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Sun's McNealy: In his own words

When former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy was in Washington recently, Government Computer News had a chance to sit down with him and get his take on government IT. Although McNealy has given up day-to-day operations of the company he co-founded, he's staying on as chairman and will also serve as chairman of Sun Federal.

Our interview with McNealy will appear in the May 22 edition of GCN. But here's one Q&A that didn't quite fit into our pages:

GCN: Have you been pleased with Sun's efforts to open-source much of its software, and how have government customers responded?

McNealy: We weren't surprised; we're thrilled that we're back to the future. To be a little Al Gore-ish, we invented open source. It was [Sun co-founder] Bill Joy at Berkeley who did the original big open-source project with Berkeley Unix. We were the Red Hat of Berkeley Unix back in 1982.

During the bubble, we grew too fast and we brought in too much external technology and got too encumbered, so we couldn't open-source stuff because it had encumbrances from other closed suppliers. So we're throwing out the encumbrances, which is why we're spending a lot of money on R&D. We spent hundreds of millions of dollars to open-source Solaris. We've had 5 million downloads [of open Solaris] in a year. Why did we let this happen to begin with because we knew better?
So the government's users are finding out they don't have to invent their own OS. They can take a commercial, carrier-grade, NSA-approved and certified Solaris distribution and still get all the benefits of free and open source.

Posted by Brad Grimes

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on May 11, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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