Eye on Oracle

Apr 5 2007   2:43PM GMT

Unbreakable Linux update, more on third-party support

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Earlier this week, Oracle finally released the list of companies that had signed up for its Unbreakable Linux offering. Oracle unveiled a list of 26 enterprise-class customers, but as it turns out, only a fraction of these have actually migrated wholesale to Oracle support for Red Hat. International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is the only company on the list that is on the record as completely replacing its Linux support with Oracle’s offering.

Among the companies that have signed up for at least partial support from Oracle are Yahoo, Timex, Diebold, GlobeCast and Replacements Ltd.

Did these customers make the right move? Unsurprisingly, not according to the Linux community. A ZDNet story, “Oracle Linux adopters labeled idiots,” reports that Australian company Opes Prime Stockbroking, in the weeks following its move to Unbreakable Linux, received a host of phone calls, emails and letters from open sourcers, who kindly informed them they were “idiots” for making such a move. Linux enthusiasts also slammed the firm online.

An executive from Opes, Anthony Blumberg, reported no complaints about Oracle Enterprise Linux. He seemed dumbfounded by the response — when Max McLaren, managing director for Red Hat Australia, phoned him unhappily, Blumberg said, “This is probably the first call I’ve had from Red Hat since we’ve been a customer.”

(Read what one Oracle executive, Mike Olson (VP of embedded technologies), has to say about the blogosphere hubbub over Unbreakable Linux on his own blog. He claims that critics of the program have been “measuring the wrong things” — such as software downloads from Oracle’s site. Olson claims this number is meaningless.)

On a related note, SearchSAP questions what Oracle’s recent lawsuit says about third-party support in general. Jon Franke writes, “One reason the suit is unlikely to go to trial is that it could expose some behind-the-scenes information about a business that is very profitable for Oracle, SAP and other software vendors — maintenance and support.” He quotes an analyst who says, “It would be potentially devastating to Oracle for people to find out why this maintenance revenue is so profitable.”

Many think the whole affair will be great for third-party support in the long term, serving to popularize it. One CIO remarked that he wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of Oracle’s and SAP’s installed bases don’t yet realize that discounted third-party support is an option.


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