Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity


Views from the Center


Scott McNealy is Chairman of Sun Microsystems a company he co-founded in 1982. He is a fierce competitor in business and in a hockey rink. He can be abrasive and outspoken explaining that "diplomacy has never been my middle name." He is an avowed capitalist and self-proclaimed libertarian. Nonetheless, his bio page says he's a "Champion for Sharing." In fact, Sun, as part of its business strategy shares almost everything. Its Java software platform and Open Office applications suite are open source. Recently it purchased one of the largest open source databases vendors, MySQL AB. Even its hardware is open source with the release of OpenSPARC. McNealy has invested in to improve sharing of educational resources and Sun has launched as a shared platform to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

So here's the question, if a curmudgeonly fellow like Scott McNealy can champion sharing in the fiercely competitive environment of silicon valley, why can't international agencies do a better job sharing around global development issues? We'll get to discuss this issue with Scott when he speaks on Monday May 5th at 11am in Washington DC. Ellen Miller, co-founder and Executive Director of the Sunlight Foundation and I will be discussants. The event is free and open to the public -- RSVP now.

This event will kick off my time at CGD as a Visiting Senior Program Associate. I will be focusing on how sharing approaches like open source software, open content, open education, and open data can better support international development efforts. I will also investigate how to best manage the shared assets that result -- management of the commons. Here's a link to my bio. Please contact with me with questions or thoughts -- email:, ph: 571 641 3029.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.