Page Two

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2003-11-24 Print this article Print

The final decision to adopt JDS—do you think that was driven by performance, or by fear of Microsoft? McNealy: I think [China] made a decision a long time ago to get something built on more open interfaces, with multiple vendors. They want to keep choice in there and allow a lot of local content, where [China Standard Software Co. Ltd.] can add a lot of value. Its very hard to add local content to the kind of welded-shut, proprietary environments that are dominant today on the desktop. So that was one component … they wanted something based on open source, choice and open interfaces.
The other decision-maker was that same demo that I just did—you saw it, didnt you?
Yes, that was cool—the smart card that fetches your active session and brings it up on whatever workstation youre using, and the 3-D user interface. But the next question is, do you see other countries doing something similar? Is this a big new direction for you guys? McNealy: I think there are lots of countries out there who are not particularly interested in a U.S. dominance. I should say, a U.S. company dominance. They dont mind U.S. companies dominating if theres choice, but they certainly dont want a single U.S. company dominating the environment. These guys are going to love that were in there competing against Windows on Opteron because its got to drive down the price of Windows. Too much of the money that could have been spent buying systems is being spent on infrastructure and operating systems software. Were going to change that model, big time. Hector, this agreement with Sun—would you characterize it as the most important agreement youve achieved for Opteron? Ruiz: Its a cumulative thing, when you look at the chart—every new one is better. Two of the best enterprise people in the world, IBM and Sun, are now doing Opteron-based products. What about companies like Novell [Inc.]? Theyve gone out and acquired a whole Linux stack: Are you working with them, and with Red Hat, and …? Ruiz: Were working with all the people in the Linux community because it turns out that the Opteron environment is very friendly to Linux. We are working with just about everybody. Youve got to walk now along an interesting line—youve got Sun, youve got Linux, youve got Microsoft, and even during his own keynote Bill Gates several times mentioned Opteron. What did he say, or what would you say—that he was a reluctant fan, or a quiet fan, or …? Ruiz: In Microsofts future, not only on the enterprise but also on the desktop, they see what we call AMD64 technology as very viable, a great product, a great architecture, and they have made some very strong commitments to have Microsoft products that work with that. Those are the vendors, but what about on the customer side? Those are the people who are really going to make the final decisions. Ruiz: I have yet to talk to a customer that does not show a strong interest in Opteron. A lot of them—for example, large financial institutions—they do a lot of their own software, and so the advantages are obvious for them. Theres a little bit of time lag while theyre doing their evaluations, but youre going to see a tremendous momentum. So youre feeling pretty optimistic? Ruiz: Very optimistic—the interest from the end user—they really like that.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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