Sun Microsystems sails into the sunset, but India's biggest software event , SunTechDays, will be held as usual -- in March
By Anand Parthasarathy
Ten months after its announced merger with Oracle, has the time come for the Sun Microsystems we have known and respected, to sail away into history, merging its identity into the bigger player’s?
I am grateful for the Hong Kong Edition of Computer World for pointing me at a blog just posted by Sun’s Bishma pitha ( father figure), James Gosling, the man who helped create Java. It is the picture we reproduce – a simple R.I.P. (Rest in Peace), for Sun Microsystems.
Almost immediately, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz is known to have sent out an internal memo, suggesting that employees should “emotionally resign from Sun," and prepare to take "the first step in a new adventure."
He himself is packing his bags to depart from the post merger entity, even as Oracle announced today, Jan 27, that it had completed all formalities connected with the acquisition of Sun.
Sun has about 30,000 people working for it -- about a third of Oracle’s strength. Schwartz is credited with taking Java and Solaris completely into the Open space as well arming the company’s portfolio with the acquisition of the popular Open Source tool MySQL. For many lay users of PC’s in India who might not have been directly touched by any of this ( though they would almost certainly and unknowingly used dozens of Java- based devices ) their reason to remember Sun with gratitude centres around the free availability for over a decade now, of Sun’s Open Office suite which gave them all the functionality of Microsoft’s Office product without having the bust their piggy banks to buy it.
Sun’s founder Scott McNealy who coined the phrase: The Network is the computer, was a frequent visitor to India till he gave up hands on control of the company he founded 28 years ago and we in the media loved him: he was always good for a juicy quote or two about the industry’s proprietary players. His farewell memo today, is as always, double edged: "My hat is off to one of the greatest capitalists I have ever met, Larry Ellison ( of Oracle).... "To be honest, this is not a note this founder wants to write. Sun, in my mind, should have been the great and surviving consolidator. But I love the market economy and capitalism more than I love my company."
SunTechDays is onThe Sun may be about to set, but Indian fans can relax: SunTechDays is scheduled to take place, as always in Hyderabad, March 24-25. It always was the biggest annual gathering of software geeks in India and that is unlikely to change. I have been fortunate to attend the event at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre for as long as it has been held -- indeed there is no other venue in India that can take 5000-plus delegates -- Java geeks, one and all -- in one hall for a keynote by the likes of Gosling. I have also stood gaping with awe at 10,000 yelling, foot stomping delegates when Sun holds its global Java conference at San Francisco's Moscone Centre every year. There is some speculation in the technical press but I believe, this too will go on -- in June this year. Schwartz speculates in his blog that Java might contribute to the world's biggest apps story -- and he is right. Oracle would not be so foolish as to kill off the crown jewel of the tiara they have acquired for 7 billion dollars and change.