Feeds

Oracle buys Ksplice

Hot Linux patch action

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

With 7,000 companies paying for support contracts for Oracle's Enterprise Linux clone, the software giant is, whether anyone likes it or not, a player in the Linux racket. And Oracle just made its competitive position in the Linux space a lot more interesting with the acquisition of a startup called Ksplice.

Ksplice is short for kernel splicing, and it was created by Jeff Arnold, Tim Abbott, Waseem Daher, and Anders Kaseorg, who were students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It allows for hot patching of security updates for the Linux kernel without having to reboot. The Ksplice tool won a $100,000 entrepreneurial prize from MIT in 2009.

The company was incorporated in 2010, and Ksplice tried to make money selling bootless security patching for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its CentOS clones and its Fedora development release precursors, as well as for Debian and Canonical's derived Ubuntu Linux. CloudLinux and Scientific Linux were also supported, as was the variants of Ubuntu for Amazon's EC2 cloud. You can read a paper written by Arnold, who was CEO at Ksplice, that explains how the startup works here (PDF).

The terms of the acquisition of Ksplice were not disclosed. Clearly, the business of selling hot patching services for Linux distros was a bit more challenging than the four MIT students bargained for.

Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Oracle Linux and Virtualization, put out a statement saying that Oracle intended to weave Ksplice Uptrack into its Oracle Linux Premier Support service and that it would specifically use it with its own Unbreakable Linux kernel. That kernel is a fork of Red Hat's RHEL kernel, and Coekaerts added that Oracle does not intend to support RHEL or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the two other major commercial releases of Linux; he didn't say anything about Ubuntu.

While Ksplice hot patching will be available with Oracle's Premier Support service for its own Linux kernel, if you interpret the convoluted statement from Oracle, it looks like those with Oracle Linux Basic Support or Network Support won't get the Ksplice feature as part of their service contract

Ksplice Uptrack is just another bullet in the marketing gun that Oracle has been shooting at Red Hat for three years. Oracle Linux Premier Support costs $2,299 per year on a four-socket x64 server, while a RHEL Premium support contract costs $6,498 for a one-year term.

Ksplice Uptrack had 700 customers and had done over 2 million updates on over 100,000 servers in its relatively short life.

The Ksplice code was created and distributed under the GPL v2 and other open source licenses, so it will be interesting to see if any of the commercial Linux distros fork Ksplice and add it to their own Linux support services. The repositories that Ksplice pointed to prior to the Oracle acquisition point to nullspace at the moment, but there is a mirror of the code (tar-gz) that is still active for the 0.9.9 release of the Ksplice tool. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?