Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Jun 2007 10:29 UTC, submitted by binarycrusader
Oracle and SUN Simon Phipps of Sun has responded to the recent criticism of Sun's openness, pointing out that even releasing information that they may already have costs a lot of money. "Jonathan asked me to look into this, to ensure we're pursuing an open path across all of Sun, not simply the software group. We take all input seriously, and we can't solve all problems for all parties, but we're committed to doing our best to faithfully engage with all the communities we serve, in the same spirit as the existing Open Source Ombudsman Scheme. With the support of my team and others in the community I'll try to build a new scheme that is fair and transparent."
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RE[2]: What is openness?
by phoehne on Tue 19th Jun 2007 17:36 UTC in reply to "RE: What is openness?"
phoehne
Member since:
2006-08-26

Someone like Sun has the market power to go to a Broadcom and say "sorry, can't use your RAID chips - you won't open the drivers. However, Intel will." In my personal experience the contrast has rarely been so stark as in your example. In many cases the performance is comparable but maybe the Broadcom chipset is a little cheaper. In some cases there is no real performance or cost difference, but rather what the engineers have been putting in there. It also encourages the selected vendor to continue opening their drivers. Nothing sucks worse than testing the waters with a competative, open-source product to find no market acceptance. I agree they should pick the "best" hardware but best is often viewed along many axis, which may include the degree to which the driver is open.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: What is openness?
by binarycrusader on Tue 19th Jun 2007 17:51 in reply to "RE[2]: What is openness?"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

You seem to be merely repeating what I already stated.

The point is, even a few dollars difference can make a big difference. Remember that Sun has a responsibility to their shareholders *before* the community to bring the most return on their investment. Obviously there is some balance to be hand in that, but "freedom" and "altruistic goals" only go so far.

Finally, Sun actually doesn't have the market position to be able to tell Broadcom "sorry can't use your RAID chips - you won't open your drivers."

As much as I would like to believe Sun has the kind of market power, they don't. Maybe Dell, but definitely not Sun.

I also don't believe that any of Sun's engineers would arbitrarily choose hardware are you seem to imply by saying there could be no cost or performance difference. Everything I have read or heard indicates otherwise.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: What is openness?
by phoehne on Tue 19th Jun 2007 19:48 in reply to "RE[3]: What is openness?"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

Actually, you gave a product that performed poorly at 5 times the cost. That's a strawman. What happens when the product is just as good at a 3% premium? What happens when the part is even cheaper but at 95% perofmance? I don't want them to open source for a religious reason - read my original comment. I want them to open it up because it's more appealing to customers. In particular it's more appealing to this customer. I like ZFS and I like MDB/DTrace - great selling points - but not if the long run option is a 75% open kernel. In the short run, that's fine, as they make their transition, but I think it will actually be in their shareholders best interest, in the long run, to do what customers want.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: What is openness?
by Arun on Tue 19th Jun 2007 18:27 in reply to "RE[2]: What is openness?"
Arun Member since:
2005-07-07

"Someone like Sun has the market power to go to a Broadcom and say "sorry, can't use your RAID chips - you won't open the drivers."

Actually no. Many PC vendors, like Apple, Dell and HP, have far more volume than Sun does to dictate terms to vendors.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: What is openness?
by phoehne on Tue 19th Jun 2007 19:33 in reply to "RE[3]: What is openness?"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

It depends on the market. For SATA adapters - that's true. They sell many more to DELL and HP than they do to Sun (or Apple that only pushes about 1.5 million boxes a quarter). When you start looking at more specialized chips - like Fibre Channel chipsets for their Sparc line (endian difference) - the market often gets more rarified. And in some cases, the chip sets are customizations of their existing chips, so they are semi-custom or at least not-standard.

Let me rephrase myself. When Sun is choosing a vendor for chips, it should given preference to vendors that will open-source drivers. Thereby encouraging vendors to open-source their drivers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: What is openness?
by javiercero1 on Tue 19th Jun 2007 19:26 in reply to "RE[2]: What is openness?"
javiercero1 Member since:
2005-11-10

"I agree they should pick the "best" hardware but best is often viewed along many axis, which may include the degree to which the driver is open."


Clearly you haven't been involved in any large scale design project...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: What is openness?
by phoehne on Tue 19th Jun 2007 19:41 in reply to "RE[3]: What is openness?"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

No, but I am a customer, and openness is important. An axis that is important to me, as a customer, is the openness of their drivers and kernel. If they want to pick the "best" chip that precludes them from opening their drivers and parts of their kernel, I might not be so interested in Sun as a vendor. After all, I have plenty of other closed-source Unix options. I also have several open-source Linux options.

Assuming there are other customers concerns like mine, and we have no prospect of getting a soup to nuts open stack sometime in the future (with the understanding that Sun is still in transition), is the "best" chip one that makes it harder for customers to buy your systems? I'm sure an engineer tucked away in a cubical, with no regard for how to market the product might pick chipset A - that is a binary only, closed source driver that prevents the release of portions of the kernel source. However, is that the "best" chipset for the product? If chipset B delivers 95% of the performance at 103% of the power consumption and is willing to release their drivers as open source, isn't that a better chipset in some sense?

Reply Parent Score: 3