Good bye, SunIt has been two years this month since I left the company, and it is only in these forums that I have found freedom from the mark I left. There is no denying history. I joined the Sun-Netscape Alliance in September of 1999 after graduate school, later to be termed iPlanet, and was involved in the very tail-end of the launch of Netscape Application Server 4.0, the last product to be launched from the venerable, definitive start-up in Mountain View. Long before there would be Web 2.0, NSCP was the bomb that went off in the Valley, that imploded old-line software franchises, and created the Web, by which we all sustain today. In December of 1999, I met Suneet Shah, who Marc should be paying attention to, and created a virtual business partnership that spanned two coasts, and overturned the discernible BEA advantage in the app server market - - pre-built functionality. What will become of this relationship, that had the luxury of friendship in conjunction with mutual business objectives, which is also a defining characteristic of successful start-ups, is yet to be determined. Maybe we'll figure it out soon enough to help JBoss. Maybe they'll figure out how much of an advantage JWS would bring to them, beyond just JBI functionality, in the form of components.
I met CC in '99, as well, and along with RO and JH, we launched J2EE with certification for iPlanet Application Server 6.0, the first to be J2EE-certified. BEA complained that it was only due to iPlanet's relationship with Sun, but the reality is seen today, that they only had to lose from J2EE compliance in the long-run. Without proprietary foundations, the infrastructure gets open and better, as Marc says much more voraciously than I:
In September of 2000, we launched the first pre-built, cross-platform components for the app server market, demonstrating once again that BEA was more concerned with lock-in than with customer capabilities. I went in to a fight for my life mode sometime in 2001 when it became obvious that Sun would not continue as is, and waited for my turn to demonstrate that what we started with NAS 4.0 would be fulfilled. This was made clear on October 28, 2002 with the launch of Sun ONE Application Server 7. Over that year, I learned more about everything than at any time in my life. It taught me survival, and it taught me about business. By the time, I left California in August of '03, the following had been established:
- Sun's volume app server business
- Sun's high-availability app server business
- pre-built functionality in the app server market
Could I have done more? Perhaps. Did I need to do anything more? Not really. Sun was viable. Even considering the negative press, including MF who should know better, Sun had a poison pill in the form of an app server franchise, or in our terms a Java web services franchise. Over the course of 4 years, I kick-started J2EE, established Sun's app server, and set the direction of the JWS market. Enough said, enough done.
What I have tried to do over the past several months is provide insight in to the Sun decision making process around the core JWS platform. While this is not exhaustive, if you were to follow my posts, you will see that SUNW is a company in need of a future purpose. They have not invested in a JWS infrastructure, and bet on Solaris, in the mis-guided hope that locking-in to OS will do more than optioning the Java OS.
I can agree with Marc that the app server market is all open source, all the time. And so it may be time to begin a review of the entire Java space, including JBoss. I think it is time to begin building the Java Economy one step at a time. The infrastructure is there. The product direction is there. What is needed is a new company that will take it to the next level. Maybe that will come in '06...