What does the potential merger of Oracle and Sun mean for open source?

The news that Oracle is going to acquire Sun Microsystems surprised me quite a bit when I read it in the Norwegian news the day before yesterday. Everyone knew that IBM was lurking in the scenes looking to get their hands on Sun but their offer was apparently too low. IBM has similarly to Sun included open source as a significant part of their business model. Sun’s brag list of projects they support is quite long including the likes of GlassFish, GNOME, Java, Mozilla, MySQL, NetBeans, OpenOffice.org, X.Org and so on. Personally I use many of these products every day and I hope to continue using them.

While I do not think these products will dissappear it would be sad if they lost some of its support in the software industry. Oracle on their hand has also supported several open source initiatives but you never know the consequences of a merger between two large companies.  In particular, I wonder what this will mean for all the open source projects Sun has supported. It could be very positive if Oracle continue and increase their support to open source.The new Oracle+Sun would be a serious player in the software industry and in particular in the open source world. I beleive that the open source community depend on having the support from the industry, and in particular the large flagship companies like IBM, Sun, Oracle and so on. However, you must break some eggs to make an omelet and merging two large software companies is one big omelet (something which we already see speculations about). I just don’t hope the broken eggs will be open source ones. I wish the two good luck and hope that they will continue supporting open source even stronger.





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