Shuttleworth: Oracle dooms its prospects in open source business

Summary:Oracle's ill-advised patent infringement case against Google will backfire, and hurt its prospects in the growing open source business market.That, according to Ubuntu creator and Linux giant Mark Shuttleworth, is the natural outcome of Oracle's case against the Linux-based Android operating system.

Oracle's ill-advised patent infringement case against Google will backfire, and hurt its prospects in the growing open source business market.

That, according to Ubuntu creator and Linux giant Mark Shuttleworth, is the natural outcome of Oracle's case against the Linux-based Android operating system.

Shuttleworth, who stepped down as Canonical's chief last spring to focus on the technical development of Ubuntu Linux, was more than happy to weigh in on the patent infringement case filed late last week.

Here's the entirety of  Shuttleworth's comments, submitted by request to ZDNet this week:

Oracle has significantly undermined its relationship with the open source and developer community. That may or may not have an immediate impact on its bottom line, but it's going to present real challenges for the pace of adoption of key Oracle technologies, like Java and MySQL, which have traditionally been led from the bottom up. Developers have been the drivers of adoption of open source platforms, and they will avoid platforms that look like patent traps.

Major software houses have historically been promoters of software patents, they have said that patents will help them defend their margins, and protect their incumbent position on lucrative markets. Microsoft, for example, spent much of the last decade threatening suits to keep Linux out, and attempting to generate revenue from its patent portfolio. But looking at the numbers, it's apparent that patent suits hurt the largest software companies the most - they are the ones who are obliged to ship new products to large numbers of users, and are most vulnerable to patent attacks. Meanwhile, being focused on the defense of existing markets is a recipe for missing out on the next opportunity, something that Microsoft feels very keenly today.

The largest software companies in fact stand to benefit from reducing the scope of patents in the software industry. Oracle may well be the last to realise that.

Topics: Oracle, CXO, IT Employment, Open Source, Software

About

Paula Rooney has covered the software and technology industry for more than 20 years, starting with semiconductor design and mini-computer systems at EDN News and later focused on PC software companies including Microsoft, Lotus, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell and other open source and commercial software companies for CRN and PCWeek. She receiv... Full Bio

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