Why Blog?

Welcome, Platform Software colleagues. This entry is a public continuation of an article on blogging in the current edition of our internal departmental newsletter. Since I’m suggesting why you should consider blogging on blogs.sun.com, I thought it appropriate to make my case on our external blog site so people outside of Sun who would like to comment can add to the discussion. And, of course, the many Sun employees who read Sun blogs should feel free to contribute as well.

OK. So why blog on blogs.sun.com? Because Sun’s customers will benefit, Sun will benefit, and you will benefit.

Good For Sun Customers

Sun’s customers will benefit because the people in Platform Software are the experts in many technical areas that are both important and interesting to our customers. To name several: firmware, service processors, fault management, system management, security, performance, PCI, system bring-up, high performance computing, and virtualization. Anyone out there reading this blog think it might be interesting to hear directly from Sun engineers working in these areas?

Of course, as members of Sun’s System Group, we do need to use our common sense (and also read Sun’s blogging guidelines) when blogging externally since we have access to all manner of proprietary information about future system designs and schedules. We can’t talk about future product releases. So, for example, I can’t say much at all about the cool prototype systems I saw in Tushar’s office recently. But you’d be surprised perhaps at some of the things Sun has talked about externally. For example, both the ROCK and Niagara 2 processors have been discussed outside Sun. I also just noticed a Wikipedia article on ROCK. So, talking about future products is a tricky, but discussing technology is a lot easier. And you folks know technology. Our group has centuries, maybe millennia, of collective experience at the Mothership of Unix working in all of the above technical areas. I know you’ll find an eager audience for what you have to say.

If you are wondering what subjects are worth blogging about in our part of the software stack, you can get some idea by looking at other Sun blogs. For example, Mike Shapiro’s blog on debugging, reliability, and fault management. One of his recent entries discusses SNMP and gives a pointer to a newly-defined MIB for readers to enjoy. Fairly low level and fairly geeky. And check out Brian Cantrill’s blog as well. Don’t miss his OpenSolaris Sewer Tour, one of my favorite entries. As he says, the open sourcing of Solaris is like having tourists suddenly flock to your hometown. A lot of you grew up there, too, and it’s now okay to talk about your favorite corner of the OpenSolaris code base.

Good For Sun

All this blogging is good for Sun as well. Why? Partly because it shows what we mean by the Participation Age. But more important, it helps people outside Sun get a better appreciation for the huge amount of technical work and innovation happening at Sun. And a better appreciation of the technical depth and breadth of our engineers. That’s the ‘cool’ factor that helps Sun’s general reputation. It’s also the case that a many Sun bloggers are sharing information that is directly useful to our customers and others. And that’s good for Sun, too.

These are tiny examples, but I’m surprised to see people still reading information I posted a year ago about getting Solaris running on my Tecra laptop. And I’m still getting regular hits on my Dtrace entry.

Good For You

Blogging can be a lot of fun whether you decide to stick solely to technical entries, or prefer to mix it up a bit and add more personal and eclectic content. I know we have a lot of interesting people in our group: astronomy buffs, racing car drivers, beer brewers, new parents, gadget geeks. And I know at least one of you growing up had Howard Stern for a summer camp counsellor. There are interesting stories to tell.

There’s a more serious reason to consider blogging as well. Don’t underestimate the value of developing or enhancing a personal brand for yourself. At the very least, developing a reputation as a knowledgeable practitioner in a particular technology area across a broad community of people outside and inside of Sun is useful for your career. Blogging can help. If you look at blogs.sun.com, you’ll see that the top hundred or so blogs regularly receive thousands of hits per day.

My proposal to you: Sign up for a blog and start writing. Realize that you may feel a little awkward and self-conscious at first, so give yourself some time to get comfortable with the process. Commit to writing, say, one entry per week for a few months and then assess whether you’d like to continue. If you find even this daunting, consider starting a group blog with some of your colleagues to cover a particular technology area. My guess is that whether you blog individually or as a part of a group, you’ll find the experience to be worthwhile and even fun.

To start blogging, register here.

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One Response to “Why Blog?”

  1. Virtuality Says:

    [Trackback] Hi! I’ve been planning to introduce myself to the blogosphere for a while now. I’ve been tweaking a draft of my initial posting, describing both what I do and what the Logical Domains (LDoms) project I’m involved in is all about, for a couple months …

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