Linux distros lead jumps from Sun
Sun Microsystems has lost a key individual responsible for getting its aspiring open-source software included in leading Linux distributions.
Barton George has quit Sun after 13 years, hard on the heels of having helped secure the inclusion of an open-source friendly version of Sun's Java Development Kit (JDK) - OpenJDK - with major GNU/Linux distros.
George: a different blend of Java
OpenJDK is now included in Fedora 9, Ubuntu 8.04LTS, OpenSUSE 11, and Debian's forthcoming Lenny and is available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and CentOS 5. In earlier work, Sun's open-source NetBeans development environment was added to versions of Ubuntu.
Having open-source-friendly versions of Java and Sun's middleware ship with Linux has been a major plank in Sun's software strategy for the last few years. The company wants Java and its middleware to piggyback with Linux, to support the market, and ultimately to be able to charge for services related to its software down the line.
As group manager for Sun's GNU/Linux strategy, George liaised with individuals on the distros and co-ordinated Sun’s internal engineering work packaging the company’s NetBeans, Glassfish, and JavaDB in addition to OpenJDK with distros.
George, who set up Sun's manufacturing operations in Brazil soon after joining, has left the company to become senior director of marketing at business-process management specialist Lombardi Software.
George told The Reg he liked Lombardi's smaller company culture and the fact it's based in the town where he lives, Austin, Texas. His departure comes, though, as Sun lays off between 1,500 and 2,500 employees.
Sun told us vice president of developer and community marketing - and Debian founder - Ian Murdock is taking over the relationships George managed. A Sun spokeswoman described Sun's relationships with the Linux community as "a major priority". ®
"But it is Java and well, not many people really like to code in Java do they."
Do they? I'd rather go back to C++ than jump to C# or (god forbid) VB. Java is pretty much the only multi-platform compiled language, as the alternatives (PHP, Ruby, Python) are usually scripting/interpretative languages. The MS solution doesn't count, even with Mono, as it isn't really complete on the non-MS platforms.
Sun's long-term strategy
I believe Sun's long-term strategy is to groom knowledgeable IT people to expect to receive the Source Code whenever they choose well-known, high-end products. That is why they opened up OpenOffice.org, Solaris and Java; and why they bought up MySQL, which was already Open Source.
After all, Source Code is the one thing Microsoft can never offer. And let's be brutally honest for a moment here; as piracy-prevention tactics go, not supplying the Source Code with a piece of software is about as effective as not having supplying the sheet music with an LP. All it does is piss programmers off, sometimes to the point of feeling the need to start a Movement.
Now, just by the law of averages, more than one MS-hater will end up, sooner or later, in a position to specify hardware and software. Gates and Ballmer and abuse of an effective monopoly position were the reasons these people walked out on MS; but the Source Code was the reason they stayed. And the whole Vista debacle has people asking whether there are any realistic alternatives to Microsoft that do not depend on the whims and caprices of a community of users? Sun know all that, of course.
How much for that dead horse?
Or is the dead horse being beaten rather than sold?