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I think opensourcing it is smart, and maybe the only way for it to gain momentum. To be honest, JavaFX has little to offer that are not already covered (and maybe even better) with Silverlight and Flash as is. Maybe opensourcing it would give it a slight advantage over the others in at least one area.
With Oracle as captain, JavaFX will never sail to the Free Software seas.
Oracle was one of the worst companies to buy Sun.
Compared to who? IBM? In that case it would have taken 4 years and a dozen meetings before deciding when to vote on whether or not to keep JavaFX.
You should be glad that Oracle bought Sun instead of letting it dissolve into bankruptcy. Edited 2010-07-19 19:57 UTC
IBM wasn't the only option other than Oracle. Sun had few options.
Sell everything to Cisco
Sell some assets, than go private and IPO later.
Sell everything to IBM
Sell everything to Oracle
I think Oracle was worst option, and I pretty much rated above from best to worst.
Ok, I'll explain.
About going private, there was rumors since 2005 that Sun might go private. Google it, you will get lots of articles like this http://www.redherring.com/Home/11955
Sun didn't do that because market cap was to big and required lots of cash. But when financial crisis hit, Sun's market cap got about 2 bilion, and with cash and debt Sun had, going private required only about $1bn It was good chance. Why do that? Because it is generaly easier to do restructuring if Wall street is not watching your revenue. As public company, Sun stock took a dip every time they announced layoffs or reported loss, bringing more uncertainty. If they gone private, then they could make a plan how to turnaround things and not be bothered by Wall Street expectations.
About Cisco, did you heard about UCS? Unified Computing System? It was created when Sun-Cisco merger talks went nowhere. If Cisco bought Sun, they wouldn't have to make UCS. Cisco was mainly interested in Sun's servers and storage. Why it didn't happen? Because Cisco had a lot money oversea (and not enough in US) and bringing it to US for purpose of acquisition would bring up huge tax and Sun would cost them way more. There is article about that somewhere, but can't seem to find it.
About IBM, they rarely dump technology they buy. Just look their past acquisitions, they keep almost everything going. They would probably only kill Solaris, but it's gonna die anyway now.
Oracle is worst choice and it is disaster for anything Sun worked hard to create. It is actually worse that Compaq buying DEC and HP buying Compaq. Oracle and Sun corporate culture is very different and I wouldn't be surprised if all Sun talented employees leave Oracle in following years. They already lost lots of them.
And what do you think Sun should do to compete with Linux? Sue it like SCO did?
Jonathan Schwartz had a pretty good strategy, but unfortunately:
a) it was long time strategy and Sun needed quick fix
b) he didn't executed very fast because he doesn't have experience with managing big companies.
Right thing for Sun would have been to get someone like Red Hat's Jim Whitehurst (guy who saved Delta Airlines) to execute open sourcing strategy and manage company if gone private. McNealy, Schwartz and Rich Green were not right people for the job, they didn't know exactly what they were doing. It was more like "lets try this, it might work".
But if you look at Sun financial results, it kinda worked. Sun was profitable in fiscal 2007 and 2008, open sourcing increased their software revenues (they don't report software profits, just revenues, but if their software division was profitable before opensourcing, it was more profitable after since revenue went up), and it looked like they are going to make it.
Then financial crisis hit and all hell broke lose. People stopped buying hardware and they were in the gutter. Hardware company can't really be profitable when people stop buying hardware. Also, some Sun's big customers (for example Lehman Brothers)went out of business and other banks were to concerned with their viability to even think about buying hardware.
Whole idea of "Sun went under because they gave away their software" is crazy because Sun never had big software revenue and open sourcing actually increased software revenue and made people who were not previously interested to look at Sun. They would be worse if they didn't opensource. Their market-share was sliding, opensourcing stopped the decline. Sun's marketing picture was always openness, and staying proprietary meant they are eating their words.
If you looked at financial reports and watched Sun closely, you would know that they did pretty well regarding the circumstances they were in. But if you only look to bash open source, they you might get ignorant people to buy into idea that Sun went under because of open source. The thing is, it isn't true.
"Sun has been ran by arrogant MIT pricks that dismissed Linux and Windows on x86 servers. "
Sorry for my bias but..
I have the feeling that hardware vendors killed them with the multitude of drivers and their non standardized drivers and devices. And they killed many good companies/technologies. These are the pricks.
For the quote, my comment is
... why not, they defended their products which were superior than Windows/Intel. though they could ran equally well on x86 servers and desktops if the hw was standardized.
As for the Linux part of the quote, Linux was better suited for the desktop at that time. Lack of drivers (for the reasons above) killed Opensolaris and nothing else. Lack of drivers haunt linux too (for the reasons above). If SUN made a mistake it was on the pricing front, like SGI which died for the same reason pricing/drivers.
Some (half) open source companies like Jaspersoft have began making GUIs in falsh, even though they extensively use Java. (JasperReports is Java library) Logic behind this is: both JFX and flash are closed, so use better one.
Putting wood behind OpenJFX project that Sun started would be best move for Oracle if they want to make JavaFX popular.
But sadly, if you go here:
You get this message:
"Sun is committed to open source as part of its business model. Key elements of JavaFX are in open source today, and provide customers and partners the proven benefits and security of vendor independence and lower total cost of ownership.
The JavaFX compiler, parts of the graphics libraries and tools are available now from the OpenJFX (http://openjfx.org) web site, under the GPL 2.0 open source license.
The JavaFX compiler and JavaFX tools will continue to be developed in the open and the current JavaFX Preview SDK libraries will remain on openjfx.java.sun.com. Sun is committed to delivering enhancements to the JavaFX platform and to this end will continue internal development and reconcile key elements with the open source builds, with future releases of the JavaFX platform. "
For just a second. Then it goes away. Edited 2010-07-19 17:52 UTC