Monday, November 17, 2008

Rich Green Moves to Greener Pastures

Rich Green shouldn't have much trouble getting another job. That's a good thing because Rich was recently let go from Sun, where he headed up the entire software division. Solaris. Java. NetBeans. Glassfish. Everything.

It's definitely hard to think of a more punishing, difficult job than making sense out of Sun's software portfolio. In a company where the guiding line, recently, is to open source everything, Sun still has a remarkable amount of closed source software that it supports and sells. That list has gotten shorter under Rich's reign, but it's by no means gotten any better.

Sun has always been known for writing very competent, technically advanced software that is years ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, it's also known for producing software that moves too slowly to keep up with the accepted curve of excellence. Such is the case with Solaris. Solaris users are ravenous, and can't understand how people get work done in other Unix environments. And yet, newcomers mostly stare at Solaris and ask "so, why is this better than Linux?"

It's like standing in a field of hedgerows, then picking the one quartered off field with the nicest grass, and an excellent caretaker, but only 10 feet square of space on each side.

In truth, the only way I see for Sun to move forward, away from the smoking heap of rubble that is its software portfolio, is to move closer to the consumer side. That means paying more attention to usability, simplicity, and penetration. Not exactly Sun's strong points. The Solaris faithful, of late, have had the throne of Murdock to worship at, and that's a good thing.

But is it too late for all this stuff? Maybe, maybe not. There are many other options than my consumer/power-user direction, though Sun's forthcoming release of JavaFX 1.0 could help there.

Another option is bringing the entire company together to confront the storage/database market. Sun's already offering solid-state drive arrays running ZFS, meaning RAID is no longer needed. A major advancement that's not offered anywhere else. If I were Mr. Schwartz, I'd be concentrating all firepower on that particular super Star Destroyer. Too bad EMC would be waiting at the door to kick Sun's shins and say "welcome!"

Anyway, here's hoping Rich Green finds a good company to work with. I think he'll do a great job somewhere that's a lot smaller and less troubled than Sun. It can't be easy to work at a company that seems to put all its effort into losing money.

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