[Ubuntu Urdu] Is Oracle finally buying its way into the FOSS Movement?

Fouad Riaz Bajwa bajwa at fossfp.org
Sat Oct 28 23:44:59 BST 2006


(FOSS Industry Analysis by Fouad Riaz Bajwa for the International FOSS
Movement)

Is Oracle finally buying its way into the FOSS Movement?

Oracle Unbreakable Linux Enterprise Support is the name of the new game by
Oracle Corporation for taking its step in to the global FOSS Movement big
time with partners including Dell, Intel, HP, IBM, Accenture, AMD, BP, EMC,
BMC, and NetApp joining in on the Unbreakable Linux Program. With a catchy
name for a Linux Distribution as well as support package, Oracle may believe
to win a share of the global Linux market by buying out an existing Linux
vendor or service provider company to offer a complete configurable Database
offering coupled with the Linux Operating System bundle. 

This news isn't new as Oracle made its first move in 2005 by releasing a
free stripped down version of its Oracle Relational Database Management
System product suite Oracle Deluxe XE that widely supported interaction with
a variety of open source technology platforms including the LAMP stack.
Oracle has already offered trials of "Enterprise Linux", "Oracle Database
10g Release 2" and the "Oracle Application Server 10g" as free downloads.

Larry Ellison, Oracle's Chief Executive made a statement earlier this year
declaring Oracle was looking forward to launching its own Linux operating
system with the possibility of buying a main supplier of the technology that
was clearly identified as Oracle's clean move into the FOSS Ecosystem and
accepting the FOSS model that allows customers to use applications for free,
paying only for custom features, maintenance and support. 

Oracle is now offering Enterprise Linux Operating System software thus
completing a complete stack of Oracle Technology and Application software
products including those running on the Linux Operating System. Industry
analysts are also referring to Oracle's plunge in 1999-2000 surprising
investors with quick unanticipated growth in new software licenses over the
past two financial quarters boosting its stock to the highest of levels
since 2001. The company has already gained 50 percent on its stocks and
continues adding to it recent buyouts of PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems
proving it can buyout any company that is beneficial to maintaining and
growing its market outreach and dominance.

Earlier this month, SAP SD conducted released a press release that Oracle
runs 40% faster on Linux as compared to Microsoft paving the way for Oracle
to take up Linux big time on the basis of performance and scalability. This
bags a world record on performance testing for Oracle. The Sales and
Distribution Standard Application Benchmark was run using Linux on Fujitsu
PRIMEQUEST 580 Server. Within various self funded and market researched
reports, Oracle has proven to be breaking the back of both Microsoft
database and operating system offerings. Now that Oracle has finally decided
that it will also rule in the Linux market game, Oracle might bundle and
configure products together in such a way that simple clicks will install
all the critical software including dependencies safely and optimized for
scalable performance.

Oracle may now be directing itself towards delivering custom-made complete
packages that will include both the operating system and all applications
needed to bundle a complete Linux offering. This should be putting a
considerable pressure for other vendors of commercial Linux including Red
Hat, Novell and IBM but again, Oracle is not about hardware, its software
that is the core of its business and that would still be an option for
considerable commercial strategic partnerships with these vendors and
service providers. The companies that are on the possible hit list for
buyout analyzed by market researchers may be Canonical Ltd or Red Hat and if
either one of these reports are true, this may prove to be the biggest Open
Source deal of the millennium. 

Oracle is not alone in the game for new Linux distributions, various sources
have also reported Google taking interest in creating a new distribution
from Ubuntu Linux from Canonical Ltd that itself is a derived from the
Debian Linux Distribution. The Linux world is becoming a very interesting
place for both commercial and public sector organizations worldwide. Oracle
may have taken this decision for a number of strong reasons including the
increase of use of Open Source products like MySQL and PostgreSQL including
Enterprise DB. 

Another major interest may be the fact the most of the Linux servers world
wide run the Apache web server that was already built into the Oracle
Application Server architecture supporting Java. At the backend of every
serious and mission critical organization, Linux is proving to be the best
choice for use and Oracle has been shipping Oracle products supporting a
variety of Unix and Linux distributions so the relationship tends to be a
strong proposition for the future that the Open Source models have proved
support services around the software to generate encouraging revenues.
Moreover Oracle has always been the preferable choice for Fortune 500s as
well as customers worldwide but this does not imply that these customers
have not tested or are not running any other type of Open Source in their IT
infrastructures already. 

Where these moves represent an interest towards Open Source offerings, they
also tend to give an image of violating the essence of the FOSS Movement
based on the interesting factors of Oracle Licensing Schemes that one has to
agree to use Oracle's products that in no way show any resemblance with the
Open Source or GPL licenses and copyrights. The products also limit use in
prohibited countries like Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria
etc. Secondly the license retains ownership of all software to Oracle thus
the software falls completely into the proprietary software domain and does
not allow users to share or modify the software which is the common
philosophy of all FOSS technologies and platforms. Also where proprietary
software companies provide software and code back to the community, it is
usually a generation old in terms of the fact that the community free
offering is always a couple of versions old whereas the proprietary version
is more advanced in terms of features and offerings with lots of built in
custom code that may or may not fall into the FOSS domain.

Experts worldwide are also presenting a mix of different point of views
concerning whether such a move will be beneficial for the big corporation.
According to various sources Stuart Williams, senior analyst at Technology
Business Research, quoted on Network World that “Ease of use and ease of
installation would be of primary importance because [small and midsize]
firms don’t have the IT support of a larger enterprise. Because Oracle has
this pre-integrated stack, they can preconfigure everything you need and be
[service-oriented architecture] ready . . . and, because they use these
common networking protocols, they could also integrate with the existing
Windows environment. You drop it off, set it up and it’s ready to use.” CNET
News reports that Ubuntu (Canonical) chief Mark Shuttleworth says "I don't
think Oracle is going to make large amounts of money selling support for
Linux. I don't think it will ever be a high-margin, high-profit, exciting
growth business for them. It's becoming more and more of a commodity. But
that doesn't mean there isn't some tactical value to them in influencing or
playing in the space".

Whether the industry is happy or skeptical about Oracle's move into FOSS,
Oracle has already offered existing clientele 50% off on support offerings
under Unbreakable Linux Enterprise Program and moreover, the logo shows the
Linux mascot TUX in an armored suit to beat the odds. Results from Oracle
Corporations decision will be a great interest for the industry and users
will be seeing more similar offerings from other companies such as MySQL and
Enterprise DB. Community developed Linux, Ubuntu launched a LAMP
(Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP/Perl/Python) stack offering built into its server
distribution released earlier this year in June and Larry Augustine has
already been funding the VA VistA architecture built into a Linux
distribution for the medical care and hospital markets.

The industry will be seeing more buy in from commercial software vendors,
developers and service providers in the future towards the FOSS trend but
how many of these deals will buck the cash, is yet to be witnessed.

References:

http://www.oracle.com/technologies/linux/index.html

http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=03808#0

Oracle Joins The Free Standards Group As A Platinum Member, Redwood Shores,
Calif.m, 25-Oct-2006
http://www.oracle.com/corporate/press/2006_oct/oracle-fsg.html

SAP AG Standard Application Benchmarks were developed to provide comparative
load analysis of SAP solutions. http://www.sap.com/benchmark

Oracle Sets World Record for Two-Tier SAP® Sales and Distribution Standard
Application Benchmark Running Linux on Fujitsu PRIMEQUEST 580 Server.
http://www.oracle.com/corporate/press/2006_oct/oracle-fujitsu-wr-sapsd-bmrk.
html

Download Oracle Enterprise Linux Operating System software
http://edelivery.oracle.com/linux

-----------------------
Fouad Riaz Bajwa
FOSS Advocate
Member BytesForAll Network South Asia
Article released under 
Creative Commons Share Alike 2.5 License
 

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