FUD from the Linux Foundation or: Mr Zemlin again ...

I wrote it before in my blog, but once (when i was young and wild) i threw a sales rep out of my office, who tried to get into the account (me) by FUDing their competitor. I was responsible for an project in the range of 10 Million Euro, thus i assume they got to much “Deutsche Mark” signs in their eyes. I had a basic simple rule for conversations with vendors: You have to shine for your self. If you need to point to non-product related weak points, there is a high probability, that the business relation will be an unpleasant ride. I wouldn´t disect HP or IBM balance sheets at a customer meeting, albeit i would disect peformance claims and hint to quirks.I wont use the unclear future of FuSi directly at a customer. I fight on a technical level … everything else is for sissys not knowing their shit … Using FUD is a good fear detector in my daily business. The amount of spreaded FUD is proportional to the amount of fear. Thus i have to assume that Mr. Zemlin of the Linux Foundation is really afraid of Solaris. In the article “Linux in 2009: Recession vs. GNU” wants to make a point for Linux again. It´s Zemlin FUD time again. I tend to award him the “Golden FUD catapult 2008” for this stuff and his infamous involvement in this story At first: When all the commercial products are to expensive for a customer, he could opt in recession times for the free stack at Sun. For example running your systems with Opensolaris, Sun Java Application Server, Mysql or the Sun Web Stack for free without support. And when your company have weathered the recession and your budget isn´t such a sad story, just call the Sales Rep. Or you could use the equivalent to a debian like structure. OpenSolaris 2008.11 with Glassfish V3 with Mysql Community Edition. Recession IT budgets doesn´t equals Linux. But i wrote about that before. I wont write about it again here … I was upset by another comment. He states :

Zemlin also sees FOSS as remaining strong on the server, with Linux continuing to be the major player. Most of Linux's growth in 2009, he said, will be "at the expense of Sun Microsystems, which is floundering in its business model right now. People look at Linux, and they say, HP, IBM, Dell, Intel and AMD -- these are collectively not going to go out of business any time soon. Then they look at Sun Microsystems, and they say, 'Whoa! This company has some serious financial difficulties, they have an uncertain future -- that's not a safe bet for me.' Nobody is really growing much, but where there is growth, it's going to in Linux."

I want to dissect this statement. At first. AMD and Intel are somewhat OS agnostic. They make their money with supporting Windows, not with this niche market called Unix x86 market. Sorry … the Q1CY2008 x86 server market was 1.9 million systems large. The market for MacOS X based systems was 2.6 systems(perhaps this is the reason, why they got the “65nm chip in a 45nm casing” custom build from Intel for the MacBook Air). Server x86 is a an intersting business for both it it doesn´t pay their bills. Or the other way round: If you don´t like Sun x86, you just can user IBM, HP or Dell as well with Opensolaris x86. And furthermore: IBM, HP or Dell aren´t married to Linux. When the three think that there is money to make with Solaris, they will sell it. And they already sell it. And they will drop Linux faster than you can write “penguin” when they come to the conclusion, that it´s not cost effective to sell and support Linux. BTW, Mr. Zemlin, Sun has no financial difficulties … it has a problem with its stock price … the financial reality and the stock price isn´t really correlated (if it´s correlated at all, i have my doubts about it)) Okay: Opensolaris … the code is opensourced, the cat is out of the bag. Anybody can build it´s own business on the basics. Just a thought game: Let´s assume Sun would go out of business tomorrow. Without a warning. Jonathan says: “Dear shareholders, here is the money. Let´s call it a day. And thank you for the fish”. Now take into consideration, that the installed base of Solaris as large as billions and billions. Business is like political power. It don´t like a vacuum. Allowing everybody to participate in the development is just one side of opening the source. The other side is the fact that you enable everybody to support the code. The whole business model of Red Hat or Suse is largely based on this point. Thus in the theoretical case Sun support for Solaris would disappear, it would take a few days until another company fills this vacuum. There is money to earn. Much money. But this whole discussion is hypothetical: There is no vacuum to fill, as Sun won´t disappear. And Sun wants to earn this money. Anyway: The complete discussion and the idea introduced by Mr. Zemlin is just utter nonsense, classic spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt. FUD 101. I could make a similar prediction about Linux: In the course of the recession more users of will opt for free distributions like Debian, CentOS and OpenSuSE as their budgets don´t allow them to buy support for every system. The sales of subscriptions will decrease. This will lead to financial pressure to the major vendors of Linux distributions. Because of the single-trick ponyness of both vendors (RedHat and Novell) it put both companies on the verge to oblivion. They will cease to exists of purchased by IBM or HP. Futhermore this will bring problems for the core development of Linux (not the drivers, the real core) as the both companies employ many of the core devlopers. Doesn´t sound reasonable? Well … then tell why it´s more rational to assume a company with hundreds of billions installed base, billions of revenue a year, positive cash flow, 2 billions at the bank, almost no debts should go out of business or purchased. The last thing is extra ridiclious. It´s credit crunch time at the moment. The hedge fund locusts don´t get money to do they business at all even for smaller deals, everybody keeps it´s money to have liquid money in case of a longer credit crunch phase and we didn´t talked about the anti-trust regulations at all. At the end Mr. Zemlin just spreads FUD. Large amounts of it. Dear Mr. Zemlin, we can talk about the importance of features like in your last FUD marketing attempt, we could talk about technical advantages of Linux and Solaris. But dear Mr. Zemlin, stop to discredit yourself as a FUD thrower … otherwise you are burden for the community you represent … again