Oracle buying Sun Microsystems is already stale news. However, this merger news will keep ringing for a while. It is not only products that are changing hands here, they are huge and deep ecosystems which have impacted most of the programming world, across products, corporates and competitions. Be it Java or MySQL or OpenOffice or OpenSolaris, Sun Microsystems is deep into communities. And Oracle is getting all that. And we, as part of the ecosystem, will be impacted by this. How? We have no idea, Oracle has not addressed this yet.
Here are some interesting thoughts:
- Oracle is getting MySQL, which has been one of its competitors in the database space. MySQL has seen a lot of changes recently, including its original team leaving and its fork for cloud computing. This acquisition might be a turning point in its journey.
- Oracle has its own version of Linux, which might compete with OpenSolaris
- Java is everywhere. Like Oracle, even its competitors use it as a core technology. Also, Java too is going through some turbulence. It will be interesting to see how Oracle approaches this. If Sun’s Java takes a wrong turn here, we might see some action from Apache or IBM.
- Oracle has mostly been a software company. With Sun’s hardware business, they are now a software and hardware company.
Oracle is not known for any special affiliation for the open source culture. However, with this acquisition, either Oracle will have to change that, which will be the biggest investment Oracle will have to make or we will see big changes in the open source landscape. Michael Coté has detailed analysis of the deal.
I agree with Matt about MySQL. While the open source freedom will shield us from changes, if they happen, we will have to entertain alternatives for further development.
Of course, this is a speculative approach. It is quite possible that this works out well for everyone involved, including the open source ecosystems.