News: The Zen of Free - Sun go Open Source - by Simon Phipps

  1. By the time Simon Phipps took the stage he was already playing catch-up to an excellent opening day of presentations. No fear, with his talk on the 'Zen of Free' and the models for understanding Open Source he raised the bar. From the back of the conference room you might easily mistake Simon for Bill Bryson, and fittingly in a Brysonesque manner he started off by eloquently talking about the vast amount of change in the way society now travels (and lives) due to technological change. We no longer carry money, we have ticketless global travel and the advent of GSM mobiles has meant instant global communication. The paradigm shift over the last 15 years he attributes largely to the "The introduction of ubiquitous networking." Shattering the historic boundaries that divided individuals and companies, the net result being that successful networking is not restricted to employees of large organizations but is now accessible to everyone on the planet. Simon believes that we have come so far that he supports the idea "We’re leaving the consumer age and entering the participation age." Which conveniently leads us to the subject of Open Source He recalled how software development used to be a closed-room, a place where carefully chosen developers might covertly create a new product behind closed doors. But that now, successful software development is dependant on the collective input of many…hence the birth of Open Source. To counter the nay Sayers he claimed that "Open Source is not a form of communism - it is connected capitalism." ... it is the utopian ideal of carefully aligned common interests. Furthermore, that the community of developers can share in that common code to create wealth. Here are some of the other major points:
    • Forks don't harm the community; they just dilute the pool of interest. As an illustration Simon was running on NeoOffice (a Java fronted program) a derivative of Openoffice.org.
    • The governance of Open Source is essentially governed by the community. To read about licenses go to Sun Open Source Initiatives
    • Patent protection comes from good governance.That consumers will begin to pay for software at time of value (when needed)
    • The art of making open source commercially viable will come down to the fine art of understanding the market place, and who is willing to pay and how much
    Under the heading of 'Open Source Mantra' Simon called on the called on the collective to Collaborate, Complete and Contribute. In conclusion 'The Zen of Free' is the ideal that Open Source and Sun Microsystems' place within it has a very bright future, and indeed in time that may be borne out. One attendee questioned whether this is the work of an ideological pioneer pointing Sun to where they need to be, or is this the ultimate goal of Sun and Simon is just the man to execute it (to paraphrase)? Of course nobody can know if the java community will continue to all row in the same direction, but one thing is certain, that Simon Phipps is a fantastic guy to have steering the ship.

    Threaded Messages (5)

  2. And in other news....[ Go to top ]

    How many thousands is Sun going to lay off? http://blogs.zdnet.com/Foremski/?p=88#comments And it looks like Novell is hating life too. http://news.zdnet.co.uk/0,39020330,39276718,00.htm Yeah.....Open Source. Guess what Sun and Novell, you don't have to give everything away.
  3. Re: And in other news....[ Go to top ]

    Uhm... Both companies had stagnated and were on the way down fiscally long before they "embraced" open source. So besides showing us that Open Source isn't a "Silver Bullet" management model (which is rather obvious), I fail to see what it is you are contributing to the discussion.
  4. Re: And in other news....[ Go to top ]

    So besides showing us that Open Source isn't a "Silver Bullet" management model (which is rather obvious), I fail to see what it is you are contributing to the discussion.
    And exactly what did you contribute to "the discussion"? Oh, but this was interesting:
    The art of making open source commercially viable will come down to the fine art of understanding the market place, and who is willing to pay and how much
    Will come down to..? That inspires a lot of confidence since this guy is Chief Open Source Officer at Sun and Sun's entire software strategy revolves around open source. Maybe RedHat should just buy Sun now, instead of 5 years from now.
  5. Re: And in other news....[ Go to top ]

    Actually, Frank, I talked at length about this at the event. I realise you're not positive about Sun from your other postings but please, reported speech and the speech from which the report are derived are different things.
  6. The shift to the community participation paradigm is more and more inevitable. The companies that fail are the ones that don't undestand open source and how to harness it. A previous poster showed two companies not fairing well. Tell me then how are IBM, JBoss/RedHat doing? These companies support open source software but have figured out how to make money off it, and they are just two well known examples. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8IBEFC80.htm?sub=apn_tech_up&chan=tc I have little synpathy for companies who do not adapt their business models with changing times. Just like the retail companies that didn't harness the Internet boom these companies will become the dinosaurs of our industry. The key seems to be to support open source projects which are key to your business strategy, supply developers, kit and money. Then with the experience, participation and influence gained sell your services or provide specialist versions of then open source software with more custom features. Open-source is a threat and a danger, just as the Internet was. It's a threat to dinosaur companies who cannot adapt in time and dangerous if it's advantages and disadvantages are not fully understood. But then ignorance is always dangerous! If Java was made open source who would lose jobs? Does Sun make any real money from a closed source JVM. The issue to me is can Sun realign themselves as a service provision company quick enough. I think the essential factor in keeping Java sucessful is Sun's continuing role as arbitrator and captain of the ship rather than whether you can re-distribute the source code. I hope our desire for egalitarianism doesn't end up with no one at the helm ....