Schwartz and Green discuss how the company is leveraging open source to make
new enterprise inroads.
Sun Microsystems President and CEO
Jonathan Schwartz and Executive Vice President for Software Rich Green run what
is now the largest open-source-based IT infrastructure company in the world.
Schwartz became CEO of the
26-year-old company in May 2006 when longtime President and CEO
Scott McNealy moved to take over as chairman of the board. One of Schwartz's
first moves was to rehire Green, who had run Sun's Java and Solaris businesses-among
other things-for 14 years, from 1990 to 2004. Green has overseen the company's
final two years of transition to a company that develops open-source software,
uses it as an entr??Â«e into enterprises, and then sells
hardware and services into those enterprises.
Schwartz and Green sat down with eWEEK Editorial Director Eric
Lundquist and Senior Writer Chris Preimesberger
on April 8 for a wide-ranging conversation at the company's Menlo
Park, Calif., campus.
Sun has made the transition
to a legitimate open-source business model. What is the next step?
source is a means to an end. It's a mechanism to grow the broadest market,
build the largest ecosystem, reach the maximum set of opportunities ... but
just because you've reached the market doesn't mean you've effectively built
the business. It's the difference between being popular and being successful.
In your estimation, is
the open-source message getting out to the institutions, by and large?
not be the target demographic. Because, for 95 percent of the CIOs I interact
with, when you say, "open source," they cringe. And they worry. And
what they want to know is: Is there robust enterprise support, a high-integrity
road map, great innovation and full legal
indemnification? So that's what we talk about when we talk to CIOs.
Click here for a list of the 10 most disruptive technologies.
And again, none of them is likely to join the community and
submit a bug fix. That's the antithesis of what they want to do. On the other
hand, if you talk to a developer, or a startup, or a developing nation, they
care an awful lot about the fact that we have the highest-integrity open-source
license, highest-integrity open-source community-the only real productive
commercial engagement with open source in the marketplace.
Lots of other companies have assembled intellectual property
and then put their brand on the top and said, "Look what we did." We
actually put 11,000 engineers to work at Sun to go fuel those communities, seed
those communities and drive those communities. The net result is we produce
innovation-with brands like MySQL, OpenSolaris and Java-and then we produce
products and technologies that allow businesses to run more efficiently. At the
end of the day, that's what CIOs care about. They just want to run their
businesses better, and they don't want to get involved in political philosophy