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Sun Microsystems Businesses Oracle Technology

Slow Oracle Merger Leads To Outflow of Sun Projects, Coders 409

Posted by timothy
from the bang-but-whimper dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sun Microsystems might have had a chance if the Oracle merger had gone through quickly, but between the DoJ taking its time and the European Commission, which seems to get off on abusing American firms, just plain dragging its feet, that won't happen now. As Sun twists in the wind, unable to defend itself, and Oracle is unable to do anything until the deal closes, IBM is pretty much tearing Sun to shreds. By the time this deal closes, there won't be much left for Oracle. This is not how a Silicon Valley legend should end."
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Slow Oracle Merger Leads To Outflow of Sun Projects, Coders

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  • by Unequivocal (155957) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @01:40PM (#29302687)

    Mod parent up. The OP is light on facts and heavy on interpretation. Non-story.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @01:41PM (#29302717)

    As far as I can tell their slowness to sign on to other corporatist things coming from the US has been a pretty good thing.

    Too bad that when it really counted, they bent over and presented their constituents' anuses to have their privacy violated by the US feds.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @01:52PM (#29302913) Homepage

    Citing two sources familiar with the situation, Reuters said that the EC's antitrust concern centers around Oracle getting its hands on Sun's MySQL database. U.S. antitrust officials, who earlier signed off on the deal, made no such concerns about MySQL.

    If the EU is actually delaying anything over this, then they're either doing it for political reasons or out of incredible incompetence. MySQL is open source and has already been forked. So what if Oracle gets ahold of the IP behind MySQL?! They cannot close source MariaDB, Drizzle, etc.

  • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @01:53PM (#29302925) Journal

    Compare that to fines levied against European companies and you will see that there is no difference. You were flagged troll for your content-free angry pro-American karma pandering. You thought you'd get a quick karma boost from anti-socialist, libertarian, and pro-American moderators, which you may yet get if you stop whining and present some actual facts. Cherry-picked anecdotes don't count, give us some figures to back up your butt-hurt position.

  • by matt4077 (581118) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @01:54PM (#29302949) Homepage
    The US just approved this merger about a week ago. An additional week is certainly no proof of malice. Even if it takes longer, it might be due to more intensive oversight, as the EU seems to simply take the job more seriously.

    You could argue that in-depth oversight hurts businesses, but it's a common fallacy here to attribute it to Anti-Americanism, even though there's ample evidence that European and Asian country are often hit just as harshly as American ones. See for example the then-highest cartel fine [glassonweb.com] against countries from Belgium, the UK and Japan.
  • Oracle is OK (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Hopper (59070) <slashdot@barnson.org> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:01PM (#29303077) Homepage Journal

    My two cents: It doesn't suck to work at Oracle. Pay is fair and above market, benefits are good, employees are treated fairly, and there are a lot of exciting projects going on to choose from as a techie. If you don't like what you're doing for a living, there are numerous opportunities always available in something more suited to your interest, and telecommuting is encouraged in most "talent" positions, so relocation is largely a non-issue. The employees I work with (admittedly, we're a rack-monkey and operating system nerd crowd) are generally optimistic and excited about the merger.

    Yes, as part of the M&A process there have been layoffs from time to time. With the exception of hostile takeovers, they are fairly predictable in advance, severance is decent and fair, the door remains open if you decide to rejoin the company later, and as far as a huge Fortune 500 company goes, it's a really decent place to work. If you work in some of the larger locations there are nice benefits on-site for free or at really reduced prices (gyms, cafeterias, massages, to name a few), and there is a lot of employment flexibility.

    Of course there are annoyances like paperwork, lengthy project approval processes, ITIL compliance, SOX compliance, and so forth. Welcome to working for any large company. But to say "People do not want to work for Oracle, fast merge or slow merge" is simply false. By and large, it's a good company to work for, and the low turnover rate and lengthy average employment time amongst extremely talented and well-educated people speaks to overall job satisfaction.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:04PM (#29303129)
    Please don't refer to 'Europe' as though the relationship between the EU and member states is akin to the relationship between American states and the federal government. It sends a shiver down my spine and isn't quite true (yet).
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Hopper (59070) <slashdot@barnson.org> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:08PM (#29303195) Homepage Journal

    "sync; sync; halt" works for immediate stoppage at minimal risk to your filesystem compared to many other options.

    Or just "stop-A", "sync", and leave it hanging at the OK prompt forever :) This has the benefit of a subsequent tech being able to power up again remotely, which just pulling the power cord wouldn't...

  • by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:20PM (#29303355)

    So? The EC fined Telefónica (a spanish telco) with 150 millions. And the fined EON (german) and GDF (french) with 550 millions each one for being a cartel. And the fined 11 european and japanese companies with 750 millions (including 330 millions for siemens, which is german).

    And in my opinion, the EC is just doing what EEUU should do but doesn't.

  • Re:IBM strategy (Score:4, Informative)

    by tukang (1209392) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:23PM (#29303411)

    You're blatantly wrong here. The reason the IBM - SUN merger didn't go through is because SUN walked away from the deal.

    http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3813841/ [internetnews.com]

  • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by kiwimate (458274) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:47PM (#29303721) Journal

    I'll take it [photius.com]. At least if it's France (#1), Italy (#2), Belgium (#21), or really anywhere better than the US (#37). Forget the talk show "rah rah rah U-S-A U-S-A" nonsense. If you think the US health care system is legitimately "the best", tell me by which measure.

  • Say what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jimpop (27817) * on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:54PM (#29303809) Homepage Journal
    "This is not how a Silicon Valley legend should end"

    It's almost fitting considering how some of Sun's best customers were left out in the cold with bad CPUs and RAM, while Sun lawyers (waving signed NDAs in hand) were more prevelent than Sun Support engineers. Remember all the press about that? What, you don't? It's because it was silenced by Sun.
  • by DShard (159067) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:06PM (#29303955)

    If they didn't care about selling in Europe they could just ignore them and cease operations there. I don't see it being worth it to either oracle or sun for that to happen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:11PM (#29303989)

    Look up 'LCD Dumping' among others and see why the door has swung both ways for a long time. The US economy is the concession maker, while the protectionists like Japan, China, and Europe get off with a finger-wag and a "tsk tsk". This is as certain industries implode and move to those protectionist countries who sell the products back to the US at a substantially lower price than domestically produced, because of said "global economy". I prefer the term "ass raping economy" when it comes to this sort of government posturing. I do not absolve the US of its protectionist roots and at times, bad practices, but the US is not always the protectionist in the equation and is reacting to product dumping (China) and forcing concessions the US is not in a position to make in order to maintain the "balance" of trade that we see today. I think the global economy blows dead bears anyway.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:12PM (#29303993)

    Americans don't seem to realize what a "global economy" truly entails.

    I think you're making an apples to oranges comparison. The average american doesn't know much about business. The average american also doesn't own a business that competes in a global marketplace. A business owner that does compete in a global marketplace is aware of these issues, because s/he must. his/her place of birth doesn't change this.

    The European Union's economic policies are designed to benefit business owners in Europe, just as the United States' economic policies are designed to benefit business owners here. Where these interests coincide favorably, there is cooperation (intellectual property, globalization, etc.). Where they do not (monopolies, taxation, etc.) there is not cooperation. Both sides state they strive for "fair", "open", and/or "unbiased" markets, but privately they strive to provide a benefit for their members, which sometimes results in "fair", "open", and "unbiased" markets, and sometimes does not.

    The issue here is that the EU is motivated by a need for cultural integrity -- whereas their competition (the United States) does not bring a need for cultural integrity to the negotiation table. The end result is that US businesses are paying for the EU member nations' need for cultural integrity as a condition of competition within the European marketplace. Evaluating the correctness of each position is left as an excercise for the reader.

  • Re:FUD article (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:00PM (#29304617)

    HA HA HA!!!

          Someone mod this idiot up as funny, please!

    Enterprise === overpriced. Get over it.

    LPAR vs Solaris Zones and you pick on easier-to-manage? WTF planet are you from? "No one else comes close?" Uh huh. Wake me up when they can dynamically migrate from one piece of hardware to another a la AIX 6.

        Hell, Solaris *STILL* doesn't have a good bare metal restore story. dtrace is cool, ZFS is cool, but package management is broken, and device driver stuff is insanely broken from a management POV.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by siliconincdotnet (525118) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:02PM (#29304639) Homepage

    It's not really fine. Well, sort of. The health care system has major problems because no one can really afford it without insurance. In fact, if you try and purchase medical care, the hospital will charge you more than they would charge an insurance company.

  • Re:FUD article (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:11PM (#29304739)

    Ever heard of ZFS or DTrace?

    Guess what, most of the world doesn't use them and things tick along just fine. Even apple don't trust ZFS. If a file-system and a tracing tool is what you believe people should base their business IT decisions on, stick to being a dweeb. Solaris is dying, get over it. Move on.

  • Re:relevance (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:11PM (#29304743) Journal
    Wow, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. ZFS has three very well-defined layers. At the bottom is the pooled storage layer. On top of this is the transactional I/O layer. Above this is the filesystem layer. This is moving the traditional block device, filesystem, VFS, layers slightly, but the new locations make more sense for modern usage.
  • Re:FUD article (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:13PM (#29304765)

    I have no problems managing to sell AIX over Linux/Solaris/Windows to customers. This happens to SMALL CAP companies, not bigmoney.com, and on daily basis.

    It's the most braindead widely used operating system around, which is *perfect* for application servers. All I want is scheduling, and network/disk IO. The rest of the features can sod off. No weekly/monthly/yearly/decadial patching, no hardware failures, no software failures. Just keep feeding the servers electricity and you get easily 100% yearly availability with single servers. (There are backups etc in place, but they are honestly just a wise precaution. Never needed them in real situation.)

    The absolutely only problem I have about the stuff is the price. IBM charges insane amounts of money for the hardware and the support. The customers don't seem to care much about that. They are just happy with well running environments.

    I am not saying Sun can't achieve the same technically. I also tell that to the customers. However I have to also point out that Sun might be dying, which is true. It is a genuine possibility that couple years from now there will be no more new products, and also they are winding down the (quality of) support.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Swanktastic (109747) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:47PM (#29305133)

    If you think the US health care system is legitimately "the best", tell me by which measure.

    People throw that study number around without actually understanding what was going on. Let me explain a bit about that study, then you can decide if you think you want to continue using the study as evidence of anything.

    I've written down the criteria in this form-
    Criterion (weighting %) : US Ranking, explanation.

    Health Level (25%): 24
    This is primarily ranking based on life expectancy.

    Health Distribution (25%): 32
    This is primarily based on child survival rates vs. wealth. You get a bad score if poor kids die while rich kids live.

    Responsiveness Level (12.5%): 1
    This is based on a survey of health care users about choice of doctor, access to care, quality of care, and outcomes. Generally, when people think about whether they have a "good" health care system or not, these are the criteria they are generally talking about. US ranked 1, Switzerland 2, Luxembourg 3, and Denmark 4.

    Responsiveness Distribution (12.5%): 3-38
    This looks at the scores of responsiveness above, and cubes the mathematical difference between responsiveness scores of disadvantaged groups vs. all other groups. In this category, the UAE which ranked 30th in responsiveness was ranked number one in distribution of responsiveness. E.G. the disadvantaged got roughly the same care as the advantaged.

    Fairness in Financial Contribution (25%): 54-55
    Again, measuring the distribution of % of household income going to health care across various economic segments.

    Based on this weighting, the aggregate US ranking was 15th. This is the Attainment ranking.

    The Performance Ranking is the number you refer to (France 1st, US 37th). It is a calculation which uses a formula much to complicated for me to understand, but essentially they made a model which calculates what they think the life expectancy in the country should be given the expenditures. That is, it's sort of a misnomer- it is not Performance, but Efficiency they are measuring. France scored best because the model created determined that their life expectancy is closest to the theoretical maximum predicted. People (rightly in my opinion) get worked up over this ranking because it's not really based on facts or performance, but actually a prediction of life expectancy. Japan ranks number 1 in the world in life expectancy, but 10th in terms of Efficiency. It doesn't make much sense.

    I see several big flaws with this study, but feel free to ignore me if you're looking for ammunition to bash the US health care system:
    1) You really have to wonder if life expectancy is the best way to be comparing health care systems. The vast majority of expenditures in the USA are on procedures, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, etc. that are not designed to increase life expectancy. Whether that is the right or not is up for debate, but it does explain why the US scores poorly in efficiency.

    2) Distribution of care makes up the bulk of the ranking whereas quality of care and outcomes makes up 12.5%. The US gets bonus points for having the best quality of care when you go to the doctor. We get serious dings for having different quality of care for rich and poor. We also get serious dings for the way our population takes generally poor care of ourselves (smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, etc.). If you think poor care by doctors is the reason for the obesity epidemic, then feel free to believe in this study. Me- I don't know a single person who truly blames doctors or the health care system for our lifestyle choices.

    3) This study was done once (in 2000). The methodology was so poorly designed that it wasn't funded again by the WHO. It's not exactly the type of study you want to be throwing around as the definitive ranking on health care systems.

  • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Informative)

    by fsmunoz (267297) <fsmunoz@member.C ... minus herbivore> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:03PM (#29305295) Homepage

    Hello,

    Initial "disclaimer", I work in IBM. I'll try however to be balanced, especially since I'm more interested in clarifying a few points than in engaging in some sort of competitive bashing.

    For the record though I'll say that I like Solaris and business imperatives apart Sun is/was a company that interested me.

    IBM's offerings with their overpriced hardward,

    Really depends on how you do the math. Individual systems can be more expensive, but then again they generally do a lot more in terms of processing power. Of course, "processing power" can be again measured in multiple ways, which is why you'll find a lot of contradicting information. One thing to bear in mind though is that, for example, the IBM Power Blades are quite competitive, being similarly priced as the ix86 ones. The higher you go in terms of vertical capacity of growth, the pricier it is, but that's the same in all vendors.

    ancient lineage

    I'm not sure what you're intending to say here, most Unix vendors have an ancient lineage (Solaris itself is a BSD/System V mix, a bit like AIX). If you're referring to a supposed lack of innovation, well, POWER6 still has the edge in terms of processing power and POWER7 is just around the corner (IBM won the DARPA bid against Sun btw). AIX 6 introduces a lot of new stuff which you are probably not aware. I'm not sure how is the Sun situation in terms of chip manufacturing. I know about the highly threaded CPUs, etc, I am just commenting on the possible perception that looms in the air with the Oracle acquisition.

    how about a free x86 version, IBM? no, then fuck off!

    While I understand that it would be interesting in general terms, it doesn't matter in terms of judging the fitness of the OS for the market we are talking about.

    After that, I have a hard time figuring out why anyone would favor IBM's LPARs over the much more efficient, and easier to manager Solaris 10 Zone offering.

    They are quite different concepts though.... a LPAR is for most purposes a separate server, with a level of isolation that exceeds Solaris zones. They don't even compete in the same area. A critical problem in the Solaris kernel that is supports 10 Containers will mean death to all of them (correct me if I'm wrong). You can do whatever you want to an LPAR that it won't affect any other LPAR. This with the added benefict of dedicated OR shared hardware, dynamic CPU and RAM entitlement via policies, etc, etc. It behaves a bit like z/VM.

    The only comparison with Solaris zones are WPARs, Workload Partitions, introduced with AIX 6. They share a global kernel and behave in a similar way to Solaris Containers, give or take. They are lighter in terms of creation, etc, but with less isolation. I'm sure that there are arguments pro and against each of them, but in terms of use they can be compared. Not so with LPARs.

    Don't get me started on HP

    HP-UX is a solid UNIX OS. Of course, it isn't as "sexy" as Solaris (like AIX also isn't I guess), but again what matters for most is if it's stable and manageable. HP also has different virtualisation offerings (nPars, which work at the physical level a bit like Sun Domains IIRC, vPars which are lighter weight and share the same hardware, IVM which is sort of like VMware in Itaniu, etc). I always was an admirer of the Alpha architecture, and respected PA-RISC. In personal terms I don't especially like Itanium, *but* this is a personal thing.

    Ever heard of ZFS or DTrace?

    Quite interesting features. I especially like DTrace.

    I will disclose that I am a three-time ex-Sun employee/contractor who has also seen inside the belly of IBM. Solaris will bury AIX. And you can take *that* to the SAN and store it!

    Well, we're both a product of our surroundings I guess :) I disagree that Solaris will "bury" AIX of course. You might enjoy Solaris more - that's quite reasonable - but in the end this things are more about the business sense they make than anything else (and I'm not saying that Solaris doesn't make business sense).

  • Re:Sovereignty. . . (Score:4, Informative)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:12PM (#29305367) Journal

    I'm sorry, but I just do not see that it is anything less than a loss of sovereignty for the US, to expect that US business must get foreign approval for changes in ownership.

    They don't need foreign approval to merge.

    What they need to know is whether they'll be allowed to sell their products and services in that very large foreign market if they do merge.

    The confusion, I think, is because it's a kind of mental shorthand to think of it as merger approval, when that is not actually what is under consideration right now.

    I hope this clears it up a bit for you. There's no question of sovereignty here. There's only a question of money -- Oracle shareholders would not approve the merger if the EU would not allow merged company to conduct business there, since they'd lose billions.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:35PM (#29305593) Homepage
    Being an American living in the UK, I've experienced both systems and neither is really worse than the other in terms of service. The difference is that you get either a large bill in the US or get effectively black listed for buying insurance.

    Now, I do wait a bit longer (like maybe 20 minutes rather than 10) in the doctor's waiting room but I much rather do that than paying out the ass.

    I rather not test cancer care or major operations in either country but for people that I know that have had operations, none of them had significant waits except for one who was getting an ingrown toe nail removed. Since it posed no risk they told the person that it could take up to a month to get scheduled in. It took two weeks. Considering at that point it was more of a preventative think rather than fixing something infected or painful, I'd say that's no a bad deal.

    There are certainly nightmare stories and some bad hospitals, the same as you'll find in every country including the US.

    The US already has social healthcare for the elderly and the poor. I'm not sure why it's so wrong for the young and middle class to get treated the same.

    For a country that goes on about equality, the course of action should be to give everyone free healthcare or give it to no one rather than giving it to people in key voting demographics and I find it highly ironic that most of these numb nuts that you find protesting free healthcare the loudest are in fact either poor or old people who have their healthcare sorted for them anyway.

    These people would have more of an argument if there weren't so many socialist programs in the US already which are either successful or that people just simply don't seem bothered about ending and people seem to be happy throwing money away on pointless wars which will increase debt and taxes and you get no benefit from it.

    At least if taxes were raised for healthcare instead of questionable wars then US citizens would get some benefit.
  • The New York Times (Score:4, Informative)

    by andersh (229403) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:38PM (#29305621)

    The New York Times says:

    Another issue that may have led the Europeans to take more time over the case is the way that Oracle has handled regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Oracle notified E.U. regulators of its deal in late July, more than two months after it had informed U.S. officials.

    European merger watchdogs can take a dim view if companies spread out their notifications between jurisdictions over long periods of time, and they have said in the past that such tactics might be designed to pressure the Europeans to give the green light to takeovers already approved in the United States.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/technology/companies/04oracle.html?_r=1&hp

  • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @07:09PM (#29306279) Journal

    I don't know how this became about health care, but considering the cost and quality improvements in every other industry that doesn't have governments' thumb on the scales, I think you should rethink your objection to health care as a commodity. Commodities by definition, have the price approach the marginal cost over time.

    Heck, even food, which does have a good deal of governmental interference works very well using a commodity model. The poor in the US have a much larger problem with obesity than starvation.

    Now, if you can tell us the reason why veterinary medicine is so much cheaper than human medicine for the same procedures and medications, you've got a start for telling us ways to improve the current situation.

  • Oracle was slow ... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @10:22PM (#29307519)

    If you actually read the article in the NYT, they point out that Oracle submitted its request to European authorities two months after they submitted the request to American authorities. So you shouldn't be complaining about how slow Europe is for another two months -- the US just approved the merger days ago.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @11:20PM (#29307763)

    Typing that syntax as you listed it would be pointless.

    $ sync; sync; halt

    the whole tradition of the two syncs was to give time for the caches to flush before the halt. It was a sysadmin tool to pace themselves. What is correct is:

    $ sync
    $ sync
    $ halt

  • Re:Huh? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04, 2009 @01:36AM (#29308263)

    The sync; sync; part is irrelevant for anything newer than a 11/44 with RL02s.

  • by moronoxyd (1000371) on Friday September 04, 2009 @02:37AM (#29308493)

    But they only act that way towards foreign countries.

    FACTBOX-EU slaps 1.1 bln euro fine on E.ON, GDF Suez [finanznachrichten.de]

  • Re:Meh. (Score:2, Informative)

    by HoppQ (29469) on Friday September 04, 2009 @03:35AM (#29308713) Homepage

    If the first...wow...that sounds an awful lot like my insurance. Let's see. It costs me a lot of money, yep. I pay it all the time, even when I don't use it, yep.

    Except that unlike U.S. private insurers, the government won't deny you insurance because of pre-existing conditions or deny payment because you gave inaccurate information on your application form. No caps on lifetime expenditure, no loopholes to drop you if they think you're costing them too much.

    They have take a lot more of my money than I have asked for back in "free" services, yep. Oh, and if I owe $500,000 for cancer treatments, they pay ALL the bills, "free" (after a measly few thousand deductible anyone can afford, say I give up cable and eating out for a year, or use savings, or sell my posessions). Huh...

    Some people wouldn't be able to pay a few thousand dollars or euros for their treatment. Generally, those are the same people who can't afford private insurance to begin with, that's why universally guaranteed coverage by the government is very important for the well being of the poor.

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