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Schwartz: "Sun and Microsoft Agree" (But Sun and IBM Don't)

Schwartz: "Sun and Microsoft Agree" (But Sun and IBM Don't)

Sun's president, COO, and blogger-in-chief Jonathan Schwartz was apparently struck yesterday with the thought that, unusually, he has found himself agreeing recently with his competitors. Just not all of his competitors.

"I'm agreeing with a lot of statements being made in the industry," he immediately recorded, in his blog, where he also quipped that such consensus was perhaps due to the Earth's last total lunar eclipse for nearly two and a half years that took place yesterday:

"Great Minds Think Alike...It must be the lunar eclipse."

The primary subject of all this sudden consensuality? Software pricing.

"Sun and Microsoft," Schwartz wrote, "agree that software pricing should not differentiate between single core and multi-core CPUs." That, he explained, is why Sun is moving all its software offerings "to a single, common, per 'socket' format, instead."

"We're counting sockets, not cores. But truth be told, even that's going to be tough to do going forward. Audits are painful for everyone." (Especially with Sun's "whomping" - Schwartz's word - 32-thread systems on the way.)

"What better meter for usage than the number of employees you have (as listed in your SEC filings)?" Schwartz observed. "All businesses count employees (even tiny businesses)." Sun's software, he added, is by its very nature used not only by all employees, but also by a company's customer base:

"Sun actually waives pricing for external usage - pay $100/employee, and external deployment is free of charge. Free. Free free free."

After this riff on free-as-in-beer, Schwartz went on to say that it's not only Microsoft Sun finds itself agreeing with, but Intel too:

"Sun and Intel agree that multi-core computing is the wave of the future, and that their gigahertz race is dead."

"Granted we had that viewpoint approximately 3 years ahead of Mr. Barrett," he added, with characteristic bravado, "but we're glad we're finally in agreement. If the world of Web services is multi-threaded, and your operating system eats threads for lunch, your microprocessor may as well be optimized for multi-core/multi-thread workloads."

Now that the topic of Web services had come up, Schwartz blogged onwards to his third area of agreement with competitors:

"Sun and the Apache Software Foundation and JBoss agree on integration standards for Web services."

Following on from yesterday's news about how JBoss and ASF had both stepped up as members of the Java Business Integration initiative known JSR-208, an industry-wide effort aimed at creating a standardized business platform enabling business apps to integrate with Java, Schwartz noted that "Two beacons in the open source software community just signed on with Sun, and a host of other partners (including SAP, Oracle, Novell, Sonic, others), to the JCP's Specification Request 208."

Which was his cue for the payoff to this particular blog, to Schwartz's hymn to agreement. There is a black sheep in the IT-consensus flock, he suggested: its name? IBM.

"What's remarkable is that just last week, IBM pulled out of JSR 208."

Schwartz interpreted the withdrawal as being "out of a fear their proprietary approach would be cannibalized by an open standard," adding: "IBM, love to have you back...sure would hate to see your approach to Service Oriented Architectures garner a 'proprietary' warning label, while the open standards and open source community leave you behind."

Who was it said that "Every man...should periodically be compelled to listen to opinions which are infuriating to him. To hear nothing but what is pleasing to one is to make a pillow of the mind." (No, it wasn't Jonathan Schwartz.)

But it might just as well have been. Doubtless we will be hearing soon from Bob Sutor, IBM's director of WebSphere infrastructure software, who is no slouch when it comes to jousting with Sun's Schwartz on such issues.

One suspects IBM won't agree with Schwartz's "Great Minds Think Alike" citation, and will start their counter-offensive with the flip side proverb (one that Schwartz also notes, in fact, in an attempt to nip that line of attack in the bud perhaps): "Fools Seldom Differ."

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JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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SUN-MS 10/30/04 05:28:38 AM EDT

This makes you wonder what else Sun and MS may have agreed about that Schwartz (and Ballmer) *aren't* yet telling us about...

$$$4everyone 10/29/04 08:58:10 AM EDT

This is just a variation of Schwartz's "customers are in charge" rant - Sun is betting on the fact that per-core software pricing is the lesser of two evils, with lock-in being even worse. But then along comes open-source...

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