Thursday, October 26, 2006

Good or bad?

There's been a lot of postings concerning Oracle's Unbreakable Linux announcement. Is this good news or bad news for Linux? Is this good news or bad new for Redhat? No comment, I'm afraid. However, read the official response from Redhat.

Trying to be objective for a moment, I tend to agree with these sentiments and particularly with the report from CIOInsight that shows Redhat is the number one vendor for value as rated by CIO’s in 2004 and 2005. Oracle ranked 39 out of 41 (lower is worse!). Makes you wonder. In the UK (and elsewhere I suspect), anyone can sell support for Ford, Honda or Toyota cars (as examples), often undercutting the official franchises. Speaking from personal experience, you do get what you pay for though. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. It may cost a little more, but I'm happy to pay for the peace of mind a franchise gives me where my car is concerned.

I've quite a few good friends at Oracle and I definitely wouldn't consider them monkeys, but I do wonder: WTF does Oracle know about supporting RHEL?


Greg Pavlik said...

Speak of the devil and he appears... I have to disagree with your analogy. Taking off my Oracle hat and putting on my Wharton hat for a moment (you can leave your Red Hat on ;-): the reason a company of Oracle's size, with the engineering and support infrastructure it has, can provide a better service at a lower price has to do with economies of scale, plain and simple.

My own opinion: The market will sort this out over time. However, I wouldn't hang my hat, regardless of the color, on one survey. A big part of Oracle's success equation following the Peoplesoft and Siebel has been ensuring top notch support for enterprise software customers. To me, this just seems like an incredibly natural way to deepen that support and make it even better.

Mark Little said...

I meant to add this last night. Very funny.

Mark Little said...

Greg, there is already a project that ships RHEL stripped of RHAT references (CentOS). Why didn't Oracle just rebadge that? It does seem strange to target RHEL directly if altruism is the real reason ;-)

I do understand the economies of scale, but in a market where a company has no recognised leadership in the space and has little/no experience with open source in general, why does that work? Isn't a similar analogy the Infinite Monkey Theorem (If you have enough monkeys banging randomly on typewriters, they will eventually type the works of William Shakespeare.) If I set up enough un-franchised Honda car supporters, eventually I'll find one who knows what to do when the engine goes bad ;-)?

Mark Little said...

Plus there's the argument that having the people who know/developed the code is at least as important as the code itself. Taking my Redhat off for a moment and putting my Arjuna hats back on, that's a strong argument I've used successfully over the years and seen used elsewhere too for good effect.

Mark Little said...

BTW, if this is an opening shot in an acquisition attempt (c.f. PeopleSoft), it makes a lot of sense. I'd also then have the record for most acquired person in the world ;-)