Oracle has laid out a road map that places the upstart operating system Linux squarely in Oracle's future.
Oracle's Allen Miner, vice president of strategic business development, said recently the release of Oracle8 for Linux on October 7 is the start of a Linux initiative that will encompass Oracle Applications as well as Oracle8i, the new version of the database that includes a Java virtual machine in the database as a development platform for applications.
Linux has been a puzzle for many enterprise decision makers because of its open source-code model that makes it possible for anyone to modify the underlying operating system. Unsure of support and reliability, as well as a dearth of applications, Linux has yet to be taken seriously as an enterprise-class operating system, but that will all change in the next several months, according to Miner.
Miner began by refuting the idea that there is a lack of customer support for Linux, and that this results in a dissatisfied user base.
Faster and better
Support from Red Hat, S.U.S.E., and Caldera - all of whom distribute Linux - is faster and better than Oracle's own support, and he is looking to the Linux community for new ideas on how to replicate this high level of customer satisfaction. One idea being considered, he said, is providing open source code for the Oracle database and applications to their own internal support engineers so they can make fixes on the fly when customers encounter bugs.
Miner also tried to dispel what he sees as a myth that only a huge marketing effort will bring Linux to the forefront.
"The secret to Linux's success is technology plus energy, not marketing," Miner said, adding "the desire to make great technology" is what fuels the Linux community.
Total cost of ownership, however, will ultimately decide whether Linux makes it in the enterprise.
"Businesses who care about the bottom line will adopt Linux," he said.
The relative costs of Microsoft's Windows environment were far higher than Linux, Miner concluded, because Linux is more reliable, lighter weight, and has a more dedicated community of developers.