I'm in the process of downloading the Photon ISO now (seems rather large BTW). In the mean time I'm browsing through the Photon github. What struck me at once is, exactly as Joe mentioned in this article, VMware seems to have gone out of it's way to repackage everything. How much of a clean slate they really have will be interesting to see, but it makes me wonder why? Perhaps collaborating with other upstream communities makes more sense than NIH'ing everything.
I can understand the reasoning from VMware - wanting to control it's own destiny but maintaining an OS is a lot of work especially if you're not collaborating upstream. In the past VMware's model has been more of a consumer of open source than a contributor.
Speaking of which, I wonder how that GPL suit is going ...
It'll be interesting to watch this play out from the outside for a change.