UNIX Time Is..... 1508534157
The Death of the SunDate: 20100403
By: Bo Weaver
My worst fears have come about with the Oracle Sun Systems buy out. Really this is about a Proof of Concept to a lot of other fears of my that don't really relate to technology too. I do realize that no one of any importance that can change anything will read this and if they did they wouldn't care. Hell they're laughing all the way to the bank at us peons behind the scenes in Internet World. It goes with the old saying “Slaves can't leave they have to be sold.” and yes sir we were sold out.
Why do I feel sold out? Well for over the last five years I have been learning, studying, and built our network running on Sun Solaris. Almost all back-end services are running on Solaris. One of our email services runs on Java Messaging and we were going to expand it and eventually change it over to be our primary email system. The only Windows systems on our network are front-end machines for the Windows network. Even they are supported by services running on Sun Solaris. We've been real happy with our set up and the stability and security of Sun Solaris. The operating system was free and so were a lot of applications like Java Messaging. You just paid for support which we did. I very rarely called them but this we always saw the money paid out as money well spent to support the company that we were running our business on. When we did call we always got the best support ever from Sun, quick friendly and reliable support. It always felt like you were a part of a community of engineers working together to make the network world a better place for users.
Over the last twenty years or so Sun Systems as done a lot to make the Internet into the network that it is today. It was a real unsung hero of the network. They really did “Put the Dot in dot com” and came up with the idea that “The Computer is the Network”. This was more than Marketing bull shit. They really invented what we all use today especially these days and the use of netbooks, thin clients, and smart phones. They invented the ides of “Service Oriented Architecture” were users no longer connect to a specific machine for a specific service and if the machine was down then so was the service. They came up and built the mechanics to where things like email could be a service spread across many machines in many locations so the “Service” could not completely go down. Then they gave it away. Free for all to use. We all benefited yet most don't even know who the company was. Even with Linux over 28% of the base code was developed by Sun Systems.
Sun Systems was always like this. If we take the way back machine and go to the 1980's Sun Systems was a proprietary UNIX OS that ran only on Sun Systems hardware and everything was expensive, REAL! Expensive! At the time these machines were the fastest things around and Intel based machines just couldn't compare with the speeds and the processing power so they could get the price they were asking. Still even at this time they Open Sourced a lot of utitilies and protocols just their OS and hardware was proprietary All services and protocols were Standards based so any other type of machine or OS could interact with their systems.
Still you could say one day Sun saw the light. With Intel's chipset getting faster and cheaper and operating systems like BSD and Linux coming of age they saw the need to change in order to stay alive. So they built a x386 version of Solaris and made both the x386 and SPARC operating systems free. They changed to a Service and Support business model instead of selling software and hardware. The big advantage to the consumer with this model is in oder to stay alive you must give good support and have a good product to support. You can't bull shit about product support and get by on the income made from user licenses fees that you charge for your product.
Note that I used the word “Consumer” not “Customer”. One thing that this take over demonstrates is how our society in the US has changed when we buy a product from a company we are the consumer of the goods a liquid asset on the books. The customer these days when dealing with a publicly traded company is the Stockholders and these Stockholders really don't have an interest in the company's products nor the consumer of those products. The only interest they have is short term gain of their stocks. If there is no gain in the stock price they move their money else where. Its all about the stock and it must! go up. Never mind the product or what it even is. The market is nothing more than a Casino game for people to play with their money and who said gambling was illegal in the US. Just some forms of it. Never mind if the consumer suffers from your game.
Sun Systems before it was bought was holding its own. Yes during the last market crash their stock lost 20% of its value but hell most other stock lost more than 30% of its value. It was the market not the value of the company or its products that lost value. Yet this was one of the things that put it on the chopping block.
Sun's biggest fuck up was marketing. They never put their name out there so no one knew who they where or the things they actually did.
I once was talking to a person that was trying to talk me into working on their wormy Windows laptop. I got to talking about using something other than Windows fo an OS. I mentioned Sun Solaris. He said “Who's that?” I started explaining who they were and what they did. I mentioned Cisco in the process and he said “Oh Cisco I own stock with them.” I ask him “What do they make?” He said “Something to do with video maybe? I don't know but their stock is strong and I saw them on TV.” Here is a guy is that is part owner in something he has no idea about. Kind of sums it all up about the market and marketing.
IBM, Cisco, and Windows they all run cute commercials to get there name out there. Most of these commercials say nothing about their actual products or what or how well they do their job. Just something cute and feel good so you remember the name. They call it “Branding”. Sun Systems hasn't done this in years even of they had a ton of things they have done in the past they could have expounded on. So you get “Who's Sun Systems? Why would I buy that I've never heard of them.”
The other fuck up was buying MySQL. Not only did this drain cash assets from the company so when the market did crash it appeared to be weaker financially than it was. I do think the reason they bought MySQL was so when they did sell out they would have a better product line to not sell but to sell out which they did. In the process of all this they have killed a great product and Oracle has just bought their greatest foe in the DB world. If you can't make a better product than the competition buy them. One way of getting rid of them.
So here we are and as a Sun Engineer bought an sold like so much cattle. I've invested a lot of time and money in learning how to support their systems. We as a company liked and wanted to do business with Sun Systems. There has never been a time that we wanted to do business with Oracle about anything. Why you ask?
As much as I poo poo on Microsoft about their business and license policies they are far less restrictive on licenses cost than Oracle on their operating systems and applications. Oracle charges you a cost on everything and every bit of hardware you use. A charge for the number of cores you use a charge for the amount of memory you use a charge for every user that uses the application and then on top of that support cost even if you don't want support. The really sad thing is for all this money you a shelling out the product isn't that good. Anything Oracle sells is a money pit. Thus the reason we have never used a Oracle product until we were bought out.