One of the most appealing aspects of journalism is that, sometimes, you get to give billionaires like Larry Ellison (right) some free advice.
I got a lot of blogospheric pushback, calling me out by name. Masoud Kalali at JavaNet said I got it wrong. This spread halfway around the world, then to NatMac, to Jessica Thornsby, and finally Alex Gorbachev demanded I stop the FUD. I wish I'd seen it.
Their main point was that the OpenSolaris license didn't change, only the basic Solaris conditions. Point taken. But what is most interesting to me (although I could always be wrong again) is the reaction from Oracle itself.
It reminds me a bit of politics, not in a partisan sense but in a tactical sense. That is, the first response to a charge is to ignore it. You only address it when the charge gains traction.
That is conventional wisdom, but as Democrats claim they learned in the health reform debate, that conventional wisdom is wrong.
In my own case, I'm sure a phone call from some Oracle PR maven would have gotten quick results. But that didn't happen. There was no official request for a correction, not even an official response in the Talkbacks.
I am not saying here that it's Oracle's fault I got something wrong. Point is that silence is a vacuum that gets filled by others, not to your advantage. The concerns about the future of OpenSolaris are spreading rapidly to other Oracle assets, to Java and to OpenOffice.
No doubt Oracle believes that actions speak louder than words. But something I have said repeatedly here, and will continue to say, knowing that at least here I'm right, is that open source is not just business. Treating it as just business is a mistake. Open source always has an element of politics in it, because you're dealing with communities, not just customers.
Oracle ignores this at its financial peril.