Shuttleworth: Oracle now largest open source player

Oracle's planned acquisition of Sun not only makes it a hardware giant but also a huge open source player, Ubuntu's founder said.On Monday, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu Linux, said the deal makes Oracle one of the largest if not the largest open source software player.

Oracle's planned acquisition of Sun not only makes it a hardware giant but also a huge open source player, Ubuntu's founder said.

On Monday, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu Linux, said the deal makes Oracle one of the largest if not the largest open source software player.

And he doesn't seem too worried that the proprietary software company will kill Sun's open source Java, OpenSolaris and MySQL jewels, in spite of Oracle's hold on the database market.

"I'm sure Oracle has carefully thought through everything it committed [itself] to [and] there will be no reversal of the idea that Java should be widely available and available as open source," Shuttleworth said during a press conference today to launch ubuntu 9.04 upgrade.

"It's a one-way trip," Canonical chief said about the process of making software open source. "What is interesting [about the Oracle-Sun deal] is that it really cements the idea that free and open source software is the profound driving force in software today. "

He noted that 80 percent of all software revenues go to just five companies -- and one of them just bought Sun, the "world's biggest free and open source software company" for a whopping $6 billion. "Part of the reason is that open source is dominating the innovation pipeline," Shuttleworth said. "It cements the idea that open source and free software is the big game. What [SAP, Microsoft and other large proprietary software companies] can't do is ignore it."

Sun and Canonical cooperated but Shuttleworth was not ready to say what relationship with Oracle will be. Java is integrated with Ubuntu.

"It's far too early to tell," Shuttleworth said when asked. 

It's too early to tell what Oracle really has in mind with its mega purchase of Sun. Acquiring hardware and Sun's customers is a big win, of course. Giving Microsoft a scare -- and a big run for its money -- has got to be another major angle. Aside from its Java toolset and open source database, Oracle now has OpenOffice -- the big competitor to Microsoft Office.

But will Oracle pump as much money into MySQL as it has its own databases? Is Oracle's open source intentions sincere, or an effort to kill off its most dangerous open source threat? 

Only time will tell. But it's a huge move for the largest enterprise applications player, a sure fire survival card and a substantial win against rivals like Microsoft, IBM, SAP.