Linux rides enterprise software wave into education

Linux' momentum in the tertiary education market appears set to increase as enterprise software giant Oracle intensifies its activity in the sector. Oracle, which has made Linux a central plank of its strategy, announced a significant deal with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) earlier this week.

Linux' momentum in the tertiary education market appears set to increase as enterprise software giant Oracle intensifies its activity in the sector.

Oracle, which has made Linux a central plank of its strategy, announced a significant deal with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) earlier this week. That deal saw UTS roll-out Oracle's enterprise management software on a purpose-built Linux platform.

Oracle Australia managing director, Brian Mitchell, while remaining coy about details, has signalled that similar announcements could be round the corner.

"We do have a number of other situations where we are closely working with a number of universities and I think it's fair to say you'll see some additional announcements in the near future," said Mitchell.

Pointing to Linux's Unix heritage, Mitchell believes Linux is a natural fit for the academic IT culture.

"It's quite appealing to them because they're familiar with the technology -- it's very close to Unix obviously -- and it is quite intellectually challenging in the sense it's an open source operating environment," he said.

However he believes that straight economics and security concerns are driving uptake of Linux across all sectors and these apply equally in the academic setting. From a security point of view, Mitchell claims Linux is more secure than some of its rivals.

"In the main, the view of independent analysts -- not Oracle per se -- is that Linux is at least, if not significantly more secure, and that's an attribute that most major corporations [want]," he said.

However, that hasn't stopped Oracle adding its own security layers to the operating system as a part of its "unbreakable Linux" push.

And when it comes to the sticky questions of TCO, repeatedly broad-siding the platform from roughly from the direction of Redmond, Mitchell has defended the operating system.

"We provide pretty much the first line of Linux maintenance embedded in our standard contract; there's no additional cost for it therefore," he said.

"I don't think it's anything like the maintenance cost that you would have seen historically for mainframe operating systems or Unix operating systems that became proprietary in nature over time," he said.