Oracle buys Sun. Now What?

So Oracle bought Sun. Aside from the usual vendor sports stories (IBM lost this one), what's the deal here for Linux and other open source fixtures in both Sun's and Oracle's portfolios? What happens to MySQL? What happens to Java? How about Solaris? You tell us.

Here's Sun's open source site.

And here's Oracle's.


Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Regarding Mysql

dravid's picture

Mysql is a open source database. So no problem to using mysql. but oracle bought java. java users may be affect for this issue. Informative Site

New Oracle database and the deep injery in OSS community

Mohamed ishaq's picture

From my point of view I see that oracle may create a new operating system by having java and open solaris, the fear are still there that they will be close sourced and the License will change furthermore where MySql was a good competitor for oracle there is chances that it will be Licensed, closed or merged with oracle database, but this event may create new competition of Microsoft or create a threat for the open community...
Things are not clear for now but we should re-plan and think again what can we do??

can we empower a new language that will take java place??
what about MySql alternative should all online developers and contributer store copies of the source code and engage in postgree or start from scratch??
What about open office if it was owned by sun would it be close source ??
is it possible to move and contribute in Koffice project??

Finally we canot stop.....
Keep fighting and strugling......
Stand again and see what alternative do we have....
Open Source is still there and will still be there....
Remember Stallman how he struggled alone and waited for years antill open source movement become strong....

Mohamed Ishaq

The Fate of Java

Indu's picture

What I fear the most is that by choosing Java and J2EE, we will be invariably choosing Oracle. Sun was very neutral. When you wanted to pick a web development tech stack, you would think of open-source options (unless your managers love MicroSoft). With open-source, you have PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby on Rails and Java/J2EE. So far Java/J2EE has done pretty good. Its been there since the ages, so 2000ish. And it has gradually evolved. Heavy weights have pitched in to contribute to Java and now JEE through the JCP. What I see would happen is, that big corporations would still go for JEE-Oracle combination. I know one major conglomerate that uses Solaris OS, Oracle Databases and JBoss Servers, because I am contracting for them. And I don't think they will have any reason to change their preferences in the recent future. But for medium to small companies, I feel there would be a big change. There would be a feeling that by choosing Java, they will invariably end up with Oracle. Small companies won't want to choose a path that will invariably push them towards hefty licensing fees from Oracle. What I see is that there will be programmers who will want to switch from Java. I strongly feel that there will be a strong push from open source community to choose other languages and leave Java for Oracle enthusiasts.

Good fit, probably

Doc Searls's picture

I held back on my thoughts because I didn't want to push the conversation in one direction or another. (I was also in a rush to get something up before I got on a plane.)

My own feeling is that Sun fits much better with Oracle than it would have with IBM. When I first heard about IBM pursuing Sun, I figured it was mostly to buy the customer base, which (as Mike Kirk says, above), is enormous. But I also figured that an IBM purchase would probably be curtains for Sun hardware, and probably for Solaris.

I'm with Mike on the rest of it as well. There is little that competes and lots that complements. Oracle also has plenty of history supporting open source development, even though its core product is highly proprietary. I don't expect anything bad to happen to MySQL or OpenOffice. Both have large, independent development communities that will carry on no matter what Oracle does.

i also agree with Anonymous, above, that Ellison wants to be to the Enterprise what Apple is to the end user. In that context, the whole thing makes a lot of sense.

The big question mark is people. Sun had already shed quite a few. Many more were eager to move on, and already had one foot out the door, waiting to get RIF'd and to take their severance packages. I think RIFfing is less likely under Oracle than it was under either Sun or IBM, if only to discourage the loss of engineers.

Acquisitions on this scale have a high probability of failure, especially in Silicon Valley. But I'm not betting on failure this time.

Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal

Oracle vs Microsoft

Salvadesswaran Srinivasan's picture

What I envision is that Oracle should build a open source productivity suite based on Open Office to rival MS Office. Oracle is a company that has the financial muscle and presence to take Microsoft heads on. About MySQL, I'd rather that Oracle kept MySQL open source and not stop its development. It can co-exist as maybe Oracle's little brother, a la MS Office and Works. Coming to Java, Sun's flagship product, I think that it can help Oracle diversify its product base. So they must have a schedule for Java to develop it and surpass C# in terms of features and ease of use. And about Solaris, how about building Oracle/Sun Servers running Solaris, Oracle, Java offering perfect integration. Now that would be one helluva product! And all these would be open source, with custom support at a cost and community support for free. They can also have separate Enterprise and Community Editions of these products.

Regarding OpenOffice

Roland's picture

Larry doesn't like BillG. I predict OO will get more support. We may even see a direct attack on MS Office, one of Redmond's cash cows.

I think Oracle gets a lot of

Mike Kirk's picture

I think Oracle gets a lot of value out of this. You can now get a single quote from them that covers everything from low-end and enterprise servers (x86 and SPARC), storage (StorageTek stuff and Amber Road), OS (Solaris), apps, and network (adapters and Blade 6000 fabrics)... all the way through to the thin-clients sitting on the front end (SunRay and VDI). Entire stack, top to bottom. They even inherited the xVM line... and can push xVM Server to be a thorn in VMwares side if they so choose...

Sure, there's duplication in the middleware: the Sun JES stack may be reduced or die over time. But that will take years, since right now they're a source of juicy support contracts.

There's an enormous footprint of Sun gear out there: it doesn't disappear overnight: and you can bet Oracle will be happy to milk existing customers for yearly service contracts for as long as they're willing to pay (until that cost become to painful, and then Oracle will sell services to migrate/uplift them to the latest version)

As for Java: it's not going anywhere. It's firmly entrenched in almost every large corporation: and honestly when have you every heard of a programming language dying? :) They live forever...

Lots of stuff, little of value

David Lane's picture

With the acquition of Sun, Oracle picks up a lot of "stuff," but very little of it is going to be of long term value to Oracle unless Larry's end-game is to take over Microsoft's spot as top software developer.

Out of the gate, I think we can say good-bye to the hardware. I would not be surprised to see the Sparc line (what's left of it) spun out to HP or IBM, including the storage hardware. Oracle does not have a need for hardware or the loosing margins of a hardware buisness.

Not far behind that, I would not be surprised to see Open Office spun out. Either as a foundation or as a "here, you take it" to Red Hat (doubtful) or the community in general.

I expect that MySQL will remain a strong product offering, but whether it remains as open as it is or if it is merged into the Oracle code base as a "better" Oracle "Lite" remains to be seen. The same with the Veritas software. The good stuff will get merged into the Oracle database backup solutions and file management the rest will be ignored.

Which leave Java. Oracle is one of the leading class generators of Java and probably utilizes it more intesively than any other company today. I expect it will be held as closely as Sun ever did, if not closer.

Solaris is the question mark in my mind. I hoestly don't know what they would do with it. There is a huge install base that will require support services, patching and updating. IBM would be smart and enquire about the Solaris line and replace their AIX line with it or we might see Oracle roll it into their RAC solution. But with a full fledge database, I cannot see them wanting to spend money on an operating system as well.

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack

Oracle & hardware

Anonymous's picture

>>Out of the gate, I think we can say good-bye to the hardware. I would not be surprised to see the Sparc line (what's left of it) spun out to HP or IBM, including the storage hardware. Oracle does not have a need for hardware or the loosing margins of a hardware buisness.
I disagree

Been nice knowing you HP
"Ellison outlined query processing and how Oracle's embedded software will handle query processing and other functions more efficiently. Oracle is hoping to sell its storage hardware as part of a grid. Drives will be searched in parallel also.
With the move, Oracle is copying Apple's model to a degree. Ellison is arguing that combined hardware and software efforts can be more effective. Instead of the consumer market, where Apple's secret sauce is tightly integrated in hardware and software for Macs and iPods, Oracle is coupling its database software with custom hardware to revamp data centers.
The Exadata storage server will be immediately available on Linux running on Intel, but Ellison noted other flavors for various platforms "are on the way." Oracle's move could be disruptive in the storage market and with players like EMC and IBM, since it can offer a joint-software hardware sale and leverage its HP's partnership. HP and Oracle are also rolling out an "Oracle database machine," designed for customers that don't want to configure the systems. The initial machine has 168 terabytes of disk data and 64 Intel cores."

Not too hopeful

verisimilidude's picture

Oracle has built a lot of its pricey software layers in Java (as they point out in the press release). I'm sure the possibility of an IBM deal (their major competitor in the database market) spooked them and they decided to ensure that Java could never get away from their influence. The possibility of having an in-house hardware system that could be tweaked to compete with DB/2 on AS400's was, I suspect, also on their minds. But the rest of the Solaris story will probably be allowed to wither from neglect. I can't see much money being put into Open Office, mySQL, porting of popular open source apps to Solaris (not that they did a lot of the latter), etc.

Java is in need of an upgrade. Microsoft's C# has come out with a number of interesting new technologies present at the language level (e.g. LINQ - sql style processing of collections, and the yield statement which allows a form of continuation style programming). Java has relied primarily upon extensions to the library. Functional programming style may be the next wave since it can be compiled to target multiple processors more easily than standard object oriented code. C# is ready to move on but Java seems stuck. So I think this can be a good thing for Java.

It's sad too that Sun is now setting. It was one of the first dedicated Unix vendors back in the 80s and really were pioneers in developing computers that explored what networking could do. It has had its share of missteps but I think its major one was ignoring Linux for too long. They concentrated on Solaris on Sparc and, while developing x86 Solaris, they held it too close for too long and lost the chance to become a major OS the way Java became a major language.

My question is what happens

Anonymous's picture

My question is what happens to Open Office?

Maybe this could have some good upside as lots of rumblings about OO paint Sun as a problem for that project, and the MySQL news since Sun bought them hasn't been all rosy either....

I'm with you...worried

MzK's picture

Yes, as a contributor of OpenOffice for the past 7 years, I'm worried about OpenOffice as well. This open source project just doesn't mesh well at all with ANYTHING is Oracle is currently doing, or has ever done. What reason does Oracle have for continuing to support it? Sun HAD a vested interested because it essentially grew out of one of Sun's closed products..but now what???! I'm sad. :(

Regarding Java

Phil Gomes's picture

I recently moderated a panel at the Flourish open-source conference UIC. Prior to the conference, during a Twitter call-for-questions, I asked about the possible result of an IBM/Sun deal. (This was just before talks dissolved.) One person wrote back: "Good for open-source. Bad for Java." When this was put to the panel, the general opinion -- from a kernel hacker, KDE developer, web-apps programmer, and a field systems engineer -- was the hope that Java would just kind of die.

As to Oracle? Well, it calls itself a "leading and enthusiastic supporter of Java" (in two different places, no less), so I guess we'll just see what happens.

So if the opinion of the

Anonymous's picture

So if the opinion of the development community for IBM/SUN was not so kind for the future of Java, how would an Oracle/SUN be different? IBM had more open source contributions than Oracle ever had, so calling itself "a leading and enthusiastic supporter of Java" is like your step mom saying, "your dad really loved your mom, you know.."