SchwartzYes, Sun is acquiring MySQL for $1 billion. But Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz isn't done modernizing his company. Not by a long shot. The VAR Guy isn't ready to predict which company Sun will acquire next, but he has noticed Schwartz getting pretty darn cozy with two fast-growing open source businesses.

Indeed, Schwartz is scheduled to be a keynote presenter February 6 at SugarCON, a customer and developer conference hosted by SugarCRM. Separately, Sun apparently is the top sponsor for UbuntuLive, a July 2008 conference for organizations running or deploying Canonical's Ubuntu Linux.

This is a critical time for Sun in the open source market. Schwartz must convince application providers that MySQL will remain a vibrant database that works closely with ISVs. By headlining SugarCON this year (he was a surprise guest last year), Schwartz can connect with a core audience of CRM and database developers.

Schwartz also provides a critical counter-balance to Microsoft at the SugarCRM event. Microsoft is among SugarCON's Platinum sponsors. Steve Ballmer and Co. is seeking to position Windows Server 2008 as the best platform for running open source applications. Microsoft's ultimate goal is to ensure the LAMP software stack has a thriving Windows alternative, known as WAMP within some circles.

Hello, Ubuntu 

Meanwhile, Sun's open source interests aren't limited to the application or database layers. The company, for instance, continues to take embrace Ubuntu, the Linux offering that has gained considerable desktop momentum and is now seeking similar clout on servers. In addition to sponsoring this summer's UbuntuLive conference in Portland, Oregon, Sun insiders are blogging frequently about Ubuntu, and interviewing Canonical executives about Ubuntu's evolution.

One prime example: Barton George oversees Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as Sun's relationship with the FSF. His blog frequently focuses on Ubuntu, and he interviewed Ubuntu Server Lead Rick Clark in January. But Sun is giving Ubuntu more than lip service. Several Sun servers are certified to run Ubuntu Linux.

If The VAR Guy actually made any money from this blog, he'd be willing to bet that Sun is working on deeper relationships with Canonical and SugarCRM. For Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, buying MySQL for $1 billion was only one step in an ambitious open source strategy.

The Real Winner In All This

The big winner in the Windows vs. Linux debate (and the Microsoft SQL Server vs. Sun MySQL debate, for that matter) continues to be open source application developers like SugarCRM.

John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM, affirms that his company enjoys strong success on both Windows Server and Linux. In addition to building relationships with Sun and Microsoft, Roberts remains focused on long-term IPO (initial public offering) strategy for SugarCRM.