What can Sun do? Is the company just cursed? Some have said the problem has been leadership on the business side of the house. But I don't know that you can say that. Sun has had solid leaders in both technology and business.
Even a short list of Sun leaders past and present represents a Who's Who of the industry. In addition to McNealy and Schwartz, there is Eric Schmidt, now CEO of Google, formerly Sun's CTO; Ed Zander, former COO and president of Sun who went on to be CEO and chairman of Motorola; Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun and software brainiac; James Gosling, creator of Java; Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun and creator of the workstation; and Greg Papadopoulos, CTO and executive vice president of research and development at Sun.
And if you look at working groups in any of the major standards bodies-World Wide Web Consortium, OASIS and IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), among others-you'll see Sun technologists leading and staffing many of the more innovative projects.
Meanwhile, the company continues to innovate in its own work. Sun recently announced Version 6.5 of its NetBeans open-source IDE (integrated development environment).
NetBeans 6.5 provides an intuitive and feature-rich IDE for PHP and increased support for Web and Java software development, said David Folk, group manager of Developer Tools at Sun. NetBeans 6.5 will include fully localized versions of simplified Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese, Folk said. In addition, Sun released an early access version for Python applications, he said. Early access includes an editor, debugger and choice of Python run-times.
However, "Java developers are still very important to us," Folk said. NetBeans 6.5 features multithreaded debugging for Java technologies.
"In the development arena, mixed language programming is becoming the norm," Allan Davis, lead developer of nbPython, said in a statement. "We needed our tools to be in one place; by adding the early access version of Python to the NetBeans project, we can accomplish our development in a more productive manner. Working with Sun on this project has been an incredible experience for me. The engineers are top-notch and the NetBeans community has been a blessing and an inspiration to get the project to this point. I am glad to be a part of such a great product."