When the end began for Sun, open source was the banner the company took up to lead its last charge. Open-source projects were all anyone could talk about at Sun, even though they really didn’t have much to say about them. The MySQL acquisition was a smart move, but in the end the only real outcome for it was to make Oracle more intent on buying out Sun.
It is these final death throes that remind me of Microsoft’s moves into open source. That’s not to say Microsoft is dying. That’s silly to even contemplate. But I do feel as though Microsoft is pushing back on the same thinking Sun had: Open source commoditizes software, and that means lower margins for companies like Microsoft. It’s now turning to open source as a way to stem the tide of customers running away from it.
And just like Sun, Microsoft is now making some rather silly partnerships. Docker, for example, has been brought into the Microsoft wheelhouse, though for the life of me I still do not understand what exactly their partnership brings either side. Microsoft is also cuddling up to Hadoop vendors, another rather silly idea, since Hadoop does not run on Microsoft operating systems.
But then, technically, MySQL runs on Solaris. Sun might have had better judgment in some ways. Still, I feel as though Microsoft is making decisions based on the future it now knows is coming: a future of much cheaper software, much larger projects, and Microsoft software running inside of open-source software.
The final upshot of all of this, however, is that no matter what happens to Microsoft now, C# and the .NET platform will live on.