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Blogs play key role in launch of Open Solaris…

C/Net reports on Sun’s launch of Open Solaris – or, launch, launch, launch, launch – in which blogs feature prominently. I think this is the first time we’ve seen blogs integrated so fully into a launch. I’m sure the skeptics will dismiss this as yet another PR stunt but it simply isn’t (although I won’t deny the PR benefit).

Sun deserves credit for the geek-centric approach, said RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady. "The best aspect of it for me is seeing a rather large software organization actually recognize the audience they want to be speaking to–in this case the developers." – Shankland, C/Net

This is a really smart and deep use of a complete spectrum of participatory communications technology to enhance and streamline communications with a fast growing community – it goes well beyond the standard corporate blog which for the most part is still about transmitting information and soliciting a response. I like how they are providing tags as well. Then there are the photos on Flickr. And, Johnny L – Sun’s head of software launched his blog. It’s a regular blogfest!

They’ve lit up the Open Solaris community inside Sun to light up the community outside Sun. You need to be a tripped-out geek to get some of this but the mobilization of the Sun team to provide different views on the product is great.

Conversations are a feature of the launch. Having spent 18 years in tech I can’t tell you how different this is – most launches follow a standard pattern of big transmission followed by an expectation that what was transmitted will be written about then read.

The launch is about inviting participation. Shankland points to a great example of this as Sun flags 300 bugs in the product and invites the community to get involved with fixing them. Here is Liane Praza’s first bug-fix.

Stephen has a terrific Q&A over at the Tecosystems blog, an excerpt from which looks at Sun’s blog-fest:

Q: What did you find most interesting about the launch itself?

A: The way that it targeted the most important constituency of all; developers. Back in April, I posted the following note:

Spoke to a vendor marketing representative yesterday who I won’t name (though they should feel free to identify themselves if they wish) that actually initiated a dialogue around del.icio.us, Flickr and tagging in general. First time that I can recall that’s happened. Very refreshing, and a good sign for the product line in question.

Well, that person was Claire Giordano, and the product line was OpenSolaris. Her hand is directly visible on the OpenSolaris.org page itself with links to developer-friendly services like del.icio.us and Flickr, and also in the lack of a big bang style launch, press release, etc. The focus has instead been on conversational and participatory launch mechanisms like the aforementioned services and an explosion of related blog entries. OpenSolaris, as with any other product, will ultimately sink or swim on its own merits. But if those merits will jointly determined by Sun and the community around OpenSolaris, it’s obvious that engaging developers using the means and mechanisms that they prefer is imperative. Given that context, I’d say that today’s launch was an excellent start.

Couldn’t agree more. Gold stars to Sun. Great reporting by Shankland. Great analysis by Stephen.

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