By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2003-09-11 Print this article Print

Papadopoulos: And they are completely different things economically, to competitiveness. And I will get ill if I hear things like Intel is the open industry standard processor architecture and were proprietary. You can license Sparc for $99 and go have at it. Lots of people have. In fact, we just acquired a company that went off and did that. Fujitsu does that. eWEEK: I know you guys have argued against Microsoft selling software as an integrated stack and yet with this Orion offering youre doing the same thing. Did your thinking change somewhere?
Papadopoulos: I think that our critique of Microsoft in that is not that you shouldnt look for value of integration, but that in so doing it all needs to be open and substitutable components—that you dont use it as a way to lock people into a set of contracts of your implementation. And we were using this word that sort of caused you to trip over it too many times, so we dropped it out of our marketing vocabulary. But we talk about Orion as being "integrateable" as well as integrated. That it is a component architecture where all of those interfaces are open. And for everything that we have in Orion theres an equivalent open source component. So the value that were doing is not that I made this big wad of software. In fact, its not a big wad; its a set of components. But that I have caused the synchronization of the release of those components so that I get a verifiable set of contracts there that take cost out.
If you look at an operating system, if you say Solaris or you say Windows or Linux, for that matter, I can give it a version number. I can say its Red hat 8.0 or its Windows 2003 or its Solaris 10. And you know exactly what Im talking about. You know that whole collection of contracts that are there. You can go look up at a web site, you can verify it, there are tools set against it. If you look at any one of those systems: Linux, to Windows to Solaris, its not a big monolith. Those are all component architectures underneath. But what weve done is weve given those components a name, weve released them, weve verified them, and we do patches against them. What were doing very simply is were just trying to do that for the next level of contract because people have moved up from the OS to here. So lets give these components names and do the verification and the synchronization of the release. And while were at it there are a lot of margin dollars that people are investing in that software. And my view is not to go in and claim those margin dollars by doing competitive software at that level of margin. My view is actually to go drive efficiencies into the software business at those layers. And do for software what Dell does to hardware. Too many customer dollars are going into pieces of that stack that rightly ought to be part of that standard contract. Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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