In offering an open source version of the Solaris operating system, Sun Microsystems' main intent was to expand the open source community rather than to grab business from the rival Linux OS, Sun President and COO Jonathan Schwartz said at a conference on Tuesday.
Plans for more open source contributions from Sun are in the making, Schwartz said during his presentation at the Open Source Business Conference. He did not elaborate on which Sun technologies might fit the bill.
Stressing the company's commitment to open source and free software, Schwartz noted Sun's recent OpenSolaris project, which provides an open source version of Solaris. Those who view Sun's OpenSolaris strategy as a way to attract Linux users to Solaris are looking at the open source community in a finite fashion, he said. Sun disagrees with this viewpoint, which Schwartz said carries with it the false belief that community participants must pick a side.
"As far as I'm concerned, the open sourcing of Solaris just increases the diversity of the community," Schwartz said.
Sun's strategy is to increase the number and quality of participants in open source, he said. "It's a rising tide," Schwartz said. There have been more than 1 million licenses downloaded for OpenSolaris, according to Schwartz.
Rather than using the GNU GPL (General Public License) for OpenSolaris, Sun is opting for the Mozilla Public License, which does not require code enhancements to be contributed back to the community at large, Schwartz said.
Free and open source software lets developing countries participate in the global network, Schwartz said. "The evolution of free software implies there's no more barrier to adopting technology," he added.
Schwartz noted the changes open source and free software have brought to the industry, asking who would have expected 10 years ago that Solaris would be available today for free. He also cited ways of monetizing free software by way of providing services.
Acknowledging General Motors' OnStar emergency service for motorists, Schwartz said he even expects automakers to some day ship cars for free and make money via services.
Schwartz also emphasized that vendor indemnification of customers against intellectual property problems also is critical. Vendors must be willing to stand behind their products, he said.
Without mentioning Microsoft by name, Schwartz was critical of the rival software company for not participating in the Java Community Process, which provides for community participation in developing Java technologies. "There's only one company that's yet to join the JCP. You can figure out who it is there at your desktop," Schwartz said, referring to the Windows operating system presumably in use on most of the laptops in the audience.