I have great respect for Brian Proffitt, but it appears my friend is going to be wrong again. Brain wrote an interesting post about Oracle's break-up with some core community projects and that Oracle is now realizing the value of the community. It can be seen in Oracle's change approach towards OpenOffice.org.
I don't agree.
Java is far different from OpenOffice, OpenSolaris or the Hudson Project. First of all Oracle has not suffered from abandoning OpenSolaris.
Oracle seems to be investing its resources on developing Oracle Solaris which still continues to milk Sun's declining UNIX market. The recent rift between Orcle and HP over support for Intel's Itanium chips shows how Oracle is pushing for its Solaris in the Unix server market. HP accused Oracle's move to stop support for Intel's Itanium chip as “an attempt to force customers into purchasing Sun servers in a desperate move to slow their declining market share."
It, supposedly, made no business sense for Oracle to 'waste' resources in OpenSolaris when the market for Unix hardware is declining. Oracle needed to focus on monetizing on its Spark servers with Oracle Solaris. The company has already blocked the community from getting access to the code. Oracle did not need that community.
openOffice was another 'project' which doesn't bring home dollars for Oracle. It is a 'charitable' project and Oracle, I guess, has no interest in it. Oracle never showed any interest in 'fighting' for openOffice to make it a viable competitor of MS Office. Oracle did not even respond to Microsoft's video attack on openOffice.
The openOffice fork appear to be a miscalculated move for Oracle. Unexpectedly, the success of LibreOffice has made openOffice irrelevant. All major distros have switched to LibreOffice, sealing the fate of openoffice.org.
Even Novell, the company which has caused more harm than good to the free software world, switched from openOffice to LibreOffic in its commercial offering.
Do you think Oracle is trying to bring back developers who created LibreOffice? No. It looks like Oracle is washing its hands off the openOffice by making it a community project. What will be interesting to see is how much funding will the openoffice project get from Oracle.
It also seems to be a good PR move by releasing openoffice.org as a community project and let it die a slow death. Instead of abandoning it by firing its developers.
The lesson that Oracle learned from OpenSolaris, Hudson, Java or OpenOffice.org is not that they need developers, as Brian wrote. The lesson that Oracle, supposedly, learn was to be diplomatic in writing death sentences.
That brings us to Java. Java is a different game ball game. Java is the 'dollar' minting product that Oracle acquired from Sun.
Java has a far bigger market then OpenOffice and this is a profit making market. The entire enterprise middle-ware is Java dependent and Oracle has already forged partnership with the enterprise gorilla IBM.
Java has deep penetration beyond the enterprise market. Its not just the smart phone which use Java, the Bluray players, smart TV sets, Set-top boxes a whole lot of such gadgets use Java. And Oracle charges a fee from this market.
One can see Oracle has smartly reduced the community participation from the Java development and is developing is from the pure commercial point of view. Oracle supposedly doesn't need the so-called community as much the community or companies like Red Hat need Java.
[Note: Its not that Oracle is not working on Free Software projects. Oracle is one of the major contributors to the Linux kernel. The future file system of Linux, BTRFS, is being developed by Oracle under the leadership of Chris Mason]