Oracle's got a giant Red Hat fork coming, says spaceman
While Microsoft has an 'extortion habit'
OSCON Oracle's assault on Linux looks to take the shape of a fork in the near future, according to Canonical founder and Ubuntu chief Mark Shuttleworth.
"They must be on track to fork soon," he told us, during an interview here at OSCON. "They are hiring too many people just to deliver patches. My assumption is that they are on track to fork and build their own distribution."
Thus far, Oracle's dalliance with Linux has centered on providing lower-cost support services for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. So, you will find an OS called Oracle Enterprise Linux, although this is really just a version of the open source operating system that Oracle tries to keep as up-to-date as possible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Or, as they company says in an FAQ, "Oracle will track the Red Hat distribution closely to ensure compatibility for users."
Shuttleworth, however, sees Oracle gearing up for its own, full-fledged version of Linux that would compete with software from Red Hat, Novell and others. Under such a plan, Oracle would very likely keep its Red Hat compatibility in place, while working to grab hold of new accounts with Ego Linux, as it will surely be known.
"I think it would be great," Shuttleworth said.
And we happen to agree, given that Novell seems a rather ineffectual competitor against Red Hat.
Shuttleworth came to Portland for a number of other reasons than to speculate on Oracle's plans. Namely, he led the Ubuntu Live conference held in conjunction with OSCON.
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, highlighted a pair of packages during its gig.
First off, customers with a support contract will find Landscape – a web-based systems management tool. The software does what you might expect, delivering notices of security and tool updates as soon as they go live. Customers can then choose whether to send those updates to specific machines or to groups of boxes. You also get reports on what new software has been installed and on the makeup of hardware running Ubuntu in a given network.
Then there's the Launchpad Personal Package Archive (PPA).
"Individuals and teams can each have a PPA, allowing groups to collaborate on sets of packages, and solo developers to publish their own versions of popular free software," Canonical said. "Developers upload packages to a PPA and have it built for multiple architectures against the current version of Ubuntu. Each user gets up to one gigabyte of Personal Package Archive space, which works as a standard Ubuntu software package repository. Free PPAs are available only for free ('libre') software packages."
At present, PPA is only available in beta. You can register for the software here or wait for its release in late August.
Lastly, we saw an early glimpse of the Compiz graphics software that will ship as a default feature in the "Gutsy" release of Ubuntu in October. The Compiz software looks to give Ubuntu all the razzle-dazzle present in Mac OS X and Vista.
And now back to Shuttleworth.
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re: Oracle need to worry
http://sources.redhat.com/rhdb -- Already been done. It's based on PostgreSQL, and from what I've seen it's pretty cool, but I don't think it has managed to gain much traction thus far.
Oracle need to worry
I'd say it's Oracle who need to worry. Someone like Red Hat (or even Ubuntu?) could take an existing Open Source database server such as Postgres or MySQL, add some tweaks for compatibility and create a serious rival to Oracle's offering -- with the added advantage that the complete Source Code is available for inspection.
At the moment, nobody's pushing that aspect. But people *are* getting burned by the practice of withholding Source Code. And it's surely a matter of time before someone asks the question out loud, "Would this have been avoided if we had the Source Code?"
Huh? Wha? Kill Linux? How?!
I think that's a bit of an overreaction. As a sysadmin myself, I like the idea of having a single integrated OS/Database platform. Like another poster said, it's going to cost a bloody fortune, which oracle already does. So, basically, a bunch of people that are already paying a fortune for RHEL+Oracle will now just spend the fortune on Oracle directly. Efficient.
Linux will *always* be around now, though. There are way too many forks and special ideas and dedicated developers to be forced out. Also, don't forget the army of smaller tech businesses, who use Linux for everything but the kitchen sink.
Linux isn't about "competing" against Microsoft-- it's all about being able to do what you want with your hardware. You want a samba server that backends against a mysql database? There you go. You want a lightweight machine to play mp3s from the trunk of your car? Linux to the rescue. You want a php scripting platform? Duh.
Windows is a client. A front end to more powerful and interesting systems. And, it plays games *real* good. I wouldn't trust it to keep track of my financials, though, or to hold precious data.
Totally different objectives, not *really* in competition.