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Red Hat Software Businesses Linux Business Sun Microsystems

Red Hat Set To Surpass Sun In Market Capitalization 221

mytrip writes "In what may come to be seen as a deeply symbolic moment in the history of operating systems, Red Hat is on the verge of surpassing Sun Microsystems' market capitalization for the first time. Sun, perhaps unfairly, represents a fading Unix market. Red Hat, for its part, represents the rising Linux market. Given enough time for its open-source strategy to play out, Sun's market capitalization will likely recover and outpace Red Hat's."
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Red Hat Set To Surpass Sun In Market Capitalization

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  • by thtrgremlin ( 1158085 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @01:21PM (#26561791) Homepage Journal
    ... then Linux market capitalization is how much software that previously cost money was made free, so if Linux can be considered directly responsible for killing Microsoft, which I think is some peoples objective, that puts their market capitalization at $400B - $153B = $247B. That means Linux has 1.6x the market capitalization of of Microsoft just in Operating Systems! That doesn't even begin to include all the other great FlOSS out there.

    Add to that the average wage of a software engineer times the number of man hours contributed to FlOSS, and you can quickly see how Microsoft is getting its butt kicked!

    I love the new math!
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @01:24PM (#26561837)

    SUN's market was traditionally on High End equipment. Standard PC hardware has been getting to the Good enough category, and replaceing the need for the high end stuff. Even if the high end stuff today is that much more high end, we are reaching a point where we need less high end equipment.
    the 80's almost every major university had its own super computer. 90's they had a mainframe, 2000's they have high end microcomputer based servers.
    SUN product line has been between mainframe and microcomputers. Now their new stuff is either to much for what people need to too expensive for what you get.

    Linux growth has always been fasted with the Unix Corps who are upgrading to a new network, and it is way cheaper for a Unix corporation to switch to Linux (or Old Unix to New Unix) then to Windows. (Windows to Linux costs a lot more).

  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @01:24PM (#26561845) Homepage Journal

    ..if Redhat sold netbooks, laptops and desktops and servers pre loaded with linux that "just worked", all of it, no hardware gotchas anyplace.

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @01:51PM (#26562277)

    I agree, but it's not only marketing. Sun has apparently decided to go into the support and commodity hardware market. In commodity hardware, margins are razor thin, so they really have to distinguish themselves. In my recent experiences with Sun x86 systems, quality has been something of a problem. They say it was a temporary issue with one of their plants in Mexico, but when we ordered a ton of x86 boxes about a year ago, it took much longer than it should have to get to us, and the failure rate was unusually high.

    Also, when they released the x4100 Mk2, they claimed it was virtually identical to the Mk1, and there would be no issues. However, it turns out they made some fairly significant changes such as changing the vendor of the on-board network cards to one that the OS image we were using at the time had no support for. It also had a different type of PCI port (PCIe versus PCIx, IIRC), which meant all of the extra NICs we had lying around were suddenly useless. Had they told us of these changes, it would have been no problem. Instead, they just told us our order was being changed to the "virtually identical" Mk2, and we had to scramble when we got them. Not great customer support there. After that incident, we actually stopped using Sun for x86 hardware entirely.

    Going back to marketing though, they are really pushing this "Open Systems" thing, which is nice and all, but their salespeople don;t know how to sell it. At a recent presentation, the Sun sales guy was talking up Open Systems, and a member of the audience asked, "If everything is open and interchangeable, why shouldn't I just use your free open source software and go buy a cheaper system from Dell? What is the advantage of your box, if it's commodity like the rest? Why should I buy from you?", and the sales guy had no answer for him! He actually stumbled over his words for about 30 seconds, at one point actually saying there was "no reason" before one of his colleagues finally pipes up with something about "end to end support".

    Maybe they need to be touting the end to end support first, and the open systems stuff second. Suits tend to like open source because it's a lot cheaper, not because they're big on the philosophy, so stop pushing the "open source" thing so hard when the open source bit is the part you're giving away for free. Market the entire platform as an end-to-end solution, and throw in the open source part as an aside. Sun's marketing team doesn't seem to get that.

    Anyway, that was a bit long-winded, but the point is that Open Source isn't going to save Sun by itself. They have more problems, and I see them surviving as a much smaller and less interesting company than they are today if they stick to the path they're currently on.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:58PM (#26563533) Homepage

    > The market is clearly choosing Linux over OpenSolaris. One way to combat that would be
    > to make OpenSolaris GPL3. It would then attract open source developers...

    OpenSolaris is already Free Software. I see no reason to believe that such a license change would attract more developers.

  • Re:Riiiight . . . (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sun.Jedi ( 1280674 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @03:54PM (#26564583) Journal

    First, in a friendly way ... nobody gives a rat about workstation class machines. Any fool can dump Ubuntu, Fedora, Windows, BSD, OpenSolaris, or whatever, and google up enough support/fun tools to get the job done and post on /. on most any cheap-ass 2 year disposable wintel capable machine.

    So, on server class machines... number 1 reason: Support contracts.

    Sun is one stop shopping; hardware and software by the folks that make it. Dell also supports RH linux through their customer care center, and I'll assume that HP/IBM do as well, but they are not RedHat, they are $vendor with RH knowledge and expertise. Thats a separate subscription to get RedHat support and you then get the RHNetwork portals in addition to standard phone support. So you pay twice (1 for $vendor and 1 for RH), and it ain't cheap as Sun's.

    Number 2 reason: Reliability.

    SPARCs just don't die. When they do, its very pretty of course, but it just doesn't happen as often as Intel/AMD architectures do.

    Also, Suns do not often have the compatibility problems that Intel/AMD arch's have. By compatibility, I mean the mobo + raid + firmware + kernel version + PCIx firmware + BMC version = "unsupported" type compatibility.

    Fact is, I've been admin on Sun's for nearly 15 years, been through the really bad 5/7 releases and lots of other SUN 'badtimes'. hey are nothing like the hassles I have to go through daily with AMD/Intel arch's. I'm in a 4:1 Sun:Intel/AMD shop, and have a documented (ticketing system) 5:1 Intel/AMD:SUN hardware problem ratio.

    Yes, my alias is 'sun.jedi', I've worked on Sun's a long time. This was not intended as a 'fanboy' post. I'm a beer/vacation fanboy before I'm a SUN fanboy.

  • Re:Bad marketing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alexborges ( 313924 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:15PM (#26564935)

    Thing is, they shouldve killed solaris and become a full fledged Linux or BSD shop with enormous expertiese on Unix and great services built on open source java. I think they probably could still pull it of, albeit with an enormous ammount of pain.

    They misread the game and didnt wanna get their feet cold: this is what happened to them.

    Kind of whats going to happen to microsoft and what is happening to music and movie distributors.

  • Re:Relative to what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @02:00AM (#26571031)
    Now... who in their right mind would buy Sparc hardware over HP or Dell servers running Red Hat?

    I work with telco gear where the cost of an hour's outage can be measured in millions. Much of the newer software for them is written in Java, which is nice and stable when running on a Sun JVM under Sun Solaris on Sun's Sparc/x86 platform. However, the same software suffers from mysterious freezes and crashes when running on Red Hat Linux, and an insanely complicated yearlong four-way fight between Red Hat (OS), Sun (JVM), IBM (hardwave) and our company still hasn't figured out who is to blame -- and has already cost much more than the small premium for going with Sun would originally have.

The other line moves faster.