Is Oracle Sailing the $7B Sun Ship Onto the Rocks?

Now it is the father of Java, James Gosling who is leaving. Will the last open source advocate at Oracle shut the lights on the way out?

Larry Ellison is world renowned as a master Yachtsman. In fact he now has an Americas Cup trophy to prove it. So could it be that he is driving the good ship Sun onto the rocks? From the steady exodus  of former Sun senior executives and open source advocates, one has to wonder where is the 7 billion dollars worth of value going to come from.

The latest rat (and I don't mean that in a derogatory manner at all) to leave the ship is James Gosling, the father of Java. Gosling had been at Sun since 1984 and was the CTO. Perhaps more than any one person he signified both Sun's genius and commitment to open standards, if not open source.  

Gosling's departure comes on the heels of Simon Phipps, former Sun Chief Open Source Officer leaving. Of course, Sun CEO Jonathon Schwartz and former MySQL Marten Mikos left earlier as well.

These are just the guys at the top. But from what I have heard there has been a similar exodus at the mid-level too, both here in the US and around the world. I know Oracle wanted to use the Sun hardware, but you have to question the money paid for Sun when you start taking the open source portfolio out of the mix.

Regardless, it really appears that the open source community will be one of the losers here. Without internal and powerful evangelists at the top, the future is not too rosy for all of the projects that Sun supported.  This could also spell trouble for the openoffice.org suite as well. 

To be fair to Oracle, acquisitions often lead to many from the acquired company leaving. Culture clashes, efficiencies and just out with the old, in with the new is standard. But how much attrition can the business stand before the value is severely diminished?

Integrating and absorbing acquisitions is much harder than actually acquiring them usually. Oracle has a long history of buying other companies and generally not cracking too many eggs in making the omelet. But in the case of Sun should Larry Ellison be charting a different course before it is too late?

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