I have been reading the CEO of Sun, Jonathan Schwartz’s blog, lately and it has some great material. I just love the fact that many CEO’s blog nowadays, as some of it is quite interesting, and bold, material. I suppose I would even go so far to say, that if I read a CEO’s blog and it wasn’t good, I wouldn’t invest in their company, as I would have my doubts about the leaders intellect and authenticity. On the other hand, if I read a CEO’s blog like Jonathan’s, I would be very interested in the company.
One of the recent posts that Jonathan made was in response to a flame by Linus. In his response to accusations, by Linus, that Sun was being disingenuous about truly open sourcing its ZFS file system, he mentioned that not only was Sun going to open source everything, but that they were going to do it under GPL3.
I think this is a truly brilliant strategic move by Sun, as it raises the bar for GNU/Linux and Linus who is very adamant about his dislike for GPL3. I do see there being competition between OpenSolaris and GNU/Linux in the coming years, and I do think it is a good thing, as competition is what drives innovation. I also see an interesting dilemma for GNU/Linux as OpenSolaris will be able to use GNU/Linux code, but GNU/Linux won’t be to use OpenSolaris code. This gives OpenSolaris a huge competitive advantage and might give them a temporary head start in the head to head competition of their operating systems. Ultimately, it seems like GNU/Linux might have a very large problem on it’s hands if it stays with GPL2.
I am not making a value judgement on GPL2 vs GPL3, but I will say from a strategic standpoint it appears to be checkmate for Sun on this round. Sun has some incredible virtualization and storage technology and it if enters the open source arena, “just right”, it could capture a massive amount of market share with this strategy.
Complaints by people in the GNU/Linux camp can easily be rebutted as Sun can claim the “moral” high ground as they support what the FSF recommends. I am quite interested in what happens over the next few years. There are quite a few possibilities, some of them admittely far fetched, but interesting to discuss regardless:
* OpenSolaris comes into the FOSS market goes GPL3 and takes significant market share as it has the best GNU/Linux technology and Sun Technology. GNU/Linux tries to fight back and switches to GPL3, but the damage is enough that they become the second preferred FOSS Operating System behind OpenSolaris.
* Nothing happens. Things pretty much stay the same and OpenSolaris doesn’t really make much of a positive or negative impact.
* GNU/Linux and Linus seeing the “end game”, quickly switch to GPL3 and cancel the advantage Sun might have before it happens. It then crushes OpenSolaris as it takes all of its good technology and the huge market share it already has and makes OpenSolaris marginalized.
* GNU/Linux becomes the preferred choice for companies that don’t want to become tangled in GPL3 and OpenSolaris becomes the preferred choice for a commodity operating system that runs in a data center. This leads to a significant loss in market share for GNU/Linux.
* Other things….what am I missing?