Oracle architect says there ought to be one Linux distribution: Red Hat

Oracle architect says there ought to be one Linux distribution: Red Hat

Summary: One Oracle exec said there should be only one Linux distribution -- Red Hat -- and claimed there will be no fragmentation of that code base.In an interview with the Linux Foundation recently, Oracle’s chief corporate architect said Oracle Unbreakable Linux is not a product but a support program and he believes that there ought to be only one Linux distribution -- his rival's code base.

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One Oracle exec said there should be only one Linux distribution -- Red Hat -- and claimed there will be no fragmentation of that code base.

In an interview with the Linux Foundation recently, Oracle’s chief corporate architect said Oracle Unbreakable Linux is not a product but a support program and he believes that there ought to be only one Linux distribution -- his rival's code base.

“It’s really our desire to encourage the market to move to a single distribution. Red Hat has by far the largest market share in the data center, and especially for Oracle customers. So it made sense to pick Red Hat as our base,” said Edward Screven, Oracle’s chief corporate architect. “Now if the Red Hat and Novell numbers were reversed, we would have picked [Novell] SUSE.”

He contends that Red Hat and Novell should not try to compete with differentiated Linux distributions but purely on the support side of the business.

Oracle’s homegrown implementation of Red Hat – Oracle Unbreakable Linux -- was misunderstood as a separate Linux distribution when it was introduced in October of 2006, he said. The database and apps vendor will continue to back Red Hat's Linux code and won't cause fragmentation, Screven said.

“We don’t really view ourselves as being in the distribution business. We see ourselves as being in the Linux support business,” Screven said. “I think there’s an important difference there. I mean, we don’t try to compete by creating a differentiated distribution. We don’t try to compel customers to subscribe by withholding binaries. You know, anyone on the planet can download and use Oracle Enterprise Linux binaries for free. You know, if you want support from us, you pay us. But we’re not trying to compete in the distribution business."

The climate was a lot chillier when Oracle Unbreakable Linux launched 17 months ago, shortly after Red Hat acquired JBoss and formally entered the middleware race against Oracle.

Lest one think there's a warming between the two rivals, Oracle is ramping up its competition with Red Hat on the support side of the business. Screven claimed that Oracle has been providing patches for its Linux customers and partners since 2003 and that Unbreakable Linux was merely a formalization of a program that existed because neither Red Hat nor Novell provide the level of enterprise support.

"The existing Linux vendors I think have a little bit different point of view and I don’t think that they were doing a very good job. You know, they were charging a lot of money for support levels that, in our minds, were insufficient for many enterprise customers,” Screven said. “And the implication is that a lot of those customers were discouraged from using Linux for mission critical systems in their data centers. Now, we really want Linux to be the default choice for Oracle customers in their data centers. So we got into the business to fix it.”

Oracle's comments were posted on Tuesday, as Red Hat launched JBoss operations Network 2.0 as an enhanced enterprise middleware management platform.

Screven said Red Hat’s claims that Oracle cannot guarantee 100 percent binary compatibility of its patched version of RHEL with RHEL are not valid.

“Find a place where there is a functional difference between Red Hat Enterprise Linux binaries and Oracle Enterprise Linux binaries. The only practical difference that I know of is the difference in label string,” he said. “Obviously, we produce a lot of conventional software running on Linux, including the database, that we develop and we test on Oracle Enterprise Linux. We do not test on Red Hat Linux, yet we release our products to our customers certified and supported on Red Hat Linux. And we can do that because we know with certainty that they are the same."

"We’re very, very focused on making sure that what the binaries that we distribute either as, you know, individual package updates or as complete installs is completely compatible with Red Hat Linux," Screven said in the interview, which was posted on the Linux Foundation web site Tuesday. "And, you know, our goal is to make sure we do not cause any fragmentation in the Linux market space. "

Topics: Oracle, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Thanks, but no.

    I use KDE, I don't like Gnome (and yes, it is simply what I have been using since 1999, so familiarity is what I like). With RedHat 8.0, KDE became an afterthought, and I prefer a distro that really has the same tight integration of KDE (Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, etc) that Ubuntu does with Gnome.

    I prefer KDE, su instead of sudo, all my favorite KDE apps tightly integrated (K3B, Amarok, Karumba, etc) while many prefer the Gnome equivalents.

    Therefore, I say, if there is to be one distro, let's use Mandriva as a base, convert from RMP based to Debian method based, make KDE the default desktop.

    Now, if you want to extend both the scope AND corporate signup of the LSB, I support that.

    In any event, Oracle seems to think that the server is the only place Linux exists. In any case, unlike a Redmond ecosystem competition is weak, if there are too many companies or too many distro's or too much disparity in how any server distro is managed, the market will decide. Arbitrary decisions by one company are not really relevant.

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • It's simple enough....

      ... if there is only one distro then their support gets easier and you don't have "awkward" customers trying to get Oracle support on SuSE, or worse still, on UnheardOfLinux or some other micro-distribution.

      Having boxed themselves into a corner, this is the entirely predictable "lashing out" that was bound to follow.....
      bportlock
    • Your post is a great case against it.

      I prefer Gnome. I prefer the Debian DEB lineage on the desktop vs Red Hat and RPM's. I prefer Red Hat lineage in the server room. I may even consider Fedora as my distro of choice for a power workstation or management box. I plan to try out alot of other distros as well to remain well rounded. I would HATE to see everything commonized down to one distro. I do believe the distros should work harder to cater to core groups and really give users an OS that tailored to their style of work and play out of the box.

      However to reach the critical mass needed to get the last holdouts of software and drivers to come about a couple...maybe even one distro is going to have to be the one to get the name out there. For various reasons this seems to be Ubuntu on the desktop and Red Hat in the server room. What I hate is when the Linux community spews jealousy about Ubuntu. Its counterproductive. Enjoy your distro of choice and be happy that one is working to make things better for all out in the commercial world.
      storm14k
      • spews jealousy? so it seems, except its users...

        I use Kubuntu, and I <3 it. I've looked at other distros, and really, while the KDE distros do a better job of having everything the way I like out-of-box... they normally have bigger weaknesses out-of-box, too... Knoppix takes longer to boot, as it does a full hardware re-scan and setup every boot, for instance (still a great recovery distro, mind you.)
        shryko
    • Seriously, su??

      Man, I like your posts, but you sure are a dinosaur :P
      cmjrees
      • sudo is not as secure, imho

        You get a person's regular password, you can sudo anything the user can. You enter root's password less frequently, and are much more careful about that password. i.e., even with a keylogger, on Mandriva, if you NEVER enter root's password, the cracker is hosed. Not so with the *buntu's.

        Also, su is automated, kdesu (GUI that comes up and says you have to enter root's password) is the automatic mechanism to prompt for root's password. There is the other camp that says if you get root, then you can do anything, whereas sudo is admined to allow certain tasks.

        Another item I kike about kdesu is that it is seamless and unobtrusively automated into KDE, it makes it very easy to train and teach the folks I install Linux for. Never once, ever does a newbie need the command line to administer a system in say, Mandriva. That may now be true of Ubuntu, but I haven't tried it in a while (as I said, KDE man. :D)

        Anyway, different strokes, but I prefer su (kdesu).

        TripleII

        Is this still true or is the sudo method automated?
        http://www.tuxmagazine.com/node/1000148
        [B]The only way to get administrator privileges at the command-line level is to use sudo.
        ...
        With Kubuntu, it works a bit different. When you enter the sudo command for the first time, you will be prompted for a password. What password? Yours.[/B]
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • reread using your own point as a start

      You mentioned this phrase

      "In any event, Oracle seems to think that the server is the only place Linux exists"

      In reality all that Oracle cares about is the server - the entire article is about commercially distributed linux. In every spot in the article you see the word linux replace it in your mind with "Commercially distributed Enterprise Linux" - versions of linux which are used by businesses to run Oracle products. Oracle doesnt care at all if mythdora exists - it doesnt exist for them since its not for businesses. Now granted from your perspective as an individual using a desktop linux distro reading the article it sounds like they are saying you should be running redhat but they dont care about that at all and I bet the guy giving the interview just assumed the same enterprise linux focus from the audience that he has.

      They just care about what is running under the Oracle Database - they see a preponderance of Red Hat out there and just want to focus on that. Desktop users - do whatever you want.

      G
      georgef
      • You are correct.

        However, as the server goes, so does the desktop. If all IT only knows, uses, understands Redhat, Ubuntu won't be the desktop choice, nor Suse, etc. Eventually, it would even put the squeeze on Ubuntu's popularity since it has a unique way of doing things totally different than Redhat.

        Now, if your IT is used to Ubuntu server, Ubuntu on the desktop is natural. Same for Suse, same for Redhat/Fedora combo, and any derivative thereof,

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
  • Someone is smoking crack...

    We run Oracle on top of Red Hat Enterprise boxes with full "support" from both corporations. However, Red Hat's support has turned out to be a joke. They have taken nearly a week to respond (under a paid support contract) to a mission critical issue with their OS. We went around and around with them on what was going on and at least once they prematurely "resolved" an issue without ever actually fixing anything. After threatening them with lost business, they finally sent us a kernel patch to fix the issue.

    Oracle tells us their version of Linux is different and better and less likely to goof up like that. It's based on Red Hat, but it is modified to run Oracle's code base with fewer issues. Seems to me that either it is Red Hat, in which case it isn't modified, or it is not Red Hat any longer.

    As an aside--I don't think he was suggesting that there be only one *desktop* Linux distro. He's suggesting there be only one commercial server version and really there he's only meaning "not Novell". (And given their current fling with Microsoft and patent threats, I'm inclined to avoid Novell.)
    shawn_dude
    • well, one commercial server... when ubuntu wants into that, too...

      ubuntu is trying to get into the server room...

      mind you, I'm of the opinion that there should be more unification of the distros, but, I'm all for the LSB, for that purpose.

      Really, I'm unsure of which route I think all this should go down, but I know that business needs are taking a higher seat in the open source world now... and for a business student like myself, that's a positive sign that I'll be better able to work in open source without programming...
      shryko
  • Oracle architect is a moron...

    Thats the dumbest thing I've heard in awhile. There are MANY distros because the are MANY needs. With Windows, you can have the car any color you want, so long as its black. Just look at http://distrowatch.com and see how many specially tailored Linux distros are out there and how great it is. If you interesting in setting up a MythTV, bam, go with MythBuntu or MythDora. If you interested in education, Xubuntu is perfect for schools & libraries. This is Linux's greatest strength!!! If you cant see that, you are either a complete moron or an MS spy.
    xunil skcor
  • Read: Oracle doesn't want to test/support its db on other distributions

    Oracle's motives could not be more obvious: testing, certifying, and supporting their product on multiple distributions costs them more money. They already have to do this on a myriad of platforms and dealing with multiple Linux distributions is somewhat like adding additional platforms. It's all about money and profit.
    davidr69
  • RE: Oracle architect-- misuderstanding?

    Perhaps the Oracle respondent thought the question was: "Tell us, in 25 words or less, just how much Oracle doesn't get Open Source."
    Rambo Tribble
  • Let's learn to differentiate servers and clients, please...

    I couldn't possibly disagree more with this:

    > However, as the server goes, so does the desktop.

    That's what Microsoft wants you to believe.

    Let's see how would you reconcile the following: RedHat has declared that they are not in the desktop business, and Ubuntu is primarily a desktop OS (I hope they will stay there). Oracle only supports the so-called "enterprise" Linux distributions, more specifically, these 3:

    - RHEL
    - SuSE Enterprise
    - Asia Linux Enterprise.

    A client is an entirely different system, it must have a GUI, for instance. Users plug things like cameras to desktops. The kernel has to be written differently. The client to Linux can be Mac or Windows.

    Let's keep those two entities apart, please!!!

    -Ramon
    RamonFHerrera
  • Oracle decisions are not arbitrary

    > Arbitrary decisions by one company are not really
    relevant.

    Reread the following. This decision cannot possibly be arbitrary:

    "Red Hat has by far the largest market share in the data center, and especially for Oracle customers. So it made sense to pick Red Hat as our base,? said Edward Screven, Oracle?s chief corporate architect. ?Now if the Red Hat and Novell numbers were reversed, we would have picked [Novell] SUSE.?

    You are right in wishing that the marketplace should decide. The problem is that the decision was taken a while ago. RH won.

    Any computer running Oracle is a dedicated server. It is called "The Oracle server". The Oracle executive was referring to that one computer and to no other in the corporation. He doesn't give a damn whether you want to connect to that database from a VT-100 terminal or from your iPhone.

    -Ramon
    RamonFHerrera
  • Novell SUSE Linux

    I like suse better. Have suse as the only Linux distribution.
    rebelxhardcore
    • Me too. Its better if you want to build software.

      Red Hat seems to lack a lot of libraries, especially if you want to compile something that uses X. There are other annoyances and faults with Red Hat, the quality and attention to detail are lacking.
      peter_erskine@...
  • It's simple enough.... and yet you don't understand it

    > Having boxed themselves into a corner, this is the entirely predictable
    > "lashing out" that was bound to follow.....

    Another answer from somebody who has never managed an Oracle server.

    A computer that runs Oracle should not run anything else (I am stretching it a bit, to make my point). It needs a special, custom kernel configured to run Oracle and nothing else.

    You are thinking of Oracle as just another application (and a *client* application, to be make things worse).

    Oracle is a platform. You select it and only then you make the rest of choices. If Oracle tells you to place a flying saucer on top of that server ("The Oracle Server") you just do it.

    -Ramon
    RamonFHerrera
  • I don't want Oracle to test/support its db on other distributions

    > Oracle's motives could not be more obvious: testing, certifying,
    > and supporting their product on multiple distributions costs them more money.

    Oracle supports -as they should- exactly ONE distribution for every OS.

    - One Macintosh distribution (if they ever support the Mac)
    - One IBM mainframe distribution (MVS)
    - One Solaris
    - One AIX
    - One HP-UX
    - One Windows

    and, last but not least:

    - One Linux distribution

    Why should Linux be different?

    About 99% of Linux distributions out there are *client* (desktop and laptop) distributions. They are completely irrelevant to this discussion because Oracle is in the *server* business.

    -Ramon
    RamonFHerrera