How Sun’s Need to Control the Code Cost Them the Company

Jeremy Allison looks back at the demise of Sun Microsystems on ZDNet. “The Solaris operating system, the Java language and virtual machine, the OpenOffice office suite – all of the really large software projects that Sun released – had strings attached that stopped any real external community from forming around the code. Usually it was the demand that any code contributions be contributed directly to Sun for their own use in proprietary products that was the major failing of all the Sun ‘community’ projects. Poor licensing choices, demands for ownership of all contributors work, ignoring contributors outside of Sun, all of these can be blamed for Sun’s inability to maintain active coding communities around their Open Source code, but in the end it comes down to the desire to maintain control and ownership of the code at all costs. People are smart enough to understand when they’re being taken advantage of, especially programmers.
Read more at LWN