Help against Linux

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-04-09 Print this article Print

?"> Frankly, what does Microsoft have to gain from a strong Sun, anyway? Help against Linux? From the company that produces the most important rivals, StarOffice and OpenOffice, to Microsoft Office? I dont think so! For Microsoft, making nice with Sun is a pure short-term move. Even if Scott McNealy can resist attacking Microsoft, you know that Microsoft will eventually move against Sun.

Its a pity. I thought that Sun might finally be learning that open source and Linux could provide a way out of their obsolete, proprietary-oriented business plan. I was wrong.

For example, I had hoped that Sun was going to seriously think about open-sourcing Java. I wont bore you with the reasons why I thought that was a good idea, because its simply not going to happen now.

JavaLobby founder Rick Ross asks in a recent column, where is Java in this settlement? Well, while we dont know the details, I think we already know the answer. Rich Green, Suns vice president of developer platforms and a noted Java advocate, recently resigned from Sun, and the two companies are now working on making Java and .Net work better together. Put those facts together, and it certainly sounds to me like, one, Java as a standalone language is being put on the back burner, and two, there is no way on Earth that Java will go open source now.

I also dont see any way on Earth that this move will work for Suns long-term benefit. Maybe the move largely is a play against Linux and its corporate supporters: HP, Novell and IBM. But in the end, Sun, not Linux and open sources real supporters, will be the one that loses.

If Sun really wants to thrive in the future, it should be looking to Novells ongoing transformation into a Linux powerhouse as its model. For example, I think the best thing Sun could do with its Microsoft money is to buy out Red Hat. Its in Linux, not in proprietary plans, that Suns rosiest future lies. Linux & Open Source Center Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.

Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis. Be sure to add our Linux news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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