Massive Sun cuts planned as IBM focuses on software trio

Death and the community


If IBM purchases Sun Microsystems - as expected - the fallout will be brutal.

IBM staffers have, according to a Reg source close to the parties, been talking to Sun about its software portfolio and - unsurprisingly - they don't like what they've found: It's not making any money.

IBM's now interested in three Sun software assets: the open-source MySQL database, Java, and Sun's Solaris operating system.

The rest, including all that open-source work Sun's spent years building and hyping, will succumb to that classic of big vendor lingering deaths by being, ahem, "released" to the "community".

A third of Sun's staff, meanwhile, will immediately be cut. This could come through layoffs or the sale of divisions where there is overlap with IBM's existing business.

That would be a huge cut for anyone and much will depend on what is meant by "immediately." However, if it happens, that could see 11,000 Sun employees cut, based on the company's current head count.

Sun declined to comment on what it called "rumors and speculation" while IBM was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

The cuts would be made because the software is very much an afterthought to the deal. IBM is only interested in Sun's hardware business as a way to stop Cisco Systems' recent break through into servers with the release of its California Unified Computing System.

This is of course assuming IBM's deal proceeds in the first place. The Reg understands that while Sun is committed to an agreement, IBM is uncertain - one possible reason why IBM reportedly dropped its proposed purchase price from $10 to $11 per share to $9 to $10.

Currently, a deal is expected during the next week at the latest, although this could slip.

Where would the trio of MySQL, Java, and Solaris fit in the new organization?

MySQL would serve as a low-end business to IBM's DB2, and extend IBM's reach among systems partners, as well as making direct sales to customers. About 40 per cent of MySQL's business is in the OEM market. MySQL would therefore be to the database what Gluecode was to IBM's WebSphere in application servers.

Owning Java would help ensure the platform's continued survival to suit IBM's own goals, while opening up the prospect of revenue from licensing and support of Java with OEMs, ISVs, handset manufacturers, and services providers - the only way Sun's made money on Java.

Solaris would give IBM's Global Services business the opportunity to support and maintain existing customers.

It's likely the remainder of Sun's software would be quietly punted out to the Apache Software Foundation or released under an Apache license. IBM is an experienced backer of both.

One potential winner in this scenario would be Apache's Project Harmony, which is backed by IBM. Harmony's been locked in a long-running disagreement over licensing of test-compatibility kits (TCKs) with spec-lead Sun. Without the TCKs, Apache cannot prove Harmony - an implementation of Java Standard Edition (Java SE) - meets Sun's official compatibility standard.

Apache's Java Community Process (JCP) representative Geir Magnusson Jr recently accused Sun of doing "tremendous damage" to Project Harmony.®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • AsmREPL: Wing your way through x86-64 assembly language

    Assemblers unite

    Ruby developer and internet japester Aaron Patterson has published a REPL for 64-bit x86 assembly language, enabling interactive coding in the lowest-level language of all.

    REPL stands for "read-evaluate-print loop", and REPLs were first seen in Lisp development environments such as Lisp Machines. They allow incremental development: programmers can write code on the fly, entering expressions or blocks of code, having them evaluated – executed – immediately, and the results printed out. This was viable because of the way Lisp blurred the lines between interpreted and compiled languages; these days, they're a standard feature of most scripting languages.

    Patterson has previously offered ground-breaking developer productivity enhancements such as an analogue terminal bell and performance-enhancing firmware for the Stack Overflow keyboard. This only has Ctrl, C, and V keys for extra-easy copy-pasting, but Patterson's firmware removes the tedious need to hold control.

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft adds Buy Now, Pay Later financing option to Edge – and everyone hates it

    There's always Use Another Browser

    As the festive season approaches, Microsoft has decided to add "Buy Now, Pay Later" financing options to its Edge browser in the US.

    The feature turned up in recent weeks, first in beta and canary before it was made available "by default" to all users of Microsoft Edge version 96.

    The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) option pops up at the browser level (rather than on checkout at an ecommerce site) and permits users to split any purchase between $35 and $1,000 made via Edge into four instalments spread over six weeks.

    Continue reading
  • Visiting a booby-trapped webpage could give attackers code execution privileges on HP network printers

    Patches available for 150 affected products

    Tricking users into visiting a malicious webpage could allow malicious people to compromise 150 models of HP multi-function printers, according to F-Secure researchers.

    The Finland-headquartered infosec firm said it had found "exploitable" flaws in the HP printers that allowed attackers to "seize control of vulnerable devices, steal information, and further infiltrate networks in pursuit of other objectives such as stealing or changing other data" – and, inevitably, "spreading ransomware."

    "In all likelihood, a lot of companies are using these vulnerable devices," said F-Secure researchers Alexander Bolshev and Timo Hirvonen.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021