Oracle is rumored to be making several Open Source grabs – Zend Technologies for PHP, Sleppycat Software for an embedded database with good XML capabilities and JBOSS for an application server suite with some good SOA and advanced Aspect programming technology.
Well Oracle has done one of the 3 acquisitions by buying Sleepy Cat software with its Berkley DB. This can be interpreted in many ways:
1)Stronger entrance into the embedded space with interesting XML and network database technologies;
2)Ramp up path for Open Source developers to move onto Oracle database and middleware systems;
3)Technology and perhaps developer infusion into some key long transaction processing/middleware markets;
4)Pre-emptive strike and swipe at competitors IBM (already Derby-ed), Microsoft (no opensource position whatsoever) and MySQL;
5)Training wheels for getting used to make money on the Open Source model of services and support with perhaps an annual subscription model where in effect you are licensing support for so many services/servers;
6)Better positioning for the Enterprise Applications and Services model of how IT will be done for the enxt 5-10 years.
I think point 6 is one of the biggest drivers. As IT shops outsource all development and maintenance with in house teams guiding and supervising the customization/personalization of their major systems – having agile system and a source of many different Oracle support groups is going to be critical. Might as well get the Open Source on board as early as pervasively as possible.
Larry Ellison has proven to be a so-so Americas Cup sailor – but very astute and often taking winning tacks in the Enterprise IT World.