Ubuntu-Pakistan Oracle to Release Linux-based Software Bundle?

Mufti Muhammad Mudasser Sharif mufti_sb at yahoo.co.in
Sat Oct 28 12:04:07 BST 2006

Oracle's Chief Executive Larry Ellison said earlier this year the company was considering launching its own Linux operating system and had looked at buying one of the main suppliers of the technology. Now it seems that is almost imminent: analysts think as early as next week the database company will announce its move into open source.

Oracle more or less has to go into open source because there it already has strong competition. The database developer can then fight open source competitors on their own ground. It's clear that open-source is growing in popularity and importance, because it allows customers to use applications for free, paying only for custom features, maintenance and support.

The company faces hard competition but managed to stay in the lead. Its main competitor is SAP AG of Germany. It has tens of competitors only in the database field, among which Microsoft and IBM. If Oracle goes into Linux, it will be able to deliver custom-made complete packages that will include both the operating system and all applications needed.

Oracle partners with Red Hat and Novell and supports both of their Linux distributions with its software, but in an interview with the Financial Times in April, Ellison said Oracle’s biggest customers want a one-stop-shop where they can get an entire stack of software, from the operating system to applications. Linux would be a boon in that effort, he said.

“I’d like to have a complete stack,” he told the Financial Times. “We’re missing an operating system. You could argue that it makes a lot of sense for us to look at distributing and supporting Linux.”

Rumors are that Oracle has its eyes on Linux releasers RedHat or Ubuntu maker Canonical for partnership (buyout?!). Linux is a popular platform for database servers. It was rumored Oracle is looking forward to introducing an Ubuntu-anchored software stack (OS-apps software bundle). Oracle's offer could include even a dedicated hardware solution for it.

After a plunge in 1999-2000, Oracle surprised investors with faster-than-expected growth in new software licenses over the past two quarters, sending the company's stock to its highest levels since 2001. Since the beginning of the year the company's stock has gained about 50 percent. Recently, Oracle bought former rivals such as PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems.

Official announcements are expected to come sometime during the Oracle OpenWorld show next week. The move will also put Linux's foot in the door for small and medium businesses, where Windows is dominant by a large margin. SMBs are reluctant to adopt open source because they do not have IT muscle to support an open source solution.

“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,” says Stuart Williams, senior analyst at Technology Business Research, quoted by Network World. “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,” Williams says. “You drop it off, set it up and it’s ready to use.”

Ubuntu (Canonical) chief Mark Shuttleworth, told CNET News: "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," he said.

Either way, Oracle's move into the open source world will certainly provide advantages over the long term to customers.

Link [http://www.playfuls.com/news_04838_Oracle_to_Release_Linux_based_Software_Bundle.html]

Mufti Muhammad Mudasser Sharif
Abdur Rahman Corporation (Pvt) Ltd.
Software Developer
System Analyst
OCP Developer Track
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