Will Glassfish Validate Schwartz' Open Source Strategy?

Will Glassfish Validate Schwartz' Open Source Strategy?

Summary: The beta release of Glassfish Version 2 is a good place for evaluating Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz' open source strategy.

TOPICS: Open Source

The beta release of Glassfish Version 2 is a good place for evaluating Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz' open source strategy.

Glassfish is a Java-based application server. As such it competes with other quality open source products.

Schwartz' bet was that Sun will, in the long run, make more money by leveraging an open source community and selling support than by keeping its code proprietary. Financial types might want to measure support revenue, compare that to the previous year's sales revenue, and then look hard over the tops of their eyeglasses.

Schwartz will argue that would be wrong. Look at the revenue number's direction. If support revenues are on an upward trajectory, not just for Glassfish but for all the tools in Sun's Web Developer Pack, that's a turnaround. If losses are even narrowing, month to month, that's a turnaround.  

Add in the value of community contributions, the goodwill from enterprise developers, the translation into hardware sales down the road, and please look out with a longer time horizon than 11 months before giving out any dirty looks.

Then recognize that without these moves Sun's software business would still be nosediving, he might say. Oh, and it's a one-way trip. You don't come back from the GPL. The best (financially) thing you can do is cut off support to the community, to walk away from the software entirely.

So, is Jonathan Schwartz' open source turnaround working?

[poll id=34]

Topic: Open Source

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  • Yep, it's helping

    Sun just had their first "officially" profitable quarter in like 5 years.

    And look at their software business until recently. When they were selling proprietary licenses of various products, they weren't generating much revenue or profit. They were nosediving, and license revenue was something 3 or 4 % of Sun's total revenue (the rest being hardware and services, of course).

    So basically, that had little or nothing to lose, and the one thing they were generating consistent revenue on, Java compatibility packs to IBM, BEA, Oracle, and J2ME license on cell phones, is still there, in a dual licensing scheme. And now with the GPL side of things, they get huge mind share, momentum, and thus increasing support and services revenue.

    Schwartz is doing the absolute right thing.
  • Yep, and, most don't realize that it will also help them hire the best and

    brightest. Ian Murdock is now working for Sun because of their open source strategy. There will be more.

    And, all of the good will definitely helps. Looking forward to GPL3 for Solaris, Java, and other parts.

    This will put pressure on Linus and company working on the Linux kernel.