Feeds

Sun dangles cash prizes for open source projects

Still dwarfed by Google

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Sun Microsystems is the latest big name in Silicon Valley to dangle financial baubles before open source developers to stimulate pet projects.

The company today announced it will award annual prizes worth more than $1m for "some of the most interesting initiatives" in six open source projects.

The Open Source Community Innovation Awards Program is open to participants of Sun's GlassFish, NetBeans, OpenJDK, OpenSolaris, OpenSparc and the OpenOffice.org initiative. Winners are to be announced in August 2008, with rules on participation expected next month.

Sun unveiled the program at FOSS.IN/2007 in Bangalore, India. Sun has made much of India, along with China, Russia and Brazil as emerging markets with potential for Java and open source in general.

Simon Phipps, Sun's chief open source officer and ombudsman, wrote: "I'm announcing it in India because that's where I expect the greatest open source community growth to come from in the near future.

"If we can play a part in catalyzing the emergence of India as a key international open source power-house, the effect on the software industry will be huge."

Sun follows Google who - in a sign of how times have changed and who is now the Valley's top dog - last month announced its, far bigger, $10m prize for developers building applications on its Android no phone.

Google is using cash to create an instant ISV community for its platform, circumventing the fact it lags all other handset and telcos in this respect. The same might also be said for Sun, whose projects remain Sun-dominated institutions. It is also unclear to what extent these projects are gaining real traction, as Sun hands out just download numbers and does not have market share stats or information on how its big code giveaway is translating into sales of its software or services.

Sun executive vice president Rich Green shrewdly noted earlier this year the need to compensate developers for their time, to ensure that projects develop. There can be a tendency in open source for good ideas to fizzle out through lack of commitment or, as people swarm around the most interesting features, leaving the boring stuff to "someone else".

JBoss's former chief executive Marc Fleury is also a keen proponent of keeping a paid-team of engineers on the company payroll, rather than relying on the free market to develop open source projects and products.

Whether big-cash prizes are the ticket for Google and Sun, though, is unclear. The history of successful open source and Linux is of projects that emerged through volunteer efforts. Once cash is on the line, there is the risk that people will become less wiling to share ideas or code in order to beat the everyone else, and potentially hurt both community and development.®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.