When a company gets bought out it's natural top executives will be shown the door. And so the parade has begun at Sun, now part of Oracle.
This is a good thing for open source. Talent is returning to the wild with credibility and experience others can benefit from.
Phipps had been with Sun for a decade, so he evolved alongside the company's open source strategy, which moved over time from open defiance, to embrace, and finally to leadership.
During Sun's open source heyday Phipps was the "Mr. Inside" to CEO Jonathan Schwartz' "Mr. Outside." Schwartz would set policy and Phipps would defend it in the trenches.
This made Phipps a regular on the open source show circuit, where he debated and learned from just about everyone in the business. He's now like the caveman who returns with fire. He knows things. And he has principles.
As is now typical in these situations, Phipps is also in close contact with the ex-Sun underground, including Schwartz, who now calls his blog What I Couldn't Say. This is another benefit of a corporate fail -- the memoirs, the score-settling, the calling to account.
From his perch as an outsider, Phipps is also now a reporter, copying us on the move of the Drizzle team to Rackspace. Insiders have great sources, so for now make Webmink part of your personal blogroll, too.
The last question, one only he can answer, is what happens now? Phipps is running for re-election to the Open Solaris board, but otherwise appears to be unengaged. Will he skulk back to Australia or try again, this time (perhaps) as CEO of a start-up?
Who knows? Anything goes. I think he'll find that now is when the fun starts.