Just before the weekend, Network World's Jennifer Mears connected a bunch of dots that make it seem like it isn't a question of if, but rather, just when Oracle announces that it will offer a soup-to-nuts stack of software that not only includes the Linux operating systems, but one that comes from Ubuntu. With Oracle OpenWorld taking place this week in San Francisco, there has been on a lot of speculation that Oracle will announce today or tomorrow that it will be offering some sort of Linux distribution in the not-to-distant future. Here are the highlights from what Mears wrote:
- Canonical released a server version of Ubuntu earlier this year and is rumored to be working with Oracle. Canonical confirmed it is in discussions with Oracle but says a deal has not been finalized....
- ....in an interview with the Financial Times in April, Ellison said Oracle’s biggest customers want a one-stop-shop where they can get an entire stack of software, from the operating system to applications. Linux would be a boon in that effort, he said...."I’d like to have a complete stack," he told the Financial Times. "We’re missing an operating system. You could argue that it makes a lot of sense for us to look at distributing and supporting Linux....
- "We have heard that Ubuntu is currently working to certify its recently introduced server OS to all of Oracle's major products, including database and middleware,” writes Katherine Egbert, an analyst at Jefferies & Company...."We think Oracle could introduce either a dedicated hardware appliance with a pre-loaded software stack, or a soft appliance bundle." she wrote.
Meanwhile, one day later, News.com's Stephen Shankland issued a report that wasn't nearly as rosy (if a Linux offering from Oracle is what you've been hoping for):
Mark Shuttleworth, founder and chief executive of Ubuntu developer Canonical....wouldn't comment on a report that Oracle plans to use Ubuntu Linux or on whether Canonical is working on a partnership. Christopher Kenyon, Canonical's business development manager, earlier said Oracle makes sure its free 10G Express database software works on Ubuntu Linux.....However, Shuttleworth did offer the view that Oracle probably isn't in a rush to a tighter Linux embrace. "I wouldn't be expecting any radical announcements on any kind of time scale," he said.
Releasing a version of Linux tailored to its own needs could be an example of Oracle using the principles of the open-source and free software movement to change the competitive rules for proprietary and open-source software companies alike, Shuttleworth said.
"I certainly think Oracle has the skills and capacity to do a good job supporting the parts of Linux that Oracle itself requires," Shuttleworth said. "It would send a clear message to the market that the Linux game is different compared to the Windows game and the AIX game and the Solaris game."
But just assuming a version of Linux is on the way from Oracle, what should it be called? Ellisonix? Oraclix? Or should Oracle steer clear of the idea altogether?