I just got done reading Sun president and COO Jonathan Schwartz's most recent blog entry, most of which describes the business model that put Red Hat on the map with Linux -- but that does so in the context of Sun's recently released OpenSolaris and how, by crossing the digital divide, all technology boats will float a little higher. Wrote Schwartz, "And I'd rather get 20% of a business that's planetary in scope, than 100% of a business with 17 customers." In what is now a formula for many of Schwartz's blogs, his inspiration comes from a conversation with unnamed but "big" current and potential customers.
In what is also very Schwartesque, he appears to drop a hint about some forthcoming news -- in this case, what to expect at JavaOne, the Java confab in San Francisco that starts in a about a week (I'll plan to be there). "Sharing is good for our business. Free software is good for our business. Anyone who believes in preserving the old model of software distribution is, at a certain level, fighting gravity....the most popular operating systems will be, in the long run, the Free ones" wrote Schwartz. Then comes what could be a hint "And as I've consistently said, and as you'll soon see, there's a lot of value in volume." The "you'll soon see" part is linked to the JavaOne conference home page.
So, what could Schwartz mean? Will there be some new, volume-related news regarding that which Sun already gives away (for example, perhaps a new OEM for x86 Solaris)? Or, in the vein of not fighting the gravity that Schwartz says is fruitless to fight, is some other software -- perhaps Java -- officially going a free route (eg: open source)? That would be appropo of JavaOne. It's hard to tell. Last week, during one of my podcast interviews, BEA VP Bill Roth dropped a hint that BEA would have some open source news at JavaOne too. Might there be some sort of open source Java announcement that involves Sun and the primary J2EE licenses such as BEA, IBM, and Oracle?
Then there's the question of whether one of Sun's competitors will come up with a show spoiler of an announcement on the day before the event. In the past, IBM has needled Sun just before the event in hopes of loosening the company's grip on Java. But politically on the Java front, not much has changed. Also, the rhetoric between IBM and Sun isn't nearly what it used to be. Perhaps in recognition of their mutual enemy Microsoft (well, with Sun, that's sort of an enemy), they've decided to be more cordial with each other. Judging by the interplay between the bloggers at IBM and the bloggers at Sun over the "open" issue, they certainly seem a bit more chummy with each other than usual.
Finally, there's the perennial "will NetBeans merge with Eclipse" question. While it comes up at various times throughout the year, the rumor mill can easily hit its crescendo during JavaOne. Especially if love is in the air between Sun and IBM. Oh, you kids!