What does Oracle mean for Sun's open source efforts?

What does Oracle mean for Sun's open source efforts?

Summary: So much for a big blue Sun. Instead, the company is being gobbled up Oracle for about $7.

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TOPICS: Open Source, Oracle
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So much for a big blue Sun. Instead, the company is being gobbled up Oracle for about $7.4 billion. Does this mean that Oracle will become "the biggest contributor to open source," or a gaping hole in the FOSS ecosystem?

Sun often likes to brag that it's the largest contributor to open source -- and not without some justification. The company does participate in a lot of projects, and with OpenOffice.org, MySQL, and Java, controls some pretty hefty pieces of the open source ecosystem.

Ellison has already announced Oracle's intention to be "the only company that can engineer an integrated system – applications to disk – where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves." But the statement doesn't say diddly about Oracle's intentions towards Sun's open source holdings. It also mentions Solaris, but doesn't say anything about OpenSolaris. It's certainly understandable that MySQL users would be nervous about the news.

When IBM was courting Sun, there was a reasonable amount of optimism that it would be a good steward of Sun's open source efforts. Oracle seems like more of an unknown quantity. Oracle isn't hostile towards open source, but Oracle's participation in FOSS is very strategic (not that there's anything wrong with that) and narrowly focused to Oracle's interests, and certainly much quieter than IBM's. Oracle's statement has a one-sentence statement regarding its commitment to Linux, and nothing regarding the future of Oracle's open source projects, but nothing regarding its plans for pursuing (or not) open source strategies around Sun's existing projects.

Sun has been trying to build community around its various initiatives, but Oracle doesn't have a history here at all. Will it simply pick up where Sun left off? If Oracle's history is any indication, it's not big on preserving the culture of companies that it's snarfed up. Will Sun be any different?

For the near future, at least, I expect things to remain status quo. In the long term, though, it will be interesting to see if Oracle takes over community building where Sun leaves off, or if Oracle allows the communities to wither. While Oracle hasn't snuffed BerkeleyDB as a FOSS project, for example, it hasn't been nearly as visible as it was when Sleepycat was pushing BerkeleyDB.

From a business standpoint, I think IBM will regret letting Sun slip through its fingers. From an open source standpoint, the community may regret IBM's letting Sun slip through its fingers.

Topics: Open Source, Oracle

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  • IBM has DB2

    lets just hope Oracle doesn't close the book on some of these Open Source applications such as MySql and OpenOffice.
    Maarek Stele
    • OpenOffice and MySQL

      I don't see why OpenOffice would be in any danger, but MySQL could be seen as a threat to Oracle's DB offerings, so it could be the project on the ropes.
      Tiggster
      • RE:OpenOffice and MySQL

        How about postgresql?
        richdave
      • Big winner likely OOo and *nix consumers

        "I don't see why OpenOffice would be in any danger, but MySQL could
        be seen as a threat to Oracle's DB offerings, so it could be the project
        on the ropes."

        OpenOffice is likely to be a big winner. Larry is no friend of MS and
        OOo is one of MS's two cash cows - an easy target to undermine MS
        revenues.

        Oracle, with IBM, are the big Java consumers so Java will win.

        SPARC/OpenSolaris allows Oracle to go up against IBM in a way Sun
        was never able to do. I wonder what this will mean for Linux. Sun UNIX
        experience could be a great win for Linux if Oracle was to mobilise in
        that direction (no threat to OpenSolaris).

        MySQL is a very different product to Oracle itself. Difficult to know
        what Oracle will do here.

        Really a great deal. Oracle will see immediate benefit in the enterprise
        from the deal as Sun's offerings are good and the corporate uncertainty is now lifted. So much better than an IBM deal.
        Richard Flude
        • It will be interesting

          It will be interesting to see if/how they intergrate Open Office with Oracle on the backend in something like an document management system.
          roaming
    • expect Oracle to sell most Sun assets

      The only real asset Oracle got is Java.
      They might keep open office alive just to torment M$, but all the other assets are likely to be sold quckly or discontinued.
      Depending on how IBM and HP react, the biggest loser is M$ that got a big kick in the butt out of the datacenter.
      Linux Geek
  • RE: What does Oracle mean for Sun's open source efforts?

    RedHat or Novell next?
    Conmergence
  • Remember....These are all open source.

    Most of the MySql develpers left when it was "sold" to Sun. Being GPL'ed, there is no reason that the previous developers take the code and create a new project. Same goes for Open Office.

    No, these will not be disappear, but they may be reborn under new projects.
    linux for me