Home / Events / 2003-09-10

Sun's Software Strategy Executive Briefing and Networking Reception

minutes by Richard Mathews

I did not take detailed notes. This is from memory, so quotes are only approximate.

Several community members attended. Almost all of the questions dealt with Solaris x86. There was a definite Solaris x86 Love Fest atmosphere.

Most of Jonathan's presentation was devoted to Solaris x86. Among other things, he mentioned there are 2.5 million Solaris x86 licenses. This part of the talk mainly dealt with Orion and pricing. Many of the tough questions I had prepared for him were already answered with the promises he made for Solaris x86.

Curtis barely mentioned Solaris x86 in his talk on the desktop (did he mention it at all?). He demonstrated Mad Hatter and StarOffice 7.

There was some really terrific news at this talk. Jonathan said there will be complete software parity between Solaris x86 and SPARC. Everything will run on both (his emphasis). Specifically, Mad Hatter will run on Solaris x86. Ximian Evolution will run on Solaris x86. Answering a question about Real media afterwards, I believe I heard him correctly when he said that the deal is already signed. I guess last week's Linux-only announcement was formulated that way just to avoid taking the steam out of the Solaris x86 announcements next week.

What about the future of Solaris x86? After the talk, Jonathan said it will be available "forever". To prove his point, he mentioned that Sun has a 30-year contract to support Solaris x86 for the US military. This is the kind of thing that customers, OEMs, IHVs, and ISVs need to be hearing to convince them that they can trust Sun with Solaris x86.

I asked about support of IHVs. Jonathan said he has personally been groveling to convince them to rejoin Sun's efforts. That is really good, and it is an important part of what Sun needs to do to get the IHVs back. What I did not hear was anything about high-level efforts to bring back a solid IHV program such as bringing back the IHV SunTeam that was dissolved 2 years ago. This was a cross-departmental effort to work on support, co-marketing, education, Professional Services, etc. geared toward IHVs.

He also mentioned that Sun has contracted with a company (I forget who) to provide Solaris x86 support on all HP hardware.

Jonathan did pull one fast one. He said in the talk that deals were already signed with HP and Dell to have them sell machines with Solaris x86. In questioning later, he admitted that he was referring to the deals signed many years ago that are technically in force but not being acted upon.

I asked Curtis afterwards whether we will continue to hear the excuse that apps don't run on Solaris x86 because Solaris x86 is for servers, not desktops. After all I heard from Jonathan, it seemed reasonably certain that he would agree never to use that excuse again. Instead, he was evasive. He said that it can take time to productize the apps, so it might be some time before we see them. I got the definite impression that Jonathan is on our side and giving orders that Solaris x86 will get equal attention, but Curtis is only reluctantly following those orders.


Last modified: 2003-09-12