the support. This is why I get much better support for my non-paid Ubuntu OS, than I do for my expensive Window's OS. For closed products, support is more of an afterthought, and usually more geared for enterprises with VERY deep pockets. For open-source products, support is in essence the product!

Reply Score: 10

RE: The New World
by tomcat on Fri 27th Jun 2008 21:25 UTC in reply to "The New World"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

You forgot a couple ...

6. The company tries to attract investor financing with spurious use of the terms "open source" and "leverage" and "community" and "initial public offering" in its business plan.

7. The company lays off all of its staff, files for bankrupty protection, shutters the headquarters due to lack of funding.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: The New World
by kaiwai on Sat 28th Jun 2008 00:17 UTC in reply to "RE: The New World"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

You forgot a couple ...

6. The company tries to attract investor financing with spurious use of the terms "open source" and "leverage" and "community" and "initial public offering" in its business plan.

7. The company lays off all of its staff, files for bankrupty protection, shutters the headquarters due to lack of funding.


Assuming that they use open source as a panacea to fix all of the companies ills, when actual fact, the problem with the company is structural but the management are unwilling to acknowledge it.

The difference is with Sun, they're recognised they have to change, they've not only made open source a 'word' they've also committed to it in the form of restructuring their business model.

The problem is that so many businesses go open source as a last ditch effort, as the silver bullet that will apparently fix all the problems in their company whilst ignoring that open source, although a great idea, isn't going to fix everything.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: The New World
by tomcat on Mon 30th Jun 2008 02:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The New World"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Sun's business model is essentially the same as IBM's. They want to sell you hardware and services (eg support). They would have preferred to sell you Solaris, but the reality is that Sun's customers are also HP and IBM's customers, and many of them (if not most) are replacing (or have replaced) expensive proprietary Unixes with Linux. It's always amazed me how, despite having brilliant technologists like James Gosling, Sun never quite figured out how to monetize Java. They had the basic idea right (use Java to sell lots of servers) but, perhaps, their timing was all wrong; or, maybe, they planted their hopes on the wrong businesses (dotcoms). Either way, they got a little too distracted with taking on Microsoft head-to-head with StarOffice and the whole Network Computer (NC) concept. If Sun wants to continue to exist as a company, they need to do what IBM does: create and sell excellent hardware that runs on top of Linux, sell services such as support and consulting, etc). My worry for Sun is that they will become another Cray; that is, they'll pigeonhole themselves into a shrinking high-end market, and slowly starve and die. It's still a viable company. Note to Jonathan Schwartz: Lose the freaking pony-tail. It looks ridiculous.

Reply Score: 3

RE: The New World
by kaiwai on Fri 27th Jun 2008 23:53 UTC in reply to "The New World"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The key difference is that a company that generates revenue off an open-source product must maintain a high degree of expertise in the product and provide first-line support that is worth paying for. In the closed world, the hiding of information locks the purchaser into the vendor. The focus is on the purchase, not the support. This is why I get much better support for my non-paid Ubuntu OS, than I do for my expensive Window's OS. For closed products, support is more of an afterthought, and usually more geared for enterprises with VERY deep pockets. For open-source products, support is in essence the product!


What you said perfectly explains the current situation which exists not just in the IT world but in the marketplace in general. Once these you've purchased their product and they've got your money - they don't want to have to deal with you, and their view is that they don't need to because they already have your money.

For some large companies, as soon as they get the money, they think that the relationship with the customer has ended - anything more than do for you, in terms of drivers and documentation, we the unwashed masses should be 'bloody well greatful'.

But lets remember, it never used to be this way. I remember 15-20 years ago, the reason why someone bought software over copy-the-floppy was because one would get support (telephone and updates). It was believed that as part of the package (the benefit of being legal), you would get all this 'add bonus' with it. Sure, there was piracy, but not to the same degree.

Here we are 15-20 years later, some companies have completely thrown away the idea completely of free technical support simply in favour of online documentation or worse a pay per incident policy (even if the issue is the fault of the vendor itself) - it is of very little use to a novice who is confused with technical terminology. In the end, for the person pirating, can you really blame them for not wanting to purchase software when the old reasons (after sales support) no longer ring true?

The open source business model will go through some tweaks, and hopefully more vendors will realise that the 'secret sauce' they used in the past is a hollow myth. When software becomes more and more commoditised, the focus will move away from simply adding features for the sake of features in favour of working with customers to get the software to work as the customers expect - through specialised services.

The customer feels as though the company is actually addressing their needs rather than it being an inconvenient after thought, and software companies benefit from a long term stable revenue stream rather than the dramatic peaks and troughs of having to push out products every number of years.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The New World
by unclefester on Sat 28th Jun 2008 11:49 UTC in reply to "RE: The New World"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Carmakers make relatively little profit on cars. They make money out of spares and service. You can almost always buy any part for cars 20 years old. Mercedes will provide parts and service for their 50 year old models. Rolls Royce will service, repair or refurbish any Roller ever made at the factory. Bentley will customise in virtually any way possible if your pockets are deep enough - "Pink ostrich skin seats, gold plated wheels, lime green shag pile carpets and ruby-studded solid platinum gear knob...no problem at all Sir!"

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The New World
by netpython on Sat 28th Jun 2008 18:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The New World"
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

You mean the dealers make very little margins?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The New World
by kaiwai on Sun 29th Jun 2008 01:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The New World"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

You mean the dealers make very little margins?


Yeap. In Australia there was a big stink made up about the new comer called "Super Cheap Auto's"; alot of people have been suckered into this "must go to an authorised dealer" after purchasing a car. The reality is that they could go anywhere, and the dealers themselves alot of the time would sell a car hardly any mark up - in some cases, a loss, then make up the difference by selling 'authorised servicing and parts' to make up for the lack of profit. Its been going on for years.

Same with petrol service stations. For the average service station owner, less than 2% of their profit comes from selling petrol; most of their profit comes from selling stuff in the store. That is why, for example, if if you go through New Zealand, petrol stations have been virtually turned into supermarkets. The margins for the petrol station owner aren't there.

Back to Sun, I wish people stopped being dishonest by using the term 'giving it away'. Sun isn't giving anything away. The value in software isn't the zeros and ones, it is in the all the things that surround it. Software make a piece of hardware useful, services have to be sold onto of software to make it useful in large companies. To say that software in and of itself is profitable simply ignores how a software business operates.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The New World
by unclefester on Sun 29th Jun 2008 12:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The New World"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Small cheap cars are actually loss makers for both the manufacturer and break even at best for dealer. High end models are the only ones that are reasonably profitable. They only make money out of spares and service. A very minor accident can cost thousands of dollars for grossly overpriced spare parts. Most people in Australia get new cars dealer serviced. However any licensed mechanic can service them (much cheaper) without affecting the warranty.

Petrol stations in Australia are actually in the Coca Cola business. They are mostly owned by supermarket chains. They sell petrol only to get people to make impulse buys of overpriced snacks.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: The New World
by kaiwai on Sun 29th Jun 2008 22:19 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: The New World"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Small cheap cars are actually loss makers for both the manufacturer and break even at best for dealer. High end models are the only ones that are reasonably profitable. They only make money out of spares and service. A very minor accident can cost thousands of dollars for grossly overpriced spare parts. Most people in Australia get new cars dealer serviced. However any licensed mechanic can service them (much cheaper) without affecting the warranty.


Reminds me of the 'Smart Car', IIRC, they've been operating as a subsidiary to who ever owns them, and have never made a profit. Before they were bought out, they made losses - IIRC that was the original reason they were bought out, it was a rescue more than anything else.

Petrol stations in Australia are actually in the Coca Cola business. They are mostly owned by supermarket chains. They sell petrol only to get people to make impulse buys of overpriced snacks.


In New Zealand is is a strange combination. For a while some of the petrol companies owned the service stations - but have since sold them off. There are still a large number, however, which are privately owned - which is why alot of those who do 'drive off's' fail to realise that they're not screwing the big oil companies but the small business owner who is also getting shafted with the high price he has to pay to the oil company.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The New World
by Kebabbert on Sun 29th Jun 2008 14:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The New World"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

"Back to Sun, I wish people stopped being dishonest by using the term 'giving it away'. Sun isn't giving anything away. The value in software isn't the zeros and ones, it is in the all the things that surround it. Software make a piece of hardware useful, services have to be sold onto of software to make it useful in large companies. To say that software in and of itself is profitable simply ignores how a software business operates."


So you mean that SUN is not giving away anything? Let me ask you, which other large company has open sourced their crown jewels and made them free for anyone to download and use? Tell me. Sure, open sourcing SPARC doesnt help the average user, but the rest of their software? SUN aims to open source everything.


Would you rather see all other large companies follow in SUN's footsteps (open sourcing everything that can be opened), or not? Would you rather see SUN buying MySQL and closing it, and charging outrageous money? Would you like that? If large companies bought and closed everything? Is that a good scenario?

Is it just me, or do people exist that doesn't like companies open sourcing everything that can be open sourced? Are there people prefering closed source?

What happens if SUN becomes successfull on this? EVERY company will open up everything that can be opened up! Is that good or not?




PS. Of course I realize SUN is hoping to charge for support and this and that. But a company that has to pay salaries to 30.000 people must get money from somewhere? All I am saying is that I would love if all companies opened up everything. Dont you agree? Should we fight against companies that tries to open source their stuff? If Microsoft tried to open up Windows, NTFS, Office, etc - should we fight that process?

Edited 2008-06-29 14:55 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: The New World
by kaiwai on Sun 29th Jun 2008 22:40 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: The New World"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

So you mean that SUN is not giving away anything? Let me ask you, which other large company has open sourced their crown jewels and made them free for anyone to download and use? Tell me. Sure, open sourcing SPARC doesnt help the average user, but the rest of their software? SUN aims to open source everything.


And there you are being dishonest again; equating the opensourcing of something to giving it away. Opensourcing something, no matter how much you scream and shout, is not 'giving it away'. The value isn't in the 1's and 0's. You have a fixation on the 1's and 0's. The value isn't in that, but what the company can provide to the end user to support those 1's and 0's.

Do you really think that people purchase the software for the pretty case and pretty booklet? they purchase the software to get access to updates and support - hence the reason I don't blame Microsoft when they did the WGA to ensure that only those who purchased a genuine copy obtained updates (although they did go about the wrong way of enforcing it).

You seem to have fixation stuck on the idea of the 'boxed product' when people don't purchase the 'boxed product'. The end user purchases the culmination of different aspects which come in the form of a 'boxed product'. Opensourcing doesn't change that. The only thing it does do is eliminate the idea of piracy.

Again, the value isn't directly in the product itself, the 1's and 0's.

Can it work for every company for every product? I don't know, it has never been tested. I know it does work in the enterprise environment where throwing around a cd with executable code doesn't mean that it'll get adopted. Enterprise customers want more than just 1's and 0's. They want the whole support apparatus behind the product; that is what they're paying for each month/quarter/year etc.

I do think that some things can and should be opensourced. Flash plugin for example, should be opensourced. There is no 'value' in the plugin. The value is derived from the content creating tools that make the plugin useful. To say that the plugin has value is like saying that the television set in your louge room is of higher value than the media being transmitted to it.

There are others that I just couldn't see working, Photoshop for example, the number of customers willing to pay volunteerily for support and updates, I can't see it happening. I'd love to be proven wrong, but given how customers behave regarding Photoshop, I don't think it would be possible.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The New World
by binarycrusader on Mon 30th Jun 2008 19:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The New World"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

The value in software isn't the zeros and ones, it is in the all the things that surround it. Software make a piece of hardware useful, services have to be sold onto of software to make it useful in large companies. To say that software in and of itself is profitable simply ignores how a software business operates.


No, actually, there is a *lot* of value in those bits.

As someone else told me recently, "Hardware without software just generates heat."

If the bits weren't valuable, we wouldn't have holy wars over which license they fall under.

If the bits weren't valuable, companies wouldn't go to court over their usage.

If the bits weren't valuable, the GNU movement wouldn't exist.

Software gives hardware a purpose, and the right bits can make all the difference in the world.

Just ask any technology enthusiast about which bits they'd rather use:

Apple OS X Bits, Linux Bits, or Windows bits.

The bits do matter.

Reply Score: 2

To be commended
by binarycrusader on Fri 27th Jun 2008 18:37 UTC
binarycrusader
Member since:
2005-07-06

Unlike a lot of companies that have just changed the license of an abandoned product and dumped it "over the wall" -- Sun is actually attempting to change their entire business model and internal processes to fit around open source.

I think that is a big part of why they have had so much difficulty. It's not just about a change in license, they're actually changing their development model internally so that internal and external users go through the same processes for code contribution and integration.

While it has been a rough road, and there are still some things for them to work out, I believe they will eventually have the example model for which other companies can follow.

When you have a company that's over 30,000 employees in size, it takes a long time to effectively communicate that vision to every person and get them to fully understand how to apply that to their daily job.

Edited 2008-06-27 18:38 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: To be commended
by madcrow on Sat 28th Jun 2008 03:05 UTC in reply to "To be commended"
madcrow Member since:
2006-03-13

I think that is a big part of why they have had so much difficulty. It's not just about a change in license, they're actually changing their development model internally so that internal and external users go through the same processes for code contribution and integration.

They've had one quarter of losses (at the height of one of the worst US economic downturns in years) after 5 quarters straight of healthy profits, which just happen to coincide with Sun's emergence as a FOSS powerhouse. Seems to me like their problems have more to do with the fact that there's less money floating around for fancy servers and workstations, rather than anything to do with open source.

Reply Score: 2

Support SUN because:
by Kebabbert on Sat 28th Jun 2008 10:33 UTC in reply to "RE: To be commended"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

Yes, SUN has lost lots of money on this bold move of opening up all their crown jewels and giving it away for free. I am asking, which other large company has opened up ALL their crown jewels and are giving them away? No one.

Ergo: If you want more companies to open up and give away, then support SUN and their painful process. This shows other companies that SUN is doing the right thing and more companies will follow if they see SUN is successfull.





CEO for a big company: "Hey, SUN is giving away everything, and they are successfull! We should do the same thing!"


Or: "Hey, SUN gave away everything and went bankrupt. Giving away everything is a BAD idea. Above all, do not buy other companies (MySQL, VirtualBox, StarOffice, etc) for billions and give away for free."

Reply Score: 2

RE: Support SUN because:
by sbergman27 on Sat 28th Jun 2008 18:46 UTC in reply to "Support SUN because:"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Giving away everything is a BAD idea.

Last I looked they were not giving away support. Or hardware to run the Free stuff on.

Edited 2008-06-28 18:47 UTC

Reply Score: 3