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Java Developer : Article

Sun's Schwartz To IBM: "Tear Down This Wall" And Support Solaris 10

"We've Worked On Java Together..." Schwartz Notes, But Customers Can't Yet Run IBM Products On Solaris 10

Sun's President and Chief Operating Officer, Jonathan Schwartz, yesterday published an Open Letter to the CEO of IBM, Sam Palmisano, in which he alluded to "behavior... reminiscent of an IBM history many CIOs would like to forget" - a reference to Sun's frustration that IBM isn't supporting Solaris 10 with WebSphere, DB2, Tivoli, Rational and MQSeries products.

In his "Dear Sam" letter - circulated via his blog - Schwartz refers first to the "long history of partnering" between Sun and IBM ("We've worked on Java together, more recently you joined us in the Liberty Alliance") then grasps the nettle:

"We've repeatedly passed along customer interest in having IBM support Solaris 10 with WebSphere, DB2, Tivoli, Rational and MQSeries products...[T]hey'd like the choice to run IBM products on Solaris 10, and they're feeling that your withholding support is part of a vendor lock-in strategy. A strategy to trap them into IBM's proprietary Power5 platform only."
Schwartz doesn't miss the opportunity to rehearse the arguments in favor of the Solaris OS, which he describes as "the most secure OS the world has ever seen - bringing mainframe features, like logical partitioning, to every platform on which it runs."

"We've made Solaris into a truly vendor neutral OS," he adds, saying that Sun's customers and partners "love that we're open sourcing Solaris, and that we'll be the first open source vendor to offer a commercial version of our product with indemnification against intellectual property lawsuits."

Sun customers have made repeated calls to IBM, Schwartz claims, about having the choice to run IBM products on Solaris 10.

"We've made sure your engineers know that moving from Solaris 8 or 9 to Solaris 10 takes no work, given that we offer true binary compatibility. If you're on SPARC, and you'd like to take advantage of a world of x86 systems, it's a simple recompile. There's no recoding at all. Same applies to scaling up from Intel or Opteron to SPARC. No recoding. So the technology is there, and so are the customers, partners and opportunities."
Schwartz closes his letter, somewhat darkly, "it's more evident by the day, the only vendors that fear choice are those trying to block it."

On a more upbeat note, he then offers Palmisano his call to action: "We stand at the ready to help you tear down this wall."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
RG 02/01/05 08:09:12 AM EST

I think IBM is not doing justice to their customers. Over the years, websphere and sun had been a great combination. Even after sun released its sunone treasure, it took some beating from websphere, which has been a tradition of some sort.

IBM should give support and continue with engagement with SUN which they had for years now.

IBM customer 01/23/05 10:27:32 PM EST

Not true - Oracle, BEA, Sybase, Veritas, everyone has already announced their Solaris 10 porting dates. Only IBM is holding back to try to stop adoption. It's not a release cycle thing, it's an anti-competitive thing.

Me, I'd avoid IBM. They're up to their old tricks.

Enzo Zucchini 01/23/05 08:01:28 PM EST

I think schwartz has finally lost his marbles. He's like a small kid, wanting to go to the park all the time only to be told to wait. IBM has no agenda here, most of their websphere installed base uses Solaris. It's called a release schedule, and in software engineering world - they are a part of life. Unlimited wants and limited resources to fulfil them. IBM software people typically don't really push any particular platform line, maybe except Linux...perhaps Sun should too.