Ian Murdock (of Debian Linux fame) has joined Sun to head up “operating system platform strategy.” Nice hire for Sun. He describes what is an almost universal experience with Sun hardware among geeks of a certain generation:
Everything I know about computing I learned on those Sun workstations, as did so many other early Linux developers; I even had my own for a while, after I joined the University of Arizona computer science department in 1997. But within a year, the Suns were starting to disappear, replaced by Pentiums running Red Hat Linux. More and more people coming through university computer science programs were cutting their teeth on Linux, much as I had on Sun. Pretty soon, Sun was increasingly seen by this new generation as the vendor who didn’t “get it”, and Sun’s rivals did a masterful job running with that and painting the company literally built on open standards as “closed”. To those of us who knew better, it was a sad thing to watch.
I do think that Sun is well on the way to rebuilding its image. I certainly have a more positive image of Sun than I did two or three years ago.