Sun's open source chief leaves following Oracle merger

Open source success wasn't enough to save Sun, Phipps laments

Sun open source chief Simon Phipps announces his departure in a blog post.

Sun's chief open source officer, Simon Phipps, has left the company following its acquisition by Oracle, the executive announced in his blog Tuesday.

"Today is my last day of employment at Sun (well, it became Oracle on March 1st in the UK but you know what I mean)," Phipps wrote. "I am a few months short of my 10th anniversary there (I joined at JavaOne in 2000) and my 5th anniversary as Chief Open Source Officer."

Sun CEO Schwartz tweets poetic lament on last day

With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle is poised to become what some analysts think is the industry's most powerful open source vendor. But it will chart a new path in open source without Phipps.

Phipps looks back fondly at successes at Sun, but admits some regrets for goals left unaccomplished. Phipps wrote that he and his colleagues "achieved some amazing things" such as changing Sun's attitude toward open source, kick-starting the "corporate blogging revolution" with, and releasing software such as Java under free licenses.

"I didn't do any of that alone, plenty of it wasn't my idea, and without the groundwork of others before me it would have been impossible," Phipps wrote.

Phipps also listed several disappointments, chiefly that "despite the success of the open source software businesses, it still wasn't enough to rescue Sun in the end."

More specifically, Phipps said he's "sad that Apache did not get the TCK license they requested." That was in reference to a long-running debate in which the Apache Software Foundation accused Sun of refusing to grant it an acceptable license for an open source Java SE implementation called Harmony.

Phipps did not detail his reasons for leaving Oracle/Sun or say whether he was forced out. Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz also left the company after the Oracle acquisition, announcing his resignation last month.

Phipps has not decided what to do next in his career, he wrote. Before joining Sun, Phipps was the manager of IBM's Java technology center.

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