So Jon Paczkowski of GMSV is surprised that Scott McNealy of Sun said “No” to Java going open source. Didn’t surprise me. In my “In the DataCenter” commentary Making Up Isn’t Hard to Do months ago, I warned my audience not to presume:
“…But if Microsoft is on the run, why should Sun settle right before trial? It all comes down to money and open source. Sun, a proprietary unix vendor, has watched its dominance in the Unix market steadily sink under a
sustained attack by the freebie killer Unix clones. A cool $1.6B will sure help the bottom line of a company that also announced, almost as an afterthought, a 9% RIF and a “bigger than expected” net loss. They need cash – clearly, and Microsoft has buckets of cash.
But what does Microsoft get out of all this? Well, aside from this annoying lawsuit, they get something much more significant – a Unix vendor who needs Microsoft more than Microsoft needs them. Oh, and that Java licensing stuff that started all these suits – they get that settled as well, to their liking. All’s well that ends well, right?
The upshot – don’t expect Java to go open source, IBM. And don’t expect Sun to support Unix clones, either. They’ve crossed their Rubicon, and in running a hardware server business, cash is king.”