Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 19th Nov 2002 09:24 UTC
Oracle and SUN This past year has been a breakthrough for Sun for both their Linux and Solaris products. The most intriguing news of all is possibly the challenge Sun poses to Microsoft with their Desktop Initiative announced a couple of months ago. We spoke to Bill Moffitt, Product Line Manager of the Solaris Lifecycle, about Linux, the desktop and Solaris. Update: Bill Moffitt replies on our forums.
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Absolutely last comment and apology.
by Bill Moffitt on Fri 22nd Nov 2002 01:02 UTC

Red Pill-

First off, please accept my apology. I went back and looked at my own posting and you are right; in trying to be funny I stepped over the line and it came off as an attack. I certainly didn't mean to imply that you wouldn't be able to work at Sun if you chose to. I was out of line, and I'm sorry about that.

Also, thank you for clarifying your employment status. I think it's useful for everyone to know why we exhibit the biases we do. Openness is good.

Finally, thank you for the URL to the Insight64 article on the AMD site. I think it pretty well explains its biases - by the site it's on, for instance. The one thing I wish it had is a chart showing shipment volumes for the various chips - IA-32, AMD, SPARC, PA-RISC, Power, Alpha, etc. I think it would be interesting.

Please don't interpret that as meaning I or Sun wish ill for AMD - far from it. A good 64-bit chip that can effectively run x86 software is a good thing for the market. It would be even better if they followed the example of SPARC and made it an open standard so there could be multiple sources of Opteron chips, but I'm not going to quibble. If successful, Opteron will increase competition, and I believe that will be good for Sun. We are looking at what it will mean to build and sell Opteron-based systems, running Linux or Solaris.

For the record, we most obviously and plainly never lied about x86. We said we were delaying it (see http://news.com.com/2100-1001-803719.html?legacy=cnet). A lot of people decided that say that it was cancelled; they lied, we didn't. We went for 9 months doing very little work on Solaris x86, getting our own house in order. We announced that we were going to sell Linux systems (see http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/53/24302.html) We announced when we were going to deliver Solaris 9 on x86 (see http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,462091,00.asp). Now, we haven't delivered Solaris 9 for x86 yet, but it's due in January. So far we haven't lied yet, even though we have been lied to and lied about.

Making a hard decision (like postponing Solaris 9 on x86) isn't lying. Doing exactly what we say we're going to do isn't lying. If you can point to a lie Sun has told, I'll apologize. Don't put words in our mouths ("Sun lied to their customers about X86 Solaris.") and then call it a lie. That's dishonest.

We make mistakes. We occasionally do stupid things. Maybe postponing Solaris 9 on x86 was a stupid mistake - time will tell. You have every right to be angry when we make a mistake or do a stupid thing that affects you or your business, and you have a right to vent your ire with me or Scott or whomever you choose. But don't mistake an error with an act of deception.

Sun is a good company to work for and a good company to work with because we try really, really hard to be honest and ethical. Working for a dishonest company is really painful; trust me on that. We also try to be pretty smart, but those who know us best know that, when things turn weird at Sun, it's almost always because of a mistake, not because of duplicity. And when it is because of duplicity on the part of a Sun employee (we hire humans, it does happen), the end result is that someone at Sun gets fired - Scott has instilled very strong intolerance for dishonesty in the management chain - and we correct what has gone wrong. We're not perfect, but I think you'll be hard-pressed to back up a charge that we're dishonest.

In the same vein, I see Bernhard Sumner's charge about GNOME above. Bernhard, you're entitled to your opinion, but we're allowed to play on the same terms as everyone else. Why did we stick our nose in? Because that's the way the community works - we don't own it, and neither do you. Yes, we pushed to improve the accessability of GNOME because we think it's important that people with disabilities can use our machines. If you don't like that, I respect your opinion, but the laws of the Unites States are clear - if we want to sell to the US government, the desktop has to be accessible. We could have forked the GNOME effort and done the work in our own custom version of GNOME, but that didn't seem like the "community" thing to do. We didn't force the community to accept what we wanted to do, and a lot of folks supported the idea of making GNOME accessible. That work means that we can sell Solaris machines to the government and a lot of other folks can sell Linux machines with the same accessability features against us. It also means, in the larger sense, that a lot of folks with disabilities can use GNOME, whatever the OS is underneath it.. I think that's a very good outcome.

But maybe it's stupid. I don't know, only the future will tell. Again, even if it's stupid, it's not dishonest.

History shows that, overall, we've neither been stupid nor dishonest. I believe the future will hold that out. We'll see.