back to article Former Sun CEO Scott McNealy has data on 1/14th of humanity

Former Sun CEO Scott McNealy has data on one in 14 humans, wants to get that down to one in seven, but at heart what he really wants is the thin client that Oracle killed when it acquired Sun. McNealy gathered the data in his role as co-founder and executive chairman of Wayin, a software-as-a-service outfit that aims to give …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The password is dead", and thin-clients in one day. With these recycled ideas you are really spoiling us.

    Just add VR and we can party like it's 1999

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only ...

    ... he has had some data on Jonathan Schwartz back in 2004....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “I just hear everybody talk about the stuff we talked about years ago, like wearables,” he said.

    “Sun did Google Glass in our labs before Google did. I was on the cover of Fortune in 1997 with a Java ring,” which he used to open doors.

    “We said the network is the computer, which has become is cloud computing. We talked about multithreading, which happened. We said the world will move to virtual machines and it did.”

    “3D printing is very interesting, but it is just a chemistry, manufacturing and control equivalent, miniaturised and modernised.”


    In my home country I am a doctor - but here I drive a taxi....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your talented Sales Reps sold T-Series (Multithreading CPU's) to customers that ended up not being able to use them ... because their applications ran better on single high frequency CPU's then 128 low frequency CPU's.

      But yes, your servers generated less heat ... WhoppDeeDoo. Fujitsu probably sold more T-Series CPU's then Sun did.

      I once worked for and admired SUN until you hired that lunatic... He's still blogging at tweeting like a champ.

      Ex Sun employees are like that pest that hang around water coolers talking how the old times were better and anything good was invented at Sun anyway and everybody else is copying it - just 20years later. Look where SUN is now.

      The world has moved on from NFS and Java... And mainframes had thin clients long before SUN.

      The only every good large server you build was bought from Cray.

      One last tag line you conveniently forgot to mention:

      "We're the DOT in". You truly were.

      Sorry Scott.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC: ""We're the DOT in". You truly were."

        No. Sun was not. They contributed, but weren't exactly in charge.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC: ""We're the DOT in". You truly were."

          ... In charge of what ? I don't think anybody was in charge at Sun, which was part of the problem.

          I'm an ex Sun employee and I've witnessed a lot of arrogance that Scott Mc Neally still displays.

          You can also see that arrogance at NetApp which is not surprising, because that's where a lot of Sun employees ended up.

          It's not enough to have had good ideas, you also have to be able implememt, productise and bring them to market - and succesfully sell them.

          Despite all the good innovation that happened - Sun remained a Server (tin) company till the very end.

          Sales Reps were compensated on Hardware sales...a real Dinosaur company.

          I recall a Powerpoint Slide Deck during the Storagetek acqusition. STK was portrayed as a Dinosaur mainframe company and Sun was a homo sapiens inventing new stuff every day.

          In the end Sun was/is the Dinosaur.....

          In a world without markets and money - Sun would have done really well.

          And that old Purple thin client was really crap. Anybody would try to get an OSX/Unix type laptop ASAP. Windows was deemed uncool.

  4. gizmo23


    "I am less aware of products I want."

    What?? I mean just what?

    1. BurnT'offering

      Re: what?

      Also - "has data on one in 14 humans, wants to get that down to one in seven"

      "get that UP to one in seven". surely?

    2. paulf

      Re: what?

      "On the ickiness of personalised advertising and its source being data individuals freely give to social networks, he says it's more pleasing to receive targeted ads than random stuff you don't care about."

      ALL adverts come under the definition of "random stuff I don't care about".

      If I absolutely MUST have ads flung at me then ads without "creepy stalking your every move" will be quite enough. The content of the site should be enough to target the adverts; for example if I'm looking at the Register I expect ads about computers. If you're into Golf you're probably looking at websites about Golf which I imagine will show adverts for Golfing stuff. If you're getting adverts for purses [Handbags] perhaps you're looking at a site that is generally aimed at and relevant to people who buy Handbags (usually, but not limited to, Women).

      "On privacy, he says the company complies with all applicable laws wherever it operates and pays appropriate attention to security. "

      Sounds like the typical refrain from tax dodging persons/companies who always say they've paid all required taxes and complied with all applicable laws. Of course they have. It means fuck all when the laws themselves are broken because they're written by the very people who benefit from them (or for them as a result of their lobbying).

      I didn't murder anyone yesterday (today isn't over yet - there's still time) so I'll be making a virtue out of telling everyone I've complied with all applicable laws on not murdering people.


  5. hplasm

    Let's all send Scott-

    lots of Golf Sale ads! Gotta check them all out!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's all send Scott-

      I could send his nads a steel toecap.

      The cunt.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quit inventing the past, please. Like targeted advertising.

    If I'm interested in a specific area, I will follow people and places who actually talk about them - and maybe aren't eager to sell me any crappy product they make. I guess there are plenty of places discussing golf clubs - and maybe how to improve your play without new clubs.

    I also found "target advertising" based on previous sales usually pretty stupid. It shows you over and over products (often expensive) you already bought and thereby with very little chances to be bought again soon.

    Maybe lame but very rich golf players will buy clubs over and over hoping to improve their game, but that's not exactly how most of the world works - and they would understand if they just looked at actual people instead of applying their preconceived ideas to a big bunch of dead data.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Quit inventing the past, please. Like targeted advertising.

      "... they would understand if they just looked at actual people instead of applying their preconceived ideas to a big bunch of dead data."

      No, no, no! Don't give them ideas! Letting them remain in their own parallel universes inside their minds is the only hope we normal, actual people still have! As soon as they really understand us, we are well and truly fucked.

      Oh, and 'thin clients'? That's just a fancy way of saying 'terminal'.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dataless/stateless thin client

    Like a web browser?

    The reason thin clients didn't go anywhere is that we already effectively have that with any device that includes a full web browser. If it was significantly less expensive to make a computer that could only run a web browser versus one that can run other stuff, we'd do that, but anyone who looks at the load Firefox or Chrome puts on RAM and CPU knows there's not much savings to be had that way.

    You can save a bit by avoiding Windows, which is what the Netbooks/Chromebooks are all about, but the problem there is they can't run anything phones and tablets can't so they have a mighty small niche to try to live in.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Dataless/stateless thin client

      "the problem there is they can't run anything phones and tablets can't"

      Yes they can: anything that needs a real keyboard. You can, of course, tote a separate keyboard around to plug into your phone or tablet but you then have a netbook in two parts.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Dataless/stateless thin client

        "the problem there is they can't run anything phones and tablets can't"

        Yes they can: anything that needs a real keyboard. You can, of course, tote a separate keyboard around to plug into your phone or tablet but you then have a netbook in two parts.

        Except of course that that is actually a convenient form factor for many people.

        I have an iPad which I use for almost everything - I also have a couple of bluetooth keyboards - one folding one, and one Apple one in a decent case (which also supports the iPad should I need it)

        Most of the time I just use the iPad mini, when travelling I'll take the small keyboard with me. It's about the size of a mobile phone or a wallet, and fits nicely in my case. IF I need it then it's there, but in general I don't need it when I'm out and about.

        If I'm going somewhere to work seriously then I'll take the slightly larger keyboard in my case (it still fits) and that gives me a full sized keyboard. If I RDP/Citrix/VNC then all I really want is to be able to turn my phone into a wireless connected trackpad...

        No plugging in required, I just open the keyboard and it automagically connects and I can type away. Of course for most things (where I'm on a conference call and screen sharing) then the iPad does it just fine, and I can take notes etc in the time honoured fashion - or, you know, pay attention.

        Who am I kidding - I'll fire up the laptop to do some browsing whilst the iPad handles the work of making it look like I'm paying attention...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dataless/stateless thin client

      Thin client failed because of the same reason most too "limited" device fails: they aren't versatile enough to cope with changes - and rely too much on the infrastructure supporting them, which may become quite complex and expensive anyway (and it's no surprise a server company like Sun liked thin clients...)

      In the 1990s the "new" thin clients were killed by the raise of the laptops - which were "thin" enough and still let you work while disconnected, or when the connection is not fast enough. Then came the smartphone and tablet too...

      There are of course several use cases where a thin client makes sense, but there are still many where it doesn't. Frankly, there were good reason why people got rid of mainframe terminals, and switched to local processing. You know you don't have to compete for resources with many other users, for example.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back hair removal

    […] it's more pleasing to receive targeted ads than random stuff you don't care about.

    Nope. As long as I'm receiving stuff I don't care about, I'm happy, as it tells me that I have not revealed enough to have been identified as a target.

  9. jake Silver badge

    How in the hell can a "smart phone"[0] ...

    ... ever be considered a "thin client"?

    McNealy, you are completely deluded.

    My Sun 3/470 "Pegasus" has close to a dozen IBM 3151 "dumb" terminals attached to it, half of which are modem attached. THAT is thin computing.

    “We said the network is the computer, which has become is cloud computing."

    No. That's centralized computing. IBM, 1960s.

    "We talked about multithreading, which happened."

    IBM, 1960s.

    "We said the world will move to virtual machines and it did.”

    IBM, 1960s.

    Hi, Scott ... remember "jake", your SA at Stanford? You are still a clueless idiot when it comes to computing. Have a nice month ;-)

    [0] Ever notice that "smart phone" users are universally not, er, uh, "smart"?

    1. Chemical Bob

      Re: How in the hell can a "smart phone"[0] ...

      "... ever be considered a "thin client"?"

      Most are only a few millimeters thick, that's how.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I used a stateless dataless thin client years ago. It was called a VT100.

    I can also add a suggestion about accumulating data on humanity for advertising purposes. In fact I can be more ambitious that you; I can cover all humanity. Just start with a couple of defaults:

    1. This person is capable of going to look for things when they decide that they want or need something.

    2. This person is likely to be so annoyed by being advertised at that they'll go and buy whatever it is from someone who's not advertising at them.

    You can then update this in a person-by-person basis for those for whom you have clear evidence that the defaults don't apply. Simple.

  11. Warm Braw

    I buy golf clubs all the time because I think they will improve my game

    Typical CEO - total inability to measure ROI.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: I buy golf clubs all the time because I think they will improve my game

      Typical Silicon Valley CEO - total inability to measure ROI.

      That is normal, your stock or unicorn horn value in the valley is not proportional to ROI or any of your financials for that matter. For that you have to STOP being a Silicon valley company and become a global company. Sun never made that transition - it was born as a silicon valley company, it grew as a valley company and it died as a valley company somewhere inside the bowels of Oracle. While it sold stuff around the globe, its mentality never grew beyond the valley borders.

    2. Chemical Bob

      Re: I buy golf clubs all the time because I think they will improve my game

      "I buy golf clubs all the time because I have more money than brains."

      There, FTFY, Scott

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My little Pony...

    ... We all know too well what happenend when Scott saw a "my little pony" ad.....

  13. Wade Burchette

    Scott McNealy has data on 1/14th of humanity

    That number is way too high. It should be 0. Advertisers should not ever know anything about our lives, no exception.

  14. IGnatius T Foobar

    We're getting there, Scott.

    Thin clients are still a great idea and we ARE slowly getting there. Sun's idea of a thin client failed because it required the entire universe to be rewritten in Java. But now we're getting there a bit faster because the entire universe *is* being rewritten in HTML5 and JavaScript. There's also remote desktops for everything else, with that client being written in HTML5 and JavaScript too. It's taking a while, because it took the ubiquity of mobile devices and cheap broadband to unseat the ubiquity of Win32 and x86.

  15. SunBoy

    SunRay is/was fantastic - no wonder Oracle killed it; it didnt fit into their world!


    The SunRay was fantastic - same session world-wide - I was part of the SunRay@home crowd at Sun - I could take my Java Badge (my corporate ID) and put it in my SunRay at home, start doing work - it was very responsive, no issues.... acted like a monitor for my PC when I needed it to too!

    I could start compiling something at home, then whilst waiting for the compile to happen, drive to work - put the card in ANY SunRay in the building, and check if it was complete.

    This was good - it was fun, it was easy.....

    Now; I dont work for Sun - I have a laptop and a desktop, both run Windows, local and network storage of files and its a complete nightmare.....

    SunRay didnt just work on Solaris, we even pioneered it to work essentially as a citrix client so Windows was also able to run via it....

    Sun had some fantastic ideas - the only problem with SunRay was running too many sessions on an underpowered system ... shared hardware and all that malarky - but spec it up right and it was a complete dream.

  16. David Halko

    Stateless Client

    Character terminals were pretty universal. Tek brought graphics. AT&T brought 1Kx1K monitors where apps could be downloaded into the thin client over the serial channel, which could be upgraded to ethernet. They were not truly stateless.

    The stateless Sun Workstations provided an amazing workplace environment. Pull the box off of the dock, take the MAC address down for inventory, place the MAC in the server, and it worked when broken out of the box onto a desktop. If the server is booted, everything just paused, and continued where it left off. It was truly stateless. Thousands of developers in a warehouse could be maintained by a part time system administrator. All required management software was bundled. Productivity software like multi-media mail, chat/IM, editing, news, etc. was all bundled. High-end desktop desktop publishing was available. Local disks were not required. Network bandwidth requirements were high and WAN was not feasible.

    X Windows offered a great backwards & forwards protocol for thin client computing, it was far superior to dealing with PC's on the desktop, and was in competition to stateless workstations. Maintaining the X Server as the only application on the desktop was fabulous for desktop publishing, trouble ticketing, network & systems management, and web browsing. The protocol was too chatty for WAN connections. Attempts were made with LBX for better WAN performance, state saving for better statelessness, but it was not truly stateless.

    The SunRay was a dream come true. It encapsulated both Statelessness and WAN. If the network disconnected, everything was just where it left off upon re-connection. Power-Cycle returned one to a lock screen. Clients lasted practically forever, with keyboards & mice requiring more maintenance. Performance was as fabulous as the server. Multiple web browsers would run for months without ever needing a restart or a crash. Audio & Video were supported. Extremely power efficient. I still use SunRays, even though Oracle eliminated them from their line-up.

    I hope for a suitable stateless thin client, in the future. The PC is too thick. IOS was looking fairly stable, but I seem to have issues whenever I do an IOS upgrade now a days. Web Browsers are still somewhat stateful, way too complex, always in need of constant upgrades & patching.

    The Netbook concept and Chromebook were good examples of t an internet client, but the software was too thick, making them become obsolete over time, when the hardware was still functional.

    I think pervasive internet is offering a good opportunity for a convenient appliance.

  17. JLV

    And that's a big f*** you to you, Scotty!

    “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."

    - Scott McNealy

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's something new....

    ... A rich idiot who knows everything better and has done it all before ....

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