Scott McNealy Talks About Ellison and Sun's Mistakes

Tuesday Dec 7th 2010 by Keith Vance
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Sun cofounder Scott McNealy said that what really hurt Sun was closing off Solaris from the open source community.

Sun cofounder Scott McNealy spoke with The Register's Gavin Clarke about Sun's failures, and offered Oracle's Larry Ellison some advice.

"We probably got a little too aggressive near the end and probably open sourced too much and tried too hard to appease the community and tried too hard to share," McNealy said. "You gotta take care of your shareholders or you end up very vulnerable like we got. We were a wonderful acquisition--we got stolen for a song at the bottom of the Dow."

"That's the message," McNealy tells us. "You gotta strike a proper balance between sharing and building the community and then monetizing the work that you do… I think we got the donate part right, I don't think we got the monetize part right."

McNealy said that while Ellison isn't running Sun the way he would, he acknowledged, "I was a good capitalist, he's a great capitalist."

What killed Sun, McNealy said was that they didn't open source Solaris soon enough.

"AT&T forced us to encumber SunOS so it was no longer an open-source operating system, so we went six or seven years not being open source, which hurt us in the open community," McNealy explained.


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