I'm not the first to bring this up (not even close), but Ian Murdock has joined Sun. He's not the first participant to do so. Semi-newbie employees include JRuby studs Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo. I've got this gut feel there's more to come. Nope, no insider info. Just an ever-expanding gut, so when I get a gut feeling, I notice it.
So what is the "source" of this gut feeling? There is simply no other company doing sssooo much with Open Source today. Part of our strategy is to Open Source our IP and build new communities. Another is to strengthen ties with existing open source communities. Hiring from the outside is a good way of strengthening those ties. It lends us some "kick-start" credibility in those communities, although "more complete and consistent" credibility still needs to be earned. External hiring adds to Sun a better understanding of the culture of those communities and even impacts the Sun culture over time.
Personally, I think there is a lot Sun can offer to active Open Source participants looking for a change. In case you were wondering, you can can look for a role at Sun that may be of interest to you. I don't know if we had an opening for a "Chief Operating Platforms Officer", but when you've got access to talent that fits a need and that talent can make a difference, 'ya simply go for it