Sun's Open Source Chief Quits

Ten-year veteran Simon Phipps leaves the company on the heels of Oracle merger.
Sun Microsystems chief open source officer has stepped down from the company in the wake of its acquisition by Oracle.

"Today is my last day of employment at Sun," wrote Simon Phipps, in a blog post Monday.

Phipps, a ten-year veteran of Sun, did not state a reason for his departure. Oracle completed its $7.4 billion buyout of Sun on Jan. 27 and has itself been active in developing and distributing open source software. It also inherits from Sun MySQL, billed as "the world's most popular open source database."

In his farewell blog post, Phipps listed a number of accomplishments he felt his team made during his tenure.

"Got some of the most important software in the computer industry released under Free licenses that guarantee software freedom for people who rely on them, regardless of who owns the copyrights. Unix, Java, key elements of Linux, the SPARC chip and much more have been liberated," wrote Phipps.

Phipps also credited his team for having, "Kick-started the corporate blogging revolution" and for having "Changed Sun's attitude towards open source so that early, bitter critics have become people willing to defend—or even join—the company."

Still, Phipps said he wasn't able to accomplish everything he wanted to while at Sun.

"No story with highlights like that can be without disappointments too," wrote Phipps. "I'm sad that Apache did not get the TCK license they requested. I'm sad that we didn't get the code for some of those projects permanently outside the Sun firewall. I'm sad we never got to a place where co-developers became a priority for various product teams," he said.

Finally, Phipps conceded that he was "sad that, despite the success of the open source software businesses, it still wasn't enough to rescue Sun in the end."

Oracle boss Larry Ellison has said the acquisition of Sun would allow his company to offer a complete portfolio of products and services and help spare customers the frustration of having to build business IT systems from piece parts.

Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz left the company Feb. 4.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on how CIO Dana Deasy helped transform BP's tech approach. Download the report here (registration required).

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