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A Leader

By Steve Jones,

Today's editorial was originally reprinted on Jun 17, 2007. It is being re-run as it is a holiday in the US.

I haven't always been a "Windows" guy. I started on Commodore's, Atari's, and Apple IIs as a kid. As a young adult, I loved the Macintosh before getting very excited about Unix in college. Honestly I think that if you're a true computer geek, you think Unix is very cool. Even in the age of GUI's, what Unix does at a low level, programming in C, you have to appreciate that.

There's no denying the success that Windows has had in the marketplace, and you could even argue that it might be better suited than *nix for the business world. But that's not what has me interested today. In college I worked on SunOS "pizza boxes" and even participated in the upgrade to Solaris. I thought Sun was the bomb at that time and wasn't surprised to see them soar in the Internet era.

And I saw the subsequent fall. From which I didn't think they would recover. Between Windows, commodity hardware and Linux, I was sure that Sun was a doomed company. However I'm not so sure anymore. I've admired Jonathan Schwartz before he was appointed to run the company and while I wasn't sure he was a good choice, he seems to be now.

This interview with Mr. Schwartz is interesting and shows that he's not holding to the old model of Sun hardware and an expensive Solaris operating system being sold to large companies. Instead he's trying to build the company in new ways, with new ideas. He seems to be also from a different mold than most CEOs. He credits Scott McNealy in many ways and lists the employees of Sun as the "faces" of the company.

In many ways I'd like to think I'd feel the same way that he does if I ran a company. I've read his blog on and off and while I don't always agree, he seems to have a passion for what he's doing, he believes in what his company does, and he's fiery about it at times. In many ways he reminds me of young Scott McNealy, or a Bill Gates: a geek turned manager.

And he seems to be a leader, the kind of leader that I think Sun needs as they struggle to move forward in a new, online, connected services era.

Today's editorial was originally reprinted on Jun 17, 2007. It is being re-run as it is a holiday in the US.

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