Sunday, April 23, 2006

Oracle with its own Linux Distro?

We all know how Oracle gave Redhat publicity couple of years back with the unbreakable message. But recent talks and rumors and Larry Ellison's own admission to getting more than cozier to Linux seems like a thing that will probably close the usurpation spree. Probably, I said.

So should Oracle take over Redhat or Novell?

I think this will be a smart move given that Redhat now has JBoss under its hood. So Oracle will have a cool lightweight Application Server to target the SMB market and the most popular (in the Enterprise world, at least) Linux distribution to its name.

So why do users need a tightly integrated Oracle (tightly as in an Oracle application delivered with the Oracle OS, so to speak)?

Very simple, it makes the whole ball game all that easier...

  • Easier to sell (No more confusion as to, pick any OS you like)
  • Customer is confused already, why confuse him with the choice of portability (look at MS SQL Server, it runs fine on Windows , Customer buys Windows contract/site license and all the other win goodies come free)
  • New customers/migrating customers get a simple migration tool. No hassles.
  • Existing customers get a choice to stay on Solaris or Windows but with a word of advice (an acquisition will give that *word of advice* more weight anyways) to move to Linux in the near future as Oracle develops/and tests its application on Linux.
  • Its been a long time romancing the Linux, its time to marry her!
A run down of reasons to buy or not to buy Novell or Redhat and talk of other folks getting upset at this move. Novell makes at better buy should the target be to conquer the desktop, Redhat would make a good buy owing to its solid growth in the server arena.

Desktop dilemma!?!

In my personal opinion none of the Redhat OR SuSe have an impressive desktop OS. I'd go for Ubuntu. It seems to have captured the hearts of a lot of people. As long as it doesn't stop Goobuntu's (or whatever that they're calling it now in their super cool labs) development efforts.

Build your own Linux distro?

For all you know maybe Oracle will dump both Novell and Redhat and start developing everything on the its own version of the Linux distro (which might look a lot similar to Ubuntu) and ship a Server as well as a Desktop OS. User friendly OS (both for the Windoz sysadmins as well as the end users). Heck who cares anyways what kind of OS you need to be running. Lately all the applications are either on terminal services , web apps and portals. No one wants the end users anyways to mess around with their desktops at work. You want a desktop of your choice of OS. You can do it all at home. At work you get a PC which offers a suite of applications offered by (no surprise Oracle) all offered spaces on a distant server. Like the mainframes. Good ol' days.

But again like David Letterman says "(Larry,) don't go there!"

Who needs who then? And how badly?

I think both Redhat and SuSe (call it Novell) need Oracle badly as Oracle's flagship product runs happily on their distributions. Oracle needs Linux just as badly given that the OCFS2 is now part of the Linux 2.6.16 kernel. And then there is hangcheck-timer and lots more. Again think the idea of "tighter integration of Oracle product in the OS kernel", and that way both of them need each other as badly. Maybe all this rumor is all hindsight and Oracle and both Linux parties have settled for the idea of remaining at their own shores and practicing amorous activities without any bondages. But the amazing growth and adoption of Linux today and the whole open source movement that is gaining momentum makes you (Oracle) just "wanna have it". But does it work this way?

My Verdict!

I think Linux has the spirit of an open source, it is something you would wanna have but would never realize that the power and strength of Linux is in its freedom. The freedom to be able to develop a lot on it without going through all the rigmarole of contracts and restrictions. But again getting flexible around with your own business (and pricing model -which Oracle still needs to work hard on should they help expedite the commoditization of breakthrough technologies like RAC) model (around the open source) and accepting (and getting the respect back) from the open source community, might just help Oracle get into your homes.

Again at homes meaning we're talking about pervasive computing. You'd be nuts if all the developments around the globe be it Blogging, Vlogging, P2P, Self sufficiency don't wake you up. All this build up is the path which all the bigger companies are taking in order to steer on the safe course before someone like Microsoft or Google steals the show on the ubiquitous computing which is what the world is gearing up for. And starting by listening to your user community is the right way to go.

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