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Oracle Top Execs Answer Sun Employee Questions 207

The Register writes "Sun invited Oracle president Charles Phillips and chief corporate architect Edward Screven to an employee-only town hall this Wednesday, where they took questions on what's coming. They said they'd be 'crazy' to close Java, that Oracle 'needs' MySQL, and all Sun's processors look appealing. They hedged on OpenOffice — Phillips said he couldn't comment on any product line — and on Sun's work in high-performance computing. Screven made it pretty clear the Sun vision of cloud computing does not fit with Oracle's; Oracle sees itself as a provider of infrastructure like virtualization to make clouds, not a provider of hosted services. As for who's staying and who's getting cut at Sun: Phillips said Oracle needs Sun, but warned 'tough decisions' will be coming. Don't forget, this is the company that couriered pink slips to the PeopleSoft staff it cut following that acquisition."
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Oracle Top Execs Answer Sun Employee Questions

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  • Here's praying... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:15PM (#27706869)

    ...that they don't decide to GPL Solaris. Really don't want to see my favorite OS pulled apart and canibalized to fuel the growing Linux hegemony. Let's keep some diversity and competition in the Unix market!

  • Uh Cloud? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rackserverdeals ( 1503561 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:21PM (#27706913) Homepage Journal

    Screven made it pretty clear the Sun vision of cloud computing does not fit with Oracle's; Oracle sees itself as a provider of infrastructure like virtualization to make clouds, not a provider of hosted services.

    Uhm... That's one of the things Sun is doing with cloud computing that I don't think others are.

    All the cloud stuff is, is virtualization and infrastructure. Jonathan Schwartz himself has said that if you're not comfortable putting your stuff on a public cloud they'll bring the cloud to you.

    They've been doing cool stuff with their virtualization and provisioning systems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:29PM (#27706979)

    No company is stupid enough to encumber their products with the viral GPL anymore. The GNU crazies did a good job of marketing their kooky license as the default choice but companies have long since caught on and now stick to the free and developer friendly BSD/Apache open source licenses.

    Android, Clang/LLVM, OS X's Darwin, etc are driving the Bearded GNU freaks crazy.

    Love it!

  • How It Went Down (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:30PM (#27706993)

    "OMG I work in . will I get laid off?"

    "No no, no one will be laid off. All of Sun is important to us."

    2 months from now when everyone from Sun will be ancient history.

    --Wanted to link that pic of the Iraq guy at the press conference, obviously lying, with his hands in a "simmer down" gesture, but I can't find it. Maybe it wasn't Iraq. I dunno. Someone find it.

  • by rackserverdeals ( 1503561 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:31PM (#27706995) Homepage Journal

    Phillips said MySQL has reach in "incremental markets" such as start-ups that Oracle can't get to on its own.

    Basically, there is a customer out there that won't buy your product because it's too expensive for example. Instead of losing them to a competitor, you get them to use another product of yours, for free or hopefully with a service contract. Either way, they haven't gone to a competitor.

    Your not making the money you would have made had you sold your flagship product, but you weren't going to make that anyway. Might as well get something, with the potential for more later, than turn them away.

  • by parryFromIndia ( 687708 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:31PM (#27707017)
    I find it odd that no one asked any questions about the future of Solaris - although there was a round-about question on x86 which resulted in an somewhat positive answer for SPARC. Oracle seems to be keeping SPARC and thus Solaris alive. (There isn't another OS running SPARC that is in widespread use after all.) This also makes me wonder if Oracle product support for Solaris x86 is going to improve now. This also seems to suggest that Oracle may not be selling Sun's hardware business to HP per the original plan. The idea sounded very interesting - HP would then become the most diversified hardware company selling x86, Itanium and SPARC hardware.
  • Re:Uh Cloud? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Twillerror ( 536681 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:36PM (#27707065) Homepage Journal

    Yes, exactly. I wish more people would speak to this side of "cloud" computing.

    What we want is two have redundant "pools" of server and applications. Those pools usually run at 2 or more data centers.

    We pull the plug on one data center and clients of those servers and application automatically switch. We have more apps, need more servers for a cluster, or more space we just add on to the thing in a fairly automated fashion.

    I'd like this at the intranet level. We have lots of various legacy and web based apps that I want to be able to run in 2 datacenters.

    When the system fails our internal network in conjunction with the "cloud" software will switch so one of the clouds takes over the same IPs.

    Putting servers in public clouds is for startup web applications, the scientific community, some niche apps(like using Amazon s3 for clusterable storage) and maybe small businesses. No way in heck we are putting our emails and our documents up on someone else servers. Being a public company I don't even think we could with all the SOX crap.

  • by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:37PM (#27707077) Homepage

    If they released it under the GPLv3, it still couldn't be cannibalized for Linux (which perversely insisted on staying with v2, which they'll now be stuck with forever), and could immediately become the FSF's OS of choice. Which would be pretty cool, IMO. GNU/Solaris would be a much better system, I think, than anything else out there currently including both GNU/Linux and Solaris. (GNU coreutils, among other things, kick ass on anything else out there.) Heck, I think it would probably edge out the still-unreleased-but-nearly-finished GNU/BSD, and that's been as close to my dream system as anyone's come up with for quite some time.

    The flip side argument, though, is: who cares if it's "cannibalized" for something else, e.g. Linux. It's still there, right? Just like the BSDers point out that proprietary derivatives of their software don't affect them at all, since the free versions are still there, unchanged. Anyway, porting kernel code between Solaris and Linux, like porting between BSD and Linux, isn't going to be that easy in the first place; license incompatibility will mostly mean that the final 10% of whatever component you might have in mind (ZFS is probably a good example) will have to be rewritten, and not just the first 90%. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:38PM (#27707089)

    Any day now...

    zfs is a long time coming, the fuse situation isn't going anywhere. if linux had zfs then solaris would be pretty worthless.

    zones linux has convered, with the competition with virutalization esx and xen seem to be doing well. I am not sure sun contributes much to this other than a token effort with their product.

    more dtrace like work on linux would be great

  • Open Source NeWS! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['6.t' in gap]> on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:50PM (#27707219) Homepage Journal

    Best thing Sun ever did, and they killed it rather than letting it grow.

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:07PM (#27707383) Homepage Journal

    Oh please. Sure they'll lay off a lot of people (I suspect most of sales and marketing is toast) but they're not going to spend $5 billion on a bunch of product lines only to fire all the people who create and maintain them. Some products will probably die, but not most of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:09PM (#27707401)

    Ha ha! It must infuriate you to know that we're going to gut your OS and leave it for dead! Onwards to Solaris my brethren, we have an operating system to pillage and a user base to rape!

    When you grab libumem, ZFS, and DTrace, make sure you take the scheduler as well. I'm tired of Linux live-locking on me.

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:20PM (#27707547) Homepage Journal

    What were they supposed to do with NeWS, continue developing it while the rest of the Unix community used X11? If they had, Sun's workstation business would have died about a decade earlier than it did.

  • by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:35PM (#27707671) Homepage Journal

    That would be really bad (and is very unlikely event).

    Solaris 10 is pretty much last commercial Unix which does suck but only moderately. Because only alternatives are HP-UX (dead man crawling) and AIX (IBM Global Services' private toy).

    [ OK, AIX too does suck only moderately, but it's just IBM is active in relatively few markets/regions (what/how they sell/support depends on region). You can buy it, but you will not get much support from them. ]

    Many companies have strategic partnership with Sun solely for its ability to provide stable, well integrated with the hardware Unix.

    P.S. Though, honestly, more and more companies which had enough intelligence in past to have good relationship with Sun, also used that intelligence other way around and evaluated/deployed Linux already long time ago - everywhere where it was feasible.

  • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:42PM (#27707729)

    I think the problem with open source office suits is an office suite dosen't get anybody laid [], so there is little enthusiasm from people not paid to do it. If you want to use an MS clone the Openoffice is fine, but there is never going to be any innovation unless it comes from another company, so the best hope is to open up the development and get all the companies on board with something, but given its slowness and dependance on java i don't think even that will result in a good product, its best for it to die and novell,linux foundation,red hat, etc, to put their effort into gnumeric,abiword,etc, (maybe rip out the good parts of openoffice and put them in libraries).

  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:43PM (#27707739) Journal

    MySQL and Oracle (the database, not the company) aren't competitors. MySQL serves people who want cheap / free systems that are fast enough, but fairly simple. Oracle serves people who need real heavy-hitting solutions. What Oracle should be doing is using MySQL to keep customers away from PostgreSQL which also has the cheapness of MySQL but can meet a lot more (though not all) of Oracle's greater sophistication than MySQL.
  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:44PM (#27707755) Journal

    they're not going to spend $5 billion on a bunch of product lines only to fire all the people who create and maintain them.

    They spent $10 billion on a bunch of product lines, only to fire everybody when the bought PeopleSoft. Based on Oracle's history, there's no reason to think they wouldn't fire every single current Sun employee.

    Your counter-argument seems to be "but, but, that would be stupid of them!". Well, yeah, this is Oracle we're talking about here. Have you ever tried to install Oracle?

  • by DaleGlass ( 1068434 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @06:47PM (#27707785) Homepage

    It doesn't matter what license dtrace is under.

    dtrace exposes Solaris kernel internals. Porting that to Linux even if the license was compatible would be very non-trivial.

    BSD and Solaris at least have a common ancestry, while Linux isn't related to anything else.

  • by giuffsalvo ( 1536695 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @08:08PM (#27708431)
    I'm literally hating myself, for having refused a job offer by Sun 1 year and half ago, because of personal (but not very serious) reasons...Now I'll never have the opportunity to work in a company so academic and transparent...
  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) * on Friday April 24, 2009 @08:17PM (#27708511) Journal

    I don't see it that way. The main benefit of adding a "MySQL" mode to Oracle is because MySQL's datatypes are non-standard and applications are likely to contain MySQL-specific DB portability bugs.

    Nobody's going to buy Oracle and then start coding MySQLisms. If someone wants DB-portability, the techniques are already well known.

  • by chiph ( 523845 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:14PM (#27708825)

    before Oracle closes it because of low margins.

    Nevermind the obvious synergies and benefits you get from controlling the entire stack -- from CPU to system software to applications. See: APPLE

    Chip H.

  • by Clandestine_Blaze ( 1019274 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:41PM (#27709003) Journal

    So you must concur that its fucking hell to install?

    How am I supposed to refute an individual's anecdote? If you find something difficult, how do I deny your experience? As with the installation of any software that requires post-install tailoring to fit your business needs, YMMV.

  • by rvr777 ( 1082819 ) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @04:25PM (#27723363) Homepage
    VirtualBox is one of the best free (and open-source) virtualization app, but they already have Oracle VM that is based on Xen. That turns VirtualBox in another product wich fate we don't know...

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"