At least Jonathan Schwartz is candid. But clearly, Sun is having huge problems getting even the most basic messages out. For instance, consider a recent event where Schwartz interacted with a Fortune 100 potential customer:
To test, I asked, “before today, did you know that Solaris was open source, or ran on Dell, HP and IBM hardware, not just Sun’s?” “Nope.”
And like I said, this was a Fortune 100 opportunity.
Well – if it isn’t general knowledge that Solaris now runs on x86 (and has been since Solaris9), and that anyone can download and use it, then Sun’s got a HUGE problem. I talked before of Sun needing to leverage the Solaris brand. For that, it is imperative that they at least get the message out that Solaris, our next-generation OS, can do all these wonderful things, AND yes, it’ll run on all the hardware that you have now, and anything else you’re planning to buy .
I’m not sure how Sun is going to get this message out – they’ve pretty much tried all that there is, including opensolaris.org, Sun Engineer Blogs, and all of the other “word-of-mouth” channels that Schwartz’s talking about. What I find worrying is that he’s decided that advertising through traditional channels is not the way to go. No more “$500 ad budgets”, he proclaims. Well, I don’t know what kind of ads Sun is running, but nowhere in their advertising have I ever heard them shout from the rooftops – “Solaris runs on Intel!”.
By the way, I’m reasonably sure that Solaris doesn’t have a POWER port yet, so a blanket claim that it runs on IBM hardware is incorrect. So there.