During his keynote address to the audience at this year’s JavaOne conference last week, Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy took time to introduce a special guest to the stage, saying “there’s kind of a big pink elephant, uh, in the room”, according to a transcript of that portion of the talk Sun filed with the SEC.
The metaphorical elephant was none other than Larry Ellison, the founder and chief executive of Oracle, the software giant that offered last month to buy Sun Micro after it a potential deal with IBM failed to materialize.
Among the benefits of the proposed merger, according to McNealy, would be “first and foremost … Free advertising.
“I mean, uh, just think about — we’re-we’re going to be on — the winner of the America’s Cup,” said McNealy referring to what its Wikipedia entry describes as the “the most prestigious regatta and match race in the sport of sailing,” and an obsession with Larry Ellison, whose
McNealy went on to tell the JavaOne crowd that the merger, should it take place, should come as no surprise “because Larry’s other boat is called ‘Rising Sun’ How — I mean, how-how obvious was this combination?”
(Of course, Rising Sun is also the other name for the war flag of the Imperial Japanese navy before the end of World War II.)
“So you may have heard me say, you know, ‘He or she who dies with the most toys wins,’” McNealy told the audience toward the end of his 15 minutes onstage with Ellison, prior to the unveiling of a gift to his maybe-future skipper, “but that’s already — he won that one. So it’s kind of hard — it’s kind of hard for a guy who’s won everything. But he does like boats.”
McNealy then unfurled “a little decoration for the Rising Sun, and for the America’s Cup boat,” a set of flags meant to be flown on “any one” of Ellison’s boats.
“Can you read that?” asked Ellison.
“You know, I-I’m not good at reading the signals,” said Ellison. “I know these are standard signal flags. Uh, but I’m not sure what it says.”
“J-A-V-A. There you go.”
While each letter of the alphabet has a corresponding flag, each flag also has a separate specific meaning unto itself, according to Wikipedia, which may not exactly be what Ellison would want to broadcast:
The “J” flag shown here by itself means: “I am on fire and have dangerous cargo on board: keep well clear of me”
The “A” flag (pictured) on its own signals “I have a diver down; keep well clear at slow speed.”
While the “V” flag along means simply “I require assistance.”