@Chris Mellor - Comments on Article
Chris Mellor writes, "Sun exploded into a $200bn company in the dot com era. It said it was the dot in dot com, but this was hubris."
Reality does not support this conclusion. If this was hubris - then SUN would not have taken a dive when the dot-com bust happened.
Chris Mellor writes, "Just what kind of drive array storage vendor did it want to be? You can't carry on selling proprietary storage arrays whilst simultaneously developing and shipping Open Storage 7000 machines that are designed to undercut them."
Why not? When the Open Storage may not have all the features of the proprietary storage, there is a very good business reason to choose the proprietary storage. When people have invested in proprietary storage, they may choose to continue to use those products, as long as the features suit them.
Chis Mellor writes, "You can't have it both ways. Either SPARC is not industry-standard, in which case farm the closed base like IBM does with its proprietary chips, or industry-standard chips are the future, in which case join in or exit the show"
This is a very odd statement. Obviously, this writer does not have a clue about why SUN had made the decision regarding including x64 lineup. SUN had sent an email to each of their customers asking whether they would purchase SPARC, x64, or both systems from SUN. Customers told SUN both, so SUN sells both. SUN listened to their customers after inquring with them - and did not take a religious stand like Mr. Mellor suggested. I suspect Chris was never a customer of SUN and never received a survey - which is why he is ignorant of why SUN has it both ways.
Chris Mellor write, "Sun eviscerated its own value propositions and tried to become a Red Hat-like software supplier... whilst simultaneously selling SPARC hardware and getting Solaris to run on all of its competitors' servers? Excuse me, is Solaris a Linux competitor? Run that one past me again."
SUN has been feeding Linux open source contributions for a decade. Linux is not a competitor, Linux is not a company - Red Hat is a company and a competitor. At the same time, SUN earned money from selling Red Hat Linux, the same way SUN earned money from selling Microsoft Windows. It is possible for companies to partner and compete (i.e. IBM and HP supported Solaris, while they have other operating systems of their own.) Had Linux never grown to be a competitor in the market place, UNIX would be dead and Microsoft Windows with IIS would have taken over nearly all of the marketplace. Linux fed UNIX concepts to a younger generation - that was needed to keep Solaris (a SVR4 UNIX system) and other UNIX systems viable in the market.
Chris Mellor writes, "...they didn't have the amount of grip required to take hold of Sun's wildly disorganised set of products... and reduce them down to ones that it paid a dollar to produce and sold for $2, with realistic prospects of continuing to do so."
Organizations which fund basic research discover new & revolutionary technologies. NFS is everywhere (that is not MS Windows) because SUN created it. OpenFirmware is everywhere - including Apple and IBM machines. JAVA was one of these discoveries, forever transforming SUN, Oracle, IBM, and other businesses in the computer industry. Companies that do basic research provide invaluable contributions to the world, but sometimes those contributions are not immediately relevant. The UltraSPARC T2 processor with an embedded multi-threaded 10GigE directly on the CPU - SUN was years ahead of their time since 10GigE were not considered relevant when pricing competing systems. Had SUN pared down their products (and basic research which created them) - we would have a much different world.
I think this writer was far too hard on SUN.
SUN had always been a visionary company. SUN got the timing right occasionally (with the dot-com boom), but not in other cases (like when SUN shipped SPARC workstations with integrated ISDN.)
A balanced approach to writing is invaluable to draw in all readers. A knowledge of computing history is a necessity to appear somewhat credible.