Solaris, Open Source, and the Schwartz…

Ran across a nice blog entry from Sun Microsystems’ main man Jonathan Schwartz…and find myself disagreeing whole-heartedly with him. Who am I? I am the customer he’s been touting is always right. With this being said, I’m telling him he’s wrong. Utilizing his logic, I’m 100% right about this point. 🙂

Mr. Schwartz,

You stated that “it’s increasingly evident the OS wars are down to three – Microsoft Windows, Sun’s Solaris, and Red Hat’s Linux.” Let’s talk a bit more about this. First, some background.

Solaris will soon release it’s version 10, which I will download when it is made available. I was pretty impressed with Solaris 9. However, I also understood that many people out there would not be too impressed with it…because the average customer doesn’t deploy large networks. The average person who drives the market checks email, surfs the web, and chats with an IM client. Mr. Schwartz, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that most open source users know and that few large CEO’s and companies don’t….he who wins the desktop will win the world. Microsoft realizes this and that’s why they are winning right now. It’s not how many servers you can sign up or how many contracts you fill. It is BRAND RECOGNITION that gets you the market…both servers AND desktops. I ask the question…where is JDS? It’s still choking itself on older versions of the gnome and KDE window managers (by the way, JDS= Java Desktop System…which runs on Linux? Maybe some clarification is in order). Until you achieve brand recognition on the desktop market, you’ll never rule the server market.

The only 2 vendors that can claim to even attempt to satisfy any niche of the market is Novell and Microsoft. Novell with it’s Dell Server Line AND HP Desktop and Microsoft with Server 2003 and XP/Longhorn. RedHat has decidedly enterered into this forray, albeit late, with their Redhat desktop. JDS lags behind even further. And yet Mr. Schwartz, you still claim to be in the top three. The top three without any brand recognition. Sure you have some, but not with common users. Allow me to ellaborate:

I took some classes at the local college lately to broaden my horizons. In this class, we talked about javascript, Java, applets, and ActiveX in relation to web browsers and operating systems. When told that Sun Microsystems is Java…most people didn’t even know who your company was or where it was based or what technology it was based on. They knew Java was something you needed during web browsing and that was it. Remember that these are CIS and MIS majors. Also remember that there are no mentionings of Solaris in the textbooks that these students are learning out of…but there are mentionings of Linux and Microsoft (less for linux of course). You’re losing the desktop market and subsequently setting yourself up to fail in the server market.

If we were face to face right now Mr. Schwartz, I’d offer you a cup of coffee and a bundle of roses. That way you would either wake up and smell the roses…or take time to smell the coffee 🙂 Good luck with that Solaris thing…I’ve been a loyal user since Solaris 2.0. I’ll hate to see it go.

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Author: devnet

devnet has been a project manager for a Fortune 500 company, a Unix and Linux administrator, a Technical Writer, a System Analyst, and a Systems Engineer during his 20+ years working with Technology.

4 thoughts on “Solaris, Open Source, and the Schwartz…”

  1. “You’re losing the desktop market”, how is it possible to lose the desktop market when the DOJ “put down” Microsoft for owning 95 or there abouts percent of the market? Brand recognition is not something that comes into being the day after you release your software, it takes years. Besides Apple, who else is trying to get Microsoft on the desktop with some true innovations? Do you know of any other vendor who is trying to out innovate MS in the small server market? Sorry, It aint GNU/Linux. Sun is trying to do both of them at the same time! I don’t know about schools where you come from but where I studied, they used Unix as the main dish. The question then is does Unix have mind share? You bet! So here is my little prediction, as long as there is Unix, Sun will always shine.


  2. I think it is you who is missing the point. MS owns the desktop, others are making inroads into that market. Sun is one of those companies. RH made a big mistake by abandoning the desktop and is now scranbling to get back.

    Sun is no more or no less viewed as a desktop supplier than is the server company Novell.

    Sun JDS is a credible desktop entry. Not everyone needs bleeding edge technology that just wastes time, crashes often, and consumes coffee in prodigious quantities.

    I have been the route with Windos and Linux and settled on JDS, we are now investigating Solaris as server software. So far — higher performance, cheaper and more stable than RH.

    The windows viruses are eating our lunch when it comes to support. It has got to get better soon or it’s out the door.

    We are also running trials with thin clients to see if there is any thing to be had in that technology — looks promising.

    Get out more often.

  3. Sorry Stephen, but Tom Adelstein was right…JDS is a throw away desktop…that’s what you do to old Linux distros that stop their development.Your response left much to be desired.Allow me to put this in simple terms. The last release of JDS (2.0) c

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