The Sun Also Rises

4 November 2006

I like what Simon Phipps writes. His reporting of what others are saying about the Novell/Microsoft alliance as well as his own comments are worth your time.

Sun is one of those companies I’ve always liked, but wished could achieve even greater market share. In spite of that company’s challenges, they’ve always been on my short list of companies I’d gladly work for.

I’ve seen so many better mousetraps cast off for want of a market big enough to sustain them. In the early 1980’s there were numerous Silicon Valley startups focused on multiuser Unix systems running on Motorola 68000 chips. Those companies are long gone, but Sun found a different niche in 1982 and sustained itself.

When Sun began applying all of that Unix and 68000 know-how to single-user workstations in a network, it became clear what the future of multiuser systems would be. Fuzzy recollections prevent me from being certain whether I first saw Sun’s product running SunOS or an early Solaris. Whatever, I remember seeing Sun’s software desktop wrapped around Unix and thinking, “that’s where this whole thing is headed.”

Recent experimentation with Ubuntu Linux brought back some of those impressions. No operating system in common use today has been through the depth of history and development that Unix/Linux has been through.

Now there appears to be a serious attempt to control Linux with announcements from Oracle/Red Hat and Microsoft/Novell.

Let’s hope that Sun and some respectable alliance of FOSS folk can prevent all the patents from stifling innovation.

Sun’s Blackbox has gotten a lot of press. Rave reviews have come in on Sun’s X4500. Now is a great time for Sun to restate its position in the operating system, hardware and networking industry.

Now about those desktop OS choices...

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On Civility, Faith, Politics and Government

2 November 2006

I voted yesterday. My selections of candidates were based upon whether or not I thought they understood the most important issues facing city, state and nation. In my view there are very few priorities that rank higher than the security of our nation and our families. There are plenty of other important matters.

Our stands on so many issues simply cannot rise to the level of importance of seeing our nation continue. Clearly, in a time of peace, those other matters are vital issues to debate. In a time of threat, I sense a need to focus on survival. Perhaps you disagree and will make different choices when you vote to fill state and federal positions.

One of the great mudpuddles in the national debate has seen all of us splashing around, getting each other really muddy, but with little real result. It’s often described in weighty terms by those who lead with a constitutional argument. Others lead with a concept of personal belief that involves some degree of hell-fire and brimstone. Another group seems to think examples set for us are more important than rules that were set in stone. Still others believe we are entirely self-sufficient, entirely capable of making wise and moral decisions apart from a God they say doesn’t exist.

Again, we return to priorities. What do we emphasize? How does one respond when attacked — either physically or intellectually? Once we determine what we believe, how does it relate to our government? Should faith guide someone we elect? Does one who lives a life of faith inherently make decisions that run counter to the First Amendment? Can a person who believes there is no God make consistently moral decisions?

Too often we get testy when these questions are pressed or debated at length. I voted for candidates that probably don’t have a good handle on the answers to every one of these questions. Your candidates aren’t likely to have them all down cold either! However, I voted for people that impressed me as being a bit better prepared to deal with each of these debates and the many more questions which we’re going to face in the coming years.

To get one set of perspectives on how this might play out in civil discourse, I encourage interested readers to watch the dialog going on between David Kuo, author of Tempting Faith and Andrew Sullivan, author of The Conservative Soul.

Here’s the sequence of the conversation thus far:

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Reread a Book

25 October 2006

Ralston Holcombe had no visible neck, but his chin took care of that. — from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

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Extreme Contrasts

24 October 2006

Berkshire Hathaway’s closing share price for an A share topped $100,000 this week. Today, the stock has traded between $100,000 and $101,000 per A share. The company is clearly on track to have an outstanding year. Remember, when one buys Berkshire Hathaway the thought process is that you are buying small slices of the great list of businesses that Berkshire owns.

While we’re talking about businesses, how does a business make and sell 1,511,000 of something in three months and lose $5.8 billion? In other words, on every unit you sell, you are losing $3839 in either direct losses or write-downs associated with past decisions. At Ford, quality is job 1. The fact is that quality is the path from where they are to where they want to be—not in a quarter, but during the coming years. Their’s is a stressful, but interesting problem to solve if quality, value and US manufacturing catches your fancy.

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Textpattern Test at 7:14am

23 October 2006

This is the final test in this sequence.

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