By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-03-08 Print this article Print

/Sun situation "> So what do you think of this call by IBM for Sun to work with them on an open-source implementation of Java? Well, I had kind of a dual reaction to that. On the one hand, I thought that their facts and their logic were impeccable. I mean, they were quite similar to mine, so I had a hard time disagreeing with them. On the other hand, I did detect a certain gleeful tone of twisting of the knife in that letter. [Laughter] There was a certain definite subtext of, "Weve got a chance to put the boot in, so lets do it." So you cant ignore that level of the conversation. OK, so if you had to grade the big guys who are starting to dabble into open source, who would you give the best grades to? Who would you give the worst?
So far IBM has probably made the most significant commitment in terms of money, resources, manpower and results. Their position in that respect is not unassailable. One of the things I have said to Sun is they have certain advantages over IBM which they have failed to use appropriately.
Such as? Well, one of them is … IBM has become very friendly lately, but they aint family. Sun was founded by Unix guys and for a long time run by engineers. They have common history with us. Our dispute with them is almost an intra-family one. Its close to that, but its almost in the family. And there are a lot of us who havent forgotten where Sun comes from and theres a lot of that old-time Unix spirit still alive in that company. Thats a natural advantage in building a bridge to the open-source community that IBM doesnt have. There are some other factors in play too, but thats indicative of the kind of thing I mean. How about Hewlett-Packard [Co.]? Id say HP is a company that a lot of people in the open-source community really respect. I think we feel a lot of sympathy for and affection for the classic HP way. You know, the culture that Hewlett and Packard created. So they get a lot of respect, but theyre not family—not really any more than IBM is. Next page: Microsofts Shared Source Initiative is a "poison pill."

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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