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Sun Microsystems Businesses Operating Systems Software Unix Hardware

After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out 166

Tekla Perry (3034735) writes "Former Sun executives and employees gathered in Mountain View, Calif., in May, and out came the 'real' stories. Andy Bechtolsheim reports that Steve Jobs wasn't the only one who set out to copy the Xerox Parc Alto; John Gage wonders why so many smart engineers couldn't figure out that it would have been better to buy tables instead of kneepads for the folks doing computer assembly; Vinod Khosla recalls the plan to 'rip-off Sun technology,' and more."
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After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out

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  • Facebook (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @04:04PM (#47137417) Journal

    Facebook intentionally left a few Sun signs up when it took over the former Sun campus in Menlo Park to remind people of what can happen to a company

    Let's hope Facebook's successor doesn't bother doing them the courtesy. After all, at least Sun left a legacy of something tangible behind.

  • Escape from MicroSun (Score:4, Informative)

    by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @04:56PM (#47137703)

    Some additional nostalgia from 1997...

    Escape from MicroSun [ifiction.org] (aka "Friday Afternoon") is a text adventure (written by a Sun Microsystems employee) where you play the part of a programmer for "MicroSun" and have to escape the office by 6pm for a date.

  • Re:DRTFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2014 @06:00PM (#47138017)

    Java the religion was a problem, but those people have been silenced by reality.

    When Java started, it was competing against VisualBasic and a lousy version of Visual C++. And Microsoft looked like they were going to own both the server and the desktop, with UNIX and Linux effectively limited to plain C. Furthermore, most people who advocated Java at the time (including me) were fully aware of its numerous technical shortcomings. But Sun had promised to go through with ANSI/ISO standardization, and we had hoped we could fix many of its problems during that process, just like people had done for ANSI C. Since Sun had generally been decent about open source and community involvement, its withdrawal from the standards processes and subsequent proprietary stance on Java came as a complete surprise.

    It's a shame that Java didn't turn out to be better. But Java has its uses, even if it is just keeping people who shouldn't be programming from interfering with people who do real work.

  • Re:Cool Technology (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2014 @09:07PM (#47138771)

    Research at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/publications

    Open source at Facebook: https://code.facebook.com/projects/

    Your assertion that Facebook does not provide any external value overall is stronger than the evidence suggests. I would be less quick to condemn without knowing.

  • by tarpitcod ( 822436 ) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @09:15AM (#47140583)

    I'm going to have a go at explaining to readers how it 'felt' to use a workstation. I have a friend who experienced the same thing working on Apollo workstations too.

    There was this feeling - I can best describe as being like what many people report they had as kids with home micros. You woke up and here was this awesome machine that just begged to be played with, have hardware added to etc. It's an awesome feeling of discovery and exploration and possibilities. It's like the feeling you can have if you grab a nice big piece of blank paper and a pen. You can write whatever you want on it, draw on it, calculate something on it...

    For me - and other folks who had access to workstations it was just like that feeling. Suddenly you had this machine that was fast, had a great display, a great operating system - SunOS 4.1.3 . the machine was there and all that compute + display + disk was there for YOU. It wasn't locked up in some server some other place and you weren't competing with everyone else.

    Later on Sun came out with some really cool things too. Anyone else remember NeWS? That was pretty cool....NFS for as many problems as it has is still actively used all over the place.

    Why did Sun die? They died because they stopped doing what they started doing. The actual model for Sun in the early days was they would take a standard Unix and build a workstation (or server) wrapped around it. They actually used to say that they weren't going to lock people into their system - they would make their system open - and compete based on having the best product. Think about that for a minute. They were saying 'We wil build the best damn workstation, and you will buy it because it's the best damn workstation'. Now you can argue if the SPARCStation 1+ was better than an Apollo or a MIPS but as a business strategy it's hard as a consumer to complain about it. It was a massive departure from what DEC did.

  • Re:Cool Technology (Score:5, Informative)

    by bheading ( 467684 ) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @11:19AM (#47141129)

    I can't think of a single good technology that originated at Sun

    ZFS, dtrace ?

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus