Sun Posts a Blog Expert

Sun Microsystems has hired the creator of
the Roller blogging technology to bring the communications tool to its
enterprise software.

Founder Dave Johnson said he accepted the job with Sun Microsystems this
week to “design, develop, and deploy the primary blogging system for Sun in
conjunction with other engineers” and to evangelize blogging
both inside and outside of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based network computer
maker.

The technology, Roller, is server-based application that is designed to support
multiple and simultaneous blog users and visitors. The platform supports
comments, WYSIWYG HTML editing, page templates, RSS
syndication, trackback, blogroll management, and provides an XML-RPC
interface for blogging clients such as w:bloggar and nntp//rss.

“Needless to say, I’m thrilled. I’m honored to be working for Sun and
with great folks like Will Snow, John Hoffman, Tim Bray, Patrick Chanezon,
and Danese Cooper,” Johnson said in a recent blog post. “I’m excited to be
working for a company that feels the same was as I do about the value of
blogs and wikis, open source software, and encouraging employees to speak
with honest and authentic voice to customers, to partners, and to each
other.”

Johnson’s relationship with Sun was solidified in June of this year when
the company handpicked Roller to power Sun employee blogs at blogs.sun.com.

The choice to adopt Johnson’s technology may have been inspired because
Roller is written entirely in Java with calls to Java Servlet and JDBC APIs .

And while the world is waking up to blogs, Sun has been keeping pace with their popularity with contributions by COO Jonathan Schwartz
and Java creator James Gosling.

“If there’s a more effective likely advocate for blogs as
community-building tools, I can’t imagine who it would be,” Michael Dortch,
an analyst with research firm Robert Frances Group, said about Sun. “David
Johnson will bring to Sun even greater momentum for the use of blogs to
build bridges among Sun customers, employees, and partners. Sun, meanwhile,
should bring to the Roller blogging software more ‘enterprise-class’
reliability, security, and stability. This should, in turn, ease and speed
the growth of blogs as useful tools among the enterprise constituents so
important to Sun.”

Sun has also tapped into its sales channels through its blogs. During the
company’s recent JavaOne conference, Sun executives hinted at an auction on
eBay that centered on a dozen Opteron-based workstations that had yet to be
revealed or advertised.

Sometimes, blogs can raise more than capital. Schwartz’s blog raised a
few eyebrows after the pony-tailed COO suggested that the Santa Clara,
Calif.-based systems vendor could acquire SUSE Linux owner Novell and put IBM in a pickle. The blurb was
discounted as speculation but forced investors to think more about Sun’s
other potential acquisition targets.

And what does this mean for Roller? “Only good things,” Johnson said.
“Sun wants many of the same things for Roller that other Roller users want
including high performance, high availability, great user interface, support
for standards, and better support for large communities of bloggers. Thanks
to Sun I’ll be working full time to help make these things happen.”

Johnson also said Roller will continue on as an open source project with
its software licensed under the Apache-like Roller Weblogger license.

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