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Wall Street continues to drool over the idea of Oracle producing its own line of Linux software for reasons unclear to us.

Last week, Jeffries & Co analyst Katherine Egbert fired off a research note, claiming that "our independent checks in the past two weeks indicate that Oracle seems to be close to introducing its own software 'stack'." Rumours have floated for ages that Oracle will craft a Larry Ellison version of Linux to complement its database and other assorted middleware. Such a move would back up CEO Ellison's near constant Red Hat bashing.

Ultimately, however, Oracle Linux would be more of a muscle flexing exercise than anything else. The only way to make money off Linux is via services, and Oracle can provide plenty of those whether or not it sells an operating system. Beyond that, Oracle would get closer to stepping on the toes of some of its partners by encroaching on the Linux realm.

The analyst's wild speculation appeared to motivate a seven per cent slide in Red Hat shares last Friday. Were Oracle to reveal the OS plans, it may do so at the upcoming OpenWorld (22-26 October) event.

And, in the end, Ellison may approve a Linux distribution whether or not it makes business sense.

"I don't see how we could possibly buy Red Hat," Ellison said in an interview earlier this year. "I'm not going to spend $5bn, or $6bn, for something that can just be so completely wiped off the map."

Later, he added:

"I'd like to have a complete stack. 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."

We're not sure you'll ever have a complete stack, Larry. ®

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