After offering informational updates about its progress in the open source realm Sun has signaled that it has made good, thus far, on previously stated intentions to release 100% of their products as open source. Undoubtedly, all three of the open source software projects mentioned in the summit briefing have reached a respectable level of critical mass and are viably relevant from an industry-wide perspective, even if they stand juxtapose to more popular open source alternatives. And perhaps it sounds like I'm pulling punches by reiterating how early it is to capably comment on whether Sun's open source strategy "worked or didn't. Nonetheless, I will go on record as stating that Sun should consider better associating its open source offerings with a larger sense of a cogent portfolio.
Currently OpenJDK, OpenSolaris and GlassFish come off as standalone entities with a similar page look and a Sun emblem and copyright statement at the bottom. To be sure, Sun has made impressive steps in the area of consolidating community look-and-feel, standardizing the set of development tools provided and streamlining a single point of entry. Yet I'm unable to spot where they converge as members of the Sun open source ecosystem. And maybe that's the intention. But in the case of an established vendor like Sun it doesn't hurt to advance a brand-related, quality guarantee even when the community/source code is open.
To be fair, Sun hasn't had the luxury of starting and building a singular project to the point where other, even totally unrelated projects are found worthy by association (an open source mustard seed of sorts, a la the Apache web server). Also, until recently, Sun hasn't been associated with an open source pedigree despite having been active here and there dating back to 1999. Still in order to leverage any kind of cross relevance within its growing stable of open source efforts, Sun must establish distinguishing aspects of an open source approach which reflects the company's overarching strategic perspective.
To use the Apache parallel again, software produced under the ASF umbrella comes coupled to an association with an established level of quality that is rigorously maintained. Users are guaranteed that each software asset produced is done so under the auspices of the ASF's oversight and guidance. Sun would benefit greatly from working towards a similar end, where regardless of the specific variety of software in question, i.e. an IDE (Netbeans) or an operating system (OpenSolaris) there is an indelible affiliation with the overarching Sun-branded, open source software development "philosophy." It's useful to visit the Netbeans homepage and see links to GlassFish and OpenJDK yet that connection could stand to take root beneath the HTML surface
Admittedly, large scale projects like OpenJDK and OpenSolaris are more different than they are alike, which makes it harder to adhere to a predetermined outlook on building a thriving communities. However, each project should bear not just a Sun stamp of approval in name and look but also a distinct Sun-taste. This wouldn't interfere with the development of unique project-specific identities while concomitantly promoting a distinct sense of federation, one which will prove helpful in unifying emergent revenue opportunities under the scope of Sun's business model. Even if it's a complex prospect to say the least.