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.