The worst thing Oracle can do to open source is not care

The worst thing Oracle can do to open source is not care

Summary: Open source always has an element of politics in it, because you're dealing with communities, not just customers. Oracle ignores this at its financial peril.

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TOPICS: Open Source, Oracle
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One of the most appealing aspects of journalism is that, sometimes, you get to give billionaires like Larry Ellison (right) some free advice.

Our story begins late last month, after I suggested here that Oracle was "taking OpenSolaris back."

I got a lot of blogospheric pushback, calling me out by name. Masoud Kalali at JavaNet said I got it wrong. This spread halfway around the world, then  to NatMac, to Jessica Thornsby, and finally Alex Gorbachev demanded I stop the FUD. I wish I'd seen it.

Their main point was that the OpenSolaris license didn't change, only the basic Solaris conditions. Point taken. But what is most interesting to me (although I could always be wrong again) is the reaction from Oracle itself.

Silence. And this silence has many customers wondering whether Oracle is interested in open source at all.

The silence is telling. It's the dog that did not bark. Oracle is going about its business, bloggers notwithstanding, ignoring even ServerWatch's recent claims that OpenSolaris is going bye-bye.

It reminds me a bit of politics, not in a partisan sense but in a tactical sense. That is, the first response to a charge is to ignore it. You only address it when the charge gains traction.

That is conventional wisdom, but as Democrats claim they learned in the health reform debate, that conventional wisdom is wrong.

In my own case, I'm sure a phone call from some Oracle PR maven would have gotten quick results. But that didn't happen. There was no official request for a correction, not even an official response in the Talkbacks.

I am not saying here that it's Oracle's fault I got something wrong. Point is that silence is a vacuum that gets filled by others, not to your advantage. The concerns about the future of OpenSolaris are spreading rapidly to other Oracle assets, to Java and to OpenOffice.

No doubt Oracle believes that actions speak louder than words. But something I have said repeatedly here, and will continue to say, knowing that at least here I'm right, is that open source is not just business. Treating it as just business is a mistake. Open source always has an element of politics in it, because you're dealing with communities, not just customers.

Oracle ignores this at its financial peril.

Topics: Open Source, Oracle

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11 comments
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  • -Take it from IBM: You cannot control Linux (or Open Source)

    fyi,

    http://www.cioupdate.com/features/article.php/3876581/You-Cant-Control-Linux.htm
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: The worst thing Oracle can do to open source is not care

      Oracle has held back the latest release of opensolaris in<a href="http://www.cristians-homosexuals.org/"><font color="light&amp;height"> about live</font></a> is bank that <a href="http://www.divinedance.us/"><font color="light&amp;height">website</font></a> attacked from the <a href="http://www.eandac.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">support</font></a> from any soldier <a href="http://morallyright.org/"><font color="light&amp;height">site</font></a> to the light <a href="http://copyrighttermination.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">copyright</font></a> is the favour
      gorians
  • as long as Oracle phunds FOSS we are fine

    FOSS and Oracle can prosper only if Oracle continues to phund OSS and Larry knows it.
    Doing otherwise could endanger Oracle in the long run and bolster the M$ beast.
    Linux Geek
  • Big ego?

    Maybe you think that Oracle CIO is reading your blog everyday... I think he has more things to worry at this point.
    ivanev25
  • learning at Oracle

    Oracles managers are not comfortable with Opensource...in essence they don't have a clue of what to do hence the silence...Given the culture he needs to sack the past and buy in some experienced guys to run it.Which is exactly what Opensource needs.From press snippits he has decent in the ranks of his organisation.The guys working on Unbreakable linux ( rebadged Redhat )fear for their jobs if larry adopts Opensolaris as a mainstream solution set.Perhaps it's not by accident that they have made a rushed timely release of its new version this month which seems to have found its name on distowatch finally.This may seem to be one up man ship but commodidisation of linux may work against the adoption of linux at Oracle.
    The Management consultant
    • Don't forget that Oracle use Linux themselves.

      The whole of Oracle's internal databases are running on Linux (or so I heard, anyway), and Linux is their primary development (first-targeted) platform.
      peter_erskine@...
  • RE: The worst thing Oracle can do to open source is not care

    Why stop at OpenSolaris, why not talk about MySQL.!!!
    colinmaharaj@...
  • Oracle is certainly in danger anyway.

    If it's possible to do world-scale IT applications like openstreetmap.org on a PostgresSQL database, maybe the writing should be on the wall.
    peter_erskine@...
  • latest rumours

    .
    The Management consultant
  • Oracle Sun

    What are the atest rumours? Oracle has held back the latest release of opensolaris in favour of corporate organisational change and refocusing of resources to complete the latest release of Solaris 11.Developers think that a fork in opensolaris is likely to push forward the development of OSOL
    The Management consultant
  • RE: The worst thing Oracle can do to open source is not care

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