After I made a couple of remarks via Twitter regarding my perceived increase in the amount of Oracle WebLogic marketing material being posted on the GlassFish Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.oracle.com pages – which given recent news I can fully understand a company like Oracle wanting to push at the expense of GlassFish Open Source Edition – I was asked by an Oracle staffer what I would expect from a GlassFish fork.
For me this is less about expectation, and more about what I would hope from a fork, so what follows are some of my feelings in response to this.
1) Some degree of security that Oracle won’t arbitrarily close the project with no official communication to either the community or customers, because it conflicts with the primary, overriding money-making ethos at the heart of the company.
2) Affordable professional support, with the confidence that support costs won’t unexpectedly and dramatically increase (to use one of many examples), simply to satisfy what any reasonable person would call the disgustingly profligate lifestyle of one man.
3) Knowledge that it’s in the right hands, that is, developed by a company that understands open source, participates in and nurtures a community, doesn’t have its own proprietary products competing for resources, and, doesn’t identify by its own admission open source adoption as one of the key competitive threats to its own business model.
As far as I am concerned, Oracle has also really screwed up with the perception of its own developer talent. Even if I had confidence in Oracle regarding the above points, the increasingly relevant question is, would it be a product anyone would want to use? What other conclusion can a customer reach when the collective ex-Sun/Oracle developer talent responsible for breakthrough OS technologies (for example) are loudly and publicly questioning Oracle’s own competence as a technology provider?
There are other issues to note, but this will do for a start.