Will Oracle learn from its defeat?
Oracle, of course, still claims that it remains committed to open source. In a statement announcing the decision to stop commercializing OpenOffice, Oracle chief architect Edward Screven said, "Oracle is focused on Linux and MySQL because both of these products have won broad-based adoption among commercial and government customers." (Oracle has not responded to my requests for comment.) I suspect the meaningful difference in Oracle's view between Linux and MySQL on one side and OpenOffice on the other is that Linux and MySQL are gateways to buying more Oracle products, whereas OpenOffice is not.
We'll see what Oracle does in the future, but there's a lot more tension between it and the open source community over issues that have nothing directly to do with OpenOffice. In February, for example, unhappy coders of the Hudson developer community voted to change the project name and reassert community governance over the project.
I believe the Hudson issue makes it very clear that the issue was never OpenOffice -- but Oracle's willingness to assume Sun's mantle of protector of Sun's open source technology. It's clear that Oracle's intention is not to protect and nurture open source but to extract as much value from Sun's technology (open source or not) and toss out the rest.
Ironically, I believe the open source community wanted the Sun acquisition to succeed. After all, when Ellison attended JavaOne the year he acquired Sun, he was greeted with a standing ovation. Now we know how much those good wishes really meant to him.
Still, it's important to see that Oracle lost the fight over OpenOffice. It doesn't happen all that often in the technology industry, but this time, the good guys won.
This article, "In Oracle's fight with open source, the good guys won -- this time," was originally published by InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.