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How corporate America went open-source

Aug 17, 2010, 19:35 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kit R. Roane)

"There was a time when open-source software was the domain of computer geeks and do-it-yourselfers with more time than money. But, as Oracle's legal salvo against Google highlighted last week, those days are long gone.

"Oracle (ORCL), through its purchase of Sun Microsystems, has become one of the largest purveyors of open-source software in the world. Google (GOOG) makes the open-source and increasingly ubiquitous Android smartphone operating system. Their fight revolves around Java, a programming language Sun made predominantly open-source several years ago, but which Oracle's founder and CEO Larry Ellison now calls "the single most important software we've ever acquired."

"Oracle's legal move lit up the blogosphere, with InfoWorld writing that "Oracle may ultimately create a chilling effect over the Java ecosystem and big open source projects throughout the industry," while ZDNet opined that Oracle "plans to sue its way to success." Google encouraged such views, calling the lawsuit a "baseless" attack on both Google and "the open-source Java community" that "works every day to make the Web a better place."

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