Sun Microsystems is taking the term "open" to new levels with the addition of numerous open source technologies along with its own. The company will make a series of announcements at its JavaOne conference in San Francisco this week that show Java, at age 13, is learning to play well with others.
Sun's (NASDAQ: JAVA) move to open source has been somewhat slow but steady. The reason, the company has always maintained, is because it has to vet all of the code to make sure that it is all Sun code, not licensed, and is theirs to release in the first place.
With today's announcement of the NetBeans 6.1 IDE (define) and the availability of OpenSolaris, more than just Sun's own open source code is part of the mix. Dynamic languages like Ruby and PHP are also getting an embrace.
"It's interesting that they are going outside the walls of Sun to work with other open source people, which is a really big shift in Sun's open source strategy," Michael Cote, an analyst with Redmonk told InternetNews.com. "Usually a commercial company doing open source supports only their own thing. There's not a case of 'here's a bunch of things we gathered together,' and Sun hasn't been known for doing that sort of thing. So it seems like a pretty big strategic move for them."
Sun made a bold move in buying MySQL earlier this year, but with money tight from one tough quarter and another looming, Cote figures Sun won't be breaking the bank for more big purchases any time soon.
Charlie Boyle, director of Solaris marketing for Sun, acknowledged that the company is looking beyond its doors for a best-of-breed solution. "OpenSolaris from its core has been about combining our great innovations developed in open source with other open source projects," he said.
"It was the project's decision to integrate. We can't develop everything ourselves so we need to work with other companies to say what's the best and build new on top of that," Boyle added.
Sun today introduced OpenSolaris 2008.05, the first version to include some of the technologies in Ian Murdock's Project Indiana. Murdock, developer of the Debian Linux distribution, joined the company last year to bring a more modern method of updating and modifying a Solaris installation. The effort was inspired by the newer and more versatile RPM and Yum, which are used to update Linux installations.
OpenSolaris 2008.05 also features application migration support for the first time, so if a developer is using it as their development and test bed and wants to move an application to a Solaris environment and it fails, Sun will help with the migration.