InformationWeek today reported Sun bought German open source firm Innotek, developers of the VirtualBox desktop virtualization tool used by developers. According to the IW report:
Sun said VirtualBox has been downloaded more than 4 million times since being made available in January 2007, and Sun moved quickly to become the acquirer as it maps out a future suite to virtualize customer environments. It plans to use VirtualBox to extend the Sun xVM virtualization software, its hypervisor based on open source Xen.
The story does not mention the price Sun paid, but it’s a sure bet it’s not close — by several factors of ten — to the $1B US the recent convert to commercializing open source paid for MySQL.What confounds me is … why? VirtualBox is a nice addition to a developer’s toolkit, and would make sense if Sun were pursuing a more developer-centric path into the market. But while NetBeans is a mature open source IDE for Java, supported by Sun, it does not have the following of the Eclipse-based Java products. So maybe that’s the answer — Sun IS trying to woo developers out of the long shadow IBM casts over Java development with Eclipse. Can someone shed some light on this issue? Post your comments below.