James Governor's Monkchips

Crazy Ivan’s Moustache: Sun, OSS everything, and IDE plugin JSRs

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Come on Johnny…. if you want to be a cossack you’ll need to grow your whiskers back.
I don’t have much to say about Sun open sourcing more componentry other than to say the strategy makes sense, but the proof will be in the deployments not the announcements.
Ian Skerrett, director of marketing at Eclipse had this to say about Sun’s new approach, commenting on my blog about Sun putting the dot in Web 2.0.
Before Sun can really claim victory in the Participation Age they need to figure out how to work with other software vendors. Volume is important but they way you get real volume is to have other vendors participate and contribute.

There is obviously some “history” between Eclipse and Sun, but Ian’s comments should not be discounted out of hand. After all, Eclipse itself is an example of an ISV driven architecture of participation. Ian knows something about community building and its importance.

I just wanted to make my response to his comment explicit.

Pervasive just announced it is supporting dtrace and Postgres with Sun. You may not know the company but Pervasive has a ton of small ISVs in its network (it used to be Btrieve). Meanwhile IBM Software Group (begrudgingly) supports Solaris 10.

One point to be clear about is a difference in the model, we’re talking about a possible industry inflexion point, which Sun is trying to finesse. If the new “application wave” involves hosted services not just traditional packaged software companies, it does make some sense for Sun to focus attention there–hockey, puck, ice, you know the drill. 

All in all Ian makes a good central point. Its all about the ecosystem. I am sure Jonathan Schwartz would agree.

I have said it before and I will say it again though. Sun should start talking to Eclipse, while maintaining its NetBeans progress. Now that would be a Crazy Ivan move… [if you want to know what a Crazy Ivan move is then read Johnny’s blog].

So lets have a JSR 198 party. It is kind of funny to see BEA gently arguing against the need for an IDE plug in spec:

While it does appear that JSR 198 can be implemented by multiple IDEs as advertised by its advocates, we remain concerned that the JCP would choose to endorse a new technology when a pervasive alternative exists in the marketplace At best this sends a confusing message to IDE plug-in developers. 

But then again, BEA now has Eclipse religion. There is nothing worse than a reformed proprietary IDE player… its like giving up smoking…

Fujitsu, Borland and Google didn’t vote. Google and IDEs? Now there is a question mark.

Another spec to check out is JSR 273.

Jetlag is a bad thing- i can’t think of how to sign off. Ah yes I know…. its time to get back to my baby son after being away for a couple of days.

The IBM SWG write up can wait until Monday.

Have a great weekend everyone.


standard disclaimer – BEA, IBM, Eclipse and Sun are all clients of RedMonk. I have also done paid work with Pervasive before.





  1. James,

    I really don’t mean for this to be an Eclipse vs NetBeans discussion. I hope it a discussion on how to build communities.

    My observation is that Sun has been focused on downloads. My point is that if they get other vendors to talk about and use their open source projects it increases the volume.

    For example, look at JBoss or Apache. Having HP talk about JBoss, means it is not just the JBoss guys talking. There are tons of examples of software vendors using and promoting Apache projects. From your post it looks like Sun is getting vendors to talk about Solaris; that is great!

    Communities come from other people doing the talking. One vendor doing the talking limits the conversation.

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. As an independent developer, I think Sun does a great job working with the community – that’s what the JCP *is*, after all. I love how Solaris is now open to the community, I love that they picked up Postgres rather than going proprietary. And as for IDE’s, let’s get Eclipse to the JCP table – I’m tired of hearing about how great Eclipse is at community, so long as you give up your work to adopt theirs. The Eclipse bureaucracy is going to collapse under its own weight in my opinion.

  3. James, I’d really like to understand why you think Sun’s open sourcing strategy makes sense. I mean
    1. How does this strategy play out?
    2. How does it improve Sun’s current situation (i.e. static revenues and marginal profits) and
    3. What evidence do you have that Sun can execute on a software strategy given their poor track record.

    I stick by the title of my 2001 article, written while at META, that “Sun is the next digital”.

  4. you wrote Sun is dead four years ago and Sun still isn’t dead, but Meta Group is. Come on Kev…

    How to make money? I dunno, ask my business partner:


  5. furthermore Kevin, here is Stephen talking about business models across “free” content


  6. Great site, james! 😉

  7. I think Ian’s statement is correct…it is too early to say…just the very fact that they have decided to join the “Participation Age” is not enough…only time will tell if Sun is trul able to walk with the rest of the population in the participation age…

    It appears to me that F/LOSS is reaching a tipping point, or probably already has! The amount of activity in that segment is simply amazing…a page I found that provides a good amount of resources in this regard is http://www.eit.in/sw/free_software/making_money/making_money_from.html , where a number of web references on making money from open source software are discussed…hope this helps, and thanks once again for your blog efforts

    VV from BPO Database @ http://www.ebpo.in

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