Nat Torkington interviewed Sun President Jonathan Schwartz at OSCON this morning. Nat didn't pull many punches, but Jonathan held his own. One of the issues that a lot of people worry about is open source and Java. Jonathan pointed out that there are over 20 million downloads of Java a month. Java is already free and it,s already open source. The argument is over licenses.
Jonathan also talked about Solaris, recently open sourced. Now that Solaris is open, Sun has removed politics from the discussion. It's no longer about a philosophy. Now the discussion can be about which product is better. Jonathan was careful to point out that Solaris ought to be compared against a specific distro, not Linux. Linux is an ideal, not a product.
There is a tidal wave washing over the marketplace. If you're concerned about choice for your consumers, you must open your code. The cost of delivering software is driving to zero. Innovation is increasing: just look at Firefox vs. IE. Which would you pick?
Where's the money? Just look at Yahoo! and Google. Look at SpikeSource. Free software isn't about "no value." Free software just recognizes economic realities about the cost of software distribution.
I've also posted detailed reports at my blog on some other sessions:
- The O'Reilly Radar - a few interesting tidbits were Tim's points that the computer book market has hit bottom and started to rebound in 2004, an indication that the industry as a whole is doing better, and that Java books (including books on open source Java components) have picked up from a long decline. What's more, a sampling of skills from job boards shows that SQL is the top skill (18% of job listing list it). Perl is at 6%, equal to VB, bigger than C#.
- Testing as the Open Source Killer App - Kim Polese of SpikeSource said that testing has been the ugly stepchild of software for as long as people have been writing code. Microsoft has a 1:1 ratio of QA to developers. They run 500,000 test scenarios for any given product line. There are 100,000 open source products already. To solve testing on a massive scale, you need participation by the community and automation.
- Open Source Software at Yahoo! - Jeremy Zawodny said there are several reasons Yahoo! uses open source software: flexibility, documentation, availability, support, and cost.