We in open source are so vain. We think every deal is about us. (So I like Carly Simon. Sue me.)
Snorkel is the clever name Miko Matsumura has given the proposed combination of Sun and Oracle.
Like Mark Shuttleworth and others in the open source business space he assumes this is all about us. It has to be about us. Who else can it be about?
On the surface this makes sense. Oracle now gains "control" of Java, of mySQL, and of OpenOffice, three of the biggest dogs in the open source universe.
For Brian Gentile of Jaspersoft, this sets up a "battle for the developer" among Oracle, SAP, IBM and Microsoft.
To prevent developers from fleeing to those competitors, Oracle will need a different and more transparent, collaborative approach than it has ever mustered in the past. This audience will demand it.
My problem with this comes down to one word. Fork.
In open source, if you don't like something, you fork it. You create your own version. You get together with friends and go for it.
Java was highly forked before Sun finally went open source with it, and such forks remain viable. IBM offers an open source alternative to OpenOffice that works well. And have you heard the good news about Ingres?
Even before this deal gets done, Oracle must know that many open source developers already have one foot out the door. Why would it pay anything to get in such a situation?
Solaris. Sometimes press releases tell the full, honest truth.
The Sun Solaris operating system is the leading platform for the Oracle database, Oracle’s largest business, and has been for a long time. With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle can optimize the Oracle database for some of the unique, high-end features of Solaris.
Sometimes, the hips don't lie. (For those of you over 30 that's a Shakira reference.)
Lots of developers work with Java, and will continue to work with a forked version. Same with mySQL. Solaris, maybe, not so much.
For Oracle, I continue to believe, this is a defensive play. The big dogs in server hardware are now H-P, IBM, Dell, Cisco and Oracle. Three of those companies have substantial assets in the software space.
That's where the game is. Hardware and software combined into a solution, with one throat to choke. I may be wrong. Maybe Java and mySQL and OpenOffice offer Oracle unlimited opportunity. Maybe it's all about us.
Or maybe Michael Dell is putting in a call to Mark Hurd....and John Chambers is wondering if he needs a dance partner.