Alex Barnett blog


Red Hat: Unfakeable Linux?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols over at Linux-Watch is not a happy bunny regarding today's Oracle news that it will be charging less for its support for Red Hat Linux that Red Hat itself:

"...In short, this move hurts Red Hat a lot. In fact, I think Red Hat would have been better off if Oracle had started its own Linux, or bought Ubuntu or some other company. In either case, Oracle would have had to fight to win Linux market share even from its own customers. With this move, Oracle simply rips off Red Hat's mind-share, while promising a cheaper price.

...By doing this, Oracle not only wounds Red Hat, it serves notice to all the Linux businesses -- Novell, Mandriva, Linspire, etc. -- that a giant company can come along, and sweep their work and business plan away from them in a minute."

Matt Assay asks 'Who's problem is Oracle trying to solve?':

Another less-than-happy reaction comes from Dave Dargo who was a longtime Oracle employee and started and ran Oracle's open source program office:

"Sometimes you just have to call bull*&#% on something and Oracle’s announcement on Linux is as great a candidate as any I’ve seen lately.

...Where’s the Oracle Database Network and Applications Network and PeopleSoft Network and Siebel Network? Where are the support infrastructure networks for Oracle’s own products to automatically distribute fixes, patches and alerts? It’s amazing that they can provide all that for a mere $399 for a competitor’s products, but not for their own $200,000 product.

At the end of the day they still haven’t answered the basic question of how eliminating choice benefits the customer, and that’s bull*&#%."

Nope, not happy bunnies...

In the meantime, Red Hat is putting a brave face on the matter and provided its own Q & A (called Unfakeable Linux). Here's an example:

"Q: Oracle says they will provide the same updates as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Can they do this?

A: There are multiple requirements to building binary compatible software. One piece is the source code; another is the build and test environment. While Oracle may be able to take the source code at some point after a Red Hat update release, obviously their build and test environment will inherently be different than that for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. For similar reasons, there is no guarantee that the source code for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux update will work correctly when integrated into Oracle's modified Linux code base."

Well, that's cleared that up then...

Posted: Oct 26 2006, 01:01 AM by alexbarnett | with 2 comment(s)
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JD on EP said:

Opensourcing opensource: I haven't digested both sides of the story yet (see Oracle PDF FAQ, Red Hat FAQ), but here's how BusinessWeek puts it: "Oracle announced today that it will take Red Hat's version of Linux, strip off all of Red Hat's trademarks,

# October 26, 2006 3:53 AM

Alfred Thompson said:

Is anyone really surprised that this is happening? Frankly I am surprised that it has taken this long. This highlights the single biggest flaw in the Open Source business model (if open source can be said to have a business model). Once you have done the work and given the software away without strings there is nothing to stop someone else from undercutting your rates. In fact since the other organization doesn't have the overhead of doing the work that you have already done (and one assumes paid for) their costs are already lower so they would almost be foolish not to take advantage of this to lower prices.

# October 26, 2006 4:51 AM