This discussion is archived
4 Replies Latest reply: Apr 30, 2013 12:19 AM by Dude! RSS

Oracle Linux and the Linux Foundation

Dude! Guru
Currently Being Moderated
According to several blogs and resources, Oracle has been a long time partner and supporter of the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation ensures that Linux remains free and technically advanced by marshaling the resources of its members and the open source development community.

Some of the Oracle Linux enhancements, such as Dtrace and Ksplice require a ULN support subscription. It seem obvious that not all Oracle enhancements are freely available. Are Dtrace and Ksplice open source projects? How does it fit into GPL licensing and the tasks of the Linux Foundation?
  • 1. Re: Oracle Linux and the Linux Foundation
    Avi Miller Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dude wrote:
    Some of the Oracle Linux enhancements, such as Dtrace and Ksplice require a ULN support subscription. It seem obvious that not all Oracle enhancements are freely available. Are Dtrace and Ksplice open source projects? How does it fit into GPL licensing and the tasks of the Linux Foundation?
    DTrace is Open Source, Ksplice is not. DTrace however is licensed under the CDDL, not the GPL. Neither of them fit into the GPL licensing directly, nor the tasks of the Linux Foundation. I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, though. DTrace and Ksplice are additional value-added components that are available to Oracle Linux support subscriptions. However, neither of them are required or distributed with Oracle Linux itself, and thus neither of them are required to be licensed under the GPL.
  • 2. Re: Oracle Linux and the Linux Foundation
    Dude! Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Many thanks for your quick response. I guess it explains and answers the technical aspects of my question about licensing, which I was not sure about.
    I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, though.
    Well, I guess I don't really expect to receive an answer for the following, but I was wondering:

    I appreciate that Oracle Linux is not based on any evaluation license and provides errata and updates for free. The current subscription business however still reminds of Red Hat.

    Now since Dtrace, Ksplice, and also ZFS are owned by Oracle, couldn't Oracle just provide all these and future enhancements for a free subscription? I understand Oracle being a business needs to make profit, but are paid support subscriptions to allow customers to use exclusive or new technologies the best strategy, especially in Linux?

    I have no doubt that any serious business will opt for a paid vendor support contract as long as the price is reasonable, which it is. However, I think if all Oracle Linux enhancements were free it would foster Oracle Linux growth and hence bring more support subscriptions and revenue in the end.
  • 3. Re: Oracle Linux and the Linux Foundation
    Avi Miller Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dude wrote:
    Now since Dtrace, Ksplice, and also ZFS are owned by Oracle, couldn't Oracle just provide all these and future enhancements for a free subscription? I understand Oracle being a business needs to make profit, but are paid support subscriptions to allow customers to use exclusive or new technologies the best strategy, especially in Linux?
    Could Oracle? Sure. Would Oracle? Probably not. :) Oracle Linux support is already significantly cheaper than any other Enterprise Linux support vendor, and we provide lots of value-added components in your support subscription at no extra cost: something that no other vendor does. Also, we provide production support for btrfs in the core Oracle Linux product, so it's very unlikely we'll ever port/distribute ZFS to Oracle Linux.

    At the end of the day, Oracle employs an entire Linux mainline development team as well as a sustaining engineering team and needs to pay their salaries somehow. We also have to distinguish ourselves by provided value-add when you do pay for support, considering that unlike every other Enterprise Linux vendor, an Oracle Linux support subscription is not required for installation, use, updates, etc.
  • 4. Re: Oracle Linux and the Linux Foundation
    Dude! Guru
    Currently Being Moderated
    Red Hat has done a good job to promote Linux for enterprise systems and work with vendors to support RHEL. The product evaluation license and paid subscriptions for necessary updates and Red Hat products was obviously something Red Hat did to make money. Not really knowing GPL back then I though it was unethical to sell Linux. I'm not necessarily a fan of GPL and I guess most people don't understand that it is a copyleft license, which does not prohibit to sell a program for money, but requires to provide the source code.

    I think the business concepts of RHEL won't work much longer in the future - Oracle Linux is a good example. So if RHEL gets cheaper, will Oracle screw in the price tag again? The price spiral can only go down. Why not ending it and find better ways to get paid.

    People who already have a ULN subscription will probably be happy to try Oracle Linux exclusive value-added components, but will people who are interested to try these add-ons be willing to buy a subscription? I think no serious business buys any cats in the bag, not even for a pittance or just because it's Oracle.

    Most business software today is complex enough already. Software evaluation and fancy licensing are show stoppers. The criteria to choose one product over another are often rather vendor loyalty, lemming syndrome, fear of incompatibility, fear to be left behind, market share and cost of ownership. For a serious businesses, the perception or guarantee of future product support is more important than saving a few bucks.

    Linux does no longer have to prove that it is a serious and reliable operating system. It think Oracle could benefit from providing everything Oracle Linux for a free subscription, not necessarily GPL. There would be more people trying Oracle Linux for fun or to see what the exclusive features are all about and eventually become enthusiasts and buy a technical support contract for running Oracle products in a business environment, in which case Oracle does not have to be cheaper than RHEL anymore. Competition on the level of technical features will improve a product, a cheaper price won't.

    Edited by: Dude on Apr 30, 2013 12:19 AM

Legend

  • Correct Answers - 10 points
  • Helpful Answers - 5 points