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Oracle extends Linux support to 10 years

Dangles Ksplice lure for Red Hat customers

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Oracle has reaffirmed that it's in the Linux business to stay by extending the support lifecycle of its own-brand build to ten years, and tempting Red Hat users with a trial offer of its Ksplice patching system.

While the extended lifecycle may provide enough reassurance to win over a few customers, Oracle hopes the 30-day free trial of Ksplice for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (release 5.4 on) and Linux 6 users will prove more of an enticement. Ksplice, which Oracle bought last year, allows Linux kernel patching without the tiresome necessity of a reboot. Oracle Linux Premier Support customers will now get Ksplice as a standard part of their packages, and Fedora and Ubuntu Linux users get it for free.

Ksplice works by acting at the object-code level instead of with the source code, to update legacy binaries (unmodified binaries created without foresight of the update system) based on existing information, such as a source code patch. It's similar to a technique used by the black hat community to control and cloak rootkits.

"With the innovative zero-downtime update capabilities delivered through Ksplice, and the extended support lifecycle for Oracle Linux, Oracle continues to set the industry standard for Linux in the enterprise," said Wim Coekaerts, Oracle vice president of Linux and virtualization engineering, in a canned statement.

This is just the latest sortie in Oracle's on-going feud with Red Hat. Oracle initially claimed that the Linux community had nothing to fear about its entry into the market resulting in a fragmented code base. But since the 2010 decision to run with its own version, the company has made its competition with Red Hat increasingly plain, with all the tact and subtlety of a typical Larry Ellison onslaught. ®

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