Open Sourcing Sun’s Web stuff
When Sun opened Solaris, they opened a new era of cross-fertilisation with other projects. Sun, like other vendors, benefits from the work of a much wider community. The community, including the major projects like the Linux and BSD kernels, benefit from Sun goodies such as DTrace and ZFS.
Sun’s announcement this week of opening the Web server and proxy brings such opportunities for cross-fertilisation to the Web platform. I haven’t worked on Sun’s server myself (I’ve dabbled with its API, but not the innards), but my colleagues include some who work on both Sun’s and Apache technologies. Now there’s no longer a risk of Intellectual Property issues getting in the way of such folks participating fully in multiple communities. Or of anyone else with an interest in re-using Sun’s work.
This is for Sun, in quite a strong sense, a return to its roots: back in the 1980s it was the major platform for innovation, including much of the foundations of today’s networking. It was Solaris 2 in the early 1990s that saw Sun (metaphorically) don a business suit, unbundle the C compiler, and alienate the geeks, and I suspect it’s no coincidence that in the early 1990s a bunch of geeks formed a community around the infant Linux alternative! Now we’re happily back to the heart of geekdom!