Monday, October 30, 2006

Oracle Unbreakable Linux 2.0

Everyone who's involved with Oracle in one form or another has heard about Oracle Unbreakable Linux v2.0 which basically has Oracle Corporation making a hostile overtune to Red Hat. Now, it's v2.0, so what was v1.0?

I did a search on "Unbreakable Linux" and found the following article dated June 2, 2002 (more than 4 years ago) when Larry Ellison (Oracle), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), and Matthew Szulik (Red Hat CEO) jointly announced "Unbreakable Linux" and I am assuming that this is v1.0 since I think that was the first time that "Unbreakable Linux" was used.

What was interesting was the quote by Matthew Szulik at that time, "Boy it feels awfully good to get here, I guess you could call this an 'Unbreakable' partnership." Boy, I would say that's putting your foot in your mouth or famous last words given "Unbreakable Linux v2.0".

What would be challenging is how Oracle is going to syncronize the new RH releases with what they already got since what Oracle has is no longer RH. If you check the current Linux downloads at Oracle's website, you will see the installation has no traces of RH logos (after all, they won't be able to do so without RH filing suit) so in all practicality, Oracle is offering their own Linux distros. If Oracle releases a patch to RH AS 3 or AS 4 but that patch never made it to the formal channels of Linux mainline coders, then what would that make the patched RH install? Definitely not RH anymore nor it be Open Source since the patch is not part of the Open Source Linux code base.

How about if I switch over to Oracle support and am running RH AS 4 and after patching, I'm no longer RH AS4 (let call it OUL AS4a) and RH releases AS4.5 without the patch, how do I get my install to syncronize with RH AS4.5? Probably not until Oracle can extract the AS4.5 bits and supply a patch update to bring my install to OUL AS4.5a assuming that nothing else will break.

All in all, very interesting and I think Oracle chose RH because that's the market leader and doing their own Linux distros is an uphill battle as they would have to convince existing RH customers to switch which is likely to succeed when pigs can fly. This way, they can probably and quickly grab a share of the Linux market riding on RH coat tails.

Only time will tell whether "Unbreakable Linux v2.0" is successful and what "Unbreakable Linux v3.0" would look like. To quote "May we live in interesting time" and I think we are and who knows, a decade from now, we would look back and marvel at the audacity of Larry Ellison much like when Oracle came on the market back in the late 70's.