The Dawn and Dusk of Sun Microsystems

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23 Mar 2023



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Comentários 1 585
Asianometry 3 meses atrás
Any old Silicon Valley companies I should consider taking a look at?
Mike K
Mike K 2 dias atrás
It may be a bot old, but the story about Shugart Associates is quite interesting -- how a pioneer can lose it all.
Bloqk-16 10 dias atrás
@cabasse I recall seeing highway billboard signs, around Silicon Valley, about CALMA, with the GE logo prominently displayed. To me, CALMA lacked a high-tech panache with the name; as in my ADHD brain, it came across as sounding like a laundry detergent.
CuriousEarthMan 10 dias atrás
@Bloqk-16 Yes!
Bloqk-16 10 dias atrás
@CuriousEarthMan [in a tone of marveling revelation] Ah! Yes! They were a telecommunications giant in Silicon Valley . . . highly regarded for their employee compensation packages; and grew tremendously when the Feds broke up the telephone monopolies in the 1980s.
CuriousEarthMan 11 dias atrás
I'm curious about ROLM Corporation, and how innovative they actually were, especially in a world of copper wires, and rising in early Silicon Valley. Thank you!
Astlaus 3 meses atrás
When I came to study at my uni in 1994, all their services (DNS, mail etc.) ran on lone SPARCclassic workstation. Since they had no one familiar with Unix and I already knew Linux, they hired me to take care of that server and I eventually ended up working full time in their IT and this set up me for my career in networking. And it all started with that small Sun computer. Good memories.
Joseph Shaul
Joseph Shaul 22 dias atrás
You were using Linux in '94? That's like buying bitcoin when it was two bucks.
Jon Slonkovsky
Jon Slonkovsky Mês atrás
i had a similar "career" 🙂
Markus Strangl
Markus Strangl 3 meses atrás
As a former Sun reseller and support contractor, I'm very happy for you covering my favorite company for your christmas video. Thanks! I'm still working in Solaris support today and have a large collections of systems around. So sad that Oracle has ruined what was once a great company.. but that's what happens when a software guy buys a hardware company and has no idea what they actually do or how to run them. When Ellison swooped in, the first he did was double the system prices and triple the support contract fees, and struck down any special deals that Sun had going with their largest customers for decades. This lead to most of those customers taking the jump over to Linux clusters, that were just about becoming mainstream enough at that time.
Annatar the Maia
Annatar the Maia Mês atrás
When one reads "Softwar, an intimate account of Larry Ellison and Oracle", it becomes pretty clear to one that deep down, Ellison is a hard working engineer but still very much stuck in his personal, private war with IBM, IBM's mainframe and DB2, all of which are no longer a threat, and he somehow missed the memo. Larry Ellison is still beating the corpse of IBM, DB2 and mainframe to a pulp, long after there is nothing left to beat. Sun Microsystems had the misfortune of being the club with which the pulpy, bloody remains of IBM and its progeny were being beat with. Poor Sun Microsystems; it deserved a far better fate.
Joseph Shaul
Joseph Shaul 2 meses atrás
Do you believe he underestimated the potential draw of Linux and had a de facto monopoly on Unix shop customers? Doubling prices seems awfully shortsighted.
Dwaco 2 meses atrás
@Graham Cantin Java might be the most important thing for Oracle to get from Sun, thats for sure. But not necessarily because you can do java stored procedures (which are quirky at best, just look at how classes are loaded into DB) and their importance. Or because of revenue (who pays for official JVMs?) But quite possibly because of what Java could become and how much could it reduce the importance of full fledged relational DB in the Enterprise. If it was in other hands.
Diego Camilo Peña Ramirez
Is sad how Oracle destroyed the good parts of Sun
Graham Cantin
Graham Cantin 2 meses atrás
@Dwaco Java. Oracle uses it as the scripting language in Enterprise Database, their largest grossing product. One could go as far as saying, they would not retain their stranglehold over financial institution data without Java, which had been oracle's Stored Procedure language of choice LONG before acquiring Sun. It's also why oracle basically let the rest of Sun's corpse rot; short of selling support to MySQL customers and conversion to Enterprise Database, and The GougeKilling of Sparc, since one of sun's last desperate moves to retain relevancy was OpenSPARC. With the demise of the hardware; so went the software tied to it as well. You still see a few diehards trying to keep OpenIndiana alive, the last real remnant of Solaris. And with sun's CDDL license, and oracle's refusal to budge on amending it's terms, it's effectively dead code from a legal standpoint. ZFS for linux is some of the last "solaris-adjacent" code to remain "actively developed". But don't be fooled; the real reason for the purchase was purely to keep the relevancy of Java around for Big Finance. And it has done so.
Chris Cunningham
Chris Cunningham 3 meses atrás
I worked at Sun from 2006 until the Oracle acquisition. A company who were truly, tremendously good to their employees, with incredible internal resources and staff. But every year after the first was one crisis after another. Amusingly Sun was, like all other enterprises at the time I joined, a total Blackberry shop. How quickly RIM's empire collapsed after the iPhone was released was interesting to view from that perspective considering how things were going internally.
Annatar the Maia
Annatar the Maia Mês atrás
@Alex I can confirm this anecdotal story.
Joseph Shaul
Joseph Shaul 2 meses atrás
@john doe Is Oracle unique, or are all the big players equally dreadful?
john doe
john doe 2 meses atrás
I worked at Oracle when the takeover happened. A number of Sun employees came to our team. We were BLOWN AWAY at how well they were treated versus us at Oracle. I felt sorry for the many Oracle laid off. I left Oracle years ago.
Joseph Shaul
Joseph Shaul 2 meses atrás
@Rob Cohen Give Gelsinger my best.
Joseph Shaul
Joseph Shaul 2 meses atrás
Would you say RIM was a mirror of internal "dogfooding" issues? Companies that exclusively use their own products can become blind to external progress.
silly stuff
silly stuff 3 meses atrás
Consider doing a video on _Borland_ the seminal software tools and applications company. It was a huge part of the software industry from the mid-1980's through mid-1990's. Borland revolutionized and democratized software development by bringing its integrated software development environment (IDE) concept/tool to the masses. In 1990, Borland and Microsoft were the biggest software tool makers. Philippe Kahn was a swash buckling figure, ambitious and capable enough to challenge Microsoft on all fronts. It's quite possible Microsoft only defeated Borland because of anti-competitive, monopolistic actions (e.g. Windows ain't done until Lotus won't run), which it was later convicted of. It's worth noting that Anders Hejlsberg, inventor of C# and TypeScript, was Borland's langugage designer. Thanks for your edutaining videos. Best wishes.
kippie80 Mês atrás
Then there was also CORBA, never hear of that anymore. Such a clumsy framework in comparison to Objective-C
Garth F
Garth F Mês atrás
@Larsoti same here, first learned to use Paradox 30 years ago, brilliant software at the time
k0c1l Mês atrás
Yes please. Borland was my hero, from Turbo Basic to Turbo Prolog ... then they just dissapeared 😭
Vladimir Olegovich
Vladimir Olegovich Mês atrás
@Josifov Gorgi Borland killed itself. For companies like Microsoft the source of income was their OS so they were able to provide their IDE for free while Borland were selling their IDE for money. The outcome was obvious. Even when Borland's products were better at something prices were ridiculous. The same happening at CADs market right now.
Alan vonWeltin
Alan vonWeltin 2 meses atrás
Borland is a good choice. Fun fact: in 1991 I sent both Borland and Microsoft a fax asking to join their beta program for development and db software. Heard nothing back from Borland but Microsoft was happy to send me the beta packages.
Nunya Bidness
Nunya Bidness 2 meses atrás
Sun vet here, ‘99 to 2004. The video doesn’t really get what happened. First, the “sharp elbows” were replaced around the time I got there. We were winning for many reasons, but two of them were the safe and solid OS, Solaris, and partnerships with industry Allies: Sun, Veritas, and Cisco. The performance advantages were still there, and winning deals was pretty easy. Unfortunately, hiring enough people was getting tough, and the culture was changing. Lower to middle management got taken over by a bunch of political parasites many who had learned survival tactics at DEC and Compaq. When things turned, these people completely quit working on keeping the company afloat, and started scheming to be the last thrown overboard as there really wasn’t any place left to go. Scott had seemingly lost control of the culture. Zander, who had been a decent COO totally threw Sun under the bus as he departed for Motorola, where he showed his inability to be a CEO which then surprised no one at Sun. Morale crashed, even though we still had an excellent platform. Perhaps there was no way forward, but it seemed to me the ingredients were there for a better solution than the world ended up with. Open systems are too open, and thieves reach right in.
Nunya Bidness
Nunya Bidness 23 horas atrás
@Ankit Malik Value over price is not just a spiel. One thing you left out was electric and cooling. We did a pilot at a customer shop, that proved we beat Linux on intel clone simply based on those two factors hugely making up the cost. (We lost the deal because the CIO had hardware goals he was comped on. He bought intel clones, got a bonus, and the company lost millions on the deal 🤣😂🤣😂). Solaris had many advantages over Linux, as well. Still lots of politics in the industry and within Sun. Oracle surely helped speed Sun to the grave, as did many executives who jumped ship.
Ankit Malik
Ankit Malik Dia atrás
​@Nunya Bidness your arguments are based on the value over price spiel. Well it is a triangle, value, time and money. The ideal mix of three usually wins. If I can have 100 Linux servers for the price of 20 SUN servers (and usually the price difference was that ridiculous), and Linux is easier to use, with better software support (LAMP and its variations were a thing even back then) it becomes a no Brainerd. The value has to be consistent with the price. There is a reason why Oracle and Microsoft were not railroaded by MySQL and others, despite oracle being much more expensive. It's value was more, and then it got into enterprise computing and kicked competition further away. There has to be some sort of value proposition. SUN had it with Java for a while, but squandered their lead over petty politics which you highlight.
encycl07pedia 2 dias atrás
@TEverettReynolds Good. You shouldn't have to pay for stuff like that. A vast majority of websites don't require a credit card the first time you visit. Software is for the people. Commercialism/capitalism thankfully hasn't ruined free and open software... yet. I don't really have a problem with closed software, but paying for every little thing is ridiculous. If your product is worth something, people will pay for it... and may still even if it's worth nothing (OF is a prime example of a worthless product thriving... also anything made by Apple). No wonder you think reverse engineering should be illegal. Silly capitalist. I hope you pay to use the bathroom and water fountains wherever you go.
Nunya Bidness
Nunya Bidness 12 dias atrás
@Rick Kwan Yes, I forget the generation of chip, but iirc it was believed they would surpass us in speed within a few years and no one had any idea how we could match it. I was in field sales, and we had a few of the high performance computing sales engineers and support engineers sharing our office in Houston because of the geology and other HPC activity there.
Rick Kwan
Rick Kwan 12 dias atrás
@Nunya Bidness Interesting. I presume you were in SMCC at the time. I was a contractor in SunSoft in Menlo Park, but a decade earlier was an employee in Mountain View. I heard very little about IBM patent issues, but probably wouldn’t have since I was buried in some corner of Solaris.
CV990A 3 meses atrás
A key moment in the development of Linux was when IBM adopted it for use on its computers, sometime around the year 2000. It was a brilliant move by IBM, which then had a much bigger reputation than today. IBM's stamp of approval made a lot of people more willing to consider Linux, and strengthening Linux helped to undermine both Sun and Microsoft.
Ron Avena
Ron Avena 27 dias atrás
By the time IBM opened up its hardware for Linux, Big Blue was primarily a consulting services company, right? Still, it’s clear to save hardware sales the company had to become open to many operating systems. I think many here would agree IBM shot itself in the foot by rushing to license MS-DOS from Microsoft to jump into micro computing late. Too bad Big Blue couldn’t just buy Microsoft outright. By the time Microsoft unleashed MS-DOS to open up the PC compatible industry, IBM’s own OS/2 was too little too late. Big Blue had no control in the small business and consumer market. Indeed, the PCjr (my EE friend in undergrad had one) was a flop. By the time the dust settled in the 90’s, Big Blue was left with Unix and eventually Linux to power its hardware.
Elumio Merk
Elumio Merk Mês atrás
@Ralf Baechle If you post any of those photos on some tech history circles online, perhaps some will like them. What I meant actually was videos on youtube. Thank you for replying Ralf.
Ralf Baechle
Ralf Baechle Mês atrás
@Elumio Merk Sadly not much. During my time personal there personal digital video was still a bit exotic so all the memories I have are a bunch of photos.
Elumio Merk
Elumio Merk Mês atrás
@Ralf Baechle speaking of SGI, I'm making a unix and others history playlist: Do you have any videos of SGI? Anything personal or old school?
sles Mês atrás
IBM wanted you run Linux on their mainframe , so ,no , IBM did nothing here.
Tim Nelson
Tim Nelson 3 meses atrás
I served Scott in his final two years as his executive presentation creative manager. In that time, he gave 300 customer presentations around the world with precision and class. I stayed through the Jonathan transition. The company then seemed without a coherent marketing strategy - trumpeting ‘open’ and ‘share’ gibberish, followed by the Oracle acquisition. An iconic company worthy of this retrospective.
steveH 2 meses atrás
I was at Sun from 1986 to 2009, and I agree that Jonathan was not close to what Sun needed. My last five years or so was spent expecting the hammer to fall at any time. But it was a great ride while it lasted.
Mark Troyer
Mark Troyer 2 meses atrás
I was blessed to work for sun early in my career from 1988 to 1991 as a sales engineer. We called ourselves systems engineers at that time. What a learning experience that was: The people, the technology, the momentum, and the possibilities. As an engineer, I was amazed that a unix system could have an uptime greater than a week without requiring a reboot. Like anything, the growth was too fast and the company changed in spirit in the mid to late 90s. Great summary of Sun!
Psi Clops
Psi Clops Mês atrás
I'm surprised to hear you say that. I worked for AT&T for many years in the 90s. UNIX was extremely stable, I found, and I ran a 3B2 at home for years without a reboot.
Annatar the Maia
Annatar the Maia Mês atrás
dražen ZAGREB "The Network is the Computer" - "mreža je računalo". Servus!
Jim Russell
Jim Russell 2 meses atrás
dražen CRO The Network Is The Computer Miss Solaris and SPARC. I had the pleasure of using the systems for about 8 years.
sixdonuts 2 meses atrás
Unfortunately, OS uptime seems to be going the way of the dodo. Containers seem to be helping but all of the patch restarts today are really frustrating. I remember when I would only have to patch/reboot an OS once or twice a year if that.
josephgaviota 2 meses atrás
To this day, I'm always going for 4-digit uptimes. As a manager for a fairly large IT department, I admonished my guys to fix problems, with my line "Restarting is for losers."
Graeme Hill
Graeme Hill 3 meses atrás
Once Redhat appeared and Oracle certified itself on Redhat it killed a lot of Sun accounts. We had an significant investment in Sun hardware and within a year it was all replaced with Redhat on Compaq servers. The saving in yearly licence costs was eye-watering.
MrAvant123 2 meses atrás
As I said above, you had to bathe in cash to use Sun !
Wai Sing Lee
Wai Sing Lee 3 meses atrás
Man, what a walk down memory lane. My first experience with computers was using a terminal to log into a mainframe just to play Star Trek. Sun was always in the background somewhere over the next decades. So many companies have crashed and burned.
Wai Sing Lee
Wai Sing Lee 3 meses atrás
@Richard Boulanger I don't know what version was available in 1979 to 1981 but we were all under pressure to not only beat the enemy but get it done before our allotted time was up! Still went through a LOT of paper on the teletype.
Richard Boulanger
Richard Boulanger 3 meses atrás
Ahh, TIT Trek was it? Texas Institute of Technology Star Trek? I started on an old ITT Teletype with a 300 baud acoustic coupler dialing into a Honeywell GCOS machine or XEROX CP-V. Even then that crash and burn was going on. Honeywell, mostly controls then (and now), acquired GE's computer division, supported NASA space stuff. My ex father in law co wrote Honeywell's COBOL 74 compiler. I guess they were pushing into business, in competition to IBM. They developed Multics though, which, became part of the predecessor to UNIX as we know it today. Once upon a time, Multics was the most secure computer in the world. One or two of them used to sit in the basement of the White House. Back when PL/I was a popular programming language.
apk k
apk k 3 meses atrás
I have some issue about how 'openness' is discussed in the video. Context is really important here. During the mid to late 1980s, most server companies supplied hardware with their own OS and tools. For example, my experience was with Data General MV series computes. You got AOS/VS, INFOS II, DG COBAL, DG Business Basic, etc. They also had their own terminals that were their own standard. You could find third party hardware but it needed to support the Data General hardware in some way. Basically, you were tied to a closed set of standards. Open systems (as was the term used at the time), was about using open standards rather than vendor specific closed standards. No one, at least at the time, was expecting the software to be open source as it was generally expected to be closed. What it was important that you would have common and agreed standards. Granted there was competition in this area which is why we had the UNIX wars but it's important not to confuse open systems with open source. The arrival of Sun was with open systems, not open source. I do appreciate that some people were interesting in open source at that time but it was a small minority and it was not a thing within the market at that time. Open source was much more of a 90s thing.
Andrew Grillet
Andrew Grillet 3 meses atrás
This is not completely true. I used DEC computers at that time. When you bought the machine, you got the schematics. When you bought the software, you got the source code. If you found a bug, hardware or software, you documented it, and circulated the fix through the User Group. If you wrote software - including compilers for Pascal, Algol, etc) you circulated them too. Everyone benefited from this - much of the software originated as student projects in universities, but - as today much was written by companies for their own use, and then made open source to avoid paying to support it. From what I understood, it was the same with other manufacturers, including IBM, until Bill Gates stuck his oar in with an article about how "programmers deserve to be paid". Sun was originally a supporter of this too AFAIK. I am still using Sun Sparc kit, but with OpenBSD - which is actually open source, unlike Solaris. Oracle killed Sparc by being obstructive to the open source community, and failing to support its users - they are extremely unpleasant to their customers. I plan to switch to ARM. Incidentally, I was chief hardware architect for the GEC model 21 - which was almost identical to the Sun workstation (68020 in a VME bus crate) but with superior thermal management (for which I was not responsible), and also used BSD Unix and very high performance graphics, based on work by Cambridge University. However, GEC decided "there is no future in technology" - Although I believe the GEC model 21 was used at ESRO (European equivalent of NASA). This was the time when Margaret Thatcher decided Britain's future was in "Financial Services" and publicly rubbished the British computer industry (failing to support ICL - which had the Content Addressable File System (a hardware database engine) , a world-beating OS and business software, and died of the poor publicity. Her government also failed to support the Transputer, which sold to France). To this day, Britain's "world beating" financial services are incapable of understanding the concept of venture capital for innovation in the way that America does.
2040wagon 3 meses atrás
Thank you for the clarification. As both a Red Hat user (both) and early Ubuntu user (loyalist). Red Hat had some Enterprise that required contract agreements and payment.📝
MH 2 meses atrás
I started working on Suns around 1990 and continued using them through grad school and beyond, up until about 2010. They were a great machine to develop on since Sun controlled both the hardware and the software and created a very integrated feel. At the time, Apple's OS was a mess of spaghetti code. Now I develop on a macbook pro (Apple long ago got smart and switched to unix) and while it's gotten much better, it's still not as smooth as Solaris was in its heyday.
Elumio Merk
Elumio Merk 23 dias atrás
@Teluric MacOS is Unix both in lineage and in Open group certification. What more could you want?
Teluric 25 dias atrás
Its a mistake to call Mac os UNIC because Mac os cant do any mission critical task or multiuser doing multitask Calling mac os unix is like calling a teenager a soldier because won a kungfu tournament
Elumio Merk
Elumio Merk Mês atrás
I thought Apple's MacOS was built on Unix, which is true but I recently learnt that it's not the full story. Apparently the older gen Mac OS was replaced with an OS that was based on a Mach kernel (ending with h), and one of the BSD's stack was built on top of this Mach kernel. This OS was named OSX, which some time later became MacOS. You probably know this being an apple user. It's strange how there is more to the story than I thought. Similar to how Android is not GNU/Linux, but Java-like Virtual Machines built on the Linux kernel.
Mike K
Mike K 2 meses atrás
Thanks very much for this. I was a Sun engineering workstation customer, and later worked at Sun until the acquisition by Oracle. The thing that amazed me was, while all you presented here was happening, there was an eerie sense of calm internally. There is a saying by, I think, Euripides that goes, "Whom the gods wish to destroy, they send 40 years of success". Despite the precipitous decline, I saw no sense of concern or panic in my VP peers.
Ross Myers
Ross Myers 2 meses atrás
I purchased 3 x Sun Blade 2500's from a guy off Facebook Marketplace about 10 years ago for $50 ea (he had no idea!). His father had recently passed but had all this 'weird computer stuff' they were getting rid of. I had absolutely no use for them but wanted to own a piece of computing history, I've since sold two of them to other collectors and kept the one that was a dual CPU build. When I first opened them up I was amazed at the quality of everything inside and as a bonus they were all working.
Fnu Lnu
Fnu Lnu Mês atrás
Yes there's more use in $50 than in old Suns
David Shipp
David Shipp 2 meses atrás
Thank you for this trip down memory Lane. Working in the workstation marketplace in the late 1980’s you touched on many things that were formative parts of my career, and friendships I still have today. The best man at my wedding I met at HP, he left and we both ended up at a reseller. I few months in and he was poached by Apollo (for a crazy amount of money) and he ended up back at HP 😂. He left again. My oldest friend worked for ARM in its early days. I defected early to the Microsoft bandwagon as my interest was business not technical and I started working with Olivetti hardware (still with the occasional unix install at the start), so it was nice to see their name pop up. Always remember the Olivetti joke that it was going to be called Italian Business Machines but they didn’t think the initials would take off. But I’m rambling now - as us old folk tend to 😂.
ajax700 3 meses atrás
Sun's interesting history is under reported and under told. Solaris was a very innovative OS. Cheaper and more feature rich than ibm AIX. SPARC was a very interesting hardware and I thought it was open source, this video says it is not. ZFS is still a relevant storage technology. NFS was shared offered to the competition as a standard, still used today in Unixes. If Sun had sharp elbows, imagine Oracle treating the Sun open source communities as maids: Openoffice, Opensolaris, Mysql. "The network is the computer" thinking like that was very avant garde in 1980. Bill Joy, that guy in the photos folks, is the original author of Vi editor. Xerox PARC had the future in their hands. They could have been huge. But Xerox management had no clue. Any Alan Kay speech is highly recommended. The real father of the tablet computer. Some say Solaris is/was more advanced than Linux, but I'm no real expert on Unix kernels.
josephgaviota 2 meses atrás
@W. Harrison I made a career out of workflow automation, all with shell scripts. I do work from a Mac, and use "terminal" and just ssh into the company's computers, do my work! Post retirement, I still freelance this way to this day, although now more Python than KSH, though you still need your shell knowledge for crons, etc.
W. Harrison
W. Harrison 2 meses atrás
Vi editor? Ha, ha I haven't even though of that in years. Been retired 12 years now, from Broadcom. I never leave the Apple universe but I recently opened a terminal to look at something and was pleased to see all my UNIX commands were still in my memory, awk,sed, grep. I did some amazing company wide automation using those to process enormous Cadence vector files. My boss liked that I would never just process files, I would put that energy into writing reusable scripts from the get go, and then run the process on a large batch of files. i.e. I would write a general application script instead of a one off.
Charles Kunzman
Charles Kunzman 2 meses atrás
They did open source the sun4v T1 processor design in the mid/late 2000's, but Oracle took over and prevented further efforts. Lots of engineers left once Oracle made it clear they were anti-open source. They sun4v SPARC processors dominated data moving benchmarks for years by taking a different approach to multiprocessing. It's sad how much great technology Oracle has greedily hoarded; feels like it slowed broader processor changes by at least a decade.
josephgaviota 2 meses atrás
@ajax700 True, I haven't been on Solaris for about 5 years. HOWEVER, I do use set compatible so it's as close to good old vi as possible.
ajax700 2 meses atrás
@josephgaviota *"I've been typing in vi every day for 30+ years, including TODAY."* you probably use VIM today...
brianskold 3 meses atrás
I really enjoyed this. I'd love to see a similar piece on Silicon Graphics.
Michael Moorrees
Michael Moorrees 3 meses atrás
I remember when engineering workstations were the most powerful stand alone desktop computers. They, at onetime were many time more powerful than any IBM PC (and its 386 clones) or Apple desktop computer. But, in time Moore's law changed everything, and consumer grade PCs eventually could run the most sophisticated CAD/EDA and simulation software, at a much lower cost. Sun and Apollo workstations had lost their edge. The last thing I remember from Sun was Java.
BirdBrain0815 Mês atrás
@Annatar the Maia LOL, well I'm trying to keep a more positive outlook, but it's not like I don't know where you're coming from. I get this when I have to deal with REST APIs. So, at one point REST was the new kid on the block, the new way to do webservices. And suddenly you get all those problems again that you thought were long solved for WSDL/SOAP based webservices, type-safety, character encoding (omg why is this still a thing), solid APIs (where not everybody offering a webservices API can become imaginative), proper tooling that made consumption of those services easy. And what did we do this all for again? Because a human can _read_ the REST stuff and I can use wget to debug? Really? I don't even want to read REST data and I'd rather use a debugger to debug ... but eh, I'm starting to be that old guy talking about how great things. _used_ to be :P
Annatar the Maia
Annatar the Maia Mês atrás
@John Gilmer that they did. Biggest mistakes they ever made.
SnoopyDoo 2 meses atrás
Java was open source until Oracle bought Sun. Then Google was charged with illegally using Java for Android, even though Android was built when Java was still open source. When JetBrains saw that Google would only be harassed by Oracle for using Java, they create Kotlin. And finally, an open source alternative to Java was created. If there ever was a company that deserved to collapse, Oracle is it.
Sandy Barrie
Sandy Barrie 2 meses atrás
funny story about a Sun Micro Mainframe. My father started working as a Junior accountant for a Large Queensland meat processing abattoir. they had a sun computer system. when costing the production of sausages by the ton, different wholesalers order them with different ingredients... and these had to be coasted down to the 4 decimal point. and this computer was worked by terminal and punch card. and a salesman would send through ingredient list and volume etc and an hour later they would get a printout handed back to them, and then they would get back to the client with a cost often a 2 hour info round trip. well dad bought a TRS80-4k Level 1 computer when they first came out, supposed to be for me. he wrote a basic program that would work out these costings almost instantly (well a few seconds) so he could talk to the sales person while on the phone. and the next month Byte magazine came out with a basic program that would turn such data into a pie chart. one day day took the computer to work and put it on his desk, and was doing the costings instantly, when the Managing director walked past, and asked what he was doing. dad put on a demo, including a pie chart, and the MD asked the Mainframe guy to make a pie chart for next weeks board meeting. and sure enough next week at the boardmeeting, the Heda of computing showed his pie chart, and dad demonstrated the little TRS-80. and the CEO asked the main frame guy aput him makingthe pie cahrtas, and he said they they had to purchase Sun's special program for pie charst that cost $15K (remember this was the late 1970's) so the MD stood up and said to the main frame guy "your fired" and had the Main frame sent to the tip and had TRs80 put on every salemans desk, and dad was promoted to head to sales... (dad made several changed to production, that had him promoted to 2IC in a few years)...
D Lewis
D Lewis Mês atrás
Things that never happened.
Annatar the Maia
Annatar the Maia Mês atrás
@Johan Coetzer ACTUALLY... Sun did make mainframes towards the end, right before being bought up by Oracle: the M-line. The design was done by Sun and manufactured by Fujitsu. The hardware is completely redundant and can be partitioned, just like IBM's zSeries mainframes, additional processors can be enabled temporarily or permanently with a license... The only difference is, this mainframe hardware is not running z/VM and z/OS, but Solaris 10 or 11. 10 in my case. M3000 was the first, code named "Teraya" (I own one privately), followed by other mainframe models like the M10. These were all made after 2007.
Johan Coetzer
Johan Coetzer 2 meses atrás
Sun never made mainframes. They made minicomputers.
Mothers' Love
Mothers' Love 2 meses atrás
Kudos for your dad! But felt sorry for the mainframe guy!
Pt Bot
Pt Bot 2 meses atrás
A great general often introduce new weapons to the battle field. 👏
John Opalko
John Opalko 3 meses atrás
I miss Sun. I still have a couple SPARCstations sitting in the spare bedroom, a SPARC 20 and an Ultra 5. I haven't powered them up in years, though. I was given the 20 and I bought the Ultra 5 new, way back in the 1990s. They, and the IPC and IPX I used to have, made a nice little home network.
Acceptable Name
Acceptable Name 2 meses atrás
@xcen1 they didn't spill coffee on the E4000. That was a pour over.
xcen1 2 meses atrás
@Justin Bukoski OMG no wonder sun went away. That's an ass backwards idea to say it was meant to be in office. Any server should be in datacenter environment for so many reasons 1 being a security issue. The E4000 machine weighs as much as a car. Me being a skinny kid in 2000 at 5'8" and 110 lbs I was able to lift up a HP DL380g1 by myself at that time, But this thing was so heavy 2 of us struggle to move it one time. After the first time i learned how to move it by removing everything inside, all the boards, and psu's then it was manageable to move. Jesus to put a server in an office, someone could walk by and spill coffee all over it. What a stupid idea..... And it has to be in a datacenter environment because it needed front and rear access. You're going to put it up against a wall in an office, then you'll move it to change and rear boards or psu. In a rack in a datacenter, you have open access to to rear and front.
Justin Bukoski
Justin Bukoski 2 meses atrás
@xcen1 The 4500 was "cheap" for what it was in it's day. It was an NFS and mid-range data base server without an equal at its price point. The only real problem, as you pointed out, was the airflow design could lead to overheating and indeed fires. I worked at Sun from '96 to '99 personally saw one system catch fire and assisted another customer replacing a unit that had also caught fire. It wasn't intended to be a datacenter unit but rather a small office, stand alone design. The price performance was so good, however, that at one point that's all datacenter customers wanted to buy.
Carl Schumacher
Carl Schumacher 3 meses atrás
@xcen1 From 1994 thru 2012 I worked with many models of Sun boxes (from ~$5K up to ~$800K models) but only a handful for E4000/E4500s...Every now and then I'd run into a popular Sun model that had a major flaw I had to work around. The E450 was a perhaps 10U very deep model that I don't think was meant to be racked (it had wheels iirc). The E450 was a model that could have 1 to 4 CPUs, one or two 10-drive bays I think, and various levels of RAM. It had a huge motherboard mounted vertically in iirc the middle of the chassis. Said MB was not supported well (it was easy to crack when installing parts). I wasn't the only one killing said motherboards, the local Sun techs were also...My solution?: I convinced management to let me only order fully-loaded E450s (all CPU & RAM slots filled, both drive cages installed, all the PCI cards I'd ever want). This was during the Doc Com era. In the early 2000, working with E6500s / E6800s / E6900s was a step up in Sun boxes (but not quite to the E10K). These were "I am a rack" frames that you kept for 5 - 7 years, adding CPU/RAM boards over time (for example as more Oracle databases were added). The E6800/E6900 were true monsters. They had two internal power planes, the OOB management computer was actually a cluster of two small computers (PowerPC based I think). The beast was a real friend of anyone selling electricity. Over the years, as the CPUs got a bit faster, you could add/upgrade any of the 6 CPU board slots (each board holding 4 CPUs)...The coolest thing I have EVER done to a production server, was replacing a CPU board in an E6800 while it was up and serving requests (you could tell the OS to move processes off of a given CPU board). One last comment on user expectations of Sun gear, during my E6800/E6900 period (2000 - 2007). Whenever I wanted downtime (patch, reboot, replace a failed part, etc) everyone "Why Carl? Why? I thought these things were bullet proof? Why?" (sigh!)...The Windows guys just had to say "Patch Tuesday". Zero objections...I remember almost hitting a clock bug (some issue after 520 days of uptime in the OOB server cluster (yeah, not a power of 2)) and having to get time slots to reboot the whole E6800/E6900 fleet.
xcen1 3 meses atrás
@Carl Schumacher Weren't these sun hardware incredibly expensive, and hard to maintain? Didn't they fail all the time? Those sun E series servers were designed wrong. Or that they never notified anyone how to properly mount them. The E4000 and up units had the air intake on the right side and exhaust heat to the left side instead of normal servers that do front to rear. So if you end up putting 2 E4500s next to one another then the one on the left would be constantly hot. Stupid design, and add to the fact that they never told anyone on how to properly mount them. Our company had these and they were always hot. I was a datacenter tech told to look into it. but the company had onsite sun techs to replace parts and they never said anything.
Andy Quinn
Andy Quinn 2 meses atrás
Well done! Sun was my last Valley job and it was a terrific place to work. Anyone remember OpenStep? My first Valley job was for System Development Corporation. They did the code for the early rocket systems - straight assembly language, then JOVIAL. 50s nerds still working when I hit the scene. Legendary bunch to my mind. Ford Aerospace and IBM Fed Sys Div were all around the "Blue Cube" aka Onizuka AFB, were all the action was. SDC was bought by Burroughs later Unisys. The Blue Cube had computers that came out of submarines and were like 6bit or 10bit - some strange number. Next I worked for Metaware Inc. Frank DeRemer and Tom Pennello made the first 32 bit C compiler to hit the scene. Anyone remember when compilers and tools were actually sold? That was where I made my technical bones. Crazy place to work, so I moved over to Borland Int'l. MS buried Borland by giving away the MS spreadsheet and db, in true monopolistic fashion. Borland was also a crazy place, and going to Sun was sweet relief. Any of these outfits would be cool to hear about. SDC - truly historic. I'd add Xerox Parc to the top of the list - that is where many things began.
Deepy 3 meses atrás
Great topic! Sun is definitely one of the forgotten tech companies of yesteryear. Sun machines were a bit like Silicon Graphics machines or SNK's NeoGeo if you were into videogames. Cool, high tech machines that you knew existed "somewhere", but that you practically never came into intact with. I still remember how cool it felt seeing a whole room of them when I went to uni for my first semester. Can we get a special on DEC and the Alpha microprocessors next?
Dmitri Pogosian
Dmitri Pogosian 2 meses atrás
Depending where you worked. At universities, SPARCstations, DEC Alpha's, and SGI machines were the backbone of computer-heavy research.
Asianometry 3 meses atrás
I will take a look at it
ejonp 2 meses atrás
Wow, this brings back memories. I spent a lot of time with Suns as a postdoc and assistant professor. They were my deep end introduction to Unix, when we got a bunch of them from government surplus, which (per Department of Energy rules) had had their disks completely wiped, so I had to build everything from scratch from tapes.
Fergal Byrne
Fergal Byrne 3 meses atrás
Acorn (the original A in ARM) had their first chip in 1985 and sold their first Archimedes computer in 1987. ARM as a company was spun off on a different timescale.
deciBel_tastic 2 meses atrás
Of course, as Acorn was not founded in CA (cough) it doesn't feature.
Steve Simpson
Steve Simpson 3 meses atrás
During the initial development, the ARM instruction set was emulated in software running on a 6502 coprocessor in the "Tube" slot of an 8-bit BBC micro.
Simon Crabb
Simon Crabb 2 meses atrás
I had a summer job at Sun in 1996, it was an absolute dream, the epitome of cool for a computing student job. Having that on my CV opened so many doors. I miss them.
Brian Haygood
Brian Haygood 2 meses atrás
At Rice University in the late 80's they were setting up Sun workstations everywhere. Big beautiful monitors and an OS that was pretty friendly. Over time some Apple machines moved in next to them, and these were junky by comparison, with very picky and nuanced methods for doing anything, it seemed to me. The Suns were really luxury items in that day.
Laird Wilkie
Laird Wilkie 2 meses atrás
Excellent video covering all the major points accurately. I worked at Sun 2000-2011 and even in the declining years it was a great place to work. They treated employees well and and had great openness internally. A follow-up video could be a list of all the tech we now use and take for granted that started at Sun but was far too ahead of its time to be commercially viable when released.
Gökhan Ersan
Gökhan Ersan 2 meses atrás
I was designing advertising for Sun products in the late 90s. The Sun team I worked with were the most intelligent people that a designer could hope for. With their cutting edge hardware and software they looked invincible. I never quite understood how their substandard competitors (Oracle, Cisco) survived the Internet burst but not Sun.
SCP-0001 Object Class: KETER / E.L.E.
Thank you for these deep dives! I graduated high school in 1995 & started working building Novell terminals for a library automation company 3 months later. So I was right in the middle of all of this stuff & of course you never know the real story as it's happening... I miss the 90s so freaking much! The 90s were so much fun for computer geeks! Although it made you an outcast at school, that sure changed!
madmotorcyclist 2 meses atrás
Sun workstations with Solaris were marvelous systems and we used them extensively at my place of work. Their reliability was an asset in those days. I still remember fondly using the unix base system with Motif GUI.
Martin Winter
Martin Winter 2 meses atrás
Great video as always. Just a note on the pronunciation of Bechtolsheim - the three syllables in German are separated like so: Bech-tols-heim, with “heim” meaning “home”. Therefore, the “sh” is not a single sound as in “shoe” but must be separated into “s” and “h”.
Eric Janik
Eric Janik 2 meses atrás
I remember my first demo on a Sun workstation in 1985, of a new automated publishing system called Interleaf. It offered true WYSIWYG text editing and page composition under an X Windows interface designed (reportedly) by MIT linguists for intuitiveness. It was impressive. Over the next five years Interleaf would be eclipsed by Framemaker, Adobe, and Quark.
CyclicalCynical Mês atrás
My stepfather was a Sun Microsystems Area Sales Director in So Cal for many years. When his entire division, without warning, was liquidated and he suddenly found himself out of work (I remember the day it happened), I remember (as a teenager) just how mindblowing and a shock it was for him. He tried to take it in stride, but this eventually was the main stressor that led to my mother and him divorcing and splitting the family up. An interesting footnote in my own personal history, although I wasn't directly involved at all.
Statek63 Mês atrás
Yeah, a husband loosing a high profile job, followed by his wife divorcing him afterwards. How surprising... /s
Elumio Merk
Elumio Merk Mês atrás
sorry that happened to your dad. One of the people commenting here said that Sun was really good to their employees. What's also sad how this layoff practice still carries on today. We should have more worker co-ops.
rskurtzer 2 meses atrás
Great video and interesting history, I work at NVIDIA now and many of my direct co-workers and leaders are Sun veterans (Jay Puri, EVP of WWFO and Chris Malachowski, Co-founder are probably the two most notable in NVIDIA leadership). It's a pretty incredible place to work.
John Rekemeyer
John Rekemeyer 2 meses atrás
Thank you, I really enjoyed this video on a couple fronts. Apollo was the first start up I worked for and it was a short (1984-1986), but amazing ride that gave me the desire to hit a couple more start-ups throughout my career. It was also my first experience in wide spread layoffs and seemed so odd at the time after such fast paced growth. I worked at the Billerica campus and to walk through the manufacturing floor and see huge empty spaces and empty worktables after seeing them full of employees was heartbreaking. Those of us that remained were allowed to pick through some of the manufacturing floor tools and I still use a Fluke multi-meter and Weller soldering station to this day. Post Apollo I had the opportunity to work with Sun workstations and after using Apollo and it was an interesting contrast. Those were some great years I will never forget!
Erik Sanchez
Erik Sanchez 3 meses atrás
I had such a beast of a CRT monitor. made by Sun. My brother picked it up from a trashcan at UCSC. It was at least 1440p back when most lcd monitors came at 1080, and most tvs where at 720. It was at least 80lbs, and 27" Lasted me so many years, had to get rid of it because of its the weight after I left college in 2013.
Bobo Boy
Bobo Boy 2 meses atrás
you should give it to me
Richard Cockerill
Richard Cockerill 2 meses atrás
Adam Richardson
Adam Richardson 2 meses atrás
Sun was the largest buyer of Sony Trinitron tunes for a number of years, and got only the highest QC spec units
John Emmert
John Emmert 3 meses atrás
Sun NFS was really bulletproof. I was there for the entire ride, despite starting in 1981 on the IBM PC. The early VME bus systems were good, the 386 based design was a flop, but the Sparc based systems were just incredible. We had a Sparc 2 as our NIS master that had an uptime of 4 years when it came time to upgrade for y2k. We deployed hundreds every year in the 1990s, every software developer had one on his desktop. Too bad they couldn't catch up with the latest process nodes, it was funny to hear about dual channel memory in the PC being such a big innovation when we had been installing quad channel memory for years.
John Emmert
John Emmert 2 meses atrás
@Mitchell Taylor When the first PCs came out with PCI bus, the company I worked for at the time went with a million dollar machine because it had VME rather than the "new" SUN systems for less than 10% of the price because "nobody has PCI interface cards". We needed specialized interface cards for ATM and frame relay. Of course by the time we started receiving the systems, there was a PCI interface card for everything at a substantially reduced price compared to the VME bus cards.
Mitchell Taylor
Mitchell Taylor 2 meses atrás
VME bus, that brings back memories.
Mitchell Taylor
Mitchell Taylor 2 meses atrás
Didn't Sun or Stanford license one of their first cards to three companies? Believe one was in Chicago, the other was Sun Micro, can't remember the third. I worked in applications my first two years out of college helping with MC68000 support for multiple customers. Supported Apollo, Apple, Sun, and many others.
Dmitri Pogosian
Dmitri Pogosian 2 meses atrás
@Lawrence D’Oliveiro NFS had some issues, but having department-wide computer transparent file system in mid 90-s, was plain fantastic. Literally, in first two years in my university department as a postdoc, I did not even know to what computer my home directory is physically attached. Compare that with Windows 95 paradigm. And I still use NFS among the three Linux machines I manage in my office now
John Emmert
John Emmert 3 meses atrás
@Lawrence D’Oliveiro I obviously had a much different experience. Compared to other vendors (and especially Linux) the Sun implementation of NFS "just worked". When they enabled TCP rather than UDP transmission, it just worked. Since our primary use was an NFS based application, I had a lot of experience in that regard.
Vinay Gupta
Vinay Gupta 2 meses atrás
Thank you very much ! The video took me to 1991-92 when I worked on Solaris OS based Sun workstations. Unix was the benchmark OS at that and knowledge of ‘C’ language was a must. I wrote Image processing algorithms on Sun Microsystem…
Tonio Yendis
Tonio Yendis 15 dias atrás
One of Sun's most iconic lines to me was when they coined the phrase, "The Network Is The Computer." That still resonates today & tomorrow!
Neil Henderson
Neil Henderson 2 meses atrás
Being from Linlithgow Scotland where Sun employed 800 people and had a manufacturing plant, it had a big effect on the town when they closed the manufacturing plant. There is now a smaller presence at the site with Oracle.
Raphael Kruczkowski
Raphael Kruczkowski 3 meses atrás
I remember buying a copy of Solaris when they made a x86 version for around $100 or so, thinking I would be so cool to learn it. (please let me know if my memory is right!) Also recall buying a workstation with one of those optical mouse at one of those firesales. Not sure where it is now, but yeah, good memories. You can follow up with "Plan 9" OS and how that evolved to Google Cloud and what we have now days ... and where we might be going in the future.
Annatar the Maia
Annatar the Maia Mês atrás
Solaris 7 for intel cost $50 USD.
Annatar the Maia
Annatar the Maia Mês atrás
@Bad@Tanking the only thing it really lacked was Netscape Navigator. This was corrected later with Solaris 10. I still run Solaris 10 on i86pc in my private datacenter, and it is absolutely fabulous, I've weathered all the shit from GNU/Linux and FreeBSD thanks to sticking with Solaris. The software isn't a problem either, as I've built and packaged a vast library of the same software which runs on GNU/Linux. I'll be going to Tribblix on SPARC and SmartOS on intel soon, and with SmartOS, 15,000+ software packages will be available, in addition to having all the cool Solaris features like FMA, zones and ZFS, all running on intel hardware.
Bad@Tanking 2 meses atrás
Yes they brought out Solaris for x86 but it was rather crippled in that it lacked the catalogue of application software that the SPARC compiled version had and the performance delta was too much in favour of SPARC at the time.
Grey Dog
Grey Dog 2 meses atrás
I remember around 1998 Sun workstations being used in hospital departments like radiography. They had huge monitors and looked like high quality machines. We were rolling out windows desktops for the first time but windows didn't replace those.
Jieren Zheng
Jieren Zheng 3 meses atrás
As a Linux user for years, this is an interesting video about the history, it also explains what I saw during my childhood as I was using MS-DOS then Windows 3.1 then 95 to 7 before switching to Linux. It is interesting to see how scalable the CPUs are nowadays, nowadays we have more cores but only 2 socketed CPU per mainboard. That being said, I think you would refer to Threadrippers/Xeons as High end workstations than Mac Studio ^^"
Richard Cockerill
Richard Cockerill 2 meses atrás
2 meses atrás
I started at Sun in June, 2001. It was the first year that they instituted the Jack Welch method of evaluating and ranking employees. That method was so hated in Sun that the recruiter in HR felt the need to disclose it to me when he presented the offer. I gather from this video that I joined just as Sun was starting to decline. I retired from there a couple of years before Ellison acquired it. I always suspected that Ellison had no interest in Solaris, SPARC, or machines, but rather wanted Java. And indeed, Ellison tried to claim Java’s open interface design as Oracle IP, and basically wrecked Java, too.
Venividivici 2 meses atrás
Sun engineering vet here during the boom times. 1988 - 1998. One heck of a rocket ride living through the growth and transition from workstations to enterprise cluster servers. Could see the end coming when Scott The Mouth was spending 8 out of 7 days on the golf course. Lack of leadership is what did Sun in. Great piece, thank you! 3 meses atrás
The amount of Sun workstations that Nortel bought in the late 1990s and early 2000s you wouldn't believe, as many of the manufacturing rigs used them. When Nortel went into serious decline, their Sun workstation orders dried up very quickly as they had more than enough machines spare.
Lawrence D’Oliveiro
Lawrence D’Oliveiro 3 meses atrás
1:24 There was some controversy over describing the original 68000 processor as “32-bit”, since this was seen by some as marketing exaggeration. I think the best way to describe it was as a cut-down 32-bit design. When the first true 32-bit member of the family, the 68020, was released, you could see that the 32-bit extensions were mostly just a matter of filling in gaps in the original implementation. Unlike certain other vendors, whose 32-bit chips involving sticking unsightly architectural bags on the side of their older 16-bit designs.
GeckoProductions 2 meses atrás
An interesting story. In many ways reminiscent of DataPoint corporation. They had the first working network, distributed data processing, enterprise level laser printers, and many other technical innovations.Unfortunately much of the senior management kept reading their own press releases and really had their heads up their collective asses. In the late 80s they refused to consider "entrepreneurship" and instead paid talented technical people generous severance packages to start up their own companies. The USAF has a term for DPTs senior managements thought processes: up and locked.
Tom C
Tom C 3 meses atrás
I worked at Xerox PARC in the 90s. A few Xerox Alto computers were stored in a server room across from my office. We were using the Xerox Star with Globalview in the office and Sun Sparc workstations for engineering. That didn’t last long, and soon all office computers and workstations were replaced with IBM PCs. Xerox PARC even at this stage in time was still an incredible place, so many brilliant people and innovations came out of there.
ajax700 2 meses atrás
@Patrik Floding _Heard of this new thing called "google"?_ I want a human recommendation not a search engine one. Thank you for your low effort answer. Best wishes.
Patrik Floding
Patrik Floding 2 meses atrás
@ajax700 Heard of this new thing called "google"?
Prashanth B
Prashanth B 2 meses atrás
That company had everything to make it big but didnt. Wonder what the management were thinking regarding commercializing their ideas.
ajax700 3 meses atrás
@2040wagon care to mention a few documentaries?
2040wagon 3 meses atrás
@ajax700 Several good documentaries on PARC and Xerox moving to a services company. To say Xerox was big on this planet cannot be overstated.
Robert Harker
Robert Harker 3 meses atrás
The original Stanford SUN CPU boards designed by Andy Bechtolsheim was the original CPU board for Cisco routers. Andy's CPU board design was also used in many time sharing UNIX mini-computers back in the mid 80's.
CoolCat 3 meses atrás
I was involved in hardware acquisition for a German university and we used to order SUN workstations per default. As soon as PCs had decent network cards, however, the game was over for SUN. Their prices were hopelessly non-competitive compared to what a PC with a network card cost. Similar story for NeXT; interesting hardware and OS at the time but was just too late, i.e., too expensive.
Osvaldo Cristo
Osvaldo Cristo 2 meses atrás
I worked with SUN workstation in the University by the second half of the 1980s and the first couple of years from 1990s. Great user experience for the time... but they turned very expensive and turned very expensive for Universities. We looked for alternatives and construct some ourselves. Thanks to bring a such memories.
CuriousEarthMan 11 dias atrás
I'm curious about ROLM Corporation, and how innovative they actually were, especially in a world of copper wires, and rising in early Silicon Valley. Thank you!
Jane Doe
Jane Doe 2 meses atrás
As a software engineer, this episode hits really hard. Thanks for taking a look at it.
Manish Tandon
Manish Tandon 2 meses atrás
The architects on the Supernova (Rock CPU) made terrible mistakes which eventually killed that program as part of the Oracle take over. At that point the death of Sun became a certainty. I told senior management that the direction these architects were taking will turn Rock into Millennium-2. Sun insiders will know what that means. Rock essentially became a very expensive hobby project in the hands of smart but financially immature architecture and design teams.
Peter S
Peter S 2 meses atrás
Back in the mid 1990s I worked for Sun as a contractor on part of the Internet Gateway for Solaris package. The company campus has some prison-like feelings to it and was called "Sun Quentin" by the people who worked there. Outside the elevators were miniature free "cafes" where you could get goosed up on sugar and caffeine and the engineering team I worked with was shockingly morbidly obese, but they were brilliant and obedient and sat at their keyboards. Andy was famous in Silicon valley for driving around in a red Italian sports car with a pair of ladies would could have been super-models. It was an interesting place.
Jim Revkin
Jim Revkin 2 meses atrás
I had the good fortune as a cardiology fellow, of doing a post-doc at the Center for Bioengineering at the Univ of Washington, 1987-88. The group was connected by Sparc workstations and I learned Unix. We were modeling metabolic substrate flux in isolated heart models. Took the machine back to Yale and set up a bunch of websites for the cardiology section, sailboat racing groups, and ski racing organizations. I had a blast before people really knew what the internet was to become. So many fond memories. Thanks for sharing this history!
Felix Lopez
Felix Lopez 2 meses atrás
...Sun Micro was one of my former customers throughout the 1990s. As was Silicon Graphics. It was also the time the TSCM (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) was conceived and started in Taiwan. I met some of the professors from Taiwan who were part of the vision of TSCM and fabless design. It was amazing to experience the late 80s to the 1990s. And one of the reasons I moved to the Silicon Valley after getting my Degree in Science.
Wes Robinson
Wes Robinson 2 meses atrás
Finally a great walk through. I worked for Platinum in the 1992 where we built so many great tools for Sun systems. Of course the switch to Linux was painful for Sun. Though I latter worked for Andy B at Arista, where he built one of the best companies of all time. The team were legends, the middle leadership suffered a lot in the 1990s but I still look at the leadership as some of the best in the world.
Jim Allen
Jim Allen 2 meses atrás
I loved my old Sun hardware. Had Ultra 10/20/60’s on my desktop as well as E450’s in the data center. The Sun blades worked pretty well. I lost a ton of money on them though.. I liked Sun so I bought their stock.. and it tanked. It was nice to see the old pizza boxes.
L VEVO 3 meses atrás
This past fall i worked at their old Menlo Park office that was required by Meta. You could see remnants of what was once a great company through the veneer of renovations
StheD 20 dias atrás
When I started at Sun in 1997 I worked there. Great campus. Shame it got turned into a slum. 😀
Mehmet Yanilmaz
Mehmet Yanilmaz 2 meses atrás
This is an excellent documentary. Sun couldn't have been described better so perfectly and informatively in ten minutes. Congratulations.
Don Finch
Don Finch 2 meses atrás
My personal run with this Silicon Valley icon was from 1990-2005. I only played a modest role for Sun but was on hand to see this progression into irrelevance during my tenure.
anticat900 29 dias atrás
Although too small and shorter in life, I'd like to get some info on the Apollo workstation history as I remember using these impressive machines in the 80's. The monitors were huge and high in resolution, they seemed on another level compared to any Pc or Amiga of the time.
Einherjar OldFart
Einherjar OldFart 3 meses atrás
I remember fondly my first workstation when I joined my first ISP as a network engineer in 1996. The Ultra1 was a great tool, albeit not the most desktop/user friendly.
Level Three
Level Three 2 meses atrás
I still have mine with Creator 3D graphics. The company I worked for folded - they gave away the workstations. Unfortunately it won't run Solaris 10, and without a somewhat modern browser, it's kneecapped on functionality. I have it set up in my living room, power it up every so often just to see if it works.
Danny Simenauer
Danny Simenauer 2 meses atrás
Having grown up in the tech industry working initially for HP, this is a fascinating overview of Sun and the high tech industry! I had the privilege to hear Scott McNeally speak at an industry conference. Interesting enough Scott took a cheap shot at MicroSoft then followed up with a cheap shot at Intel. Sad but I get he felted slighted by the competition. I still have huge respect for what he accomplished in his he tech industry. Scott was ahead of his time.
Al B 🗽
Al B 🗽 3 meses atrás
Sun gave us Java and around 2000, our company helped produce and serve a lot of JavaOne conference sessions with our learning management system. A very important customer for us.
Al B 🗽
Al B 🗽 3 meses atrás
@thewiirocks No worries
thewiirocks 3 meses atrás
@Al B 🗽 It seems I misread your post. My apologies!
thewiirocks 3 meses atrás
@xyzzy3000 You are correct. Thanks for pointing that out! I did indeed miss the “and” in the first sentence.
xyzzy3000 3 meses atrás
@thewiirocks You misread the comment that you're replying to.
Al B 🗽
Al B 🗽 3 meses atrás
@thewiirocks off regarding what? I never said that was the beginning of Java. Especially since I began programming with it in 1996. Our LMS was written in Java and we started that in Spring 1998.
Martin Byrne
Martin Byrne 2 meses atrás
The machines were works of art, so beautifully laid out internally
Hank Lovegames
Hank Lovegames 2 meses atrás
I used to be a sunny from 2000 until 2004. I really liked to work there! I would like to add a few reasons for SUN's demise. As things became tough many high performers left. The departments for customer support didn't worked well after the layoffs. Since when a poc for a perticular customer left knowbody else felt responsible to further support the customer. The real workforce was much higher than mentioned in the reports. Because many employees were employed by subcontractors. The costs for these subcontractors were very high. Also for some time the leadership wanted SUN to become a big competitor for Microsoft on SW products. That idea was made to fail.
Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips 2 meses atrás
Thanks for the history lesson. My professional career spanned early SunOS thru Solaris servers. I moved to Linux support when linux finally became, what I called, Ready for Prime Time. I lost touch with Sun, coincidentally just as Sun was sold and I never looked back. Your review sounds spot-on. Sun Microsystems taught me a lot, and it was a good ride while it lasted. I built many good data centers based on Sun and I feel lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.
Benny Kleykens
Benny Kleykens 2 meses atrás
Thanks for the roundup. I started working for SUN begin 2000 and left in 2004. Joined at the very time things went down ... For sure the burst bubble killed Sun, although IBM was just to big to compete with anyway. For a while there customers also got distracted and overhyped by the promises that came with Intel's Itanium. In the end I think Linux was really the main killer : without it there would not have been an OS comparable to Solaris for commodity hardware (yes, Sco Unix existed but it just wasn't on par and never was going to be).
Joe Mancini
Joe Mancini 3 meses atrás
Memory lane indeed…I worked in the Sun/SGI/DEC aftermarket in the late 80’s through the 90’s. Those were heady times. I met McNeely and Joy at a trade show. Rode about $50,000 of Sun stock down to the ground later LOL. “Stanfurd” lots of UC people called it “Snodfart”.😂
derbagger22 2 meses atrás
I started driving as a chauffeur in '97 and worked for a small company of about 5 cars. From '97 to the end of '00, our company grew as fast as Sun did. We about quadrupled in size due to Sun. I'm in Boston and their campus in Chelmsford(a few old Apollo computer buildings) grew and they moved into their huge complex in Burlington. I was broke and didn't have the money to invest in stocks. But a couple of my colleagues made a killing on Sun stock(as well as others; internet IPOs were a guarantee of ROI then)and one guy retired early. I don't even know how many times I drove for Mr. McNealy, but almost all their executives and employees were just good people.
Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker 3 meses atrás
Yeah, there was a time when everything fits in 200Mbyte disks. Not mentioned, our first Dual System 83/20 had only a 20 Mbytes Fujitsu 8" disk.
Mark Arca
Mark Arca 3 meses atrás
I remember Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, being in the cover of the Fortune magazine in 1994. That was the feature about their new programming language, Java ☕. Now, they are part of Oracle Systems (the same company that attempted to buy TikTok).
DasHemdchen 2 meses atrás
I always get the shivers when installing Oracle with Java, telling me „3 bln systems are running Java“...which means 3bln vulnerable computers...😂
Dr. Bacon Community
Dr. Bacon Community 2 meses atrás
special thanks for a great 2022 season of Asianometry. Your page is one of only two we support via Patreon and your content is always topical, interesting, and educational. merry christmas!!
John Marks
John Marks 2 meses atrás
Good work. This company was special to me. I grew up with Sun as a 90s teen. I remember attempting to learn Java in 9th grade (1997). I also recall Sun technology being a major player in the web server market. In general, their name kept popping up. I remember hearing about the SPARC and wishing I could have one.
Aesma Mês atrás
As a kid and young IT fan I interacted a few times with Sun workstations, but very superficially, they were already obsolete, the geforce I bought with my pocket money was much better. Then a few years ago I discovered the ZFS file system and I'm a big fan. Instead of using the then new ZFS on Linux implementation I went for OpenIndiana which is basically OpenSolaris aka Solaris, and learned to use this quite exotic OS just so I could benefit from the features of ZFS, mainly the unlimited size of filesystems and its focus on data integrity. After losing many files due to data rot I've become a bit obsessed with data integrity, and having a file system do most of the work I was doing manually (checksumming files, or even adding parity files to be sure I would not lose them) is great.
David Fredericks
David Fredericks 2 meses atrás
I have fond memories of using a Sun workstation for CAD in Engineering Design class back in 1986. We used DOGS (Drawing Office Graphics System) with the optional BOXER solid modelling software. Wish they could make a comeback.
Douglas Engle
Douglas Engle 2 meses atrás
I remember inn 1991 when Eurotherm at their Reston campus got some Sun Workstations for software development. At that time we had Macs and PCs and the PCs were really only used in the lab and the Macs for documenting. This made the Macs the main information originators. The Macs were all networked and could share digital information straight forwardly. They also ran time sharing applications at the same time with real WYWYG What you see is what you get. The PCs were not the useful the Macs were and the Sun Workstation had a lot of characteristics with the Macs. They were not WYSWYG, but they have highly readable bitmapped fonts. The SPARC station was fast! Sunview Sun's window system had tool talk that was suppose allowed various parts of the windowing gadgets to talk to each other. I could cut and paste huge text logs using the windowing cut and paste at a snap while on a Mac the system might not respond for tens of seconds. Sun Workstation then went away from Sunview windowing that had been a system that was more of a advancement over the Macs with bends towards engineering and scientists to the the common desktop environment used my HP and IBM more a kin to MS Windows window system that made the Sun and other work stations seem more like a Windows PC than an engineering Macintosh. I think that was the death of the Sun Microsystems workstation. We could still use an advanced form of that Sunview windowing system today in 2022 for engineers and scientists running CAD and other scientific packages. I do remember the Daisy System workstation. It was used for electronic circuit design in 1992. We had one and I was made system administrator for the electrical engineering department which made me the one to give it attention. It had a screen that was so dim you could hardly see it and very slow to draw. I was told that was due to the high resolution screen it was using for its day. It was extremely slow and the only way to move digital information was on 5" floppy disk. If was the critical production flow of circuit design from EEs to the drafting department. We were having to schedule engineers to use the Daisy for schematic capture use. This was a bottleneck and inconvenient. I remember talking to software support for the Daisy and people at that company they were saying they thought they are going to make it and there was talk of Daisy abandoning its proprietary workstation and porting their software to a Sun Workstation. That was exciting, but Eurotherm was paying a lot for licensing the Daisy per year and only using it for schematic capture. It might have been $30,000 a year. By the time I was involved with the Daisy the discussion had changed keeping it to having me consult the various engineering teams for a replacement for schematic capture. The Daisy ran SPICE a mathematical common source library of mathematical models for electronic devices. Although SPICE was developed in the open Daisy's libraries were proprietary. Our engineering department didn't use the simulation part of the Daisy which may have been its most expensive part. The proprietary nature of a lot of the Daisy made it less appealing to Eurotheum's company uses both in Reston and in the UK. Eurotherm had huge layoff in fall 1992 which included me. Its very hard to retire old CAD systems like the Daisy and without an administrator to transition data, older designers may have never really left that old Daisy workstation. The company adopted a PC based schematic capture system which wasn't the Mac based version I was hoping for and a great deal of people preferred. I was told later the engineering team that was pushing for the PC based schematic capture system was really doing it with the hopes of getting another PC. We did everything on Macs, but they wanted another PC and decided to vote for the PC schematic capture system to get it. A couple weeks after that team got the new PC for schematic capture half of them got laid off.
Nasar Azam
Nasar Azam 2 meses atrás
Interesting comments. It moved from Sun to Borland and others. For Dos Database development, the best tool with rich libraries, I thought was "Clipper". It allowed me to do so many things and not just Database stuff. I remember writing a program that replaced an old Assembly Language program. Part of the program was communicating with a remote HP Mini and sending orders. I was able to so this with a Library called "Silverware". Those were fun times...
Faithin Verity
Faithin Verity 3 meses atrás
My brother managed a large collection of Sun boxes running SAP in the early 90’s. At Intel. He says that once SAP delivered a version running on Linux, the Sun machines disappeared quickly.
Jason Oldsted
Jason Oldsted 3 meses atrás
I remember back in college in 2010 We used dated Sun Microsystems Desktop PCs in one of our classes; they were definitely unique. I remember the cases of both the monitor and tower were purple.
Dmitri Pogosian
Dmitri Pogosian 2 meses atrás
Purple sounds like SGI
cdl0 2 meses atrás
@Jason Oldsted SGI systems run IRIX, a variety of UNIX System V with BSD extensions.
Jason Oldsted
Jason Oldsted 3 meses atrás
@TheOtherBill Yes!
Nedski42YT 3 meses atrás
@Jason Oldsted See my comments from about an hour ago about Unix workstations vs PC's.
Jason Oldsted
Jason Oldsted 3 meses atrás
@Nedski42YT $990??!! That is insane! We had a lab of about 50 of them, that is crazy, I thought it was unusual that we used them and I knew they were rare back then, It was some version of Linux that they were running but I can't remember which one.
Robert Eltze
Robert Eltze 2 meses atrás
A graduate from my college went to work for Sun in their early days. He was shocked to find they had designed they're memory system using the 'typical' timing values listed on the data sheets. He brought this problem to the founders who shrugged off the issue, after all everything was working. Well as you might expect one day they got a batch of chips that fell outside the typical range and none of the systems built with them worked. FYI data sheets list 3 timing values, minimum, maximum and typical. You should always do timing diagrams using min and max values to avoid this exact problem.
Glenn Curry
Glenn Curry 3 meses atrás
You helped me fill in an interesting blank and make the connection! I had been selling an SD-WAN product called Talari and then Oracle bought them. Oracle walked away from support of the new hardware Talari had introduced just before the purchase. Trying to force existing users to a new hardware platform. It was likely to move SUN boxes! Makes sense now!
Steez 3 meses atrás
15:40 the chart labels the year 2001 twice. It should have 2003 after 2002, but it goes back to 2001 when showing the -3,429 (M) net income loss. The chart is also labeled 1999 to 2001 on the top, but also shows 2002 and what I assume should be 2003. Otherwise great video!
JoeyVictorVideos 2 meses atrás
Was the Stanford label a joke?
MrWildbill47 2 meses atrás
I went through the entire SUN life cycle from start to finish and it was a hell of a good ride for many years.
awuma 3 meses atrás
Excellent video. Sun could have become what Microsoft became, and the world would be richer for it. It happened around 1988, when Sun introduced the 386i workstation. At this point, the Intel 80386 was far ahead of MS-DOS, and the PC world was desperate for a true multi-tasking, multi-process operating system. Windows 1 was a joke, and IBM's OS/2 was not ready. Power users would have several PCs at one desk, with a bank of monitors and various mazes of wiring to switch keyboards, etc. Now came the 386i, not only with a superb monitor and graphics wuth the SunOS Unix operating system, but able to run many DOS programmes in their own windows! This ability to have it all on one screen instantly made the 386i a hit with stockbrokers. Now, this was all a bit much for the 80386, and people were not used to the delayed latency of a multiprocess computer, but the 486 was already being tested in the next version. The hardware was nice, with higher end workstation features such as SCSI peripherals and the excellent monitor, but it was not PC-compatible (i.e. could not boot MS-DOS, though it ran DOS in subprocesses), even though Compaq had set the standard forever with its open ISA-based Desk Pro 386, thereby burying IBM's proprietary Microchannel bus (technically superior but royalty-laden). The 386i was years ahead of Microsoft, and had Sun gone for the general PC market, they could have taken it all. Only NT/Windows 2000 a dozen years later could compare. The NIS "Yellow Pages" administration system was being improved, and with the 486, a very attractive combination, offered at lower cost, would have captured the whole market. I bought a 386i in 1988, and two of my colleagues followed suit. It was my main computer for seven years, and served several years as a mail server. A student of mine did a massive computional thesis on one. A P2-90 PC running Linux eventually replaced my 386i. Being able to do both Unix and MS-DOS on the same machine was a godsend. Instead, Sun cancelled the 386i in 1989, after just one iteration; they also cancelled the Motorola-based workstations, to concentrate on the higher margin SPARC CPU and the professional engineering workstation market (and later servers). Admittedly, a Sparcstation motherboard was a work of minimal art compared with the always messy PC architecture. Needless to say, the PCs soon took over the workstation market, and Linux did the rest, but there was a gap of about six years between the 386i emerging and Linux becoming competitive. There was no universally available Unix for X86 PC's, only expensive, inferior products such as Xenix which had no traction in the general market. Sun could have filled that vacuum long before Linus took on the job. Sun's failure to take Microsoft and IBM head-on for the whole shebang is one of the greatest missed opportunities in history. General computing would be so much more advanced now had Sun succeeded and not Microsoft.
MrButuz 2 meses atrás
Great video. And so sad. Even towards the end Sun made great hardware I used them all the way up to the X servers. Sadly Oracle's new insane yearly support costs ended Sun for most companies including mine. I moved to dell after that and never looked back. But don't tell dell.. I still use a sun keyboard and mouse to this day at home.
TAD2020 2 meses atrás
In the later half of the 2k's, a friend's company would get full rack Sun systems in lots with other equipment they actually wanted. Apparently that was a tactic used by the wholesalers to get rid of junk. Friend's company had no use for them and nobody would buy them for less than "paying them to take it away as scrap". They offered them to me, but I had no use for anything other than the racks and back then I could buy already empty used server racks for around $50+"you come get it", which is a whole lot cheaper than trying to figure out what to do with multiple dozens of very old SPARC systems.
Rick in Texas
Rick in Texas 2 meses atrás
I cut my teeth programming CAD applications on a VAX 11/780 back in the early 80s. I remember the Sun and Apollo workstation wars. I finally jumped on and bought some HP Unix workstations in 1991 to run COTS CAD application (Unigraphics). PCs were simply not capable for high end CAD work back then. It is amazing how far things have come since those old days.
YouCanHasAccount 3 meses atrás
It really bums me out that Sun, DEC and SGI are all gone. x86 servers are just no fun to work with. Unfortunately it seems ARM is set to repeat the mistakes of it's predecessors by suing it's customer (Qualcomm) instead of working with them to gain market share.
Teluric 25 dias atrás
​@Joseph ShaulBecause All the scientific engineering software are developed for windows and was normal to do CAD on unix running tasks for weeks. Macs cant do that because such a powerful computer would be bulky to house redundant cooling and macs needs to be slim and pretty. Its like a victoria secret model building a bridge . Can you name a company that is willing to run FEA or Crash analysis models running nonstop for weeks? on Mac OS?
Joseph Shaul
Joseph Shaul 2 meses atrás
@Teluric It's all conventional UNIX under the hood, so...yeah, it can do almost all of that if you compile some software. It's likely some of those features have been depreciated since Apple stopped building servers, but ALL of them are supported on modern X86 systems in supercomputer configurations. Solaris is obsolete. Cope.
Teluric 2 meses atrás
​@Joseph ShaulBecause solaris can do things mac os will never do. Hotwswap, hardware partition ,almost linear cpu scalability Could you run simulations on a mac for weeks like solaris? I used sunsparc on calculations while running a server on sun box There s no app for mac os what solaris can do at higher leagues CAD math etc.
ProphetAndLoss 3 meses atrás
I remember using networked Sun systems in 1988 and SPARC in 1989 ; they seemed a decade ahead of their time, because they were.
tom 2 meses atrás
I recall days of using Sun servers at my company, and never really paid much notice when eventually had migrated to other platforms. Hey, no company has ever remained in its heyday, forever. What company has not eventually had layoffs? Successful companies grow; growing companies get growing pains. It is difficult to be both very large and very nimble. It is difficult predict the next big thing when there are lots of contenders, sometimes as unpredictable as the weather. You get lots of smaller companies, each placing their bets on one of the contenders, none with a perfect crystal ball, with outcomes sometimes determined somewhat by chance. A large company with a large installed base has to worry about legacy support and backwards compatibility, as well as chasing the next big thing. It has to spread resources thin, not just with legacy burden, but in hedging bets on all the possible, emerging technologies. Being a successful tech company is a bit like being a successful rock band that has had a big hit. What are you going to do for your next big hit, and the one after that? Fans can be fickle. Sometimes, it is enough to look back and say, "Hey, we had a good, long run." Churn is a normal part of the business. Corporations have a lifespan, a birth, youth, maturity, and eventual passing, much like people do.
Jack El Dogo
Jack El Dogo Mês atrás
I used own one of those Sun3 "pizza box" workstations that I picked up for $50 (incl monitor). I am still kicking myself for getting rid of it during one of the many basement "purges" when my kids were young. It would look so nice alongside my TRS-80 Mod III, Atari 800, and Amiga 500 setup I have now.
Rich Probst
Rich Probst 2 meses atrás
We still run old Sun servers on legacy machines at my job. There are no plans to replace them since they still do the job and we have plenty of spares. I get to use one every once in a while. The desktop (CDE I think) looks like it's from the 80s.
To Cu
To Cu 2 meses atrás
There's a software foundation called Eclipse which is heavily sponsored by IBM, whose Eclipse IDE is an open source software development tool mainly for Java programming language which was created by Sun Microsystems.
TheFateshaper1 3 meses atrás
This is really cool. I'm currently doing a Master's in Computer Science, and we study a lot of Sun's work in distributed computing and multithreaded processing - very influential company
Dean Smith
Dean Smith 3 meses atrás
The narrative on Cray and Sun misses the point that starting in the mid 1980's Sun's 50K work stations had taken the wind out of Cary's multi- million dollar super computers' sales (pun intended). Few engineers wanted to stand inline to share a Cray when their own personal Sun work station would give them the same answer... albeit a little slower. Departments that had supported Cray usage quickly sprinkling Suns around like hanging lampshades and a financially important component of Cary's sales disappeared literally overnight.
pakelly99 2 meses atrás
Worked there a couple of times, and of the sector / type of work it was, it was certainly a unique experience, and a lot of that was embodied in the espirit d’corps, for want of a better term; not fanatical, not masochistic, but a lot of qualities one doesn’t expect or find in the field, humility, modesty, diligence, application, focus, dedication, and actually, out of all the places I have worked, one of the very few where I can honestly say I witnessed people contributing their intellect and articulating their view within the team regardless of rank, one of the few places that actually practiced the flat hierarchy, all are equal principle, which actually, many firms claim to operate according to too. It’s a very rare thing. I will say that was my experience from the people and teams I worked with, so I can’t claim this is as empirical globally within the company. I will say, a lot of people benefited significantly right across the shop floor, from how well they did, and the share options people were able to invest in.
Nathan Clark
Nathan Clark 2 meses atrás
Great video. My 2¢ is when UNIX sysadmins like me did the flip to Linux in the late 1990s. By the time of the tech wreck we had our new stacks ready to roll and Dell were just there with their cheap servers. You write the numbers down on paper and let the bean counters choose... You know what they're going to choose
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