Sunset, finally?

Sunset, finally?

Simon Phipps comments on Oracle’s decision to close down the SPARC and Solaris business units. He  was close to the politics of Sun’s “Dash to Open” in the mid noughties. My feeling is that Sun had failed before Schwartz was appointed; there was no longer room for differentiated hardware company; Oracle’s failure to monetise the SPARC product line may have been caused by management hubris, but the long term economics

Commoditisation killed Sun Microsystems

Commoditisation killed Sun Microsystems

Eric Raymond,  wrote a short article on his blog, “Commoditization, not open source, killed Sun Microsystems”, which I commented on. This blog article says a little bit more than I felt I had room for on someone else’s blog, and I probably abused his hospitality there. I have thought long and hard about this, because I worked there and thought it i.e. the company was worth saving. Here’s what I said on Eric’s blog, and a bit more.  I start by saying that the first thing about Sun’s failure is that it all depends on where you want to start; Sun’s failure was baked in long before the 2000 fall from profit.

Software Migration

I had reason to revist some of the thinking behind my book on Software Migration, the key lesson of which is that the drivers and hence the tactics for Software migrations vary. I worked with colleagues at Sun Microsystems in writing a book, which while called “Migrating to the Solaris Operating System”, and thus maybe past its best, it had a tag line of “The discipline of UNIX-to-UNIX Migrations”. It’s available to buy on Amazon, or possibly available on, the link I published in 2011, seems to have gone. The rest of this blog, highlights the super strategies and lists two gotchas.

Are liberal licenses a better future proofing

A couple of days after the Kable Open Source conference, I looked up Gianugo Rabellino’s blog and read his then most recent blog article, “Of Oracle, Sun and Open Development” about the impact of M&A on open source investment protection.

The conclusion I draw from his article is that open source adopters need to make investment protection a selection criteria. Its well understood that the vibrancy of the product community is crucial, so its just obvious that taking a view on the future is as important. Gianugo also argues that liberal licenses enhance the ability of a community to survive M&A activity. I think he’s probably right, and this means that license terms might become important even to end user sites who have no intention of distributing software. It may also be worth measuring how diverse an open source development community is before adopting the software.


I travelled to Barcelona with Mrs L. and on my return went up to London and travelled by Tube to deliver a presentation to Kable’s “Open Source in the Public Sector”, which reminded me of the weekend in Barcelona, both the prices and experience were better in Spain, although I didn’t travel on the Metro during a rush hour. As I landed, the day before, I received a message that Oracle had bid for Sun Microsystems, I also reflect on the helpful people at Heathrow. This post includes a slide show of my Barcelona pictures.

Billing for Clouds

When considering the some of the issues related to building private clouds, the “Usage to Billing” problem was raised and I was reminded of Emlyn Pagden’s Blueprint, “The Utility Model PII” 2003. I had been consulting with a mid sized European Investment Bank, and discussed the architectural problem with them, and Emlyn. Its a while since I have read Emlyn’s paper, but he took the architectural decomposition,