Subject: Re: Development Shop FSB
From: Tom Lord <>
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 05:03:01 -0800 (PST)

       Tom Tromey

       It seems like you think Red Hat has a big Strategy behind every
       decision it makes

No, that's not what I think.  But I do think that, above a certain
dollar level, company activities are evaluated from multiple strategic
perspectives and have to make sense in that evaluation or else they're
likely not to be sustained.  You point to this yourself:

       "Buy-in from management" requires a credible presentation that
       the effects of the change will be profitable.

but your description is overly simplistic.  A lot of what does come
from the top down, or at least what develops into a company's culture,
is shared state about what kinds of presentation are considered
credible and what the current theories are about what will be
profitable.  That predisposition towards some kinds of proposals _is_
strategic direction.  What you described proposing in this case, the
combining of the libgjc and Classpath projects, was a tactic.  The
tactic supported the strategic direction, probably in more than one
way, and so was given sanction.

If you had, instead, proposed some tactical effort that none of the
check-signers could see how to relate to their strategic thinking,
probably you wouldn't have been treated so well.

It's interesting that you say:

	I think most companies care about buying the cheapest Java
	solution that meets their requirements.  Classpath is only a
	part of the overall solution.

There too I think that you're the one being overly simplistic.
There's a real problem for several vendors for which you express the
Classpath perspective:

	Another hidden piece of optimism in there is that Classpath
	can ever "reach completion".  I don't think that is possible,
	given current realities in the Java world.  Classpath will
	always lag the JDK.

and the problem is much larger than just JDK -- as you say, Classpath
is only a part of a solution that answers a great deal of technology
controlled by Sun.  Upstream from the customers I think you're talking
about, there are vendors who have demand for a solution space to
compete with Sun's.  Their demand is embryonic and problematic: each
of them has their own proprietary toolboxes including licenses from
Sun; they don't, for the most part, recognize themselves as a market
(though, interestingly, they do form consortiums and partnerships);
companies like Red Hat aren't, for the most part, offering them the
kinds of development and design services that would answer such a
demand.  But the business need is there and so is the opportunity to
make the new market a reality.