Java&OpenOffice.org – Simon Phipps (part II)

The day I met Simon Phipps Sun organised a dinner and I had a chance to speak with him about Sun’s strategy about Open Source. I first asked if Sun was planning to create for Java a community council has the OpenOffice.org one. As a matter of fact as OpenOffice.org volunteer in almost four years the council was mostly useless, if not harmful, as for the splash screen case (see the Italian article). As accademic paper writer on voluntary Open Source organization of work I can say that the Community Council Proposal idea to require an unanimous consesus doesn’t make any sense: despite the will to make the community as democratic as possible, makes the council unable to take any real decision.

Consensus Voting: To avoid disenfranchising any group represented by a Council member, all council votes will be by consensus of all nine voting members. (Community Council Proposal, comma V b)

I was pleased by the fact Simon told me they are already working on it, things are going to change in the very next future, as stated by simple but effective actions like creating an email (ombudsman at sun.com) to solve problems that volunteers can’t fix opening issues.
I want to give it a try seeing if we might eventually find a way to include the community-developed Italian dictionary and thesaurus in the Sun official OpenOffice.org builds (see the following issues 70182 and 65039).

Getting back to my previous question to Simon about the double licensing business model, I told him that in Italy, and I guess everywhere but in Germany where the Sun German subsidiary has strong knowledge of OpenOffice.org, customers are willing to pay to get value added services but they can’t buy migration services (changed after Phipps comment, see below) from Sun.

Simon said they’re going to sell global services on it, as they already do for Sun Solaris 10 (see Sun Solaris Service Plan), and I think that document migration and software distribution will be key success factors. On the other hand channel partnerships might be deeply affected by shifting to a global service approach, and this is an issue that need further considerations.
About Java I was impressed by the speed Sun’s move it’s getting interest, starting from the amazing declaration of Richard Stallman (see his video), and Simon told me that he seeing much interest from many important and vibrant communities, like Ubuntu.

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