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Sun Moves In Strange Ways... Or "If I Were Sun"

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It happened, even though I hadn't expected it to do so anymore: software produced by Sun doesn't only work, but is really usable. It is easy to install and highly regarded outside of Sun as well. Sun's "Software Division + Open Source Community" has really caught on. A few samples:
  1. VisualVM - useful troubleshooting tool.
  2. JavaDB - powerful, lean embedded / distributed Java DB
  3. openDS - easy to install (even with WebStart) ldap server
  4. Wonderland - no comments, just cool.
  5. Glassfish - from "nothing" to killer appserver. V3 comes with some significant usability improvements like easy embedding etc.
  6. NetBeans IDE - before 5 it was unusable (sorry - hardcore NetBeans lovers :-)). NetBeans 6.0 > really improved in orders of magnitude. NetBeans IDE 6.5 could become the hub of different languages (Groovy, Scala, JavaScript, Ruby, Java). Although "IDE" is a religious topic, there is no doubt about the significant improvements in this one's quality, performance, usability, documentation, and features (I use it all the time).
  7. openesb - really interesting "Enterprise Service Bus" the new version is even OSGI based.
  8. virtualBox - really amazing: a 20 MB, free and powerful virtualization tool
  9. openSolaris - I only installed it in VirtualBox, during a really boring (almost funny), sponsored JavaONE's General Session. The installation is really easy, the UI nice. I heard only good things about ZFS and Dtrace
  10. Hudson - easy to install, and configure (without XML), continuous integration tool.

Sun's strategy (what I understand of it from the outside), consists of giving away great software, thereby selling more hardware. But it seems like it isn't really easy buying hardware from Sun. That, or only a few people know what Sun's offerings actually are. From my perspective, Sun is not leveraging the potential here (perhaps with the exception of SunSPOTs). Some samples:

  1. I bought and assembled a linux server, and recognized one year later, that the T2000 entry server wasn't much more expensive.
  2. I wondered at a fair/tradeshow in Germany about a nice workstation (aluminium finish), similar to Mac Pros, and recognized it is Sun's product... with AMD or Intel Chips and available Windows, Linux, Solaris options. No one at the booth could tell me how to get one. I bought different hardware half a year later...
  3. I found the workstation on Sun's homepage. There is only a small image available. There is no possiblity to enlarge it. Just compare this online product presentation with e.g., Apples Store, and their workstation.

If I were Sun, I would try to sell more hardware and offer more hardware-related services :-):

  1. I would try to create a Java-Branded Workstation, just for developers, and place it somewhere prominently, or at least make the existing one more visible. With virtualBox, Ubuntu / openSolaris / Windows this could probably take off. I would actually buy one. I think there are enough Java-enthusiasts out there, so that this could pay-off.
  2. I would offer Glassfish, Grails, Rails on EE, etc. hostings / services / clouds. Sun has a Grid, which is rather a generic solution. But Amazon has EC2 and Google the AppEngine. This is actually strange.
  3. Sun servers are not really visible to developers. I would try to change that and offer some entry point servers to play with. I know many developers building their own systems (I'm one of them), which are actually not that cheap.

The hard work is actually done. I'm only missing a few remaining pieces, like a nice online store, straightforward marketing, and more visibility.

From: http://blog.adam-bien.com/

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