The “donation” of the code to ASF was met coolly by The Document Foundation (TDF), the organization of developers that spun off LibreOffice in September 2010 from OpenOffice in response to Oracle’s handling of the project, including the decision to charge for the previously free Open Document Format plugin that allowed interoperability between OpenOffice and Microsoft Office suite. TDF lists its supporters, which include most of the big names in Linux: Red Hat, Canonical, Novell, Google and more.
TDF issued a statement, explaining that this move was not all they had hoped for:
The Document Foundation would welcome the reuniting of the OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects into a single community of equals in the wake of the departure of Oracle. The step Oracle has taken today was no doubt taken in good faith, but does not appear to directly achieve this goal. The Apache community, which we respect enormously, has very different expectations and norms – licensing, membership and more – to the existing OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice projects. We regret the missed opportunity but are committed to working with all active community members to devise the best possible future for LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org.
This move by Oracle doesn’t seem to be as “open” claim in its press materials on the matter, and TDF’s grumblings won’t go unnoticed by the open source community. One of the key hang-ups is the change of software licensing under Apache. Previously, OpenOffice code was licensed under the GPL, LGPLv3 and MPL. Under Apache’s license, modifications to the code do not need to be given back, which contrasts with the previous licensing versions.
Notably, IBM is supporting the move, and Bob Sutor has issued his own analysis and reaction on his blog.
More on OpenOffice and ASF
Oracle watchers speculate on future of OpenOffice
ASF Incubator: What does that mean?]]>
A May 5 story on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com about the decline of Sun Microsystems and its recent purchase by Oracle Corp. drew some thoughtful, diverse views from readers. The article concluded that Linux didn’t cause Sun’s downfall, fiscally speaking, but provided a low-cost x86-based OS that offered companies a cheaper hardware/software alternative, indirectly undermining Sun’s overall business.
David Marsh, an IT architect with a custom chip company, said his firm is planning to replace its outdated Solaris systems with cheaper, more powerful x86-based hardware, a decision that has nothing to do with the pending Oracle/Sun merger. Marsh expects to migrate its Oracle e-Business suite from Solaris to Linux at the next upgrade, probably virtualizing some portions of the application, and potentially all of it, on VMware.
Marsh’s firm also uses Sun Solaris instead of Windows to run Citrix XenApp, which functions as the front-end for its designers, who use many Linux-based tools. Marsh would prefer to migrate them from Solaris to Linux because the licensing for the Windows version of XenApp is “triple” the cost on Solaris. However, a Citrix spokeswoman said Citrix currently has “no plans” to add a XenApp version for the Linux platform.
Marsh was dismayed with Citrix’ response and predicted that “quite a few high-end customers will switch to other products,” like X-Windows display software for Windows or free, open source Xming software.
But Rich Rutkowski, whose small firm makes point-of-sale systems for retail outlets, hopes that Oracle will leverage Solaris and Java at Linux’s expense. Rutkowski’s firm was using Linux for development but was disappointed with Red Hat and Novell’s SUSE open source OSes. Red Hat doesn’t support Sun’s application server directly but, instead, refers users to Sun forums, he complained. And SUSE has a complex install process for nVidia drivers and, worse, a SUSE desktop upgrade caused a kernel panic, he said.
“After experimenting with OpenSolaris and the full production Solaris, we realized that everything we added to Linux (Postgres, Java Application Server and Java) came packaged with a full install of Solaris,” Rutkowski said. “Buying from Sun makes sense and the costs were actually cheaper. We will stay with Sun hardware and software and observe Oracle’s actions. There is no reason to go to Linux if Oracle keeps Solaris open.”
Oracle’s $7.4 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems is expected to be finalized this summer.]]>
The news was the first thing I noticed when I logged onto Twitter, and I saw that SearchDataCenter.com was working on the story. I “retweeted” Executive Editor Matt Stansberry’s play for feedback and heard back from Tom Howard, who said “IBM missed its chance. I want to know what Oracle’s commitment to Open Office and Solaris are, personally.”
But the bigger fear was from the MySQL folks. Satoshi Nagayasu, an open source database engineer from Tokyo, Japan, asked “Should we say goodbye to MySQL?” He then pointed to a blog from 2005 that was a reaction to Oracle’s purchase of Innobase, and said “Josh’s article gave me some insights why we use community-based open source [PostgreSQL].”
One of the more fun and mood-illustrating reactions was from tartansolutions: “Oracle now owns MySQL?! In related news, the Rebel Alliance has been acquired by Darth Vader for three wookies and a tantan “
John Engates, CTO at Rackspace, said “Seems like there’s a lot of concern about Oracle screwing up MySQL. People may look to PostgreSQL as a ‘safe’ open source DB.” He linked to a blog post by Om Malik, providing the GigaOM perspective on the purchase. Of the things Om said, the central point in the concern could be summarized by this paragraph:
At this price, it looks like Oracle found itself yet another bargain and in one fell swoop became a worthy competitor to IBM. It allows Oracle to become a player in the cloud computing business. More importantly, the company ends up acquiring MySQL, the upstart database that has been viewed as Oracle’s Achilles’ heel. In one fell swoop, it has taken out its No. 1 competitor.
Not all in the open source community was doom and gloom though. Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, in his blog post in reaction to the deal looked for a silver lining. Zemlin pointed out that Oracle is strategically aligned with Linux in its position as a Linux distributor, and all its products are developed and run on Linux.
“Oracle is a key supporter of open standards such as ODF and we believe this only strengthens that stance,” said Zemlin. “This acquisition could prove fruitful for Open Office and ODF support in the enterprise.”
I was on the phone for the Canonical Ubuntu 9.04 release press conference, and one of the participants asked Canonical CEO, Mark Shuttleworth, what his reaction was, specifically regarding Java support.
“It is far too early to tell,” said Shuttleworth. “Java has been open, it tends to be a one-way trip – once you’ve made that commitment it makes sense to have it as highly available as possible.”
Shuttleworth also saw the move as a bit of further evidence of the worth of open source in the enterprise software industry.
“This really cements that free software and open source is the driving force today,” he said. “All of the major forces today are either free software or powered by free software — Java, Google, and onward. The software marketplace is consolidating at an extraordinary pace. Part of the reason for that is that open source is dominating the innovation pipeline. The fact that one of those five has just announced a $7 billion acquisition of a company that describes itself as the world’s biggest free and opens source software company proves that open source is the big game in town.”
Lastly, analyst Dana Gardener painted what I feel is the most level-headed picture of what the whole deal means.
Suffice to say that whatever momentum Sun had behind open source everywhere will be muted to open source some times as a ramp to other Oracle stuff, or to grow the community and keep developers happy. If nothing else, Oracle has been pragmatic on open source, not religious.
What do you think this means for open source? Are you considering moving to PostgreSQL if you weren’t already? Are you a programmer worried about Java support? Share your thoughts in the comments
More analysis from TechTarget:
Oracle-Sun combo: What does it mean for enterprise Java?
Will Sun help Oracle eclipse IBM?
VARs turn wary eye on Sun-Oracle combo
Oracle-Sun: A threat to VMware?]]>
The certification means HP will list Ubuntu as a supported operating system and verify the work undertaken by Canonical to ensure full certified compatibility. Furthermore both companies are fully co-operating at the engineering level to provide full underlying confidence for HP customers using the certified servers.
HP won’t be shipping servers with Ubuntu preloaded. But, as Canonical marketing manager Gerry Carr explained to me, the certification will provide HP customers with assurance that if they sideload Ubuntu, it will work with specific information regarding performance. This news follows Canonical’s announcement of user survey results that revealed an uptick in adoption of the server-based operating system in a variety of mission-critical Web and database applications. The surveyed Ubuntu users shared that they mostly use the OS on assembled servers and tower and desktop PCs.
However, Carr explained that “It appears to be that HP ProLiant is the second most popular [server] brand behind Dell PowerEdge servers. I expect that is consistent across the unknown Ubuntu users out there.”
For an example of who is using Ubuntu, Canonical shared the story of a Chicago-based finance house that runs entirely on Ubuntu server and runs their open and proprietary stack on primarily HP machines, with some Dell in the mix.
In his blog post regarding the announcement, Joe Panettieri of WorksWithU, an Ubuntu dedicated news website, explained the history of Canonical’s Ubuntu Server edition initiative. He shared that a recent site reader survey revealed growing momentum for Ubuntu in the enterprise market. However, the big players (Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE Linux) continue to lead the way in both mind and market share.
Al Gillen, VP in charge of system software research with IDC, echoed this perspective in a statement to Ed Scannell of Information Week:
“In terms of noise level, Ubuntu has been hot lately. But the ecosystem simply isn’t as mature for Ubuntu as it is for Red Hat and SUSE Linux. They do not have the level of application support and data base support, and some other things that you need to be enterprise ready.”
Ubuntu achieved certification on Sun’s x64 servers in early 2008, around the time Canonical released Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.
Carr shared that Canonical is working to see Ubuntu certified on all the major manufacturer servers in the next few years. The timing of certification on HP’s servers is unclear, but is underway and Carr expects to see it “sometime soon.”]]>
Well, it seems that the passage of time and the knock of opportunity have overcome any hard feelings, judging from Sun’s deal with Wind River Systems Inc., which was announced recently at the MySQL trade show.
Here’s the deal: Wind River, whose technology helps embedded devices run faster, has agreed to port its Carrier Grade systems to Sun’s latest and greatest UltraSparc T2 chip multithreading (CMT) processor, which runs much faster than a conventional single-core processor.
The deal is good for Sun, giving it an entrée into embedded networking applications, and good for the networking industry, which would benefit from Sun’s newest and most powerful CMT processors. This could in turn benefit data center managers who already use Sparc processors and are thinking about beefing up their telecom networks, Weinberg said.
Whether they’ll think to ask for Sun processors is anyone’s guess, Weinberg cautioned, since the processor brand isn’t highlighted in the hardware packages.”This is a bet on both sides,” Weinberg said. “It’s not a sure thing.”
But forgiveness is good medicine for the soul — and for business too. Sounds like a good move.]]>
Beyond the photo op and blogging opportunity, the visit was encouraging to the group, according to Zack Urlocker, Sun’s vice president of MySQL products. “It was a very nice touch, showing that they are actively listening to the community and understand its importance in the open source world,” he said.]]>
Sun now owns the M in the famous LAMP stack. A good thing? Definitely. Open source fans are always happy to see the success of open source pioneers, such as Monty Widenius and David Axmark who have been with MySQL since 1995. One might have mixed feelings about MySQL being acquired rather than going public, for it would be nice to see some large companies develop in the open source market.
When it comes to open source, Widenius and Axmark played by the rules, initially licensing under the GNU lesser general public license (LGPL) and later under the GNU general public license (GPL). Like Red Hat, they understood the value of a large, evangelical user base that paid no revenue but helped spread the product. But unlike Red Hat, MySQL owns all of its code, adding a proprietary advantage to its strategy. This allows MySQL a proprietary license and companies to embed MySQL in proprietary software without violating open source rules. I suspect this proprietary wrinkle of MySQL was one of the things that made Sun interested.
Sun’s strategy a concern
Sun has always been schizophrenic about open source, as evidenced in their Sun Community Source License (SCSL) and the Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL). When it offered a Linux desktop, rather than putting the Linux name on it, Sun stamped it with the Java trademark instead. So it’s not hard to believe that the idea of actually owning MySQL versus merely being an equal user of the source code strongly influenced Sun’s decision.
That being said, I’m a little concerned about how slow Sun has been to warm up to open source licensing. In addition, as Sun was also slow to address the fact that software (e.g. Solaris) was as important to its business as hardware, it took a long time for Sun to wake up to the fact that many of its customers were Linux users.
This large-company lethargy influenced Sun’s open source possessions. It took years for OpenOffice to put up a Web page of add-ons, which were buried in a Sun database that only corporate purchasers would be attracted to. Some years ago Sun hired the leading developers of NetBeans and put them in its Prague laboratory, where they were to extend the functionality and reliability of the NetBeans foundation while Sun added upper layers, some of which were to be enterprise-level and proprietary. But outside developers were faster at add-ons than Sun was, and the young Eclipse (note the irony) from IBM was better at gaining market share and functionality.
But I think that MySQL has enough mass and momentum to hold its course, and the slow rate of change in the database industry may be more suited to Sun’s pace. Jonathan Schwartz said on his blog, “MySQL is by far the most popular platform on which modern developers are creating network services,” and Sun did have the long vision some fifteen years ago when it made the McLuhan-esqe proclamation that “the network is the computer.” In this age of cloud computing the network is a better-and-better bet.
The billion-dollar acquisition of MySQL by Sun also illustrates a number of truths about today’s software and open source market. The name of the game is support in one form or another. Oracle is trying to increase its support revenue to match its licensing revenue. Why? Because licensing revenue will eventually drop as open source databases become increasingly common. Sun is already offering paid support for Oracle and Postgres databases; it might as well be the go-to location for support for the most popular of the open source databases, MySQL.
As IT departments discover that database systems are taking an increasing share of the budget, more are discovering open source. Proprietary companies that want to survive will have to do it with better service and lower prices.
MySQL is an example of a disruptive technology. At first, it was too puny for the proprietary databases to notice, and satisfied only small users. But its powers grew, and the size of the companies using it also increased. It cannot match the upper limits of DB2 capability at this point, but it will be interesting to see if and when that day comes. But it doesn’t have to; it is already transforming most of the database market. May Sun invest the money (and employ the open source software developers) to take it to the top.]]>
By now most people have heard the news: Sun is acquiring MySQL. I was sharing the announcement with co-workers when one of them said that it is old news. He apparently heard about it last night or this morning. But as you can tell from my SELECT statement, I think that MySQL’s acquisition is long overdue.
MySQL: Icarus rising
Some things catch fire when they get too close to the Sun, but MySQL is poised to set the world ablaze. A blog on CNET remarked that “an acquisition by Sun means that MySQL gets to continue being a pureplay open-source company and won’t need to sacrifice the ideals or the benefits of open source to suit a halfway (and half-baked) stance on open source” and another blog wondered aloud if MySQL was ever really innovating. I agree with both of these statements. The reason that MySQL has become the most popular open-source database is not because it is the best open-source database (although you could argue that it is), but because MySQL has a terrific support model. However, the technology itself needs to catch up with some of the competition, such as Postgres schemas.
Almost serendipitous is my previous blog about Trac. The Trac development community has a love/hate relationship with MySQL; that is, for the most part, they love to hate it. Their problems begin with the lack of schema support as well as many others. Perhaps as CNET mentioned, having some backers with deep pockets, MySQL might spend a bit more money on building out its feature set (I cannot wait for 6.0!)
A new Sun on the horizon
Sun has been busy this last year, first rebranding their NYSE ticket from Sun to Java, and then becoming a Windows OEM. Despite reassurances, it is obvious that Sun is looking to make moves that boost its bottom dollar, and acquiring the leading open source database server is the right direction to take. MySQL is famous for its scale-up architecture and what better commodity platform to scale on then one that can offer 32 parallel threads? Sun hardware + Solaris + MySQL equals one fantastic database box.
Will MySQL leverage its newly acquired wings to explore innovative ideas, or will it, like Icarus, get burned by the (ahem) sun?]]>
We covered the news angle at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, and today the Business Review Online’s Jason Stamper gives the news a fresh spin at the CAOS Theory blog:
The only question really is why it took Red Hat so long to make this move. As The451 Group’s Raven Zachary noted (in our article — J.L.), until now Red Hat has been a little coy about fully backing Java, choosing instead to work with BEA Systems on JRockit for optimization on Linux.
What’s changed of course is the open sourcing of Java, which has made it simpler for Red Hat to use it in its Linux distribution and related tools, Zachary said. The question remains though, what took them? Sun officially open sourced Java a year ago (emphasis mine).
I’m sure it was a variety of things: pride, business acumen, the intricacies of working collaboratively with a competitor who wants to bury your OS and replace it on the server with his own. But the question kind of lingers in the air like a whiff of freshly brewed coffee, doesn’t it? (indirect pun totally intended)
One Slashdot commenter also wondered about this partnership earlier this morning, saying:
“With all the ‘openness’ going on with Java these days will things get even more complicated? I have three important commercial apps that run on Java, all three have their own run time environments that are incompatible with each other. I have no end of trouble with jre and firefox. I can’t count how many times I’ve had problems with classpaths trying to run Java stuff. Will the OpenJDK mean another runtime? As in Blackdown, Sun, Open?”
There’s no doubt that this partnership is a good thing for Red Hat Linux and for Java. Nevertheless, these persistent little questions remain. I don’t know if RH dragging its feet has too much effect on the end user, but still, we’d like to know what the delay was all about.]]>
In a rather stunning bit of news, Microsoft and Sun announced at a press conference that Sun has signed up to become a Windows Server Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), selling Sun x64-based servers that come bundled with Microsoft Windows Server 2003. Sun has released a chart showing which hardware will be ready for the Windows operating system, and the company is expected to ship the first bundled systems within 90 days.
“Sun is now a single source for today’s leading operating systems—Solaris and Windows—on the industry’s most innovative x64 systems and storage products,” said John Fowler, executive vice president at Sun, in a statement. Oh, and don’t forget that they sell Linux too, to the tune of roughly 60% on all the Niagara servers that go out the door (IDC).
Uh, ok? Microsoft seems to benefit more from this deal than Sun does, which ars takes note of:
“The move has all sorts of upsides for Microsoft, which gains a solid hardware partner for their high-end enterprise technologies such as SQL Server and Mediaroom. It is also a boost for Windows Server, which has lately made some small but hard-fought gains in the battle for server market share. The upside for Sun, on the other hand, is somewhat less obvious. Sure, it will get to sell more hardware, but these days the competition and falling profit margins on x86 kit makes this less of a win than it used to be.
For more, head over to my colleague Mark Fontecchio’s post on this over at the SearchDataCenter.com blog. He covers Sun a lot deeper than we do at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, so hopefully he has it all figured out.
Interesting side note: I had the pleasure of attending James Gosling’s Sun Tech Days keynote yesterday. The man is an IT/technology rockstar. He also discussed how open sourcing Java (and by correlation Solaris) is actually making Sun revenue, not taking it away. Some might say that’s “fuzzy math” but Gosling had a formula — a formula! — via his presentation that seemed to make sense. Plus, he was throwing free t-shirts into the audience. Did I say rockstar yet?!]]>