So, what if IBM really buys Sun? The community relevance in this scenario...
Today's scoop is WSJ talking about the alleged buy of Sun by means of IBM. People are talking of it everywhere and I presume it will be the blogging boom for the quarter. Indeed, it could be just another rumor; but it could be also true. Indeed, the only sure thing is that, if it's true, we'll know the details of the deal only after it has been closed (and possibly much later). So, my first conclusion is that we know about nothing at present. In any case, I think we should think of hypotethical scenarios, just to know what to do in case of need. What is our position, as a community, in these circumstances?
Well, some people are positive about it, others are negative. The point is that IBM and Sun have got a lot of duplicates in their product stacks and in these cases it's likely that some could die in future (unless Sun is split before the buy). If you're a fan of IBM products, you're legitimately feeling optimistic. If you aren't such an IBM fan (like me), you could have reasons to be worried. BTW, probably in these circumstances people get more worried than they should (I've noted in the past that, despite our scientific-technological attitude, the blogosphere tends to get people easily panicked) - but let's just figure out a doomsday scenario. For instance, IBM shuts down NetBeans or Glassfish.
It would be really a doomsday? Granted, I hope it doesn't happen and Sun's (or the eventual buyer's) commitment and financing goes on as usual. But - hey, let's remember they are open source products and they have an excellent momentum in their related communities. In the worst case, we can fork them. This could mean more (unpaid) work for us at the beginning, but market opportunities often arise when you don't expect. This is the real open source value and one thing for which we must be thankful to Sun, whatever happens, for having open sourced such a massive amount of cool technologies.
So, no, I don't believe the doomsday is near, whatever might happen, and our beloved products are likely to stay in our future as well.