Friday, April 24, 2009

FT.com / Companies / Technology - Oracle faces culture shock in Sun’s open-source world

More speculation on ORCL/JAVA details:

Most observers do not expect the hard-headed Mr Ellison to see it this way. Gary Reback, a Silicon Valley antitrust expert, says there is a chance that anti-trust authorities will force him to divest MySQL, but adds: “I think he wins any way you cut it. If he keeps it, he kills it: if he spins it off, who wants it without the top developers anymore?”

There are some potential limits. Mitch Kapor, a leading figure in the open-source world, points out that MySQL has a life beyond Oracle’s control: the software has already been “forked”, meaning alternative open-source versions have been created that are outside Oracle’s control.

[…]

Yet maintaining Java’s openness, while at the same time directing its future development, will be a delicate balancing act, requiring the exercise of what Bill Whyman, an analyst at ISI, calls “soft power” – not Mr Ellison’s strength.

“We always wanted Java’s evolution to be participatory, but fully open would compromise compatibility,” says Bill Joy, the Sun co-founder and former chief scientist. “I believe Oracle shares these values, so am not concerned.”

FT.com / Companies / Technology - Oracle faces culture shock in Sun’s open-source world

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