✍ Last Day At Sun

Key West Sunset

Today is my last day of employment at Sun (well, it became Oracle on March 1st in the UK but you know what I mean). I am a few months short of my 10th anniversary there (I joined at JavaOne in 2000) and my 5th anniversary as Chief Open Source Officer. I hope you’ll forgive a little reminiscence.

Looking back, we’ve achieved some amazing things. We’ve:

  • Got some of the most important software in the computer industry released under Free licenses that guarantee software freedom for people who rely on them, regardless of who owns the copyrights. Unix, Java, key elements of Linux, the SPARC chip and much more have been liberated.
  • Guided and fed the quiet revolution that has restored competition to the productivity software market through Open Document Format.
  • Kick-started the corporate blogging revolution at Blogs.Sun.Com, so that at any time you could have checked there have been around 1200 Sun employees sharing their enthusiasms with maximum trust and minimum oversight. In the process we created policies that have enabled many other companies to start the same journey and gave employees ownership of their work.
  • Changed Sun’s attitude towards open source so that early, bitter critics have become people willing to defend – or even join – the company.
  • Participated in the wider community in useful ways, such as retiring old licensing, sponsoring the FSF and helping the GPL v3 come in to existence.
  • Worked with an amazing, once-in-a-career team that has gone on to play key roles elsewhere in the industry.

I didn’t do any of that alone, plenty of it wasn’t my idea, and without the groundwork of others before me it would have been impossible. There are far too many people to attempt to thank here – each “we” above represents a bunch of smart people of whom I was the least. You all know who you are, thank-you so much for the privilege of working with you.

Of course, no story with highlights like that can be without disappointments too. I’m sad that Apache did not get the TCK license they requested. I’m sad that we didn’t get the code for some of those projects permanently outside the sun firewall. I’m sad we never got to a place where co-developers become a priority for various product teams. And I’m sad that, despite the success of the open source software businesses, it still wasn’t enough to rescue Sun in the end. But overall, I am amazed and humbled to see what the open source team at Sun has achieved.

I’ve not decided what to do next (well, apart from sell photos and other shameless commercialism!), but I see so many friends finding exciting opportunities that I’m not especially concerned for now. I intend to keep blogging, so I doubt anything I do will be much of a secret.

130 Responses

  1. Hi Simon! Very sorry to see you leaving. It was an honour and pleasure to work with you! I am sure our paths will cross again at some point in the future. The OSS world is a small one 🙂

    Take care and all the best!

  2. Thank you for all your work and contributions. There was a day when the only way to get meaningful technical information on Sun products was by knowing someone who trusted you well enough to look over their shoulder, or pay for a corporate license. I have so much more information today I can use to deliver accurate, meaningful information to faithful Sun customers. It’s made a world of difference.

  3. Hi there. I’m sad to see this, but not very surprised.

    Keep in touch, y’hear? I’ll be interested to see what you do next.

  4. Wishing you all the best, Simon!

  5. Best of luck to you whatever you wind up doing next. I hope you find a good home with interesting challenges and the resources to do good things.

  6. Congratulations, I think, and now onto better horizons and all that. And thanks for being such a tireless (and erudite) open source advocate. And I don’t see that changing! 🙂

  7. You made amazing things happen at Sun. Very sad to see you go. Hope you will keep being a catalyst in the community wherever you end up.

  8. Have fun in your new life! And we really need to get together in the UK… even if that means me adding a stop at Heathrow.

    – eduard/o

  9. Thanks for all your wise advice over the years. I look forward to seeing what
    you wind up doing next!

  10. Simon, I wish you all the very best in whatever you decide to do next. I am sure opportunity won’t be a stranger 🙂

    Best wishes


  11. Best wishes, Simon. Thanks for the great times over the last decade!

  12. Simon, I am sure that very exciting things are around the corner for you. Not many people can string together a list of achievements like the list you put together at Sun and you can be very, very proud of them. I am proud and very grateful just to have been able to play a part in a few of them.


  13. Simon,
    Best of luck to you. We had our moments and our sour words together, but as the time flew by I also learned to know you better, and I came to appreciate your qualities and personality in a much better way.

    I hope we’ll continue to work together, in some way.

    Oh, and before I forget: Thank you for your work at Sun, and all the things you didn’t have to do, but that you still invested time and effort to do.


  14. Hi Simon,

    thanks for everything you and your team have done for free software. I hope we’ll have more chances to do things together in the future. Have fun with your photos 🙂


  15. Simon: Very best wishes for whatever you choose next. A sad loss for Sun^H^H^HOracle. cheers, always

  16. This announcement had an air of depressing inevitability about it whenever Oracle took over. Sad to see it come to fruition, and fearful of what’s going to become of Sun’s remains.

  17. Good luck in your next adventure Simon. Thanks for all the advocacy and for approving all my open source requests…

    — mark

  18. Best of luck, Simon!

    — Gordon

  19. looking forward to seeing the next place you land at Simon. you effected a ton of change at Sun. thanks for everything!

  20. Best of luck Simon! I’m sure you will do great. 🙂

  21. Simon, my best wishes. Sun archived great achievements with your help. I really hope Oracle continue the Sun spirit, but this seems each time more far. :~

  22. Good luck Simon. Never met you but have enjoyed your commentary greatly.

    Keep talking!


  23. Hi Simon,

    Wishing you well, in your new adventures.


  24. Simon, It was great working with you at Sun. Hope we can keep the OpenSource spirit alive… with of without Sun’s support…

    Cheers mate, and all the best for you in the near future!

  25. Thanks, Simon, for your very encouraging presentations driving the Opensource idea forward! I am sure that without you Sun would not get even that far.
    Good luck and see you!

  26. Best of Luck Simon! Hopefully our paths will continue to cross in the future. I’ll be checking your blog for updates on your next adventure!

    – Jacki

  27. Best of luck in what comes next, Simon!

  28. Thank you for your help getting the many millions of lines of free software code at Sun liberated, from OpenSPARC, OpenSolaris, PhoneME, OpenJDK, to Glassfish and beyond! I’m sure you’ll continue to have a great positive impact on societies you decide to dive in next.

  29. Good luck, and stay in touch!

  30. Al the best, Simon !

  31. Very sorry to hear you’re leaving. Good luck for what comes next in your career. Hope our paths will cross again then. Take care!

  32. Like Andrew Haley, I’m saddened but not surprised. To an extent, the movement of your blog was a sign of foreboding. Thanks for all you have done to support the FOSS movement within Sun and best wishes in the future. ! hope to hear good things from you in the not too distant future!

  33. Thanks for your tireless efforts, Simon! And good luck in your next venture!

  34. I am also sad to hear that you are leaving. Best of luck! Thank you for all your efforts and what you have done in the open source community. Truly, a lot of it could not have been done without you.

  35. Simon,

    it’s sad to see you go, it’s been great to have you on-board! All the best for your future!

    We’ll be missing you!


  36. Thanks for the almost daily selection of interesting items, I’m glad you’ll continue, I’d certainly miss the Webmink if you no longer posted.

    Thanks for all the memories and best of luck whatever comes your way.

  37. great, hopefully this means the end of “planet webmink” and we get “planet solaris” back again.

    • The only way to achieve that is to have more of the bloggers on Planet Solaris blogging more frequently I’m afraid…

      • I hope your blog will stay as part of planet.opensolaris.org because your blog is very inspirative and you had and have (and will have, hopefully) significant impact in OpenSolaris world. Thank you for all your work (and blog).

  38. Best of luck!

  39. Very sad to see you go Simon, but wish you all the best for whatever you plan to do next. It was an incredible pleasure to work with you, and looking forward to our paths crossing in future. Hard to wake up again to a company with one less person that I have a huge respect for. Take care!

  40. Come work at Canonical!

  41. May the best days still be ahead of you, Simon. You have a huge vision, and your efforts at Sun will continue to produce fruit for years to come. If you continue to have things to say, I will continue to be happy to listen.


  42. Sorry to see you go, but as they say, all good things must come to an end… Best of luck for the future, and it was a pleasure working with you on the CAB and OGB during our tenures together.

  43. Good luck to your next adventure!

  44. Good luck, Simon. I’m glad to hear that you will continue with your blog. I’m sure we will hear your voice in the debate for years to come.

  45. Simon, I’m so glad to see you choose NOT to be a reptile. Looking forward to even greater things from you from outside (where the Sun continues to shine, most days).

  46. Sad to see you go, Simon. Thanks for all your work, it was a privilege being in the same company as you. Best wishes!

  47. […] …then, Simon Phipps: […]

  48. Congratulations from Team FOSS.IN on releasing Sun’s final FOSS product! 🙂

    It was an honour to have been associated with the process since 2005, and we look forward to the next mountain you climb.

  49. Simon,

    I wish you all the best in your next endeavor — I’m sure it will be just as impactful as your amazing career with Sun. I enjoyed meeting you at TSSJS Barcelona in ’07. I hope our paths cross again!


  50. So as someone who had the honour to work with you right from the start on java back in 1996 and then into sun – i’m sure you’ll find your next adventure as exciting as the last one.

    as my father would say, life is not a rehersal.

  51. Simon,
    It’s been a pleasure working with you! I’m also quite sure that there will be many future occasions for more collaboration….

  52. Simon,
    Thank you for your contributions. Best of luck in what comes next !

  53. Welcome to the free world! 🙂

  54. Hi Simon,

    once again thank you for all you did to try to make Sun more open to external contributions. Best whishes, and see you soon.

  55. It’s been a fantastic experience working with you as my manager at Sun, and during all these years as a colleague as well!

    Best wishes for what will certainly be an even brighter career outside of Sun!

  56. All the best for the future.

  57. Hi Simon,

    thanks for all the good stuff you did at Sun, especially for educating us about open source. I still remember your keynote from OSDevCon 2009 in Dresden!

    Looking forward to seeing what you’ll be up to next!


  58. I am today wearing my “In a World without Fences … Who needs Gates?” T-shirt in your honour!

  59. I wore my “In a world without fences…” shirt out long ago. But I still remember VERY FONDLY the PR mess it created when it was distributed at J1 while MS was running an event just around the corner. 🙂

  60. Hi Simon – all the best ! cu you on the net

  61. Good Luck, Simon. I am very interested in where you end up next.

    I’m looking forward to our next opportunity to work together.


  62. Hi Simon
    Best of luck with your future endeavors. And thank you for several interesting conversations for more than a decade.
    /kurt westh nielsen

  63. last day at sun but not last at earth 🙂

  64. Simon, best of luck out there. Thank you so much for your tireless support of the Open Source cause to “my” region of Central & Northern Europe. It was great working with you and hopefully we will cross tracks again.

  65. […] anúncio da decisão em seu blog traz também um histórico da passagem de Simon Phipps pela Sun, nos seus quase dez anos de […]

  66. hi simon,

    Good Luck!!

    Looking back….
    Congrats on open sourcing java!! That ensured that Java continues its path to be a lot to a lot of people including me — (I’ve been doing java over 10 years now!)


  67. Best wishes, Simon. This funemployment thing is suiting me quite nicely so far.

  68. You fought the Good Fight for open source at Sun.

    Wherever you end up, Simon, you will make more interesting, more transparent, better.

  69. Hi Simon

    Just wishing you good luck, I hope you take your time to look around and I’m sure you will find the place where you can continue to do a lot of good for open source.

  70. Thanks Simon for all your help and support. Good luck for your next undertaking!

  71. Simon, it was a great privilege to work with you. I learned damn near everything I know about open source and community from you – mostly by example. We did some awesome stuff, didn’t we? I am certain that wherever you contribute your talent and passion, you will continue to change the world of software. And I am greatly looking forward to working with you in the future, as I know we will!

  72. Sun^WOracle will be much lessened without you. Good luck in the future!

  73. Simon, all the best to you! I adore what you have been able to achieve for the FOSS-community; and I pitied you when we discussed the state of Free Software at SUN.
    There was a chance, and they blew it.
    I wish that in future you have a chance to contribute to a project that is more open to ‘free’.

  74. You leave with an admirable legacy that you should be proud of Simon. It was a privilege for me to work with you and I hope our paths cross often in the future.

  75. Simon – congratulations on your promotion 🙂 I certainly enjoyed working with you on the Community Advisory Board and the OpenSolaris Governing Board and learned a great deal from you. Thanks for all the help with Genunix.Org and I’m sure you’ve helped many folks promote open source without ever seeking any credit for your efforts. I wish you every success in your future endeavors and I hope we get to cross paths again – soon.

  76. Simon,

    Thank you for the work, the friendship, the mentoring. You are leaving, but your work is already blooming in many places, and will continue to for a long time to come. You enabled many dreams to come true, and I’m sure you’ll keep doing even more.

    It was an honor to work with you on small pieces of such large legacy. I hope we’ll work together in a near, exciting future.


  77. Simon,

    Thank you very much for everything that you did to make the Open World a better one.

    I hope that you still working with us…

    Cheers from Brazil,


  78. […] su blog personal, Simon Phipps – Chief Open Source Officer de Sun – anunció su retiro de Sun tras la adquisición de Oracle.  Simon estaba a punto de cumplir 10 años en Sun, de los cuales […]

  79. All the best for the future, Simon. I didn’t get to work with you as much as I’d have liked, but it was always a pleasure.



  80. It’s really sad to hear that you’ve left Sun. It’s been a pleasure for me to meet you and to work together at almost all OOo conferences, some trade shows and at your visits in Hamburg. I wish you all the best and I hope we’ll meet again.

  81. I left sun few days ago, was really sad to leave a great company that did so much for the open source. Goodluck Simon 🙂

  82. Sorry to see you move on, but I’m sure you will find a great opening soon – in both senses.

  83. This news is indeed very sad. Thanks for the hard work Simon, and for all those incredible things.

  84. Simon, all the best and good luck for your future!

    I really enjoyed working for you during my 8 years at Sun! I’m still benefiting from the skills and contacts that I was able to build up while working for you. It probably was my best time at Sun, and considering where I am and what I do today, you definitely had a huge positive impact on my carreer.

    My favorite memory from my time in your team was our private weekend team trip to Yosemite right after JavaOne. We were a great team!

    I definitely hope our paths will cross again!

  85. So long and thanks for all the (glass)fish!

  86. All the best to you Simon, new worlds to discover now!, your legacy will never be forgotten!


  87. […] officer, Simon Phipps, has left the company following its acquisition by Oracle, the executive announced in his blog […]

  88. […] su blog personal, Simon Phipps – Chief Open Source Officer de Sun – anunció su retiro de Sun tras la adquisición de Oracle.  Simon estaba a punto de cumplir 10 años en Sun, de los cuales […]

  89. Simon,

    Thanks very much for being your provocative self at Sun. It was a pleasure (and a helluva time!) working with you and I’m sure our paths will cross again.

    All the best and please do keep in touch,

  90. All the best to you Simon and thanks all you did for open source..


  91. Thanks for all your hard work, mate. Much appreciated.

  92. Best of luck. I really appreciated the keynote you gave at LCA in Hobart the other year and all the work you have done for the community. Best of luck.

  93. Simon,

    Sorry to see you go.

  94. […] officer, Simon Phipps, has left the company following its acquisition by Oracle, the executive announced in his blog […]

  95. Sigh…We new this was coming as the Sun Open Source people have disappeared over the last 2 years. Oracle has lost a great asset though I suspect they may not know it yet. I’m hoping our paths cross in the future.

  96. What will your legacy be, Simon?

    I don’t mean to sound critical, but whilst you seem to know your stuff and are very erudite, I (and many others getting on with selling things) never understood how you made the company money in the short to medium term and how your activities helped anyone in the field who was actually generating revenue.

  97. I had the pleasure to listen to a talk of you in Paris. Your blog essays are excellent food for thought to pass on to (non-techie) friends. Thank you for all of that, and all the best for the future!

  98. […] “Hoje é o meu último dia de emprego na Sun (que virou Oracle no dia primeiro de março no Reino Unido). Estou a poucos meses de completar 10 anos lá, além do meu quinto aniversário como chefe da área de código aberto. Olhando para trás, nós realizamos algumas coisas maravilhosas”, diz Phipps em seu blog. […]

  99. […] I no longer work at Sun, I’d like to make clear what my “platform” is in this election in addition to my […]

  100. Simon,
    Have a nice future

  101. […] Come alcuni altri, nemmeno tanto pochi, Simon PHIPPS (Chief Open Source Officer) non lascia Sun, ma lascia […]

  102. […] quien fue “Chief Open Source Officer” por 5 años en Sun Microsystems anunció en su blog su último día en dicha […]

  103. Simon, I know you’ll shake the earth with whatever you do. Best, and good luck with the post-Sunset.

  104. Thanks and good luck!

  105. Good luck in your future endeavours, I am sure this is not the last we hear of or from you – you have been a brick.

  106. […] Phipps, one of the most visible supporters of open source inside Sun Microsystems announced in his blog yesterday that he is stepping down from his post as Chief Open Source Officer. He didn’t […]

  107. Simon, Look forward to many more contributions from you in the open source world and some fantastic blogging. And welcome as an incoming board member of the Open Source Initiative! Hope to collaborate on many good projects together 🙂

  108. […] ✍ Last Day At Sun Today is my last day of employment at Sun (well, it became Oracle on March 1st in the UK but you know what I mean). I am a few months short of my 10th anniversary there (I joined at JavaOne in 2000) and my 5th anniversary as Chief Open Source Officer. I hope you’ll forgive a little reminiscence. […]

  109. If there was one company that has fought all the good battles against the Evil Empire of Redmondia, it was Sun Microsystems.

    Openoffice.org, Virtualbox, JDS, Netbeans, the Java VM, all GPL

    Thanks to Sun, and surely thanks to people like you.

    Thanks for all the fish.

    I just hope Ellison sees what made Sun software successful, and continues with a similar attitude towards OSS.


  110. […] Phipps, kierownik działu Open Source w Sunie, poinformował na swoim blogu o odejściu z Suna, a raczej już z […]

  111. Simon, I always enjoyed reading or listening to your perspective on things and you really did make a huge difference in Sun’s ability to work efficiently with opensource communities. With all that went wrong with Sun during the past decade, the fact that Sun embraced and worked with these communities, contributed documents A11Y, LookingGlass, ZFS, Java, Dtrace, QA, all told more code than all other companies put together (at least according to what I read out of an EU FOSS economics report several years back). Best of luck in whatever you decide to do!

  112. Best of luck going forward Simon.

    I know in my time at Sun I joined conversations in Open Source communities and through blogs that I probably never would have been able to otherwise. Heck, in the early days, I was in a grey area with respect to the rules by just talking to local user groups!

    Thanks for helping to break down those barriers thus allowing all of us to engage in public discourse.

  113. […] ✍ Last Day At Sun Today is my last day of employment at Sun (well, it became Oracle on March 1st in the UK but you know what I mean). I […] […]

  114. […] Phipps, kierownik działu Open Source w Sunie, poinformował na swoim blogu o odejściu z Suna, a raczej już z […]

  115. […] Phipps, kierownik działu Open Source w Sunie, poinformował na swoim blogu o odejściu z Suna, a raczej już z […]

  116. @redstar

    You are right to identify open source as a long-term bet at Sun, and of course it was especially aimed at maintaining and increasing the relevance of Sun’s offerings in the market.

    But to your specific question, there were many customers of Sun’s who demanded to see that Sun was serious about open source (maybe not yours?), and also who needed to understand what the commercial proposition becomes when discussing software products with open source code. I am struggling to think anyone could have been much more credible in this effort than Simon.

  117. Best of luck, Simon, and thanks for your work!

  118. Simon,

    It was an honor to work with you. Your legacy to the java community won’t be forgotten.

    Looking forward to seeing what your new endeavours will be. I’m sure they will be as inspiring as the work you did at Sun.

    Best wishes,


  119. Good luck in your new endeavors Simon and thanks for all the help and good advice you gave me in my career at Sun and in open source. – Dave

  120. […] por 5 de los 10 años que trabajó en Sun Microsystems podrá ahora explicárnoslo: Simon Phipps, anunció en su blog que ayer fué su último día en esa […]

  121. Good Luck 🙂

  122. […] Importante cargo de Open Source deja Oracle […]

  123. […] Erfolg gehabt. Genaue Zukunftspläne hat Phipps noch nicht, er will aber auf jeden Fall weiter bloggen, (via golem.de). if (typeof ord=='undefined') {ord=Math.random()*10000000000000000;} […]

  124. […] a IT world. Sun CEO Jonathon Schwartz started a blog on his depart of Sun, after a acquisition, as did arch open source military officer Simon […]

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