Practical Technology

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There is no Oracle Linux


Repeat after me: “There is no Oracle Linux.” I don’t care how many times you hear stock analysts say that Oracle is about to launch its own Linux. It’s just not going to happen.

The latest example of wishful thinking comes from Jefferies & Co. analyst Katherine Egbert, who wrote on October 13, “Our independent checks in the past two weeks indicate that Oracle seems to be close to introducing its own software ‘stack.'”

Jefferies, an investment bank, then cut its price target on Red Hat from $24 to $21. Red Hat’s stock price then fell more than 7 percent that day. Since then it’s been continuing to fall.

This is, by my count, the third time that the “Oracle is going to come out with its own Linux” rumor has surfaced. And, of course, there have been variations on the theme, such as: Oracle is going to buy Red Hat, Novell, or Ubuntu.

I’ve had enough of this nonsense. Oracle isn’t going to buy a Linux company to make its own distribution, and the company isn’t going to make its very own Linux.

Here are my latest reasons why this is science-fiction.

First, while some people in the financial markets loooove this rumor, I still haven’t heard a peep about it in the Linux world.

Now, I don’t hear everything about what happens in Linux, but I do hear a lot. So, if there’s some deal in the making, it’s being amazingly quiet.

Larry Ellison may be a spendthrift when it comes to big boats and big planes and smashing his enemies — PeopleSoft, for example — but I can’t see him wasting his money on buying out Novell or Red Hat.

What would he get for his billions? A business he has no real interest in being in.

He wants a complete stack? Fine, he tells his engineers to get together with Red Hat’s engineers and they make it happen. The Linux companies want to make Ellison happy, and from what I can tell they do a pretty good job of it.

As for Oracle buying Ubuntu, or more properly Canonical, I think I’ll see flying cars on sale at my local Chevy showroom before I see Mark Shuttleworth agreeing to sell Canonical to Ellison. These two people are barely in the same book, never mind being on the same page.

Of course, if Oracle wants to do its own Linux, it can always hire a few people and roll its own.

Heck, I could do it. And, I’d do it for, say, a million bucks, rather than anywhere from ten-million to a couple of billion.

Someone without anything like my experience in Linux or database management could do it with rPath.

Oracle, which has long used Linux internally, could easily do it itself. For that matter — pay attention now — if Oracle had really wanted to make its own Linux, it could have done so years ago.

This isn’t rocket science, its open-source computer science. If I can do it — and I really could — there must be hundreds, if not thousands of people already on Oracle’s payroll who could create Oracle Linux.

The fact that Oracle hasn’t done this, that Oracle is a database and applications company, and not an operating system business, tells me that the chances that Ellison is going to announce Oracle Linux next week at Oracle OpenWorld are somewhere between slim and none.

A version of this story first appeared in Linux-Watch.

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