In the last week, we've seen Schwartz slag off Red Hat, not to mention Linux in general - which Schwartz persists in spelling linux (lower case) on the grounds that there's more than one. Nit-picking on this linguistic point, it's initially attractive because, if there's only one of something it should attract a capital letter. However Schwartz ignores the obvious precedent of Unix always being capitalised, despite the existence of more than one Unix.
By then claiming that Sun loves open source, he also opened Sun to the taunt that Sun should open up its code and technology, such as Java, to the community. And most recently, HP wrote a letter asking him to desist from abusing the company and its products, referring to his description of HP/UK as a 'dying' product. HP reckons Schwartz' outpourings verge on defamation.
In the wake of his blogged rants, Sun developers have clearly been implicitly encouraged to continue the good fight at a lower level, as Eric Schrock's flame war with Linux kernel developers bears witness.
So what's going on? It's the emptiest pitcher problem. Sun is losing money still - and has had to tweak its latest results lower to take into account its $1.95 billion legal settlement with Microsoft. The outturn for Sun's 2004 financial year is now a loss of $388 million. It's the kind of squeeze that could make many people desperate to raise the noise level, both to raise the profile of the company and products while averting attention from your own problems. However, it's a big improvement on the $3,429 million Sun lost in its 2003 financial year, although the last three years have seen a year-on-year decline in revenues - down from $18.25 billion in 2001 to $11.185 billion in 2004.
That said, the company's clearly not shy of spending money. According to the annual report, it gave Schwartz a pay rise of 56 per cent for the last financial year, taking him up to $677,254 including a $107,819 bonus, and a promotion to Sun's number two slot. Schwartz also trousered 1.5 million stock options. Not bad for a company that's in the red.
However, observers might argue that it behoves Mr Schwartz to behave in a more responsible fashion if only to avoid potential defamation lawsuits from other companies. And it might help boost Sun's stock price too, which would be in his own interests.
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