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Sun Charms Us Further
Wednesday, September 22 2004 @ 06:25 AM EDT

Here's a charming report from Forrester Research's CEO George Colony about what he says is Sun's blueprint for survival, in which Sun once again reveals it is no true friend of FOSS, and in fact doesn't even know what it is.

The plan is simple: equate Linux with Red Hat and then attack Red Hat:

"Make the argument that Linux equals Red Hat. Linux has become a social force, with all of the free world supposedly cooperating to create an always improving operating system that is forever cheaper and more valuable than the old versions of Unix.

"Sun's view is that Linux is nothing more than Red Hat. The operating system is not about world peace and the charitable work of the world's great programmers. It's like every other operating system ever created: It's about the foibles, greed, mistakes and engineering prowess (or lack thereof) of one vendor -- in this case, Red Hat.

"Step No. 2: Belittle Red Hat. By collapsing Linux into Red Hat, Sun now has a clear target. It can hammer away at a company, as opposed to waging the impossible task of fighting a social movement. And according to Sun, Red Hat is a very vulnerable target -- a company with limited resources, engineering talent, world coverage and capabilities -- with potentially serious intellectual-property issues."

They wouldn't be planning on creating some "potentially serious intellectual-property issues" with their new best friend, Microsoft, or anything? You think? Or is it just a matter of ignobly handing out FUDsicles? The plan has more nauseating steps, but I leave you to go read it on your own.

As you can see, Sun's revealed strategy is built on a mistaken view of what GNU/Linux is. The problem with building your plans on a mistaken fantasy or a wish is that the rest of the world refuses to shake itself loose from reality. Reality doesn't care what your company wants or needs.

And the reality is that GNU/Linux is a better mousetrap. It wasn't started by any company, it is bigger than any company, it depends on no company, and if they all went out of business tomorrow, it would continue. That's one big reason why companies should switch to it at their earliest opportunity, by the way. There is no vendor lock-in. If, worst-case scenario, your vendor did shut down, you won't be left stranded with software that you can't continue to use. You can always use it. The GPL guarantees it. And there will always be a way to get it updated, vendor or no vendor. If I were a business, what I would do to protect my business is hire a whole lot of Linux guys ASAP, and then I'd be set for life, dependent on no one.

Have you noticed that it's generally dying companies that try to misuse the courts as an anticompetitive weapon? It's the fingerprint of failure.

Happily, Sun's plan includes hitching their tottering wagon to Microsoft's sinking star. And of course all of us who study history can attest that companies that team up with Microsoft invariably find it works out very well for them indeed.


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