Oracle, GlassFish and the Nature of Open Source

One of the not so small things I’ve come to appreciate about Oracle as an employee is it’s stability. Unlike many other companies I’ve seen in my fairly non-trivial career, pretty much no one is worried about their next paycheck. This is no accident. It is a direct result of Oracle leadership’s focus on maintaining a strong, profitable, resilient business. This fact is probably the clearest in the minds of my colleagues that lived through the mess that was Sun.

While a large part of the reason I joined Oracle was GlassFish (and Java EE), I realize GlassFish is subject to that same focus that helps pay my bills and put food on the table. Open Source or not, GlassFish commercial was discontinued in favor of WebLogic for good, sound reasons by rational, informed people. Get over it (and maybe your self-entitled self).

It’s also been made amply clear GlassFish open source is still critical to Oracle also for good, sound reasons. Open Source is the best way of producing a high quality reference implementation that makes Java EE real for most developers as quickly as possible. Open Source is also the best way to encourage rapid innovation through community contribution and collaboration – some of which is hopefully good enough to make it into the standard and WebLogic. I also know that I personally would have been less than enthused as an independent to spend my own time writing or talking about something that is directly tied to the commercial success of any company. I would feel much more comfortable with a vendor agnostic standard and a piece of software who’s primary goal is to teach and advance such a standard.

To those that don’t care about any of the above – here’s what’s in it for you: you now have the opportunity to prove Oracle wrong if you really think you have what it takes. Nothing is stopping you from building a business around the GlassFish open source code base – you can even take advantage of the work Oracle employees are still going to put into it. That’s what open source today is really about, not charity.

No one at Oracle prompted me to write this and it’s written on my own personal time. I am writing it because I believe it needed to be written and I see it as the truth.

All views voiced are my own, not necessarily Oracle’s.

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