A Year After: The Open Source Projects

Below is a summary of the status of  the main Open Source projects that had been sponsored by Sun, as of a year after Oracle’s Acquisition of Sun.   Like A Year After: The People, all information here is public.

The projects covered are: DarkStar, DTrace, Drizzle, Fuji, GlassFish, GridEngine, Hudson, JXTA, Lustre, MySQL, NetBeans, ODFtoolkit, OpenDS, OpenESB, OpenJDK, OpenOffice, OpenSolaris, OpenSSO, Pymonkey, VirtualBox, Wonderland, WebSpace Server, ZFS.

Note Post comments and corrections and I’ll keep updating this list as time permits.

Oracle and Open Source

Unlike Sun, Oracle does not have a consistent company-wide approach to Open Source but rather each line of business will make decisions based on their products and business.  This diversity is shown in the list below.

Projects

DarkStar
projectdarkstar.org, wikipedia

Sun:
Research project at SunLabs.
Not a commercial product.

Oracle:
Oracle no longer invests in this effort.
Was not a product; no need to provide support for customers.

Others:
Code now developed as a forked/renamed RedDwarf Server [msg]

DTrace
DTrace@OpenSolaris, wikipedia

Sun:
See OpenSolaris.

Oracle:
See Opensolaris.

Others:
DTrace has been ported to several OS in addition to Solaris / Open Solaris.
Dtrace.org is intended to be the community site for all this activity.  Current content is limited.

Drizzle
drizzle.org, wikipedia

Sun:
Exploratory project based on MySQL.
Not a commercial product.

Oracle:
Oracle no longer invests in this effort.
Was not a product; no need to provide support for customers.

Others:
Code base continues to be developed at Drizzle.org.
Several of the Sun engineers that previously worked on Drizzle now work at RackSpace.

Fuji
fuji.dev.java.net, bsc/fuji

Sun:
Fuji was part of the next generation of OpenESB (aligned with GlassFish v3) but never released as a product.

Oracle:
Oracle no longer invests in this effort.
Was not a product; no need to provide support for customers.

Others:

GlassFish
glassfish.org, theaquarium, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercialized through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Strategic product at Oracle.
Community and Product strategy mostly unchanged but better integrated within Oracle Fusion Middleware

Others:
List of partners.

GridEngine
gridengine.sunsource.net, gridengine.info, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercialized through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Strategic product at Oracle, but Oracle stopped participation in open source community [post].

Others:
Oracle facilitated a community fork at Open Grid Scheduler project.
Univa has hired several/many of Sun/Oracle developers and describes itself as “Home of Grid Engine” [PR][ElReg]

Hudson
hudson-ci.org, wikipedia

Sun:
Hudson started as a hobby project and later became a fully sponsored project.
Commercialized through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Oracle has indicated it wanted to continue to host Hudson [post] but the community voted to rename itself Jenkins to remain independent.

Others:
Several companies use Hudson in their products, including CollabNet, Sonatype and TaskTop.
Most code contributions are now from CloudBees.

JXTA
jxta.org
, wikipedia

Sun:
Infrastructure was used in several commercial Sun products, but not commercialized on its own.

Oracle:
I believe Oracle no longer invests in this product.

Others:
Community would like to move to ASF (as Jini did before) but that requires contribution of IP from Oracle and that has not happened [msg].

Lustre
lustre.org, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercialized through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Strategic.
Oracle will only support complete HW+SW bundles; unsupported software-only releases still available [blog, prezo]

Others:
Xyratex and Whamcloud have indicated interest in supporting Lustre.

MySQL
dev.mysql.com, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercialized through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Similar to Sun.
Oracle also owns Innobase (makers of InnoDB, the main transactional engine for MySQL).

Others:
New companies offering MySQL-based offerings include SkySQL and MariaDB.
Previously existing companies with similar offerings include Percona.

NetBeans
netbeans.org, netbeans

Sun:
Free product.
Small amount of support and services.

Oracle:
Oracle’s roadmap is somewhat reduced, but with no significant strategy changes.

Others:
None.

ODFtoolkit
odftoolkit.org, odftoolkit.openoffice.org

Sun:
Supported and OpenSourced by OpenOffice team in partnership with IBM.
Not a commercial product.

Oracle:
Appears to still be active, no announced changed.

Others:

OpenDS
opends.dev.java.net, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercialized through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Sustaining.
Product has been discontinued. Oracle may offer commercial and supported products based on OpenDS in the future ” [msg]

Others:
ForgeRock provides support and development on the code base under the project OpenDJ.
UnboundID develops and supports a product that leverages an earlier split from OpenDS (circa 2007).

OpenESB
openesb.dev.java.net, bsc/openesb, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercial support through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Sustaining.
See Frank’s OpenESB under Oracle

Others:
Companies providing consulting services include Integrated-Apps, Pymma, LogiCoy; also see openesb-dev.org

OpenJDK
openjdk.org, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercialized via Sun’s JVM offering.
Notable contributors include RedHat.

Oracle:
Similar to Sun; additional contributors include IBM and Apple.

Others:

OpenOffice.org
openoffice.org, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercial support through Sun’s branded product.
Some forks already existed, most notably NeoOffice and Go-oo. Lotus Symphony is also based on OpenOffice.org

Oracle:
Oracle has released CloudOffice and now sells support only in large orders [reuters].

Others:
LibreOffice is a new fork that subsumes the Go-oo distribution.

OpenSolaris
opensolaris.org, bsc/opensolaris, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercial support through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Strategic but no longer developed as a transparent, community-based, open source project [msg]
The OpenSolaris distro is no longer available; it has been replaced by Oracle Solaris Express.

Others:
Illumos (wikipedia) is a new community consolidation site.
Supporters for Illumos include Nexenta Corp, Nexenta Org, Reliant Security, EveryCity, Joyent, GreenViolet, Belenix and BerliOS.
Delphix
also leverages OpenSolaris [post], and Adam Leventhal serves in the Illumos developer council [post].
Illumos code is used by its supporters and also should be available through OpenIndiana (wikipedia).
Illumos will attempt to coordinate with the Oracle code base, if possible.

OpenSSO
opensso.dev.java.net, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercial support through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Sustaining
Some features integrated into existing Oracle product suite.

Others:
ForgeRock provides support and development on the code base under the name OpenAM.

Pymonkey
pymonkey.org, openvapps.org

Sun:
Open Source Project Acquired as part of Qlayer.
Supported and kept active by Sun, was a foundation in the Sun Cloud Software which was never released.

Oracle:
Project appears to be closed down. Oracle no longer invests in the community.

VirtualBox
virtualbox.org, wikipedia

Sun:
Commercial support through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
No significant change in stated strategy.

Others:

Wonderland
bsc/wonderland, wikipedia

Sun:
Research project at SunLabs.

Oracle:
Oracle no longer invests in this effort.
Was not a product; no need to provide support for customers.

Others:
Code now developed via Open Wonderland Foundation (blog)
Consulting services and development carried forward by WonderBuilders, LLC.

(GlassFish) WebSpace Server
webspace.dev.java.net, liveray.com

Sun:
GlassFish WebSpace Server was based on Liferay with extensions into Sun’s middleware.
All product was open source, with commercial support through Sun’s branded product.

Oracle:
Sustaining.

Others:
Most of the functionality improvements went into Liferay.
ForgeRock has an offering based on Liferay under OpenPortal.

ZFS
opensolaris.org/zfs, wikipedia

Sun:
See OpenSolaris.

Oracle:
See OpenSolaris.

Others:
ZFS has been ported to several OS in addition to Solaris.

Assessing the Transition

Some projects have emerged from the transition stronger than before: Apple and IBM are now contributing to OpenJDK and many more developers are now working full-time on Hudson – across multiple companies.  And, as a community, the WebSpace Server also came out stronger, except that it is now “plain” Liferay.

Some projects are roughly unchanged in strength: GlassFish lost the benefit from the rest of GlassFish Portfolio but gained a better relationship with Oracle’s DB, Fusion Middleware and Oracle’s sales org; I’m less familiar with the details at VirtualBox but they keep cranking up releases.

Some projects are still transitioning:  MySQL can now rely safely on InnoDB but it has lost several key individuals and has renewed competition from MariaDB and SkySQL, and from PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB. OpenOffice.org seems well supported by Oracle but its unclear what impact will it get from LibreOffice et al.  NetBeans has lost some personnel and has reduced scope but the gTrends data looks very stable.

For several projects, the loss of the support from Sun/Oracle has meant self-governance and the support from new start-ups or other companies.  This is the case for small projects like Wonderland and DarkStar, for the OpenSSO/OpenDS/OpenESB middleware combos, and for Drizzle.  The changes to Lustre and GridEngine are recent; there might be more of co-existence role between the Oracle and the community.

The most complex situation is that around OpenSolaris.  Quite a number of  well-known figures in that community have left but they continue to stay involved in the project through Illumos and several other companies.

Looking forward, one challenging area for Oracle is communication: lack of communication, or just plain slowness, during this last year has caused a fair amount of miscommunication and mistrust.  Another challenge will be retention of the highly visible employees that participate in these open source projects.

A Thousand Flowers Blooming

Last May, James predicted:

One significant positive impact looks like it’s going to be the creation of a whole pile of small businesses. It’s already happening, and I’m sure there will be a lot more.

The new companies/flowers mentioned in the list above are, in alphabetical order: Belenix, BerliOS, CloudBees, Delphix, EveryCity, ForgeRock, GreenViolet, Illumos, Integrated-Apps, Joyent, LibreOffice, Liferay, LogiCoy MariaDB, Nexenta Corp, Pymma, RedDwarf Server, Reliant Security, SkySQL, Whamcloud, WonderBuilders, Xyratex.  And a number of the “stealth” startups listed here also leverage Sun’s old Open Source projects.

Many new places where Sun can have an impact: Kicked Butt, Had Fun, Didn’t Cheat, Loved Our Customers, Changed Computing Forever

57 thoughts on “A Year After: The Open Source Projects

  1. It’s not InfoBase it’s Innobase and InnoDB.

    Can also note that Embedded InnoDB (InnoDB available sep to MySQL as a shared library with a C API) has effectively been cancelled (nothing official, but no releases for about a year). This work continues as HailDB though.

      1. Hi. I looked around and I can see the indicators that this, indeed, moved from corporate to community, but I don’t see when it happened, nor why. If you can point me to public data on this (blogs, mailing lists, whatever), I’ll create a section for it.

        Thannks, Eduard/o

      2. it was around summer 2009. All devs left Sun/Oracle and all contributors “lost” access to the public repository. So we (some former Sun employees and contributors) decided to setup all the infrastructure on private + sponsored servers. The public kenai repository is dead since then.

  2. Do any of the MySQL forks have even halfway decent documentation? The MySQL docs have always been proprietary, it’s hard to see how a fork can get by without documentation. Who wants to use an undocumented database?

    1. Sorry, I don’t track them at that level of detail. But I’m sure any of the SkySQL folks will be happy to engage on that topic. You can find some of them listed at [1]

      [1]https://pelegri.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/a-year-after-the-people/

    1. Waiting for that whole thing to settle. Oracle is overdue with their proposal [1]…

      [1]http://hudson.361315.n4.nabble.com/On-Hudson-s-future-tp3209113p3224165.html

    1. I hadn’t seen this one. When I skimmed your post I thought it would be the skit about the South Park underpants gnomes…
      I was not passing judgement on OSS as a strategy for Sun; I think it was a very good strategy for some areas and a trickier one for others.
      IMO, the biggest challenge we had with OSS was execution and internal organization.
      Anyhow, this is an area for a much longer piece; my only point was that people knew what Sun’s strategy was, but Oracle should have spent more energy explaining to the community (et al.) that their strategy varies depending on the project.

  3. I do love the catch phrase – Kicked Butt, Had Fun, Didn’t Cheat, Loved Our Customers, Changed Computing Forever – because it really embodied what we wanted to do. The desire, the soul of Silicon Valley.

    And as James points out, many small companies were started out of the projects started there. Each too, with a portion of that same desire and soul.

  4. As oppose to what you are claiming, you can ask any orcl employee to do an intranet search for “Oracle vs. Open Source” and you will get some interesting slideware outlining oracles view on Open Source. Internally Open Source is seen as a “competitor”.

    1. Oracle sells licenses – there might be a few exceptions here and there but almost all the products are sold as run-time license + support. Open Source more naturally fits in a support subscription model, like Sun used to do, or like RHAT does. So, left to their own devices, if they could reshape the world, I doubt that Oracle would choose a world with OSS (me talking – not quoting anybody at Oracle). But, OSS exists, so Oracle has to deal with it, and their approach is non-uniform. That was my point.

  5. Eres genial Eduardo, totalmente genial.

    Pena que solo solo ahora haya empezado a seguirte la pista.

    Mientras que la OpenJDK corra en la BlackBerry, a mi me basta.

    Saludos, Gracias.

    Sad, but I couldn’t stop laughing with the youtube ponny tail open source… steve

    1. La estrategia de Java para la próxima generación de BB todavía no es pública. Avisaré cuando lo sea…

      Y gracias por la apreciación del blog…

      1. Hi Dave. From what I can see, that project has not changed substantially in the last year. One of the pages indicates that Neil Wilson is an owner and that the development is “now” led by UnboundID. If so, that transition precedes the Oracle impact.
        If you have more data/insights, please post it here and I’ll incorporate it.

  6. You might want to go back and look at Lustre. Oracle has put the whole 2.0 devel into mothballs as well as the appliance they were putting together. it looks as if Oracle has ditched Lustre.

    1. Hi tim. Links / pointers appreciated. I was not close to the Lustre team at Sun so I don’t have that many contacts there.

  7. There is another one project, unfortunately unmentioned here: Fortress language.

    I have my own opinion about the difference before and after Sun acquisition (as a subscriber to its Trac timeline and mail list), but I’m interested in yours.

    1. You are right; I forgot about Fortress. I’ll add a section this weekend; I have some contacts in the labs – I should have pinged them for an update.

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