Oracle on OpenJDK

These are encouraging signs that Oracle will continue to invest in OpenJDK and that it won’t follow the same fate as some other Sun Open Source projects like Open Solaris. I’ve long believed that OpenJDK has the opportunity to become the Linux Kernel for Enterprise developers.

Kurian discussed the roadmap for JDK 7 and JDK 8, which will be based on OpenJDK

“In addition, Oracle remains committed to OpenJDK as the the best open source Java implementation and we will continue to improve OpenJDK and welcome external contributors.”

“Oracle will work with the OpenJDK code base and the OpenJDK community
like Sun did. We wil
l continue to develop the JDK in the open under a
GPL license
. We welcome the cooperation and contribution of any member
of the community – individuals as well as organizations – who would
like to be part of moving the most widely used software platform

Oracle’s loss could be Rackspace’s gain

I previously highlighted the fate of OpenSSO – a test case for Oracle and a living experiment for Open Source – possibly allowing us to understand how or whether a project really can outlive it’s corporate backer.

Well, it seems that another piece of the Sun OSS portfolio has floated adrift from the Oracle mother-ship. Some of the key developers have left / are leaving Oracle and have joined Rackspace. With this Rackspace essentially becomes the guardian of one of the major development branches of MySQL. It would be interesting to know what Oracle would price their MySQL assets at today.


I’d like to think of myself as an informed prognosticator having worked for Sun for almost 9 years; but this is prognostication nonetheless. I missed my chance to say what I thought of an IBM acquisition but I’ll start by saying – I think I preferred it – it probably would’ve been a better outcome for the things I care about.

The things I care about are the people I know who still work for Sun, the Java ecosystem, and many of Sun’s Open Source projects that I directly or indirectly benefit from – specifically MySQL (this post will live in MySQL), OpenJDK and OpenOffice.

It still seems like a strange merger – sure, Sun and Oracle have a huge shared installed based – Sun Servers + Solaris + BEA + Oracle DBMS was the killer enterprise stack for a decade – that alone gives Oracle a vice-like grip on existing customers; but that’s about the past – not the future. I think someone did the analysis and realized it’s a marginally positive move – so I don’t think this is the big technology vision realized that Oracle are trying to promote.

I’m sure a lot of people at Sun and customers of Sun are glad the uncertainty has come to an end but unfortunately it hasn’t. I’m guessing that it will take until the end of the year before Oracle tells the world what they’re keeping and what they’re dropping. FWIW – here’s my informed guess :

Storage / Servers – the press-briefing made the merger sound like it was all about the hardware (servers and storage). I just don’t see Oracle as a hardware company and they have more to loose than gain by pissing HP off. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some or all the hardware got sold off to HP, Fujitsu, etc. And I think Oracle could probably recover $3.5-4 bn of their $5bn outlay by doing so.

NetBeansI’m not changing my mind – it’s done for. Oracle has two Java IDEs already – they don’t need a third. Oracle will pick up some great tools developers to write a migration tool but that’s about it.

OpenOffice – Oracle doesn’t like M$ but I doubt they can find a fiscally rational reason to carry the torch for Open Source and at the end of the day Oracle are doing this because it makes financial sense. I think Oracle will expect “the community” to pick up the slack.

Solaris – I think they’ll milk the legacy installed base (which is huge) but the innovation won’t continue. I think there’s an interesting opportunity for Oracle to manage the migration of the last of the Solaris holdouts to Linux. They could do this by GPLing Solaris and moving some of the Solaris features to Linux; or more likely to an Oracle proprietary OS built on Linux.

Middleware – Oracle have everything Sun has – and Oracle are by and large market leaders with large market and revenue share. Sun have one or two products that might survive and certainly some components. Oracle inherit a commitment to continue to produce the Java EE RI (and others) so Glassfish *might* survive – but Oracle have demonstrated that they don’t have appetite to maintain many products in the same market (see how quickly OC4J got killed after the BEA acquisition ?)

MySQL – I think Oracle will continue to do what Sun did somewhat accidentally – namely slowly kill it off.

Java – I’m confident that Oracle won’t fix the JCP and won’t sacrifice control for the good of the ecosystem. I also think the JCP will become a battlefield for IBM and Oracle and we’ll all be the worse for it.

OpenJDK – no-body needs two JDK’s to maintain – I think Oracle would have to move some of the monitoring / diagnostics from JRockit into a proprietary OpenJDK-based platform. JRockit has a small market share but some nice features for enterprise customers.

Cloud – not that there’s much there there but I don’t expect to see Larry eating his words.

Virtualization – I don’t really understand Oracle’s virtualization strategy other than the feeling that Larry Ellison is unlikely to entertain anything that looks like it might actually save customers money on licenses.