Ever since the Oracle acquisition of Sun, I had been on the fence on what to think about Oracle and its open source business. However when Oracle turned its back on the OpenSolaris Community and the OpenOffice community it immediately changed my mind on what I thought about Oracle. I abandoned all the projects they were supporting, I was a long time Netbeans user and I made the switch Eclipse. The day the Open Document Foundation released LibreOffice I switched.
There is still one Oracle project I still use that is Virtualbox. If I was exclusively a Linux user I would just be using KVM with Virt-Manager and I would be set but I also have a Mac and Windows Box that I like to run virtual machines on. I try to sick with OSS whenever I can but I have thought about buying VMware Workstation and Fusion but I don’t want to pay for either because Virtualbox does everything I need it to do.
So how about a fork of Virtualbox? Most of the code is under the GPL, I really think the community will support a fork of Virtualbox and I think it would be a better project without Oracle’s direction. If there was support from Red Hat or Canonical I’m sure this would have happened a long time ago but there are plenty of projects with out corporate support.
Why should it be forked? Oracle could shutdown that project like they did with OpenSolaris. Oracle’s history with Open Source should make everyone in the community that contributes to Virtualbox want to start over with a new project. I found one fork but I couldn’t find a link to the source or to the packages. The Project is called IceBox Virtual Machine by a company called Twisted Lincoln Inc. They also have their own Linux Distribution called Nexradix. I presume Icebox is in the repo’s for that distro (I haven’t installed it).
If some unknown company that is supporting an unknown Linux distribution can fork Virtualbox, the greater community should do it. Whether if that is supporting Icebox or creating a new one, it needs to happen and soon.
Its been just about 2 weeks since the Oracle take over of Sun was completed and I’ve had time to think about what I think the future of Solaris, Java, Sun Hardware and MySQL is with Oracle, now that the acquisition has actually happened. Seeing how Oracle has consolidated Sun into it’s organization from a customer stand point, I think and hope the acquisition is a good thing.
MySQL isn’t going anywhere, in fact I think Oracle could make MySQL better. Better integration with BerkleyDB will improve and InnoDB should get better now that it is beneficial for them to improve. I was worried that MySQL would have been dropped right after the acquisition but it didn’t, Oracle has embraced nearly all of Sun’s products, they didn’t drop anything significant like they did with VirtualIron. In the case of VirtualIron Oracle dropped the entire product line.
Oracle is embracing the Open Source philosophy of Sun and in fact I hope they go even further then Sun did and put Solaris, ZFS, and other Sun technologies that were already open source but under the GPL license but I’m not holding my breath. My only worry is that Oracle is going to stop dumping money into Linux development but we shall see what happens! Basically any product they didn’t want was dropped before or after the buy out.
Oracle is now a contender in computer hardware, with Sun’s SPARC and x86 systems and Oracle’s promise to invest more in SPARC and other hardware, IBM and HP now have true competition and I’m looking forward to seeing what Oracle will do with SPARC and the x86 servers.
I’m looking forward to this future, Oracle now has everything they need to spring into cloud computing, desktops and high performance clusters. All I can say is look out Microsoft, IBM and HP you have real competition ahead of you.