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What happens to Sun's open-source software now?

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The deal is done. Oracle now owns Sun. Oracle's main message to Sun's customers seems to be "Don't worry, be happy." That's not easy when Oracle is not explaining in any detail what it will be doing with open-source software offerings like MySQL, OpenOffice, and OpenSolaris.

In general, we know that Sun's software product catalog will be cut back and that many Sun staffers will soon be laid-off. Historically, when Oracle acquires a company, deep cuts are the rule. For example, Oracle fired about 5,000 workers after acquiring PeopleSoft. This time around Oracle is saying that there will be only about a thousand layoffs. In particular, although no one is going on record, it's feared that Sun's open-source groups will take the brunt of these cuts.

No one is going on record either with what's going to happen to Sun's open-source software. We do know that at least one small open-source project, Project Wonderland, a Java-based platform for developing 3-D virtual worlds, has been cut off from Sun resources. In addition, Oracle is shutting down Project Kenai, Sun's collaborative hosting site for free and open source programs.

But as for the big open-source projects, after talking with people close to the situation, no one at the former Sun knows what Oracle has in mind, and Oracle isn't talking.

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Also: Linux MySQL distros meeting in Brussels

re: Sun

So after years of ranting that Open Source is soooooooooo much better then propriatary software - when it actually hits the fan - we find out it isn't?

If your shop depending on any of those open source projects - and those projects die - you're no better off then if it was a commercial product.

Care to compare the cost to setting up your own dev team (with bottomless funding requests), or just buying (fixed cost) licenses to stuff that already works? Yeah, big surprise there.

So why is open source so much better?

Isn't it obvious?

Sure, for some reason or another an open-source project might die as well. It's not just about money since lack of user interest would be the real killer.

I don't understand how you can't see the logical benefit of open-source in this aspect? A proprietary piece of software is dead whenever a business decision is made to drop its support. That's a serious issue for business, something you probably are familiar with, and especially difficult to deal with when a big manufacturer drop driver support of fairly new products.

An open-source project on the other hand might survive as long as its user base stimulate development; it's not bound to be done under the roof of a company initially sponsoring it. It's even possible that they who pick up a project in danger are more talented and have clearer visions than the team dropping it. That's very difficult to achieve with closed-source patented software.

Therefore the shop deciding on which software to use can't be foolishly guided by a dogma that closed-source software equals long term support, just as it can't be naive and this that open-source software will eternally travel though universe with never ending improvements. Looking at this matter as you suggest vonskippy isn't practical. If you can't or it isn't economically beneficial to maintain the software in-house, do your homework and make research before deciding what route to take (be it close- or open-source).

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