Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sun in Open Source

After Sun Microsystem has released its JVM under open source license, please keep saying that Sun is too late in embracing open source. I disagree with that.

Open sourcing is not a new move for Sun. Sun has been in open source for
a long time now.

Its Java IDE NetBeans is open source for past 6-7 years.
OpenOffice has been open source for 5-6 years now.
Its Java application server, code name Glassfish is open source for over 1 year.

Solaris operating system is now open source as well (known as OpenSolaris). You can download OpenSolaris live CD (known as Belenix) and run it from your Laptop.

Sun was not releasing its Java Virtual Machine as open source for the longest time. The reason of this was that Sun wanted to avoid multiple forks of incompatible JVM implementations.

Since now Sun has released JVM implementation under open source, one has to pass compatibility to be called Java. But still I don't think that is enough and will stop companies/people from making their own JVM that is incompatible.

I am afraid that the fate of Java can be same as Linux.

People in on internet kept saying that IBM has won the battle in open-source and I disagree with that. IBM has just embraced Linux operating system and now cashing on that. They didn't donate their own patents or major technologies (except eclipse which is named such to indicate that it will fade the Sun's glory) to open source world. AIX operating system, the WebSphere suite, Rational Rose Suite and DB2 are still closed source products.

While Sun has donated its Solaris operating system to open source. It has given revolutioning technologies such as DTrace, containers and ZFS to open-source world. it has even open-sourced its Sparc chip architecture (known as OpenSparc).

Sun is not into Software business and they are not into Services business either. They want to make money by selling boxes (hardware).

Sun has always been a big promoter of open source ideas but its problem is that it does not yet know how to translate the open-source model into cash flow for its business.