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Oracle Wants Proof That Open Source Is Profitable

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the show-me-the-money dept.

Oracle 393

An anonymous reader writes "Since Oracle's acquisition of Sun, all open source projects that now have Oracle as their primary sponsor are worried about their future, and FUD is spreading quickly. Very few public statements have been made by Oracle executives, particularly regarding OpenSolaris. The community is arguing about the difficulties of forking the code base when most (if not all) of the developers are employed by Oracle. Now Oracle wants the community to prove that open source can be made profitable. What arguments can the Slashdot crowd provide to convince Oracle about that?" Reader greg1104 tips related news about licenses for Solaris. According to an account manager, "Solaris support now comes through a contract on the hardware (Oracle SUN hardware)."

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393 comments

first post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31875984)

frosted tits

And The Flip Side ... (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31875996)

Based on Sun's financial demise I'm sure that Oracle is already aware that closed source software isn't always profitable either.

Re:And The Flip Side ... (5, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876184)

Really, the time to deliberate about whether open source projects can be profitable, is before you buy out a bunch of open source projects.

Re:And The Flip Side ... (0, Offtopic)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876338)

I was thinking when Oracle could be downloaded for free, does anyone remember 8i?

Re:And The Flip Side ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876424)

Unless you're not really buying them for the open source projects... Oracle got the open source projects as an aside and now they're trying to figure out what they're going to do with them.

Re:And The Flip Side ... (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876514)

Unless you get all those open source projects for free with the thing you are really interested in buying. Then, it is just a matter of deciding if you want to keep those projects going, which is a matter of whether there is any profit in doing so.

sorry to break it to you.... (2, Insightful)

madddddddddd (1710534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876000)

open source is inherently no more profitable than closed source...

they both CAN be profitable.

Am I the only one.... (0, Redundant)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876010)

...who read Oprah instead of Oracle?!

Re:Am I the only one.... (3, Insightful)

jamboarder (620309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876110)

yes

Re:Am I the only one.... (3, Funny)

fyoder (857358) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876128)

...who read Oprah instead of Oracle?!

You and the four other female readers of slashdot.

Deities please bless and send us more lady geeks.

Re:Am I the only one.... (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876202)

If I was a girl browsing slashdot and thinking about creating an account, you would've just changed my mind for me.

Re:Am I the only one.... (2, Insightful)

fyoder (857358) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876390)

If I was a girl browsing slashdot and thinking about creating an account, you would've just changed my mind for me.

And if I was a female coming across this comment by a guy with presumption to speak on behalf of all women (or "girls"), I would be pretty turned off as well.

Oops!

Re:Am I the only one.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876168)

I've never understood why one's own reading comprehension problems are worth posting about.

Up your font size.

Re:Am I the only one.... (0, Troll)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876218)

I realize it's difficult to understand human behavior when you lack any sense of humor. You must lead a sad and pathetic life. But you're probably not even aware of that, are you?

Re:Am I the only one.... (5, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876284)

Up your font size.

Ch3ap VeRd@na! Do you want a bigger font size? Imprezz Hur! Send your credit card info! Only $49.95!

Re:Am I the only one.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876204)

Oprah is still alive?

Re:Am I the only one.... (1)

AcousticYorick (1787308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876438)

Yes, and she's just acquired the Sun. Possibly in return for the sacrifice of a humorless, sweating and farting lady geek to an unspecified deity. The thread is not clear. [Rubs glasses on t-shirt.]

IBM (5, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876018)

IBM & Red Hat are profitable, right?

Re:IBM (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876106)

IBM does mostly closed source. I think the best we can say is "sometimes open source can be profitable". Even that may really be a bit charitable though. It is probably more like, "every once in awhile, with the right business model (which is extremely difficult to achieve), open source has a chance of being profitable.". All the closed source vs. open source bigots (on either side) really need to come to grips with the fact that yes, sometimes open source can be profitable and no, it isn't all the time or even a majority of the time.

Re:IBM (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876118)

Yes, open source software is very profitable for IBM to get you in the door so they can get you to upgrade to their closed-source systems later on

Re:IBM (4, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876558)

Yes, open source software is very profitable for IBM to get you in the door so they can get you to upgrade to their closed-source systems later on

It's a strategy that makes open source profitable. Either you sell support, or you sell a value added proprietary version.

Not from FOSS (5, Informative)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876186)

IBM sells many different services and hardware which the FOSS operations augment. That wasn't the case with OpenSolaris.

RedHat, is a Linux corporate support company that was the first and so far as I know the only company that's making money doing that. Although, almost half of RedHat's income is from financial activities [wordpress.com] . In other words, they're not making all their money from FOSS.

So, there hasn't been a business model based upon FOSS that's really been proven - completely.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, FUD blah blah blah. But just brushing off criticisms as FUD doesn't cut it to the accountants, I'm afraid.

Re:Not from FOSS (5, Insightful)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876258)

But both those examples show what the open source business model is. Support other peoples open source software and use it to sell complete solutions to your customers.

I mean less then 1% of the source code that Redhat supports and use are written by people paid by Redhat.

The problem for Oracle here is that they can't do the same with Solaris, because they write most of the code themself, and if they don't write it, nobody else will.

Re:IBM (2, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876486)

Not only that, but Oracle makes money selling a clone of Redhat to its customers as part of its total support package. You can run your Oracle DB on an Oracle Unbreakable Linux box.
http://www.oracle.com/us/technologies/linux/index.html [oracle.com]

Less licensing costs (1, Insightful)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876022)

How about you sell more database licenses because your users don't have to spend part of their budget on OS licenses?

Re:Less licensing costs (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876278)

Because when you only need 400 licenses, and the OS is cheaper, you might as well waste money on buying 100 extra licenses you don't need with the money you would have saved!

Brilliant!

Seriously? (3, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876032)

Redhat does pretty good for itself, doesn't it?

Re:Seriously? (0)

SpaFF (18764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876198)

Some might argue they are doing better than Oracle.

At the time of this posting RHT is $31.08/share, while ORCL is only $26.00/share.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876292)

If you had even an elementary knowledge of how the stock market works, you'd know that comparing stock prices for 2 companies is completely worthless.

Re:Seriously? (3, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876328)

Share price means less than market cap.

Oracle - 130.25B
Red Hat - 5.87B

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876376)

Some might argue they are doing better than Oracle

Yeah, all those people that don't know what "market cap", "shares outstanding", and "trading volume" are.

Share price isn't everything.

Re:Seriously? (2, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876464)

Some might argue they are doing better than Oracle.

Yes, some might argue that. And those people would be idiots.

Profit Margins, Revenues, Market Capitalization, Earnings, P/E Ratios, Earnings per Share, Revenues Per Share, Cash Flow, and most other measure of the "success" of a company are all significantly higher for Oracle (ORCL [yahoo.com] ) than they are for Red Hat (RHT [yahoo.com] ).

Is Red Hat profitable? Sure. But they're not anywhere near as profitable or successful as Oracle has been, and claiming that a higher share price constitutes evidence that one company is "doing better" than another is foolishness of the first order.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876276)

Hell, try Google for that matter. Their entire tech base is built on Open Source...including android.

Re:Seriously? (2, Insightful)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876368)

...except the part that actually makes money: search.

Re:Seriously? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876444)

Search for Google is a cost center. They make their money through advertising, and through a much lesser degree, search appliances.

Re:Seriously? (3, Interesting)

mrjatsun (543322) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876414)

Sure, good for itself, but RHAT is in a much different league.
        RedHat's total revenue for the last quarter was $194.3 million
        Oracle's total revenue for the last quarter was $6.5 billion.

Before being bought by Oracle, Sun's S/W business did better than Red Hat..
I was just lost in the noise since H/W is such a big component of revenue.

Redhat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876036)

If it wasn't RedHat would have gone under years ago.

OSS revenues come from service and support (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876042)

Just in case you think that Oracle does not understand that... then look what they are doing to database customers that run on sun gear... They are going to get their database support dropped, unless they have their Sun support active.

Seems like they know what they want and how to get it.

Why write something people give away for free? (5, Insightful)

greed (112493) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876046)

I'm curious as to why a company would spend a lot of money making something that other people will give away for free.

It had better be really special.

My experience in software houses over the last 20 years suggests that they are opposed to letting customers see their source code because then customers will know, beyond any doubt, that they have been thoroughly fleeced. If the vendor delivers binaries only, at least there's still the possibility that the code is good quality, cleverly engineered, or whatever they're convincing people to pay for.

Re:Why write something people give away for free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876162)

Yes, as atrocious as I find most OSS code to be, I can only imagine that I would scream in horror after examining Oracle. Perversely, I bet SQLServer would be fairly good however.

Re:Why write something people give away for free? (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876432)

Perversely, I bet SQLServer would be fairly good however.

I suspect it depends on what part of SQL Server you look at.

Some of the code is probably brilliant, readable, secure, maintainable and very fast. Some of it not so.

Re:Why write something people give away for free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876442)

Yes, as atrocious as I find most OSS code to be, I can only imagine that I would scream in horror after examining Oracle. Perversely, I bet SQLServer would be fairly good however.

Sure, that's because SQL Server was programmed by Sybase.

Re:Why write something people give away for free? (5, Interesting)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876244)

Honestly, I do not know what passes for 'knowledge about Oracle', but your comments seem pretty naive.

In the Oracle applications stack, about 90% of code (stored procedures, triggers, table structures etc...) are plainly visible on an installed application stack. The rest (Java runtimes) can be decompiled with readily available tools. Plus, if you have a current support contract, almost everything (technical reference manual, support notes, bug reports, white papers, check lists, etc...)is available on Metalink.

My point is that Oracle has been behaving _mostly_ as an open source company (Ok database executables are a different story) for quite a long time.

The hard part is putting it all together. I have been up to my elbows in this (as a developer) for 15 years, and I only really grok about 15% (prolly less) of the apps.

This is where the Oracle Service and Support revenue model comes in.

Trust me, they get OSS, they are just trying to figure out how to wring more out of the business model.

Re:Why write something people give away for free? (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876282)

I'm curious as to why a company would spend a lot of money making something that other people will give away for free. IBM had a traditional business model that involved giving the OS away for free to leverage hardware sales, and did quite well with it. IBM supports Linux because it can still be used to leverage hardware sales, but the support costs are much less -- all they really need to do is support the drivers specific to their own hardware. Sun and Apple also used software to leverage hardware sales.

Oracle, as a traditional software-only vendor, does not understand this. However, I believe the best strategy for Oracle going forward is to sell databases pre-installed on hardware they control. This both allows them to charge a lot more (see Network General Sniffer) and lowers their software support costs.

hot dog (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876296)

If the vendor delivers binaries only, at least there's still the possibility that the code is good quality, cleverly engineered, or whatever they're convincing people to pay for.

It's the hot dog perspective. If it tastes good, you don't need to know what's in it.

Re:Why write something people give away for free? (2, Insightful)

zx75 (304335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876318)

Umm, if I am a customer buying a software product I do not care if the code is good quality, or cleverly engineered, as long as it doesn't impact the cost, security, or usability of the product.

All I care about is whether or not it works and meets my needs.

I am saying this as a consumer (end user), producer (developer), and requirements creator (analyst).

Re:Why write something people give away for free? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876468)

I'm curious as to why a company would spend a lot of money making something that other people will give away for free.

That is what Oracle is apparently asking.

No. its YOUR job. (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876082)

no exaggeration and no offense here. we are the community. users, developers, evangelists etc and so on. we just make a software/framework live by developing, adding to it, supporting and using it, or we leave it and it dies.

its not our job to make it profitable for you or teach you. you are the private company that seeks to profit. its your job to find ways to profit from it without offending us. think of us as 'the people', the public.

if you upset us, we will fork something and get behind it and it will take off.

Re:No. its YOUR job. (2, Insightful)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876172)

Oracle is free to conclude that closed-source software makes them way more money. So they shouldn't be surprised in "X" years when open-source databases that are just as good as Oracle are available for free. I think they call this "being SCO'd." How many more companies will hamstring themselves by not looking more than 2 or 3 quarters into the future?

Re:No. its YOUR job. (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876220)

Oracle wasn't asking slashdot for advice on how to make open source profitable. It was asking the developers whose salary it pays to convince Oracle that that salary is worth paying. It is perfectly normal for a company to require the management of unprofitable product lines to provide a plan on making their products profitable in the future.

profitable ? srsly ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876086)

whether you get the *source code* or not has NOTHING TO DO WITH MONEY
You buy software. That software can come as binary, source code or both. The license that that software is sold to you with is what matters

Profit? Sorry comrade... (1, Interesting)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876090)

Open source is not profitable, per se. If you require beancounters to add up direct income from the product itself, that's a non-starter. If you have a little more leeway and count service contracts, that's a little better.

By and large, though, open source benefits the community and not the captalist. It's simply too hard for accountants to add up all the indirect benefits to society, and then, also indirectly, to themselves. Having a solid code base that can be -- and is -- improved by thousands of eyes is akin to trying to ennumerate how Van Gogh failed to profit from his pretty pictures.

Fork the code base. While we still can.

Re:Profit? Sorry comrade... (4, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876406)

It is somewhat hard to pay the power bill and your employees with "benifits to society"

I guess that depends... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876092)

If they are looking for potentially equally profitable or just profitable. Even a 3rd grader could make a convincing case for the latter.

Dear Oracle (2, Interesting)

Thermick (1791784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876096)

Don't fuck up where IBM is making money.

Sincerely,
Open Source

Re:Dear Oracle (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876430)

What is IBM making money on, the open source software or the hardware it runs on and supporting same?

This is how stupid Oracle can be. (3, Insightful)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876100)

They only need to look towards Red Hat. If Oracle cannot figure it out, then they need to close their doors. It is not the open source arenas responsibility to make Oracle profitable. Now if Oracle wants to hire me at oh, I dunno $500,000 a year plus perks, then I will teach them, till then they have done nothing but issue a threat.

Principles (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876108)

I believe open source is a good model for software. I'd much rather buy software and services from someone who believes the same.

Re:Principles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876280)

I'd much rather buy software and services from someone who can design good software.

Re:Principles (0, Troll)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876396)

But, by believing open source is a good model, you have indicated that you are not actually willing to buy software.

Grandstanding (5, Insightful)

watanabe (27967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876132)

Larry knows exactly how to make money; he is probably the world's best businessman at holding you upside-down and shaking you vigorously until your pockets empty.

I would be stunned if Oracle ever comes out with a credible OpenSolaris strategy -- it's not Oracle's way, nor is it in their best interests to have a vibrant opensolaris community. Unlike Linux, the best parts of Solaris have never come from outside Sun. Dtrace, ZFS, integrated hardware, all this stuff is where Sun's real value lay.

The end game for OpenSolaris began when Sun moved ahead with the merger. From then until the official end is just drama, positioning, etc.

Re:Grandstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876480)

We Sun moved to Oracle folks are being told that the only thing that matters is the margin. Where is the margin that can be banked TODAY for Open Solaris, MySQL, etc? Java is different as it is a glue for other parts of the machine but it had better contribute to the margin next quarter or Larry will have it walk the plank!

Services (5, Informative)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876146)

Open source by itself is not profitable. But services around it surely are.

Re:Services (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876176)

Then, why should a for-profit company support open source if open source is not profitable. A better strategy would be to provide the services you mention, assuming said services are, in fact, profitable and the ROI is worth it.

Re:Services (1)

Weasel Boy (13855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876350)

Or maybe the hardware you install it on will be. If you don't have to shell out $Millions for the firmware OS, you can pass some savings on to your customer and still make a buck.

It is profitable for me (3, Funny)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876148)

I don't have to pay for it...

Re:It is profitable for me (1)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876546)

Exactly, as cheezy as it sounds, especially in the context of software, the world does indeed profit from open source.

If every company contributed something alongside their larger business model, we'd live in a much nicer world. Oracle needs to open it's eyes to the bigger picture in my opinion instead of demanding that Open Source explain itself.

Re:It is profitable for me (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876548)

Oracle would have to pay for it in the form of developers, etc. That it would be profitable for you is irrelevant to Oracle because it, like you, cares most about its profit.

Inflammatory summary (5, Insightful)

chance2105 (678081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876156)

From earlier in the conversation: http://mail.opensolaris.org/pipermail/ogb-discuss/2010-April/007700.html [opensolaris.org]

"(The following message is wholly my own, and doesn't represent anything from Oracle. While I'm an Oracle employee, I have no special privileged information or insight beyond what is already common knowledge.)"

This could be a random guy stirring the pot. What do we have to actually think management might ditch opensolaris?

Give Up -- Apache 2.0 .NET Micro Framework Kills (-1, Troll)

axonis (640949) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876200)

Guys is a clear case that the .NET Micro Framework with Apache 2.0 licence is going to kick Java and Android etc. Microsoft does NOT give a licence that entitles the developer to over 8billion outstanding M$ shares OR up to over $2 trillion in legal backing --> watch this space ! --> Larry your nutts have been Sushimied.

Clarifications (I'm the quoted source) (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876224)

Ok, so I'm the author of that message that is quoted in the article. And while an employee, I was *not* speaking for Oracle. I didn't use an Oracle e-mail account, or a Sun account for that matter.

I am not authorized to speak for Oracle. So please make sure attributions are correct.

Also, most of the posters here are confused due to lack of sufficient context. I was talking about Open Development (where anyone can integrate changes and participate in design, etc.) -- not Open Source. Open Source is clearly a win for everyone involved, I think. I'm personally less convinced that Open Development is a win for Open Solaris. There are lots of people using it, but almost nobody contributing, and the contributions are expensive to support.

Oh yeah, and in case anyone thinks I don't know what I'm talking about -- have a look at https://www.ohloh.net/p/opensolaris/contributors -- that would be my name at the top of list. And yes, I integrate changes for other people in the community as well, but those numbers are mostly not part of the ohloh statistics.

Re:Clarifications (I'm the quoted source) (1, Informative)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876298)

Mod up, even if he is new here.

Re:Clarifications (I'm the quoted source) (4, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876378)

Oh yeah, and in case anyone thinks I don't know what I'm talking about -- have a look at https://www.ohloh.net/p/opensolaris/contributors [ohloh.net] -- that would be my name at the top of list.

I didn't see Anonymous Coward in that list anywhere.

The question is why should Oracle support two OS.. (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876234)

Oracle supports Linux - RHEL and Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) are more or less the same, with the support contracts run through Oracle rather than the Red Hat folks. Works nice when the OS and the application are one company - eliminates finger pointing. The support for Linux is very strong and from what I understand, they are all in (much like IBM is).

I don't understand why Oracle would want to make that same sort of commitment to another OOS operating system, especially one that has such a little footprint. Heck, I'd be a bit worried about Solaris proper, much less the OOS variant, were there a better SPARC option on the Linux side.

Larry, Larry (2, Interesting)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876256)

...just think of it as the America's Cup of software. It's about the competition and the pride...

Secondary benefits (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876264)

Write open-source software that works with hardware or closed-source software you already sell. Build applications that run on Oracle databases. Sure, people will port them to run on other DBs, but you'll still get sales of your DB. Same for hardware.

Whose job is that? (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876274)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that there are just about zero people on Slashdot who are able to and will freely outline for major corporations how to create a profitable business model.

Re:Whose job is that? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876456)

There are dozens of people who can outline a supremely profitable business model for Oracle or anyone else who asks.

1. Maintain open-source software
2. ???
3. PROFIT!

How to prove? (1)

mseeger (40923) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876286)

It reads a little bit like: Prove that i will make profit while the parameters discussed make up only a samall percentage of the business.

The best argument i can bring forward: I bet my own money on Sun/Oracle doing so. We've just invested about 100.000 Euros into a software that requires OpenSolaris. If Sun/Oracle doesn't prosper, OpenSolaris will get axed and my own efforts & money will not pay off. I require Sun/Oracle to succeed. We're producing an appliance based on OpenSolaris and Sun Hardware. To make a profit ourselves, we have to sell about 20 installations. 20 installations would mean more than 100.000 Euros for Sun in Hardware and Service Contracts.

Sincerely yours, Martin

Don't answer to Oracle (1)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876322)

If they can't figure that out themselves, they are in the wrong business.

What about Google? (1)

kherge (1784420) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876326)

How about anything that Google does? The projects they work on give people better access to their ads, making them money.

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876336)

Oracle has made no such statement. This was from Garrett D'Amore a Staff Engineer from Sun Micro Systems. He was opining about the future of Open Solaris.

Love how this gets attributed to Oracle.

Hey, numb nuts, Oracle has been giving away their db free for Linux for years.

Can slashdot employ and editor who can weed through this crap!

people are after applications (2, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876346)

the OS that runs the app is somewhat important in that it needs to be secure and stable, but it is the application on top of the OS that sells, if Oracle can sell a complete solution - in this case a Linux distro with Oracle's database software on top and include service & support, maybe even include remote administration by authorized Oracle IT staff if that sells the product. (i knew SSH would come in handy someday)

Necessity is the Mother of All Invention (1)

bobsledbob (315580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876352)

It's really simple. If an open source project benefits Oracle's bottom line, it will have continued support. If it doesn't, then it won't get support.

The "greed is good" mantra comes into play here. Oracle's responsibility is to create revenue. If an open source project does not feed into that equation, it will not be supported. Oracle is not a charity nor any sort of non-profit corporation.

So, if Open Solaris doesn't actually make any money for Oracle, there's no reason to suggest that it will survive. Hopefully, though, if Oracle decides to drop support, it will do the right thing by passing the code to a true non-profit open source foundation, like the Apache Foundation. That would be a graceful way to get out of direct support for a project while still supporting the ideals of Free Software.

Well it's profitable for the corporations... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876354)

...who basically use the code written for free by gullible kids. Yes, Red Hat is profitable. Feel free to name two other companies that make significant money on Open Source.

Out of the hundreds of companies I've been in contact with over the last decade, I know of one, small struggling company of 5 or so guys that makes it, barely, by configuring Plone (and excellent product, by the way). His wife runs a restaurant on the side. Some months she's more profitable than he is.

Re:Well it's profitable for the corporations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876494)

Well, being in business does not mean you should be successful. They stuggle because they are doing it wrong.
Also, you probably think plone is great because it is the first CMS you have seen, kinda like your first piece of ass. When in reality, its suckage.

It's a stick up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876366)

It sounds like "Buy our products or we'll end the open source projects we're holding hostage.".

- shared software development costs

- value-added services based upon open source software

Everything is profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876384)

It's true!

1. Everything is profitable.
2. ???
3. Profit.

Enabler (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876422)

Open Source software is profitable in much the same way owning a parking lot for your business is profitable. It enables you to do business more cheaply and flexibly than the other options.

Open source software works great when it is not your core competency. For example, if you make hardware appliances, Linux is a great, free commodity OS you can use. Hiring some people to develop it, customize it, and fix bugs in it is much, much cheaper than writing an OS from scratch or licensing one. If you sell computing services, OSS is a great resource because it enables you to deliver those resources more cheaply and if you combine either of the two previous markets with custom hardware or software you do develop and which is your core competency, you can undercut pretty much every other business model.

I don't even know why I'm repeating this here. Literally hundreds of companies (I've worked for four myself) rely heavily on OSS development to make money and have been doing so for decades now. If the brilliant business minds at Oracle can't wrap their heads around this problem then they have bigger concerns than what to do with Sun's OSS assets... like how to fire all the idiots who somehow graduated from business school.

OSS is great way to cut your own costs by getting others to do work for you for free and make money in other markets.

So unless you can figure out how having OpenSolaris running on millions of devices everywhere ultimately translates to revenue, I doubt Oracle mgmt will be impressed.

Umm, does Oracle use OpenSolaris themselves for their workstations and servers both internally and for sale? If so, then having OpenSolaris on millions of devices means you get free bug reports and fixes for your OS from some subset of those millions of people. That's free labor.

If you don't monetize something somewhere, then it doesn't really help if OpenSolaris is used everywhere. In fact, it hurts. Because you spend more time supporting and debugging things that are not necessarily supportive of your own priorities, and are not generating revenue.

Wait you're spending time fixing bugs you don't care about and supporting the OS for free? Why? Why not just fix the bugs you do care about or which people are willing to pay you to fix and let other people handle the rest of the bugs if it bothers them? That's how Linux works, why not OpenSolaris?

Show us a plan for how that will ultimately generate revenue for Oracle?

Umm, you don't have to pay software licensing costs, you get bug reporting and work on the project from others for free, you can charge people support fees if they want you to do any work on it, if they don't want support it costs you nothing. How is this not a win? And what is your alternative? Pay Microsoft licensing fees? Drop OpenSolaris and switch to Linux then spend you money trying to port the features you need from OpenSolaris to Linux? Close source OpenSolaris and try to get people to pay you when they can just use Linux instead (or Windows or OS X)? Those are the three options I see and I'm sure your guys will do a thorough cost benefit on them all because they're not morons... right?

Who cares what Oracle wants? (1)

pyrr (1170465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876446)

They're a business. It's up to them to figure out how to make money or otherwise benefit from a widget, whether it's FOSS or anything else. I hope they're clever enough to figure it out, you'd think they would've had an inkling of how to take advantage of those projects before acquiring Sun.

Hey Oracle, want the secret? (0, Troll)

stickfigure (133284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876452)

FUCK YOU!

Shhh... don't tell or there will be less for us.

Luv ya,

stick

refocus (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876466)

I just had the experience of starting up my recently upgraded copy of openoffice on my linux box and seeing an oracle logo in the startup window. Feels kind of strange, like having your mom's underwear mixed in with your girlfriend's in the laundry basket.

I realize that TFA is about OpenSolaris, but when it comes to mysql and openoffice, it's always seemed to me that the only real reason those projects received so much attention over the last decade was that they got there first-est with the most-est. It's not like mysql is the only OSS database on the market, or the best technically. When it comes to openoffice, I'm getting kind of tired of having to apologize for it. It just isn't a very good office suite in terms of usability, quality, or features. And it's an infamously unhealthy OSS project in terms of the ugliness of the codebase and the lack of success in working with developers outside Sun/Oracle.

So maybe it's a good thing that Oracle bought Sun, because it will allow the OSS community to step back and reassess their focus. Competition is good. It's not healthy that the OSS world has drifted into a near-monoculture of mysql and openoffice.

Open source can be profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876508)

If you a providing some type of common software that other software vendors provide, the it becomes extremely profitable. For instance, let's take a look at open office. Its compared frequently to Microsoft's office. Its open sourced and I would imagine it costs about 1/2 the amount it takes to develop MS Office. For Open Office, there is less SQA required as the community does this for you. You don't need to introduce or develop new features, just mimic known existing and liked features. There is no worries about getting alpha users to use a buggy product. No repercussions if the software doesn't work. Its open source and bound to be buggy at least at first.

The issue here, is that the software needs to be preexisting or have an existing analogue. If you have a unique piece of software, the start up costs, testing, and coding are too great for little or no return as the open license will allow anyone to use it. Mimicking closed software allows you have the functionality while someone else does the development.

Really? (1)

Target Practice (79470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876512)

Do all of you really think this is an official communique from Oracle regarding their policy with Open Source? This looks more like speculative hashing-outs that usually can be found on mailing lists, especially in a 'discuss' list, like this one. I sincerely doubt this mailing is more than one person's opinion.

Qt (and KDE) (1)

GeniusDex (803759) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876518)

I'd say Trolltech has managed to make a open-source technology (Qt) profitable. Be it by first making it not 100% completely free open-source (via QPL and later as a GPL-library), but eventually it is not free and by working with a large open source project (KDE), the momentum for using Qt has increased a lot. Without KDE, Qt wouldn't have been where it is now (and vice versa). It's about taking a large collection of open source code, and selling services/support on at least a part of it. If the added value for paying is high enough, companies will pay.

the endgame scenario (5, Insightful)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876520)

The problem here isn't that open source isn't profitable, it's that it isn't Oracle profitable. Oracle is the essential part of the problem here, and to answer directly is to miss the point.

We solve this not by huffing and wheezing about how great open source software is. We solve it by proving that we don't need closed source software, that giants like Oracle are unnecessary and useless. We solve it by using PostgreSQL and MySQL, by using Linux (and maybe Open Solaris). We solve it by publicly mocking anyone who spent the money on Oracle, finding security holes in Oracle, and generally making it unpleasant to be an Oracle customer, which won't be hard because of the great head start Oracle has on that.

We don't have to justify our existence or our way of doing business; they do. And they're doing a great job of pissing off their loyalists. IBM was once this proud. Look at them now. The same thing can happen here, we just have to refuse to put up with it.

To Oracle, Profitable == Lockin-able (2, Insightful)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876528)

I've seen the costs of Oracle's licensing. They don't want profit, they want a guaranteed user base - just like every other megacorp on the planet. The only way to guarantee a user base, even when you product is shi^H^H resource intensive, is to either distribute complementary kool-aid, or make sure the user base cannot switch to a competing product.

Oracle does not want profit, they want profit with a guarantee.

As far as opensolaris, mysql and the rest of Sun's opensource projects go, well that's just the way the cookie crumbles. When a corporate buyout happens, there are no guarantees about current products whether proprietary OR OSS. If a product doesn't fit a companie's vision they axe it.

Prove my plantation more profitable without slaves (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876538)

After all, isn't that what they are really saying. "Prove that my plantation will be more profitable if I use hired labor, rather than slave labor". Well, maybe it will or won't be, but that completely ignores the relevant issue at hand. Sure, he wants to make a profit, but so does everyone and their mother.

When one relies on a proprietary model instead of a free model, it is just another way of saying, "I assert the right to attack you if you copy things and it interferes with my goals". Maybe he won't be profitable, perhaps he can't survive or make as much money in a world where he can not restrict the freedom ans liberty of others. Perhaps the plantation masters couldn't either. So what. He owes it to me to respect my liberty to copy as I please, but neither I nor society owe him a goddam thing other than the same kind of respect.

You want the proof? You can't handle the proof! (2, Funny)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876540)

“A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven.”

-Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada

Who cares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31876552)

It's not profitable. Just drop it all and make closed source.

There are valid ways open source can fit into a business that's primarily closed source. Ask IBM. But if you don't "get" open source by now, I despair that you're ever going to get it... which suggests to me that it would be better to focus on what's made you profitable instead of trying to cover too much ground. Especially if you're in the position where your own open source can become your competition -- the common wisdom is to provide a superior support experience if you're delivering open source, but you don't want to find yourself outpaced by a smaller competitor in that regard AND lose your edge from your closed source software.

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