Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oracle's buying of Sun

Well, the long odyssey of Jonathan Schwartz's cap-in-hand with a "please buy me" sign is over. Now Larry Ellison will own Sun. Yeah there will be paperworks (lest the lawyers and bureacrats be out of jobs) and it will only be finalised by summer, but it's more or less a done deal at US$7.6 billion.

Sun and IBM would have been a better fit. IBM does Java better than Sun and has been one of the first companies to invest more than US$100 million into open source. IBM has a good relationship working with open source (except for IBM Malaysia; mention open source they'll run helter skelter) and doing great works on ODF.

Now Ellison is known to be hard to play nice with. It's always his way or the highway or he'll just bully or brow-beat you into submission. So I do not see it will auger well for open source world.

He does not care for freedom (other than his own); only for dollars and cents. Since he can't own Linux he'll just make a copy of RHEL and slap an Oracle label (Oracle Unbreakable Linux) on it.

First thing that crossed my mind, what will happen to MySQL? It's free in both sense of freedom and cost and it works well enough for most but the most demanding users, and even then there is MySQL Enterprise.

So it be a "rechristened" a lower-end Oracle database or will it be left to wither? I do hope not. Perhaps it will be good time now to take a peek what MariaDB and PostgreSQL have to offer.

OpenOffice.org - no direct competition to any of Oracle's stuff but will Oracle continue with OpenOffice.org's community commitments? Will Oracle still be willing to pump in money for its developers to freely offer OpenOffice.org? OpenOffice.org is practically the standard bearer for the Free/Open Source desktop, while nobody can kill it with the code available and all, but the fact is, with Sun behind OpenOffice.org it gave the latter credibility, meaning many non techies were at least willing to give it shot. If it is purely a community effort it may not be that easy to convince 'em muggles otherwise. People are still more trusting of brick and mortar companies.

Java - easily the most versatile language around. Runs everything from portals to games on my cellphone. Evidently Oracle runs many of their stuff with Java. So that's a great buy for them. While it is not hard to make it freely available, but will they will work with the JCP (Java Community Process)?

What the root of my concern is that, will Oracle close source stuff? Will it make existing projects harder to grow? While that maybe premature but seeing what Larry Ellison does to his competitors and the general playground bully persona he has, I think that is justifiable.

Just another long rant.


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