Engels Antonio: Unfakeable Linux?

This is going to be a long one.

Oracle recently announced that “it would provide the same enterprise class support for Linux as it provides for its database, middleware and applications products. Oracle starts with Red Hat Linux, removes Red Hat trademarks, and then adds Linux bug fixes.”

Oracle Announces The Same Enterprise Class Support For Linux As For Its Database
Dell, Intel, HP, IBM, Accenture, AMD, BP, EMC, BMC, and NetApp Join Unbreakable Linux Program

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., 25-OCT-2006 01:03 PM Today Oracle announced that it would provide the same enterprise class support for Linux as it provides for its database, middleware and applications products. Oracle starts with Red Hat Linux, removes Red Hat trademarks, and then adds Linux bug fixes.

Currently, Red Hat only provides bug fixes for the latest version of its software. This often requires customers to upgrade to a new version of Linux software to get a bug fixed. Oracle’s new Unbreakable Linux program will provide bug fixes to future, current, and back releases of Linux. In other words, Oracle will provide the same level of enterprise support for Linux as is available for other operating systems.

Oracle is offering its Unbreakable Linux program for substantially less than Red Hat currently charges for its best support. “We believe that better support and lower support prices will speed the adoption of Linux, and we are working closely with our partners to make that happen,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “Intel is a development partner. Dell and HP are resellers and support partners. Many others are signed up to help us move Linux up to mission critical status in the data center.”

“Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux program is available to all Linux users for as low as $99 per system per year,” said Oracle President Charles Phillips. “You do not have to be a user of Oracle software to qualify. This is all about broadening the success of Linux. To get Oracle support for Red Hat Linux all you have to do is point your Red Hat server to the Oracle network. The switch takes less than a minute.”

“We think it’s important not to fragment the market,” said Oracle’s Chief Corporate Architect Edward Screven. “We will maintain compatibility with Red Hat Linux. Every time Red Hat distributes a new version we will resynchronize with their code. All we add are bug fixes, which are immediately available to Red Hat and the rest of the community. We have years of Linux engineering experience. Several Oracle employees are Linux mainline maintainers.”

“As a customer with first hand experience of Oracle’s outstanding support organization, Dell will use Oracle to support Linux operating systems internally,” said Michael Dell, Chairman of the Board, Dell. “Oracle’s new Linux support program will help us drive standards deeper into the enterprise. Today we’re announcing that Dell customers can choose Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux program to support Linux environments running on Dell PowerEdge servers.”

“Having worked with Oracle for many years in the enterprise computing space, we believe that the Oracle Unbreakable Linux program will bring tremendous value to our mutual Linux customers,” said Paul Otellini, President and CEO, Intel Corporation. “Our work with Oracle on this program will be an important extension to our longstanding enterprise computing relationship.”

“HP and Oracle’s collaboration and testing of Linux with integrated stacks of hardware, software, storage, and networking has helped create numerous best practices across the industry. HP welcomes the addition of Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux program to the portfolio,” said Mark Hurd, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, HP.

“Oracle’s support for Red Hat Linux will encourage broader adoption of Linux in the enterprise,” said Bill Zeitler, Senior Vice President & Group Executive, IBM Systems and Technology Group. “IBM shares Oracle’s goal of making Linux a reliable, highly standard, cost effective platform for mission critical applications backed by world class support.”

“Linux is important to us, and to our customers,” said Don Rippert, Chief Technology Officer, Accenture. “We applaud Oracle’s efforts to bring enterprise-quality support to Linux with the Oracle Unbreakable Linux program announcement. Together with Oracle, we at Accenture look forward to making the Linux experience even better for our customers.”

“Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux program will greatly expand the servicing options available to our AMD Linux customers,” said Hector Ruiz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Micro Devices. “We are excited by the program’s potential to further enhance the success of AMD Linux servers in the enterprise.”

Bearing Point
“It is critical that our customers have true enterprise-quality support for their Linux deployments. Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux program support delivers the level of confidence our customers need to run Linux in their data centers,” said Harry You, CEO, Bearing Point.

“The combined power of EMC and Oracle solutions bring superior reliability, scalability, high availability, and now, enhanced enterprise supportability to Linux users. We are confident that joint Linux solutions from EMC and Oracle will deliver enterprise scale and quality while lowering the cost of infrastructure for our customers,” said Joe Tucci, Chairman, CEO, President, EMC.

“As Oracle’s only systems management ISV at the highest level in Oracle’s Partner Program, BMC Software is excited to see Oracle’s deepening commitment to Linux,” said Bob Beauchamp, BMC Software President and CEO. “Business Service Management from BMC Software with the Oracle Unbreakable Linux program meets customer demand for lower cost and higher quality support for their infrastructure.”

“The world’s largest enterprises must have the flexibility to quickly and continually adapt to today’s rapidly changing business requirements, without incurring risk,” said Dan Warmenhoven, CEO of Network Appliance. “The Oracle Unbreakable Linux program is designed to drive the key benefits of Linux – including flexibility, reliability, and simplicity – directly into the data center. The longstanding relationship between NetApp and Oracle has enabled us to continuously deliver superior enterprise solutions to enable business agility and improve reliability – all tenets of the NetApp brand.”

Oracle Support
Oracle’s breadth and depth of technical expertise, advanced support technologies, and global reach includes 7,000 support staff in 17 global support centers, providing help to our customers in 27 languages, in any time zone. Oracle has recently been awarded the J.D. Power and Associates Global Technology Service and Support Certification for “an outstanding customer service experience.”

“With the scale of our support organization we can provide much better Linux support at a much lower price,” said Executive Vice President of Oracle Customer Services Juergen Rottler. “We have the expertise and infrastructure to improve substantially the quality of support for enterprise Linux customers.”

Enterprise Linux binaries will be available for free from Oracle. Enterprise Linux Network Support will be offered for $99.00 per system / per year. Enterprise Linux Basic support, which offers Network access plus 24×7 global coverage will be offered for $399 for a 2 CPU system per year and $999 for a system with unlimited CPU’s. Enterprise Linux Premier Support, which offers Basic support plus back port of fixes to earlier releases as well as Oracle Lifetime Support will be offered for $1,199 for a 2 CPU system per year and $1,999 for a system with unlimited CPU’s.

Oracle and Linux
Oracle has been a long-standing, key contributor to the Linux community. Oracle produced its first commercial Linux database in 1998. Since that time Oracle has worked steadily to improve the experience of all Linux users. Oracle’s Linux Engineering team is a trusted part of the Linux community, and has made major code contributions such as Oracle Cluster File System that is now part of Linux kernel 2.6.16. Oracle has been and will continue contributing Linux related innovations, modifications, documentation and fixes directly to the Linux community on a timely basis.

Now here’s Red Hat’s “interesting” response:

Red Hat Responds

The opportunity for Linux just got bigger. Oracle’s support for Linux reaffirms Red Hat’s technical industry leadership and the end of proprietary Unix. It’s no accident that Red Hat was chosen #1 in value two years running. Want to know what else we think? Read on.

Red Hat & Oracle Partnership

Q: Does Oracle’s recent announcement change Red Hat’s partnership with Oracle?

A: No. Red Hat has had a productive 7-year relationship with Oracle. Red Hat will continue to work closely with Oracle to optimize Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware subscriptions for Oracle products, and to support joint customers.

Red Hat & JBoss Subscriptions

Q: Does Oracle’s announcement include support for the Red Hat Application Stack, JBoss, Hibernate, Red Hat GFS, Red Hat Cluster Suite, and Red Hat Directory Server?

A: No. Oracle does not support any of these leading open source products.

Hardware Compatibility

Q: Oracle says their Linux support includes the same hardware compatibility and certifications as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Is this true?

A: No. Oracle has stated they will make changes to the code independently of Red Hat. As a result these changes will not be tested during Red Hat’s hardware testing and certification process, and may cause unexpected behavior. Hence Red Hat hardware certifications are invalidated.

Software Compatibility

Q: Oracle says their Linux support includes the same software compatibility and ISV certifications of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Is this true?

A: No. Oracle has stated they will make changes to the code independently of Red Hat. These changes will not be tested during Red Hat’s software testing and certification process, and may cause unexpected behavior. Hence Red Hat software certifications are invalidated.

Binary Compatibility

Q: Will Oracle’s Linux support be binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux so that my applications continue to work?

A: There is no way to guarantee that changes made by Oracle will maintain API (Application Programming Interface) or ABI (Application Binary Interface) compatibility; there may be material differences in the code that will result in application failures. Compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux can only be verified by Red Hat’s internal test suite.

Source Code Compatibility

Q: Will Oracle’s product result in a “fork” of the operating system?

A: Yes. The changes Oracle has stated they will make will result in a different code base than Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Simply put, this derivative will not be Red Hat Enterprise Linux and customers will not have the assurance of compatibility with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux hardware and application ecosystem.


Q: What do Customers need to give in order to get Oracle’s indemnification?

A: Customers are required to provide Oracle with IP indemnification without financial limitation for any software or materials provided to Oracle (e.g. patch or enhancement). Unlike Oracle, a Customer’s liability is not capped at the value of the software or materials it provides to Oracle.

Q: Are backports covered by Oracle’s indemnification?

A: Only if Oracle has not released a later non-infringing version of the code. Red Hat’s Open Source Assurance covers all released versions and updates.

Q: What protection does Red Hat provide?

A: Under Red Hat’s Open Source Assurance Program, if the Red Hat Software is found to infringe, Red Hat will (a) obtain the rights necessary for Customer to continue to use the Software; (b) modify the Software so that it is non-infringing; or (c) replace the infringing portion of the Software with non-infringing. And it also provides for indemnification.

Q: So in the end, is Oracle’s indemnification revolutionary? Does it provide greater value?

A: No. With its Open Source Assurance Policy, Red Hat focuses on the Customer’s business continuity in the face of an infringement claim. With Oracle’s indemnity program, you only get an indemnity so long as you give Oracle an unlimited one in return.


Q: Oracle says they will provide the same updates as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Can they do this?

A: There are multiple requirements to building binary compatible software. One piece is the source code; another is the build and test environment. While Oracle may be able to take the source code at some point after a Red Hat update release, obviously their build and test environment will be inherently different than that of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. For similar reasons, there is no guarantee that the source code for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux update will work correctly when integrated into Oracle’s modified Linux code base.

Support & Maintenance Lifecycle

Q: In order to get support and maintenance for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, do you need to upgrade to the most recent version?

A: No. Red Hat subscribers enjoy support and updates for all versions for up to 7 years. Throughout that time, Red Hat provides regular maintenance releases as part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription. This is supplemented through our support services by a ‘hot-fix’ process that provides critical bug fixes on a customer-specific basis. Oracle “reserves the right to desupport certain Enterprise Linux program releases” as part of their Oracle Enterprise Linux support policies.

Support Level Flexibility

Q: Does Red Hat allow you to tailor your support level to your workload?

A: Yes. Many customers match their Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription level to their application SLA requirements. For example, customers may choose a Basic subscription for non-mission critical file and print servers, while selecting Premium subscriptions for database servers. Oracle does not allow this flexibility – their support policy reads: “If acquiring Enterprise Linux Premier Support, all of your Oracle supported systems must be supported with Enterprise Linux Premier Support.”

Q: Can Oracle produce timely security updates to Red Hat Enterprise Linux as they stated?

A: No. There will be a delay between the time a Red Hat Enterprise Linux update is issued and the time the source code makes its way to Oracle. There is no guarantee that the source code for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux update will work correctly when integrated into Oracle’s Linux code base; this integration and test will take additional time. In the case where the update corrects critical security flaws, Oracle customers may be exposed to additional risk.

Linux Assurance

Q: Red Hat Enterprise Linux has government security certifications including Common Criteria Evaluated Assurance Level (EAL) 4+/Controlled Access Protection Profile (CAPP). Will Oracle’s version of Linux inherit these certifications?

A: No. Common Criteria evaluations are conducted on a specific configuration of software and hardware. Any changes to the software such as those Oracle has announced will invalidate certification.

Customer Collaboration

Q: Will Oracle’s Linux customers have the same degree of influence over Oracle’s Linux as Red Hat’s customers do with Red Hat Enterprise Linux?

A: The support we provide for Red Hat Enterprise Linux starts when Red Hat and its customers collaborate in the design of new versions. This collaboration extends through the development, testing, and production deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Vendors of a derivative distribution are simply not positioned to provide their customers the same collaboration opportunity.
Support Partners

Q: Hardware vendors such as Dell, HP, and IBM provide support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. How is Oracle’s support offering different?

A: Red Hat’s hardware partners provide front line support to customers, backed by Red Hat. Red Hat has a close contractual relationship with these partners, which requires training, well defined escalation paths, Red Hat back-line support, and cooperative customer issue management. Our joint customers enjoy the same degree of collaborative participation as any Red Hat customer.

Source From: fedoraplanet.org.
Original article title: Engels Antonio: Unfakeable Linux?.
This full article can be read at: Engels Antonio: Unfakeable Linux?.


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