Tonight I ran across an online poll asking if businesses would be willing to donate $1000 per developer every year to Sun Microsystems, and if independent developers would be willing to donate $100 - $1000 per year as well. Some companies survive on donations, like Wikipedia's annual campaign to raise $6 million. Sun is a different kind of company and I think they would get less business if people thought they needed to rely on charity to survive.
Instead of donating to Sun, why not buy their products and services? For example, one service that not many developers know about is Sun Developer Expert Assistance. For only $249 per developer you get one year of developer support (not production support) for one product stack such as Java ME, Java EE, Java SE, GlassFish, etc. For only $549 per developer you get one year of developer support for all Sun products and technologies. Sun engineers can look at your source code to give advice on best practices, provide sanity checks, show you how to use an API, etc. I've used this service before and was thrilled with the level of support I received. At one point several engineers VNC'd into my computer for two hours to help me understand their product and to diagnose a possible bug in the installer. This kind of support is affordable and invaluable to independent and corporate developers. The public mailing lists are often helpful, but when you need an answer right away then paid support is the way to go.
The other day I read some insight into the real reason Sun might be sold to IBM:
If the reports are accurate and Sun has decided to sell, the decision was probably driven by outside investors, notably Southeastern Asset Management, which increased its stake in Sun to more than 20 percent last year and has been pushing hard for a bigger return on its investment.
"I think those guys are driving the bus at Sun," Olds said. "This isn't a strategic thing or a Jonathan Schwartz thing; it's purely business."