Eye on Oracle

Oct 9 2007   2:26PM GMT

An open source advocate’s message to Oracle

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Oracle is seeking to take an open source friendly proposal off the agenda of its next shareholder meeting, and Matt Asay doesn’t want to see it happen.

Asay, a longtime open source activist, founder of the Open Source Business Conference and current vice president of business development for Alfresco, an open source Enterprise Content Management company, yesterday blogged about the proposal, calling for shareholders to make their voices heard on the matter.

Oracle isn’t too keen on the proposal, which calls for Oracle to adopt a resolution that the company consider the social and environmental impact of using open source, and produce a report on the topic for shareholders by April of 2008. It may sound strange to consider the environmental impacts of open source, but as Asay points out, SEC language limits the types of resolutions that shareholders can request.

Oracle’s board of directors had this take on the proposal:

The Board of Directors does not believe that it is in the best interests of the stockholders to spend additional Company time and resources preparing and distributing a unique report which focuses on relatively limited aspects of our efforts to benefit our stockholders, customers, employees and policy makers around the world. However, to better inform our stockholders on the positive impact of our various open source and open standards activities we intend to include additional information about our open source activities in the next “Oracle’s Commitment” report. This report, which is available on our website, discusses various aspects of our involvement in our communities and encourages the involvement of others.

Asay said that the proposal doesn’t seem to go far enough, but I get the feeling that he supports it nevertheless, because there is a bigger issue involved than the wording of the resolution: Oracle’s commitment to open source. Supporting the resolution would send a message that Oracle is truly committed to developing open source technologies.

Should Oracle sign off on the proposal? Or, is their counteroffer to better inform shareholders about all open source activities sufficient? Let us know. 

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