January 27, 2010, 3:31 PM — There is a lot of news coming out of Silicon Valley today, as Oracle and Sun host a five-hour marathon briefing on just how Oracle's approved acquisition of Sun will effect both companies' present and future customers.
The briefing is still going on as this blog goes to press, but Edward Screven, Chief Corporate Architect of Oracle Corporation, touched on many of the open source product directions in his part of the briefing earlier this afternoon. And while some products continue to move forward and even expand, one big mover in the open source arena, OpenSolaris, was conspicuously absent from Screven's talk.
OpenSolaris is Sun's open version of its Solaris operating system. Sun kicked it off in 2004, and by 2007 had hired Debian GNU/Linux founder Ian Murdock to create a full Linux-like distribution of the OpenSolaris code.
Since the announcement of Oracle's acquisition of Sun, many have speculated what Oracle might do with OpenSolaris operating system and the community that's built up around it. Even though Oracle's Enterprise Linux is a good open source player in terms of upstream code contributions, Oracle really hasn't been much of a community builder.
Here's the quote from Screven that set me and the Twittersphere off: "Oracle got into Oracle Enterprise Linux to give customers... a single source of engineering for these products. Now we can extend this into Solaris."
Solaris, not OpenSolaris. In fact, no slide that I saw in Screven's part of the briefing today mentioned OpenSolaris, just Solaris.
Screven went on to cite that over 50,000 Sun customers are using Solaris, which is why Oracle plans a fully integrated Oracle-on-Solaris stack, very similar to Oracle Enterprise Linux. (Perhaps "Oracle Enterprise Solaris"?)
Since Oracle is now gaining a hardware division, they can now deliver integrated service for all the software and pre-integrated components with Solaris and Linux installed. Presumably this will be on Sparc and x86 platforms, since they will be offering Oracle VM Server on these platforms as well.
It's been widely speculated that Oracle might kill off OpenSolaris, but it's still not clear if that's the case. As I mentioned earlier, Oracle's not too big on community building, but Screven had earlier emphasized that Oracle will continue to develop and support OpenOffice.org, including the free Community edition, which was to be expected, but still comes as welcome news to that community. Oracle also hopes to build some integration between OpenOffice.org and Oracle products.
He also touched on a "CloudOffice" offering, which would be a Web-based productivity suite.
So it's not like Oracle's completely set against community and open development. And, clearly, they are not killing off Solaris as a competitor against Oracle Enterprise Linux. Just the opposite: they're extending the model to Solaris.
Which, unfortunately, leaves the fate of OpenSolaris a bit unclear. Will the development come back "inside" Oracle? Or did Screven simply not want to get into the details in his briefing?
I know a lot of developers who are holding their breath to find out.