I delayed a lot reponding to this email and I would have
much preferred to talk to you about all this over lunch
rather than starting a mostly off-topic flame war on this list.
But since you've made your concerns public I just have to clarify
some misunderstandings before this gets out of control.
Regarding Sun: Sun is clearly very worried about the recent
Visual Workstations from SGI. Their web site speaks volumes
about how worried they are. In fact, for two years, I haven't
heard Sun so much preoccupied with SGI as I've seen it last
week. The binary compatibility FUD is ironic considering
that they have broken binary compatibility as well as source
compatibility so many times in their history (m68k -> SPARC
SPARC - x86, SunOs -> Solaris) believe me I know since I've
been a Sun customer and an ISV. Not to mention their 64-bit
story which has been "in the making" for about 4 years now since
we had it in IRIX (including full binary support of both
32-bit and 64-bit apps on the same machine). Enough about
Sun, OK. The Unix story of the new workstations will be out
soon. All I would ask is a bit of patience :-).
The MIPS announcement seems to be widely misunderstood as well
As you know, SGI divested of the _embedded_ part of MIPS last
year. It was an excellent decision considering the 15% of
the divested company (previously an internal, pretty "invisible"
SGI asset) now has a market cap or $1.2 billion (that's almost
_half_ of the SGI market cap!) while SGI is still holding 85%
of the MIPS shares (worth about 3 times SGI itself...)
The MIPS embedded market is very different than the computer
systems market and while SGI is still developing future MIPS
high-end processors (the R12K, and the R14K), the standalone
MIPS company is focusing on Windows-CE, consumer electronics,
set top boxes, and the Nintendos' Sony PlayStations of the world.
The decision to divest of the remaining 85% of MIPS is explained
in the proxy for those interested in the nitty gritty, but what it
means basically is that SGI can use the money for stuff that is
more aligned with its core businesses, while MIPS will be less
tied by alien interests, to better pursue its low-end markets.
Lastly, you express the opinion that holding off good announcements
for "the right time" is not a good idea, and here (surprise!)
I have to fully agree with you. So to your question "is anyone
listening" - you betcha. Just wait till I'm the CEO :-)
So, are we meeting for lunch this week ?
: From: firstname.lastname@example.org
: Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 22:59:18 +0100
: Seconded. SGI (and actually the whole industry) is _W_A_Y_ more
: OSS friendly than /. rumors say.
:Although I am a supporter of SGI and I understand their friendlyness
:to the community, I do have to state that the rumors and feelings are
:unsurprising given that:
:1) SGI has no UNIX story (yet) on their new hardware.
:2) SGI has no binary compatability story on the new hardware for
: customers who have made an investment in their MIPS line.
: (Sun will be acquiring what SGI has (ability to execute x86
: binaries) in the very near future in their Sparc processors,
: without screwing their customers over the way SGI is at the
: moment... I can't say how they'll do it, but all I can say is
: that they are doing it the right way)
:And todays announcement of how much of their MIPS investment stake
:they are getting rid of, will only amplify how people feel about the
:So if SGI has some exciting news for us OSS people in the pipeline,
:and they are just holding off for "the right time", I think this is a
:miscalculated delay and will hurt them tremendously. The sooner the
:better, is anyone listening?
:David S. Miller