Oracle details fate of Sun software

A recently published document has shed more light on Oracle's product plans for key products, including the GlassFish open-source application server and the NetBeans IDE
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor on

Oracle will continue delivering Sun's open-source GlassFish and NetBeans products upon the completion of its acquisition of Sun, according to a recently published document.

The document also included updated information about Oracle's plans for OpenOffice and for Sun's virtualisation, identity management, SOA and systems management products.

In the updated overview of the proposed acquisition — first announced in April — Oracle clarified its plans for GlassFish and NetBeans, saying it would "continue evolving GlassFish Enterprise Server", continuing to deliver it as the open-source reference implementation of the Java Enterprise Edition specifications.

The software maker plans to "actively" support the GlassFish community, according to the document. It did not specify when the overview was updated, but the modification date registered on the document is 26 October.

Since the deal's announcement, questions have remained over how Oracle will reconcile the overlaps in the two companies' portfolios of products. While the overview document states that it is "for information purposes only", it provides some indication of the "general product direction" Oracle plans to take. While the acquisition is still in progress, Oracle and Sun are legally limited in the comments they can make regarding the deal and its implications.

The open-source application server GlassFish Enterprise Server competes with Oracle's WebLogic Server, but Oracle stated it would work to make the two products complementary.

"Oracle plans to invest in aligning common infrastructure components and innovations from Oracle WebLogic Server and GlassFish Enterprise Server to benefit both Oracle WebLogic Server and GlassFish Enterprise Server customers," the overview document stated.

In the document, the company also voiced support for the integrated development environment (IDE) NetBeans, while acknowledging the IDE's (integrated development environment's) overlaps with two other developer tools, Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse.

"Oracle has a strong track record of demonstrating commitment to choice for Java developers," the company said. "As such, NetBeans is expected to provide an additional open-source option and complement to the two free tools Oracle already offers for enterprise Java development."

JDeveloper will remain its strategic development tool for Oracle Fusion middleware and next-generation enterprise applications, but that for other uses, such as pure Java and Java Enterprise Edition development, developers would "be able to use whichever free tool they are most comfortable with", the software maker said.

The company will also continue to develop and support the OpenOffice productivity suite, which it sees as creating a "compelling desktop integration bridge for our enterprise customers" and offering consumers "another choice on the desktop", it said. Oracle added that it plans to continue Sun's policy of offering a "typical commercial licence option" for customers who want "extra assurances, support and enterprise tools".

Oracle will continue Sun's desktop virtualisation software, including VDI, Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop and VirtualBox, while Sun's identity management and service-oriented architecture software will be integrated into Fusion Middleware, according to the document.

Sun's Ops Center system management product is "highly complementary" to Oracle's Enterprise Manager, Oracle added.

Oracle has said from the beginning that one of its chief goals for the Sun acquisition is to be able to offer buyers integrated sets of products, including either Oracle or Sun technology, where needed. "Oracle will 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," Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison said in the company's statement announcing the proposed acquisition in April.

Sun has continued updating its potentially overlapping products, despite the uncertainty around the acquisition. For instance, it released version 3.0.10 of its desktop virtualisation product Virtual Box on Thursday.

Sun said in October that it will lay off up to 3,000 staff, or about 10 percent of its worldwide workforce, during the coming year as it prepares for the Oracle takeover.

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