McNealy was surprisingly understanding about the general state of things, with Oracle now in the driver's seat of his old company:
"Do I have a problem with Larry Ellison buying Sun? No. That's part of capitalism. As soon as we go public we are for sale. Do I have a problem with him exercising legal IP rights? No. Would it be how I run and operate? Obviously not. But I was a good capitalist, he's a great capitalist. … I'm giving Larry a little grief but there are copyright laws, there are patents, and I believe in patents"
At the same time McNealy also emphasized the importance of forking in open source. He predicted the forking of OpenSolaris, which has happened now with the Illumos project. He also predicts the forking of Java. Although McNealy says, "I believe in open and sharing," he qualifies this with the possibility that "Ellison may actually do it better with his model. It really depends how well he executes." McNealy notes the fact that he currently doesn't get a paycheck, while Ellison certainly does.
McNealy's main mission at the conference was to take some shots at Oracle and other database vendors for their high-priced, locked-in database technologies. The timing couldn't be better now that Oracle has doubled its MySQL support costs starting this week. McNealy joked that when Oracle re-named the end-user license agreement to the software license agreement vendor explanation (SLAVE), people should have started worrying.
You can read more about the conference coverage at ComputerWorld or The Register.