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Oracle aims to destroy open source software industry

It is with the aim of creating this kind of FUD that Oracle has made its moves against Java and OpenSolaris. Most analysts now expect similar moves against mySQL and OpenOffice.

(To the right, a proprietary Dana, not the open source one. All will be explained.)

Why would Oracle destroy assets it just paid good money for?

Two reasons.

  1. It didn’t really pay good money for them.
  2. It pushes enterprise buyers away from all open source.

Oracle paid $7.4 billion for Sun. Even with recent drop-offs in revenue (which can be made up) the company should easily clear $2.5 billion in hardware sales this year. If you can buy a viable computer hardware business for three times sales you’re doing pretty well. Oracle got the software assets for free.

Oracle’s moves against high profile open source projects like Java (and presumably OpenOffice and mySQL) also serve as a warning against enterprise dependence on other open source projects.

Open source companies practically live to be taken over. It’s the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow. Oracle is telling their customers that could leave them high and dry.

We assume that the license status of open source is fixed, like baby names. But the status of baby names isn’t fixed at all.

When I was born in 1955, most kids named Dana were boys. By 1970,  when the singer Dana Owens (Queen Latifah) was born, most Danas were girls. They will be when my grand-kids are born too. (Picture from Wikipedia.)

What Oracle is demonstrating with Solaris is that such status is not fixed. (Good news for boys named Dana.) Open source can be taken back. Which means that if you come to depend on open source, you may find yourself staring down the barrel of a large bill one of these days, if someone else chooses to be like Larry.

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