Over the past couple of days Sun has been getting a lot of feedback on it's behaviour with open source.
So there is Amanda McPherson trying to teach Sun that the L in LAMP really stands for Linux.
And then there was Roy T. Fielding quiting the Open Solaris community.
I'm still wondering why a company that once bought StarDivision because it was cheaper to buy the company than to pay licenses for similar functionality, keeps maintining their own kernel stack rather than contributing to one that is way more popular and as a much larger userbase.
Its not like they have a die hard community they will loose, it's not like they will loose customers over it. When Sun says that Linux is the new Solaris their customers will just follow.
Personally I stopped working with Solaris ages ago... when we ocasionally run into a customer that wants us to deploy things on Solaris we always have to spend extra time GNUifying the box, which is yet another pain.
Sun had to learn the hard way from the JAVA crowd that they do care about Licensing and a community only starts to build when they like what they see. and it's exactly that community that Solaris is still lacking.
Virtualbox also is in the same boat, they have a good user community, but they don't have a lot of contributers as they require contributors so use the MIT license and even sign some papers.
In a way MySQL used to be the same , altough lots changed during the last couple of years , but back a couple of years ago nobody outside of MySQL was contributing code, there was a gigantic user community, but not really a developer community.
The big difference here is in community.. not customer base, these people are actually using MySQL because they are freely choosing so. Not because their boss or corporate policy tells them to.
But MySQL learned, and is changing, it currently has also non employees contributing .. often ex employees but also other people , people that form a real community.
Today .. if you really want to cash out ... create an product open source it ,create a user community around it but don't allow contributors, my bet is Sun will buy you :)
I told it before.. I really really hope one day Sun will understand .. but from the past couple of acquisitions.. they seem to be taking the same path over and over again.