THE DECISION of Oracle to choose IBM as its collaboration partner for OpenJDK is sure to raise a few eyebrows.
Oracle said that the two firms will collaborate in order to make OpenJDK the "leading open source Java environment" and that the community will be the "primary location for open source Java SE [Standard Edition] development". The Java Community Process (JCP) will continue in its role of setting the standards for the Java specification, though Oracle and IBM will work to enhance the JCP. Quite what enhancements Oracle will contribute are anyone's guess.
Big Blue has been a supporter of Java for some time and even gifted its popular Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) to the Java community some years back. However in its current mood, Oracle has been more about circling the wagons rather than lending the hand of cooperation, and given that the two companies compete on providing enterprise services it's a little surprising that Oracle has decided to choose IBM as its partner for maintaining OpenJDK.
Some light was shed on Oracle's choice of IBM by Rod Smith, VP of emerging technologies at IBM, who said, "Oracle and IBM's collaboration also signals to enterprise customers that they can continue to rely on the Java community to deliver more open, flexible and innovative new technologies to help grow their business."
That tends to suggest that by having Big Blue in the picture those managers who could never get fired for buying IBM can still sleep easy knowing that IBM has supposedly got their back. For Oracle it shows that despite its presence in the enterprise arena, it still needs a helping hand from the most prestigious firm in computing to put some weight behind its announcements.
Oracle, after backing away from Opensolaris and Openoffice, has finally shown that it doesn't want to shun the open source community, at least not completely. Perhaps there's still hope for MySQL after all. µ