Just as the software giant–which built its fortune on pricey (dare I say proprietary?) databases–starts to deep-six OSS fan-favorite OpenSolaris, it also sued Google over how it implemented Java in Android. That move was immediately blasted as interference with an open source icon.
Oracle’s timing was funky and it didn’t help that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison seems to relish playing Snidely Whiplash to some other vendor’s Nell. Remember him laughing off rumors that Oracle would buy Red Hat? Why do that, he asked, when we can download the software for free? Which, as The 451 analyst Jay Lyman points out, is pretty much what Oracle did with Oracle Unbreakable Linux.
But Google is hardly a paragon of open sourciness. For all its open-source projects–Chrome, Android et al.–Google’s core search business is still a big, super-secret black box. Sure, it runs on Linux, but how much of that work filters back to “the community?”
So Google has been able to play the victim–something it can rarely do nowadays. And Oracle has not communicated very well that it is Google’s specific use of Java that it is targeting, not the community at large, said Lyman. “Google is aware of and stands to gain from this positioning…to say that ‘hey, look, Oracle is attacking open source, when in reality, Oracle is squarely attacking Google,” he added. (Lyman has been following the shifting good guys/bad guys of OSS for some time.
The OSS community’s anxiety around Oracle’s treatment of the MySQL franchise comes into play here as well, although Lyman noted that Oracle has worked to expand and improve MySQL.
Michael Cizmar, president of MC+A, a Chicago VAR that works with the Google appliance, agreed that Google plays both sides of the OSS fence.
“They’ve contributed heavily to things like the Chrome project, which they initiated, and Android is an open source project…but they only contribute around things that are not core [to their main business],” he noted.
Thus, there is a feeling that Google has reaped more from open source, particularly Linux, than it has sewn. Still, Lyman and others point out that the fact that Google runs on Linux greatly enhances Linux’ standing among enterprise users.
Ironically, Oracle also still leads with Linux in many cases. Its Exadata data center appliances run Linux–not OpenSolaris, not Solaris. So, in one key respect–proving that Linux is ready for prime-time, mission-critical applications like databases–Oracle and Google are in violent agreement.
Let us know what you think about this post; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on on Twitter.]]>
On December 8, 2009, Google announced that its Chrome browser for Linux has gone beta. Despite criticism about Google’s true “open source” nature, the company claims that more than 50 open source developers have contributed to Chromium. In addition to the Linux and Mac beta versions, Google announced that over 300 extensions had been made available for the Windows and Linux versions of Chrome.
This follows on the heels of last week’s announcement that Google is launching Google Public DNS (domain name service), purportedly to improve efficiency in Web browsing.
“The goal of Google Public DNS is to benefit users worldwide while also helping the tens of thousands of DNS resolvers improve their services, ultimately making the web faster for everyone,” said Prem Ramaswami, Google Public DNS Product Manager.
This grabbed the attention of OpenDNS, and David Ulevitch responded to the announcement on the OpenDNS blog.
“To think that Google’s DNS service is for the benefit of the Internet would be naïve,” said Ulevitch. “They know there is value in controlling more of your Internet experience and I would expect them to explore that fully.”
OpenDNS provides an enterprise service that is advertised as a DNS resolution and security product. Despite its name, OpenDNS is not open source software.
Google’s Public DNS is thus far free, with the company gleaning information about your Web browsing patterns being the trade-off. OpenDNS offers a free basic version with some advertising on unresolved domain names.
With a Google’s reach across the spectrum of IT, we should all be aware that this could mean that everything we do online is being watched. As I read this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt commented that “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”]]>
Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects. Since 2005, the program has brought together nearly 2500 students and 2500 mentors and co-mentors from about 100 countries worldwide. The program works with open source, free software, and technology-related groups to identify and fund projects over a three month period. This year, 1,000 students have been selected to work on projects for over 130 open source organizations – see a full list of the GSoC sponsoring organizations for 2009. Through Google Summer of Code, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios and the opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits.
Zonker Brockmeier, Novell’s openSUSE Community Manager, is heading up the Novell participation in GSoC. Three of Novell’s sponsored open source initiatives are participating in the GSoC, hosting 24 student projects. The students with accepted projects will be mentored by Novell employees and community contributors with the openSUSE and Mono projects. The goal is to get students interested and potentially recruit future open source code contributors.
“I would say at least 25% or higher of past summer of code contributors have remained involved in projects,” shared Brockmeier. “We’ve seen fairly good return on the openSUSE project.”
Greg Lund-Chaix at Oregon State University’s open source laboratory has similar experiences with the GSoC program.
“We’re a bit different than most Summer of Code organizations in that we aren’t focused on one specific project,” Lund-Chaix explained. “We want to get more people involved with and support in open source in a broader sense. We certainly benefit internally from the work of our students, but the real benefit is the exposure of the students we mentor to the broader open source community.”
Participating organizations dedicate employee hours to help mentor the student developers. Neither Brockmeier or Lund-Chaix could quantify the hours spent, but both agreed the time was well-spent considering the outcome. For the students, the GSoC is supposed to be a full-time job, although it pays only a $1,000 stipend, making it attractive to only those dedicated students who can afford to give up a summer of potential earnings to gain coding experience.
After four years of experience, Google has improved the application process, improving the quality of submissions for the sponsor organizations.
“There were fewer proposals overall,” said Brockmeier. “But most organizations expressed they were seeing better quality this year.”
Lund-Chaix concurred, giving credit to the Melange tool team for streamlining the application review for sponsors.
“The quality of many of the proposals this year were definitely improved from previous years,” said Lund-Chaix. “There was no doubt whatsoever in our minds who we wanted to accept based on their applications. While we got the usual crop of frivolous or unacceptable applications, I was extremely pleased with the quality of many of the applications.”
I would love to hear from any past GSoC participants. If you have been a mentor or a student participant, share what you learned in the experience and how it has helped you in your career.]]>