Does the Sun Shine at Oracle?

There’s been much coverage and speculation of what might or might not happen following the announcement that Oracle would like to buy Sun Microsystems and Sun are apparently happy to be bought by Oracle [note the deal hasn’t actually happened yet].

I’ve not said much on this because, speculation is, frankly, pretty pointless. We have no idea what is going to happen in reality and I certainly do not have an ear in Larry or Jonathan’s Office. Oracle are going to pay a great deal of money for Sun and they will get a company that is is well liked by many – but not all – in the FOSS community. What do they have that Oracle want?

  • Solaris – A nice operating system for servers. Important to Oracle for a number of reasons. A great deal of their database solutions run on Solaris. Open Solaris is available under an OSI approved Licence.
  • Java – Almost a world in it’s own right and something that is very, very important to lots and lots of companies including Sun’s other early suitor, IBM. Personally I reckon this is Sun’s jewel-in-the-crown. Not for monetary value necessarily, but because it touches almost everyone in some way. From the Java web site: “Java powers more than 4.5 billion devices including: 800+ million PCs, 2.1 billion mobile phones and other handheld devices (source: Ovum), 3.5 billion smart cards, Set-top boxes, printers, Web cams, games, car navigation systems, lottery terminals, medical devices, parking payment stations, and more.” Java is free to use and there is the Open JDK available under the GPL.
  • Lots of hardware – Are Oracle interested in this? Several commentators think not and come up with a credible scenario whereby Oracle can sell off the h/w bits and get back most of what they paid for the whole business. Here’s a nicely succinct piece as an example. That’s quite a compelling story but only time will tell. Maybe Oracle does want to expand into h/w too? Who knows. It would help it compete more against HP and IBM in areas where they were “partners” before…
  • MySQL – Lots of worried voices in the blogoshpere and others keeping surprisingly quiet. Much of the mainstream MySQL code is GPL.
  • – This could hold tremendous opportunity for Oracle should they wish. Take on MS? They could really hurt Microsoft’s cash cow (Office) if they decided or wanted too. is licensed under the LGPL.

Oracle is not unknown in the FOSS world. It has a number of FOSS products and projects such as their own Linux, the InnoDB engine that is used in MySQL (today they released a new embedded version, under the GPL), remember the Berkeley DB from Sleepycat Software? Yep. They have that too (OSI Approved License).

So, not much idle speculation from me. But here are few others speculating that I found interesting:

Ars Technica.
Glyn Moody.
An informed prognosticator.
Matt Assay.

Please drop by any other good links that are worth reading or comments you have. But remember, there’s no point in getting wound up or anxious. Nobody really knows what is going to happen but one thing is certain if the deal goes through; the Free and Open Source Ecosystem has just landed a very big fish indeed…

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