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ESR on Sun, Linux, SCO, Java, and OpenOffice.org

"The smell of death is in the air," claims ESR - adding "it's unlikely that Microsoft even wants to own Java any more"

Eric S. Raymond, writing at Newsforge, says "inside Sun, I hear that talent is bailing out of the company because they just don't believe the Solaris-will-prevail story management is peddling."

"Most of Sun's techies are running Linux on their PCs at home," ESR continues. "They can see the handwriting on the wall."

He adds that in retrospect, the open source community ought perhaps to have foreseen the rocky patch up ahead for Sun the moment it heard what he calls "the recent pronunciamento that Sun has no Linux strategy." This, in Raymond's view, was tantamount to a "final admission of failure" by Sun.

"Sun can't run at the lean profit margins that are all a commoditized Linux server market will support," he argues. "Their cost structure is all wrong for it. They got trapped in a classic innovator's dilemma and didn't cannibalize their own business while they had the investor confidence and maneuvering room to do so. Cuddling up to SCO didn't help, either."

And now, if Reuters is to be believed, it may be  too late.

"Moody's has just about dropped Sun into the junk-bond basement." Raymond observes. "The recent product announcements have been duds, and the upcoming quarterlies are going to be a disaster. Wall street analysts are calling for drastic job cuts and speaking the code phrases that mean "run for the hills!" The smell of death is in the air."

Raymond saves his most interesting speculation till last.

"The real question is twofold," he muses, then asks rhetorically: "Can OpenOffice.org survive without Sun, and where will Java land?"

Here is ESR's own answer". "Probably not at Microsoft; with C# in the picture, it is unlikely that Microsoft even wants to own Java any more. I have to guess that IBM is the most likely to shoulder both technologies, simply because nobody else is really positioned to do it. But that, of course, raises other worries -- is it really good for [the open source community] if IBM has a lead position in everything?"

 

 

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Most Recent Comments
Jay Dolan 10/07/03 05:43:23 PM EDT

It'd be great to see IBM become the foster parent of Java. Having such a promising language developed and backed by the strongest corporate Linux advocate in the world could only mean good things. As a professional Java developer and Linux enthusiast, that idea almost gives me goose bumps ;)

John 10/06/03 07:25:27 PM EDT

"Most of Sun's techies are running Linux on their PCs at home," ESR continues. "They can see the handwriting on the wall."
How does he know this? Does he personally know all the Sun techies? Running something at home as a hobbie is a world different than running something in a Corporate network that has high traffic, bandwidth and uptime requirements.

robert walker 10/06/03 07:02:55 PM EDT

I don't know about Sun's future prospects, but I do think that Eric is probably better at predicting the past. :)

Kris 10/04/03 04:47:37 PM EDT

"Where will java land?"
It will be a better attempt if you try to list the places where java didn't landed.

What made you to choose the landing destination as Microsoft?

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