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Officially, Oracle hasn’t said a thing. Unofficially, if you count the cars in Oracle’s Santa Clara office, you’ll find hundreds of spots that were occupied last week now empty. As many as 2,500 Oracle, former Sun, employees have been laid off. Good bye, SPARC. Good bye, Solaris. Your day is done.
None of this is a real surprise. Oracle had cut former Sun engineers and developers by a thousand employees in January. In Oracle’s most recent SPARC/Solaris roadmap, the next generation Solaris 12 had been replaced by Solaris 11.next and SPARC next — incremental upgrades.
Former Sun executive Bryan Cantrill reported, based on his conversations with current Solaris team members, that Oracle’s latest layoffs were, “So deep as to be fatal: The core Solaris engineering organization lost on the order of 90 percent of its people, including essentially all management.” James Gosling, Java’s creator, summed it up: “Solaris … got a bullet in the head from Oracle on Friday.”
Stick a fork in Solaris, a once popular Unix operating system. It’s done.
Oracle’s 2009 acquisition of Sun, which gave the company Solaris and SPARC, was a terrible move from day one. The rise of commodity Linux x86-based servers insured that Oracle buying Sun would be an all-time awful technology merger and acquisition.
Indeed, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that went right with Oracle’s $7.2 billion purchase of Sun. Simon Phipps, former Sun open-source officer and managing director of Meshed Insights, gave a long, painful list of all the many once popular Sun programs that Oracle wasted. Among them are:
- Java was described as the “crown jewels,” but the real reason for buying Java SE — trying to sue $8 billion from Google — has failed twice.
- Ellison said Java’s role in middleware was the key to success, but Java Enterprise Edition (EE) is now headed to a Foundation.
- Bureaucracy over MySQL security fixes led to a decent portion of the user community going over to Monty’s MariaDB [MySQL] fork, enough to start a company around.
- Ellison said he would rebuild Sun’s hardware business, but its boss quit a month ago and the team behind it was part of the lay-off.
- Despite Scott McNealy’s (former Sun CEO) understanding that Solaris had to be open to win in the market, Oracle hyped it up and closed it down. The result was this week’s layoffs, foreshadowed extensively in January.
- Oracle renamed StarOffice (OpenOffice) and announced a cloud version, but it couldn’t make it fly. Sensing the impending EOL of the project and alienated by heavy-handed treatment, the community jumped ship to LibreOffice.
When all is said and done — and now all has been said and done — Oracle buying Sun was a waste of money for Oracle and a waste of once valuable Sun technologies. Great moves, Ellison. Let’s see if you can continue your good work with taking Oracle to the cloud.
PREVIOUS AND RELATED COVERAGE
Oracle is firing numerous employees, mostly from its hardware SPARC division. SPARC, and its Unix-based Solaris operating system, appear to be done.
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Oracle said it’s in talks with several candidate foundations over the possible move, as well as with licensees and the community.