Sun's McNealy Sees the Light on Open Source


If you were looking for a sign of the times in computing, you could do worse than consider the trajectory of Scott McNealy.

When he was running Sun, open source in his view was pretty much the un-American cancer that Microsoft had proclaimed it to be - largely because of the inroads that GNU/Linux was making against Sun's proprietary Solaris. That was then; this is now:

"If you think about it, proprietary software is the software equivalent of a planned economy led by a dictators, whereas open source is all about choice, the market economy and multiple competitive players," said McNealy.

Got that? It's *proprietary* software that is communistic these days.

The timing of McNealy's Damascene conversion is extremely fortunate, since the UK government recently came out strongly in favour of open source, as I discussed last week. This provides him with something to wave at the US government in terms of getting “left behind” and “everyone else is doing it”.

Although it may be rather ironic that one of free software more vocal foes should end up as one of its friends, it's yet another demonstration of how open source is re-shaping the computing landscape in so many ways.