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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