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Re: Ultrasparc 3



> Sun apparently lives, eats, and breathes NDAs.  That's how they do
> business, and I think they fail to see at a corporate level how that's
> just so fundementally incompatible with opensource.

Sun has always been a hardware company that has strong ties
to their software side.  They often hold their information
close to the chest.  It's how they run.

Digital had different divisions that they let run (and nobody
would market).  The Alpha division was expected to try to be
profitable.  If that meant selling Alpha's with OSF/1 or VMS,
fine.  When OS people (NetBSD, Linux folks) came to them for
information, well, they want to sell Alpha chips and boxes so
fine.  And the community got pretty good disclosure and detailed
information.  I recall NetBSD having some really good docs on
a (mips) DECStation that they, er, "backed up in case DEC
forgot that it was okay to publish."

Sun gains pretty much nothing by helping OpenBSD out.  OpenBSD
doesn't have SMP; Sun hardware is high priced and pretty useless
for single CPU machines.  The best use is to have something
to build software on for your big machines.  The Netra's are
about the only compelling box out there, and that's pretty
much just due to having a nice and smart serial console.
(oh, for a real PC BIOS that spoke serial if no keyboard)


To Sun's credit, they have people who work on Open Source apps.
Sendmail and many other projects.  I was, frankly, stunned and
delighted when Solaris 8 actually had shells made after 1986;
had useful OSS tools, and PERL (I used to mock our sales guy
in 1993 with an Ultrix tape DEC gave me marked "unsupported
software" that came with PERL and other useful tools).

Solaris 9 has GNOME! (open source more useful that a proprietary
Committee Designed Environment?)


Sun dislosing register and architecture information gets OpenBSD
the ability to run on Sun.  What's Sun get out of it?

Would you go BUY a $7000 single CPU Sun because it ran OpenBSD?


Quoting Marcus Watts (mdw_(_at_)_umich_(_dot_)_edu):
> I just sent the quoted text after this to some names at sun including
> the ones Theo mentioned.  Where I said "open source ultrasparc
> implementation" I should have said "simulator".  Er, oops.  Lack of
> time for proof-reading.
> 
> Sun apparently lives, eats, and breathes NDAs.  That's how they do
> business, and I think they fail to see at a corporate level how that's
> just so fundementally incompatible with opensource.
> 
> Sean Kamath thinks that Sun might be doing this through layoffs and
> carelessness.  I initially thought so too, but after several message
> exchanges with assorted people at Sun, it became clear to me this was
> not a simple oversight but deliberate corporate policy.  They're
> hedging.  They want to appear friendly to opensource, but they're
> afraid, and they don't want to publish this information.  NDAs are
> their security blanket.  I fear it will be their death shroud as well.