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Oracle Linux?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the could-be dept.

250

eldavojohn writes "There have been rumors floating around of Oracle working on their own distribution of Linux. If this is true, it is widely believed that this enterprise edition of Linux would be in direct competition with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. What is spurring the rumors? Well, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison said, 'I'd like to have a complete stack. We're missing an operating system. You could argue that it makes a lot of sense for us to look at distributing and supporting Linux.' I know that Oracle has been doing a lot more than databases recently, will they go the extra mile and create their own stripped down Linux kernel? If they do, will companies switch to database solutions that are running Oracle only software for the benefits of support and (hopefully) stability?"

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250 comments

Naming? (0, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470269)

Maybe Larry will have them label it Pagoda Linux or Samurai Linux, in honour of his fascination with things japanese [jgarden.org]

i for one welcome our new samurai penguin overlords!

Truth in naming.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470451)

Just be honest and call it GreedyEgotisticalBastardix.

Seriously, if Oracle did custom-tailor a special Linux distro especially for running the database engine on the x86 platform, especially the 64-bit version, it would be a "Very Good Thing". Already the same exact pile of hardware running Linux instead of Windows 2003, and running the Standard version of Oracle 10g is typically anywhere from 10 to 100 times faster on average for Linux over Windows.

hrmpf... (2, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470553)

Maybe Larry will have them label it Pagoda Linux or Samurai Linux, in honour of his fascination with things japanese

Since we are in Japanese mode, how about Baka Linux?

10 flame warrior experience points and a puff of karma to the first one who figures out why I should be modded down for that suggestion.

Re:hrmpf... (1)

t0rkm3 (666910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470759)

Doesn't baka mean stupid or some such in Japanese?

Re:hrmpf... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470977)

Doesn't baka mean stupid or some such in Japanese?

Yup!

Re:Naming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470703)

Hentai Linux
Bukake Linux

Re:Naming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470879)

Seppuku Linux

Re:Naming? (1)

lightsaber777 (920815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471261)

Jozu desu

Re:Naming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471559)

Bukkakix!

Re:Naming? (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471123)

My stunningly bold prediction is that they'll call it something like Oracle Turnkey Server, and that DBA's everywhere will just call it oralinux.

Yes (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470357)

I've seen it in a vision.

Definitely has uses but.. (4, Insightful)

viniosity (592905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470373)

If this trend continues I wonder how many orgs would be willing to go along for the ride? Imagine a mail server running on Debian, your web server running on Sun Linux, your database server on Oracle Linux, your application server on Red Hat, etc.

All similar but different enough to drive an IT guy batty. Too much of a good thing?

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470565)

Sounds good to me. Monoculture is a real problem and what you just described sounds like a way to avoid it somewhat, not across various organizations but within one.

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470683)

Sounds good to me. Of course I'm assuming that pay would go up about $30,000 a year as well.

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470571)

Good point. But an OS stripped down and tweaked to run Oracle will most likely have the least maintenance issues. Right now Oracle has to support their DB on multiple Linux distros, plus Solaris and Windows. If they have their own OS and push it as "preferred" they'll save their customers and themselves some support cost. I think sys admins will be happy to have their database servers built specifically for their task, plus supported directly by Oracle right down to the OS level. Oracle would be adding value to their databases, so I'm surprised this hasn't happened already.

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471837)

And the cost of their Linux version will probably be $5000 per year to negate the lost support.

A CIO in a mixed environment would probably bite as the advantages would be pretty apparent.

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (5, Insightful)

iabervon (1971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470895)

I'd run Oracle on Oracle Linux instead of some other distro. (I wouldn't bother with Oracle for any database that didn't need its own server for disk bandwidth reasons; this applies to any server that runs a single service.)

The IT guy's main headache for a database server is going to be the interaction between the database and the OS. The issue is that the server is supposed to run best on a version of Red Hat with some weird extra things enabled. Red Hat doesn't entirely understand this stuff, because they don't use it for any other configurations. Oracle understands it (they wrote it), but they're not doing tech support for Red Hat. The OS is sufficiently different from a usual Linux box that the IT guy has no clue when things are breaking. When the company I was working for got one of these, it was further complicated because the hardware didn't come with anything set up, and came from a third vendor. So we got a machine from Dell, the OS from Red Hat, and the database program from Oracle, each shipped separately, and they couldn't be tested independantly.

I think it would make perfect sense for Oracle to distribute and support a Red Hat-derived Linux distribution exclusively for production servers. At least then there would be a vendor who would understand the thing.

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (3, Informative)

djbckr (673156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471777)

Uh sorry, but you're wrong on most of your points.

Oracle runs on Red Hat Enterprise or SUSE Enterprise (I might have the names mangled a bit) both with relatively straight-forward settings. Everything is included in the distributions. Yes, Oracle donated some of the code that makes it into those distros.

Furthermore, Oracle provides *full* support for the Linux OS itself when you have a properly licensed copy of Oracle.

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471923)

I think it would make perfect sense for Oracle to distribute and support a Red Hat-derived Linux distribution exclusively for production servers.

I gather that this will be more of an appliance rather than a disbtribution.

"Oracle could introduce a dedicated hardware appliance running Ubuntu and its own software"

My company already builds solutions that use Google Mini appliances so I wouldn't be surprised to see Oracle appliances in the future.

As for the multi-vendor setups (machine from Dell, the OS from Red Hat, and the database program from Oracle), a group of vendors did offer a level of support. I believe it was called VOS - Veritas, Oracle, and Sun, and the vendors had an arrangement to cover support for a given configuration.

Jim

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (2, Informative)

sqlgeek (168433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471971)

I'm not sure what you're refering to when you talk about "wierd extra things enabled." Here are some reasonable changes you'll want to make to /etc/sysctl.conf

kernel.shmall = 2097152
kernel.shmmax = 2147483648
kernel.shmmni = 4096
kernel.sem = 250 32000 100 128
fs.file-max = 65536
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 1024 65000
net.core.rmem_default = 262144
net.core.wmem_default = 262144
net.core.rmem_max = 262144

And then you'll need async i/o.

yum install libaio

The above all taken from HJR -- www.dizwell.com > installation guides
net.core.wmem_max = 262144

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (2, Interesting)

wrp103 (583277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471205)

A number of years ago, Oracle came out with "Raw Iron", which was a configuration where Oracle ran on an intel box without any operating system. They found that much of their customer support was helping sys admins configure the operating system so that Oracle would run well. They also found that most customers used a dedicated database server, so the only thing running on that box was Oracle. As a result, they tried to eliminate the O/S and add a layer that interfaced Oracle to the hardware.

I would guess that they would offer a complete package that has Oracle running with Linux pre-configured to run Oracle. The idea would be that nothing else would be run on that box, except perhaps for a few utilities the customer run to monitor, backup, etc.

As far as the customer is concerned, Linux would be transparent to them. They would simply have "Oracle" running on that box. Presumably Oracle would provide necessary support for Linux relative to Oracle. They would probably not support other uses for Linux on that box. If the customer wanted to run additional applications, they would be responsible for any support.

Try a different approach. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471219)

Suppose Oracle supports their own, reduced, version of Linux (with any performance enhancements that they deem necessary). If they "partnered" with a hardware vendor, you'd have a single stop for your database server needs.

You'd get your BIOS updates, OS updates and database updates from a single company that could afford to do the testing so the load on your IT department would be reduced.

You could even order it in a cluster configuration.

But what good is a database server on its own? With a bit more work, you'd be able to buy a webserver box (hardware, OS, Apache, etc) pre-configured to hook into the database server they sold you.

From Oracle's point of view, this would be a great way to get even more of the market and to stop any gains from MySQL or others.

From the corporations' point of view, this would be a great way to reduce IT costs by reducing the load on your internal IT department.

If Oracle does it right, they'd even be able to offer you dial-on-demand DBA services for their products. Why pay 6 figures to hire an Oracle DBA when you can pay 5 figures for a DBA service contract with Oracle?

Re:Definitely has uses but.. (1)

avatar4d (192234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471237)

Actually this wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. In theory this could be ideal. Each distrobution could focus their efforts instead of being spread too thin. Also if each distribution was standardized as to the location of files, structure of the file system, etc. then the IT guy wouldn't be going as batty. This is assuming the software could be maintained across the board by your package manager of choice. I doubt we will see that in our lifetime though.

I can see the ads now... (1)

World_Leader (635956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470377)

Oracle: We made Linux...expensive!

Interesting Larry info (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470379)

I didn't know the history of Oracle's head Larry [pennylicious.com] until I saw this the other day. Who knows, he might even have a brother or two named Darrel out there.

OpenSolaris? (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470387)

I'm a bit surprised that they're not considering OpenSolaris. Linux is nice, but Oracle has been supporting Sun Solaris for far longer. Using Solaris as their base kernel would allow them to provide a large number of enterprisey (lt;-technical term) features out of the box.

Not to say that 2.6 doesn't have bunches of enterprisey (<-technical term again) features, but Solaris is still a leader in that space.

Re:OpenSolaris? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470519)

I took an Oracle University class a couple weeks ago. (I'm in the process of learning to be an Oracle DBA - it was the admin 1 workshop) and the instructor said that right now their target platform for development is sun. he was joking how, 'Larry didn't like Sun there for a while, but now he likes them again so they are our target.'
 
But he also seemed to think that Oracle would start rolling their own OS -- and brought up more than once that by acquiring Novell, they would pick up Suse. This seems to me like it might be the case.

Re:OpenSolaris? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470697)

Is Oracle seriously considering buying Novell? That sounds like an interesting idea. Plus I'd finally see my Novell stock skyrocket.

Re:OpenSolaris? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470979)

This is merely a theory thrown out by the instructor of my class. Just some dude who works for Oracle. So I have no idea what Oracle is seriously considering. But I personally agree with the guy that it could make all kinds of sense for Oracle to do so if they are serious about having their own distro.
 
I personally would love to see it since they'd have to fix OEM to work better with a non-IE browser.
 
On a side note, when I took the class, all the workstations that we used to do the lab portions were running red hat enterprise.

Re:OpenSolaris? (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470965)

I'm a bit surprised that they're not considering OpenSolaris. Linux is nice, but Oracle has been supporting Sun Solaris for far longer.

I could be wrong, but Oracle used to be targeted towards Solaris and everything else was a port from that target, but in recent years Oracle has chosen Linux as the target. Again, I could be misremembering here.

Nonetheless, I think its about time that Oracle has become and OS, because it pretty much is an OS to begin with. An Oracle box is pretty much an Oracle box, hopefully firelled and/or on a private network. There are more tuning parameters that need to be done to an Oracle box than any other software package that I know of, and having the DB and OS bundled, pretty much configured, and ready to roll makes sense to me. I've thought that Oracle should have done this years ago.

Personally, I would have picked an OS, bundled it with the DB and shut down all of the other ports of the software. DB-in-a-box just like my wireless router is a router/nat-in-a-box. I mean, isn't that more "normal" ?

Re:OpenSolaris? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471045)

i posted this above-- but according to the guy that taught the oracle class i took a couple weeks ago, Solaris is the target now.

Re:OpenSolaris? (4, Informative)

atbarboz (763505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471501)

I work at Oracle right now - and all base development happens on RHEL 3. We are in fact upgrading all developer and QA machines to RHEL 4 over the next couple of months. Solaris used to be the base development platform around 2 years back, but it's just a porting platform as of today.

Re:OpenSolaris? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471181)

Larry Ellison is no shmuck, he knows a troubled company when he sees one. Where will SUN be when the MS settlement money runs dry? Besides, why go to the expense of maintaining an entire OS when anyone can download the equivalent for free?

Re:OpenSolaris? (3, Informative)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471321)

If they want their own OS, they're probably going to want something that'll support clustering and a fast file system. Currently GPFS [ibm.com] is the top dog in that area, and it's only available (currently) for AIX and Linux. It'd probably make more sense to put effort into improving this than porting it to Solaris.

Agreed that Solaris would provide more enterprise-grade (<—marketing term) features than Linux, although zones are becoming less compelling given the rise of virtualization, and I hear that ZFS doesn't provide the performance boost on SANs that it does on JBODs.

quality commercial software .. (0, Troll)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470401)

Standby for the usual 'quality' commercial software versus some amateur stuff made in someones bedroom.

Re:quality commercial software .. (2, Funny)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470973)

Everyone is pretty familiar with the "quality" they get from commercial software. How bad can the amateur software be? After all, most of the customers were made by amateurs in someone's bedroom.

Dupe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470407)

This happened (as the FA states) back in April and was covered here [slashdot.org] at the time.

vertical integration and stovepipes (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470503)

They should know that they won't really have a "complete stack" until they're implementing their own hardware base, so they can provide truly turnkey datacenter solutions. And where did that NC thin client concept go? And here comes Sun with their datacenter-in-a-truck solution.

Re:vertical integration and stovepipes (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470843)

If they offered a complete "vertical stack" from a VMWare platform on up, I'd be happy with that.

Re:vertical integration and stovepipes (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471201)

you are right. i was in a discussion with someone at oracle about this a couple weeks ago - he was teaching a class, and one of the students brought up your point. the oracle instructor kind of blew it off, but let's say they do have their own distro. are they going to manage it for all the hardware out there too? there's a post above about how right now their implementation was dell/redhat/oracle. where i work it is a little simpler as we have the same vendor for the hardware and os (ibm/aix) but then there is oracle on top of that and the issues that come with it.
 
so i think if they do come up with a distro of their own, that eventually hardware can't be too far behind. this would also work on up the chain with their app servers, their people soft stuff, the siebel stuff, etc.

Red Hat has no worries with this (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470569)

I'm posting anonymously because I'm an Oracle DBA ('nuff said). Oracle does a make a nice database, but it is hugely bloated for most purposes. And everything else they write is just pure unadulterated crap.

If you look at what it takes to implement their ERP or Pharmaceutical Suite you will realize that they will only ever be a niche player with their own Distro. They write software to require the maximum amount of administration and consulting possible. Their consulting division make a ton of money and they willl never release anything that might endanger that. Also, they have a lot of "faithful" DBA's (like me) that make a really good living keeping the giant house of cards that they call an "application stack" running and recoverable.

Companies with deep pockets will buy it because it's Oracle and pay high salaries to people like me to maintain it all. I'm not complaining, because it's a pretty nice gig, and I might recommend "Oracle Linux" for my company because all the extra crap equals even more job security for the (somewhat scarce) senior level DBA's that have a lot of Linux experience.

Better late than never... (2, Funny)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470593)

With this news, I better get rid of my Redhat stock. This news cannot be good news for ReaHat or any other Linux vendor. I hope I am not too late.

Re:Better late than never... (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470861)

On the contrary

Those of us who have problems persuading PHB's to go the Linux route will have another way to make them wake up and smell the coffee. A move like this will help kill the old 'Linux is only used by nerds' prejudices and further establish it's place in the datacentre. Today the datacentre, tomorrow the desktop (cue marching bands playing Souza, fireworks, cheerleaders, etc. )

Re:Better late than never... (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471225)

> A move like this will help kill the old 'Linux is only used by nerds' prejudices and further establish it's place in the datacentre

I'm sorry, but I've worked in some Fortune 50 datacenters, and no one from the CIO on down has that attitude anymore. Maybe there's some shops with some brand-loyal morons, but Linux is very much the establishment now.

Now just try pushing OpenBSD or even Debian over Redhat and see how far you get.

Re:Better late than never... (1)

JRGhaddar (448765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471093)

Actually...while I was reading this I thought about stock as well, Novell's. Novell's stock price is currently in takeover territory.

If someone wanted to seriously get into the Enterprise Linux game quick that would be one of the quickest ways to do it.

Good for Linux (3, Insightful)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470607)

If Oracle began to distribute and support Linux, it would mean good things for Linux in general, while Red Hat deploys Linux to the enterprise sector, they are a Linux based company, whereas Oracle is a much wider known and respected brand, their adoption of Linux for Enterprise could cause a slew of companies to adopt as well.

Why build their own? (1)

patrixmyth (167599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470647)

I don't see anything indicated in his comment that would make me think they are going to create their own brand of linux. My first reaction would be that they would acquire an existing brand. That way they have some kind of name recognition within the linux community with which to start. Then they can tinker/screw with it to their heart's content. I don't know the Linux Distros very well, anyone suggest a name that might be open to being acquired?

Re:Why build their own? (1)

patrixmyth (167599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470991)

To answer my own question, there seems to be on-going speculations about Oracle buying out a distro. Specifically, Novell(SUSE), Ubuntu and Red Hat have been previously discussed as acquisitions.

Re:Why build their own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471593)

> Specifically, Novell(SUSE), Ubuntu and Red Hat have been previously discussed as acquisitions.

It seems exceedingly unlikely that Ubuntu will allow itself to be sold. Novell seemed the prime target for a while, but Redhat's looking like a better possibility. Redhat also pushes Redhat Enterprise DB (Postgres), which Oracle would no doubt quietly shut down. Oracle would also pick up JBoss in the bargain which would give them ownership of two of the big three EJB3 implementations (Toplink and Hibernate, Kodo being the third).

When you look at Oracle, you should keep in mind the famous quote "It is not enough that I succeed -- everyone else must fail". (Don't bother getting the book bearing that quote as a title BTW, it's horrible dreck)

Re:Why build their own? (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471163)

RedHat would not be a bad aquisition. Oracle is still much larger than Redhat. Next to mind would be CentOS, Xandros, (Ubuntu would not get bought because it is already owned by a rich guy), CAOS would be nice, but they are not well known. Mandriva is not known for the Enterprise, but they have a large following in Europe.

I think they would probably roll their own Linux instead however. There is no one other than RedHat available that would make it worth the recognition you are talking about. SuSE is locked up, Debian and Ubuntu are not for sale.

simply put (0, Flamebait)

scronline (829910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470651)

Never. I do not like Oracle. I don't like their DB products and I don't like their business practice(s). Like telling the state of California they needed more Oracle licenses than the state had employees that had computer access for example. I will not use, nor support Oracle....

So, with that in mind...I won't be one of their Linux customers either.

Re:simply put (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470923)

I do not like Oracle. I don't like their DB products and I don't like their business practice(s).

I do not like them, Sam I am
I do not like this Oracle and Ham!
I do not like them in a boat.
I do not like them with a goat.
I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like this Oracle and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

Re:simply put (1)

tbone1 (309237) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471095)

Like telling the state of California they needed more Oracle licenses than the state had employees that had computer access for example.

You know, there are these people called contractors [reference.com] who are not employees but who often are called upon to create, improve, maintain, and use those databases.

Re:simply put (1)

scronline (829910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471311)

And just for the record....

http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/tech_top. html [worldtribune.com]

Read it completely. Later information pointed to the fact that Oracle employees assisted in the "correct licensing" for the state.

Re:simply put (1)

KhaymanUCSD (801306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471485)

I'd be more concerned that Oracle has a record for being slow to patch security holes. I recall the bug that went acknowledged and unpatched for 365+ days and would grant a remote user shell access. If that's the kind of Linux they'll put out... no thanks.

Re:simply put (1)

OSS_ilation (922367) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471533)

I do not like Oracle. I do not like their db. I do not liketheir business practices... I do not like them in a box. I do not like them with a fox. I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

Re:simply put (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471881)

You're late. [slashdot.org]

Not to mention that your meter is screwed up.

Re:simply put (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471663)

Dude - if you are so worried about ethics, maybe time your company stopped advertising desktop power without desktop size at $1400 a pop!! talk of a rip off!

Oracle helped the state correct it's licensing - and in the process saved the state money. Governmental organizations consistently order more than they need due to the fact that it is other people's money. By the way - hope you have stopped using Google(china), HP(spying), Sun(Copying google's containerized data centers and saying that they came up with it.. ).. oh and all those firms with options scandals!

Oracle should stick to databases (2, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470661)

I use Oracle 10g everyday at work. It's a good database and does the job nicely. Unfortunately I have to use another solution made by them: XSQL [oracle.com] . I can honestly say that it's probably the worst framework I've ever used in my life. Sure, some parts of it make for rapid development and deployment, but other parts of it are a complete nightmare and sometimes I wonder why they bothered.

Basically I'm wondering why Oracle want to pinch consumers away from Fedora and Ubuntu instead of just working with them to help intergrate their databases more seamlessly into these distros?

This is a terrible idea... (2, Insightful)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470669)

What Oracle should do instead is take RHES4U4 or whatever and merely tweak it for oracle performance and release that. I think they'd do well to just get into conjunction with Redhat and make a "RedHat Enterprise Oracle optomized" version of the OS.

Yeah, it would be a subtle fork, but Oracle has enough trouble keeping track of it's DB. I don't think they clearly understand the headache involved in maintaining an operating system.

Oracle Oxymoron... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470675)

Linux is free but you pay a premium for the Oracle brand name.

Not So Fast.... (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470719)

With the "building their own linux kernel" business.

If they need to do that, they might. But I don't see anyone in the business world going above and beyond the minimun necessary to sell something.

Twist up their own Debian-based distro and make it sales/support policy to support only theirs, at a fee they feel the market is willing to buy at. Intentionally avoid testing or supporting any other distro and you've got something that's as good as a proprietary OS. Sure, source/patches may be available, but they aren't going to go to any effort to make them workable outside their version. Nor are they obligated to explain to anyone how to compile the whole thing.

I believe an oracle customer would consider making the switch simply because oracle will support it. It will have a gui that MSCE's can learn to use. And oracle has a shiny new certificate to sell too! I don't think the OS being Linux has anything to do with it.

Oracle Appliance (3, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470735)

Admittedly, I don't follow or know a whole lot about Oracle, but wouldn't a move like this open the door to them selling a self-contained Oracle Appliance for small- and medium-sized businesses? Of course, they could also supply a list of supported hardware for people to run it on machines purchased elsewhere or built by the company's hardware guru.

It won't really compete with RHEL (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470745)

Except as a platform to run Oracle on. Oracle doesn't really understand fairness or openness, in large part because its founder doesn't. I'm not saying that they can't figure it out - IBM, after all, went from the most closed of corporations to one of the main sources of energy into commercial open software - but I've always considered IBM to be kind of a special case anyway. Regardless, I have a hard time seeing the industry embrace an Oracle-controlled linux distribution.

It is possible that an acquisition of Novell could bring in enough fresh blood to turn this around... And it would bring in an already-respected Linux distribution.

On the other hand, it makes a whole lot of sense that Oracle would start shipping a Linux LiveCD that runs the Oracle installer, which can be a bitch to get running anyway, and upon which you can run Oracle if you install it to the hard disk. After some time they could switch it to be the only supported platform for Oracle. If you don't want to run it directly on the iron, run it in a virtual machine - although unless you're on ESX or something (whatever it's called now) that's probably going to come with a dramatic performance penalty.

Regardless, it only makes sense for Oracle to provide their own Linux. Why help Redhat? Redhat makes competing products.

the Cisco way... (1)

mswope (242988) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470773)

Given what I perceive to be their past history and what the industry does regularly, I would expect them to *buy* RedHat, not compete against them. Or, someone else that's ripe for taking (over).

Re:the Cisco way... (1)

durdur (252098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471399)

Uh, Larry has publicly said it wouldn't make sense to buy Red Hat, because they don't own any IP. Why pay billions for a software base that you can take and fork for free?

Its the Application and not the Operating System (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470811)

Oracle might be thinking of shifting their application stack to operate the equivilent of embedded. Integrate a custom stripped down, beefed up, optimized Linux or any other open source OS as part of the application install. PXE boot an Oracle app stack directly on open standard harware, or create virtualized guest servers. Takes the OS sysadmin away and moves management to the application level.

Why GNU/Linux? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470841)

Why bother with GPLed code when they could just grab FreeBSD, customize it any way they want, not release the source code and not have to worry about the GPL?

Microsoft Linux is on the way too (1)

zitintheass (1005533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470869)

As it all seams to be about capturing audience, why not? This would surely confuse many and weaken RedHat and other competitors.

They have got an OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470873)

It's called Solaris. Sure they don't actually *own* Solaris, but Solaris + Oracle go together like bread and butter, as any fule kno.

What the world doesn't need is *another* half-assed Linux distribution.

Oracle Linux works better as a threat than reality (5, Insightful)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470881)

Larry likes to expand Oracle's reach by purchasing competitors. Consider the world of ERP, where he bought Peoplesoft and JD Edwards. It makes little sense for Oracle to build their own distro to compete head-on with Red Hat. It makes a lot more sense to threaten to build a Linux distro in the hopes of driving down RHAT shares, thus facilitating a takeover. Larry wanted to buy JBOSS, but Red Hat beat him to it. If he buys Red Hat, he gets JBOSS as well. And all of Red Hat's customers. Buying Red Hat would make Oracle the #1 Linux company overnight.

Besides, if Oracle tries to build their own distro, market it via their existing sales channels, and support it via their existing system, Oracle Linux will truly suck. The pricing will be outrageous, the sales process will be the "car dealership" model, and the support will be the offshore model that is not all that great. Oracle makes a great product, but they are their own worst enemy sometimes.

If I were Larry, I would create a great deal of hype about doing my own Linux distro, to soften up the price of Red Hat in anticpiation of a takeover.

Re:Oracle Linux works better as a threat than real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471625)

small correction: Oracle bought Peoplesoft. Peoplesoft had already bought JD edwards.

This rumor again? Has it been a year already? (1)

the COW OF DOOM (tm) (1531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470887)

If you enjoyed this story, you can also have it in Microsoft [slashdot.org] , AOL [slashdot.org] , or Google [tmcnet.com] flavor.

Bah. Pundits. Get a real job.

This makes sense for Oracle (1)

jeffc128ca (449295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470891)

This makes sense from Oracle's perspective. They want to become a solutions provider, not just a software provider. That's what a lot of enterprise clients want, solutions, not more software to install. When I started as a programmer years ago I never got to see the big picture. Now that I have some experience under my belt and worked with senior managers I can see the bigger picture.

The companies that buy Oracle products want solutions, not new software packages. If Oracle decides to package their own version of linux it would be as part of a package solution. You are no longer buying a database, your buying a data analysis solution. You get a box from Oracle that will do risk analysis, or data warehousing. The database, the OS, app server software, etc, all are just pieces of the solution. Oracle doesn't have a hardware division but the OS would be a step closer to that one package solution.

It is a pain to have to deal with hardware vendors, software vendors, and OS vendors of different stripes. When something goes wrong it's frustrating to see each vendor blame the other for your problem. God knows this happens all the time. By developing an Oracle flavour of linux, they can better provide that solution type package.

I'd switch, but for career reasons (1)

fatnicky (991652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470907)

I'd switch our platform to oracle/linux, but only so I could get company-paid experience, training, and certification. Then I'd jump ship to something bigger and better. //How I've always done it. ///Make mad $$$

I would welcome it... (1)

rmallico (831443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470997)

If ORCL decided to do this I for one would support it. There are so many freaking hoops to jump through to 'correctly install ORCL on linux or solaris or just about any of hte *nixes... Would love to have a preconfigured iso that laid down the OS and was primed and ready for oracle in some fashion... kernel tuned, etc... I know it can be done manually... their whole RAC setup could just totally auto-provision from a single image...

too far (1)

davejenkins (99111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471021)

Larry can certainly try, and Oracle will certainly take up Korea (where they have a monopoly) and a fair amount of the market, but I do not see this working for them long-term. Customers (like me) do not like to get all our software from a single place. The "Lock-in" problem exists almost just as much for Open Source software as it does for proprietary software. What happens if/when Oracle deicded to fork the kernel to better support their Db? What happens if/when those forks start to limit my options? Voila-- I am at the mercy of Oracle for support, compatability, and expandability. No thanks, that was the primary reason we all hated Microsoft, remember?

Red Hat or SuSE work when they come from IBM or HP or Fujitsu because the hardware/OS marriage makes sense. Hardware is pretty much a commodity at this point, so I know I have flexibility. RHEL or SuSE are forced to play nice with all the major HW vendors, so that keeps them honest and in line.

Sorry, but the temptation for Oracle to start dicking with the kernel would be just too tempting, and just too sticky for me.

Re:too far (1)

erotic piebald (449107) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471775)

What happens if/when Oracle deicded to fork the kernel to better support their Db? What happens if/when those forks start to limit my options?

The point of an Oracle OS will be that it is running your Oracle Database Server(s). It won't be a general purpose distribution with 'development' and 'workstation' options. You won't have, and shouldn't worry about your 'options'. You won't care that it's forked because you won't be using it for any other purpose than to run the Oracle DB software. You won't even care that it's Linux or Solaris or BSD. It'll just be part of the install: first the Oracle OS, then ASM, then 10g. It'll be patched and upgraded just like the other Oracle software, with patches from MetaLink. You won't be installing your favorite webserver or mailserver or anything else on your Oracle Server.

Specialization, get it?

An Oracle experts here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471041)

"We're missing an operating system"

Pure fanfare.

All Oracle gurus know that the RDBMS is basically an OS [wikipedia.org] by itself aside from 100% H/W control (maybe 99%). A linux distro would only help for packaging so users can have an out of the box DC.

Calling all zealots. (3, Insightful)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471061)

I hope not to start a flamewar but, BSD tends to be more stable than Linux for enterprise purposes (uptime, high load, etc.) even if not by a lot, why wouldn't you choose BSD over Linux for something like this? The other reason I think this would be a good thing is for licensing: They could keep their proprietary tweaks to the BSD architecture as a proprietary edge over other vendors.

Mind you, crusaders, that I am posting this from my Linux-enabled laptop.

Re:Calling all zealots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471611)

BSD doesn't scale well into the multi-CPU systems. It's great on low-end hardware (and I mean this respectfully) but just falls over on 4-way, 8-way systems. When they fix the current scaling problems it will certainly be as valid as Linux or OpenSolaris.

Re:Calling all zealots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471647)

Considering that I've heard enough horror stories of getting Oracle working on Linux, I can only imagine the ammount of extra effort needed for BSD. Chances are it's heavily tied to the Linux API and you would need to run Linux Compat anyway, so why not just run it on Linux? Well besides that, in theory hardware vendors (such as IBM) have pledged Linux support, while BSD is sort of left to go it alone driver wise.

But while I say that, I'm having a terrible time getting Redhat EL4 going on an eserver 326m. FreeBSD wasn't happy with the network (works in 6.2) but mainly went in without a hitch.

Oracle Dpesn't support a lot of things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471097)

For example, you can't do a direct SQL query.

Re:Oracle Dpesn't support a lot of things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471493)

Well only if it stays up for unprecedented 4 hours.

Oracle is very cluster focused (1)

rohar (253766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471109)

Oracle has a strong push towards grid computing and this same business reason applies to Linux. If the customer spends less on hardware and OS licensing, they can afford more for Oracle licensing for a given project. In an example of more traditional Enterprise Oracle on AIX, Solaris or HPUX on a mid-range 4 CPU server, the hardware/OS cost is close to the Oracle licensing ($40K/cpu Oracle Enterprise, ~$150K server/disk). Oracle's goal is to use commodity hardware, cheaper OS and get a larger slice of the pie. In a Linux/Intel RAC cluster the hardware/OS cost is much less and the idea is to achieve the reliability through clustering and the clustering requires more Oracle per cpu licensing.

Insert Disk - Go .... very cool (2, Insightful)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471111)

Regardless of whether it was Linux or OpenSolaris as another poster commented, this would be a **VERY** good thing for people who have to install and maintain an oracle. Especially if Oracle puts a decent updater similar to RedCarpet or RedHat Network. No more fiddling with kernel shared memory parameters, no more worrying about patchsets, no more worring about "if I update the OS, will it break Oracle" (which is the whole point of the OS installation anyway- to support the DB), and no more juggling java versions ( now managed during the install/update). They could just do the "eveything on one disk" software approach, or perhaps they could move into hardware/appliance plug-and-play clustering - just add a node and it configures and integrates.

Oracle needs to be good on Linux (1)

br00tus (528477) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471115)

I used to work at a Fortune 100 company, I now work at a Fortune 1000 company. At the Fortune 100 company no production Linux was deployed when I worked there, just Windows and Solaris (they did have a Linux lab though). Currently we are Windows, Red Hat and Solaris. We only run databases on Solaris. A year ago we tried migrating Oracle from Solaris to Red Hat and it was a disaster. We had to cancel the move and go back to Solaris.

Oracle did not work well on Red Hat Linux for us, in fact, it worked very badly. I know that raises cackles here and people say it has worked fine for them and give anecdotes about their successful experiences. But this company is in the business of making profits for its stockholders, not promoting free software. Perhaps if we have an expert Oracle/Linux DBAs and a genius sysadmin dedicated to just this and so forth, perhaps it would work, but these types of resources are just not available for us. It has been my experience over the past decade that at most companies, Oracle runs on Solaris. I'd be curious to hear the names of major companies that are running Oracle on Linux in production. Oracle has a long history with Sun and Solaris and has worked most of the kinks out, in my opinion, it is not just their yet for Linux. Perhaps working on their own Linux will help that. Because the only thing those Oracle/Linux developers are going to give a damn about is getting Oracle RDBMS running well on Linux. It might even help Red Hat in the long term.

What is this, the Usenet Oracle? (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471133)

I know that Oracle has been doing a lot more than databases recently, will they go the extra mile and create their own stripped down Linux kernel? If they do, will companies switch to database solutions that are running Oracle only software for the benefits of support and (hopefully) stability?
Like all slashdotters, I can see the future in glorious, perfect technicolor, so the way this question is posed makes perfect sense.

Anyway, Oracle doesn't need their own distro, they can just ship Andrew's, or Linus's, or Marcello's branch and declare that "The One True Linux". I think people who will spend the $$$ for Oracle would definitely drink that koolaid. But why would you assume a "stripped down" kernel is in the works? If Oracle's going to brand their distro, it would be focused on their toolset, but not necessarily lacking any standard kernel features.

Will businesses switch? Magic 8-ball says, "YES", if they are already running dedicated Oracle servers, and "NO" if they are supporting other apps on the same servers.

Wow (1)

valkabo (840034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471145)

Here we are again everybody..

Another company is making some product that has no need to be created.

Woot.

Sounds like an oxymoron in the making (1)

Admin_Jason (1004461) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471147)

Oracle is to Linux as Microsoft is to Open-sourced.
Oracle is to Linux as Military is to Intelligence
Oracle is to Linux as Free Speech is to Facism
Oracle is to Linux as.....(fill in your own here)

Why do I feel like I am taking the SAT's, GRE's, etc. all over again?

This just makes no sense. Why would a company develop an operating system that is a rebranded version of one that is available for free. Also, the way I understand the GNU, wouldn't they have to release the changes they make to the kernel to the community at large? In that case, why pay for it when you can re-compile it yourself. If not, and they pay to market a proprietary version of it, you know the cost of owning a proprietary version will far outweigh the benefit of marketing it. In terms of supporting only "their" version, this could backfire as I could see some of their client base saying, "Okay, in that case, we'll take a look at some alternative solutions."

eh. (1)

ometecuhtli2001 (1014669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471193)

IF this is true, the only reason I can see Oracle doing something like this is if they integrated their database with the OS so they became one. Which probably isn't too good of an idea.

My friend used to work there (1)

chrislehr (1014663) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471217)

Expect the first revision to kind of suck.

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=6m&s=ORCL&l=on&z=m &q=l&c=RHAT [yahoo.com]

Re:My friend used to work there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471339)

Just the first one? As an Oracle DBA, I fear this venture. If only Oracle would concentrate on doing one thing good, instead of all things poorly.

Oracle? 'Stripped down'? Hah haha haha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16471307)

A DBMS product so complex it wants it's own OS. Kind of like EMACS.

Red Hat and Oracle RAC (1)

Brad Eleven (165911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471481)

I just got back from the results meeting for an Oracle RAC evaluation, done on Solaris 10, with various filesystem options. The O/S support was no big deal, but the DBAs had a really rough time of it, even with Oracle, Sun, and Veritas consultants along for the entire ride. One DBA checked out halfway through the three-month process, and the replacement couldn't go a single day without mentioning how simple RAC setup and configuration is with Red Hat. The project is on hold, pending better explanations from Oracle as to why it took so long just to test it.

Even though Oracle and Sun seem to go together--at least, in the minds of IT management--there are several documented gaps, e.g., Oracle on Solaris with NAS storage is painfully slow without tuning. Fortunately, there's a whitepaper [netapp.com] that covers this particular case pretty well. Not so for every deficiency in the Oracle/Solaris combination.

Surely Oracle/Linux has quirks of its own, but like the ubiquitous Oracle/Solaris environment, these will surface with time + a growing installed base. The firm I'm supporting is very risk-averse, e.g., many meetings must precede even the evaulation of new technology, with many more meetings (and man-hours) before the pilot. I don't see them even testing Oracle on Linux for another year.

By the same token, how many early adopters for a DBMS (even one with ludicrously huge market share) with its own O/S?

See also the Pick Operating System [wikipedia.org] .

Do you know what Oracle stands for? (4, Funny)

MrJerryNormandinSir (197432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471661)

One
Raging
Asshole
Called
Larry
Ellison

Really now... (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471745)

When Oracle says they're missing an OS, I don't see Oracle 'making' the OS. I see Oracle buying Novell, or Redhat, or maybe one of the more marginal linux distros. Who actually believes that Oracle would build an OS from 'the ground up' when they can buy the expertise from an entrenched distro...

Didn't see this mentioned (could have missed it)- (2, Interesting)

TheLoneGundam (615596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471883)

This seems like an move for Oracle to be able to offer a "database appliance": prebuild boxes with Linux and Oracle, and sell those to PHBs as "drop in" solutions. Many in management would fall for it.

Moo (2, Interesting)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16471957)

Oracle is a database. What separates them from the rest is that they do thing correctly. They fix errors even in documentation quickly, and make things works "as they should". Having been an Oracle DBA, i loved it, and i do not know of a comparable RDBMS support structure.

So, even if they made ice cream, or pocket-protector protectors, i'd have to take a look.

In Linux, i use Debian. They also try to do thing correctly, though they have their pitfalls. I'm a bit suprised Oralce didn't choose Debian, but i'd have to guess it'd be similar to it, just not so open to packages.

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