Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Oracle Boss Says OSS Needs Big Business 157

Posted by Zonk
from the unhealthy-releationship dept.
Rob writes "Oracle Corp's CEO, Larry Ellison, has maintained that open source projects are only successful when major technology corporations get involved and doubted that open source will have a major impact on the software areas in which the company operates. Speaking at Oracle OpenWorld Tokyo Ellison also confirmed that the company had inquired about acquiring open source database vendor MySQL AB and denied that Oracle's recent open source acquisitions were designed to harm its rival."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Oracle Boss Says OSS Needs Big Business

Comments Filter:
  • "Mission critical" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tcopeland (32225) * <{moc.dnalepoceelsamoht} {ta} {mot}> on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:17AM (#14842211) Homepage
    From the article:
    There are huge gaps in open source, it will be a long time before open source becomes popular for what we call mission critical database applications.
    I think "mission critical" is supposed to evoke Walmart-sized behemoths, or perhaps the stock market. But isn't "mission critical" just anything that a particular business can't live without? Because indi [getindi.com] is running on lots of open source [blogs.com], and it's pretty "mission critical" for our small company...
    • Damn right! My 30-person company considers the mysql databases that power its product to be mission critical. Without them we wouldn't have a product, and without a product we wouldn't have a business. Doesn't get any more mission critical than that.
      • by hey! (33014) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:40AM (#14842327) Homepage Journal
        On the other hand, a single mega corp like GM, dying from the head downward though it may be, probably represents a market of roughly equal magnitude to all the 30- person businesses in the country.

        Of course, the very idea that Open Source "needs" big companies like Oracle is absurd by definition. Open Source needs programmers. Period. By extension, those programmers of course need to be paid in coin of one nature or another, and of course have to feed themselves. But this doesn't necessarily imply an Oracle or IBM jumping on the bandwagon. If linux were to shrivel away as a server operating system, and be kept alive by hobbyists, the genes are still there, in source form.

        However, what Ellison's saying has some truth within the context of his perspective. In that perspective, 30- person companies are little better than ants. Open Source "needs" big companies to accrete the features and services that huge companies demand. You can debate dictionary definitions, but in usage, "enterprise" is understood as "big enterprise" by people who use the term. "Mission Critical" means critical to flow of substantial revenues. The rougly 5-10 million dollar annual revenue of the kind of company you're talking about doesn't qualify as "substantial" in these terms: it's not much larger than a typical CEO annual bonus; some CEOs get more.
        • Open Source needs programmers. Period.

          The best products represent a collaboration between programmers, designers, artists, usability experts, documentors, and experts in the target market. Open Source needs a lot more than programmers to acheive that.

          i.e. Open Source needs talented people of all walks. Period.
          • Sure. All I'm saying is that "needs" depends on who you are talking about doing the needing.
          • The best products represent a collaboration between programmers, designers, artists, usability experts, documenters, and experts in the target market. Open Source needs a lot more than programmers to achieve that.

            So it's not "The Best Product". Most open source starts as programmers doing something for themselves. They are the producer and customer of the software.

            It's funny how non-programmers say that open source is/isn't successful by examining it's marketing. Marketing is irrelevant, as is usage. Pe
        • On the other hand, a single mega corp like GM, dying from the head downward though it may be, probably represents a market of roughly equal magnitude to all the 30- person businesses in the country.

          True, but in this day in age it's also important to keep in mind where the next GM-sized companies are likely to come from. Startups are a lot more likely to use FOSS tools like linux, mysql, etc. to get their ideas off the ground than they are to spend many thousands of dollars up front on licenses from Oracle,
        • On the other hand, a single mega corp like GM, dying from the head downward though it may be, probably represents a market of roughly equal magnitude to all the 30- person businesses in the country.

          What's the statistic, 60% of the GDP comes from small businesses? The strength of the American economy is in small companies with less than 20 employees. Oracle can't make much money off these guys though because they don't *need* the massive scalablility (or pricetag) of Oracle. Small companies just aren't Oracl
          • The SBA uses different measures for different business foci. In farming, you must have less than 0.5 million annual revenues. However, typical dollar figures for SBA criteria as small are in the 5-25 million annual revenue range: e.g., if you are construction contractor, you're "small" if you make less than $17 million per year. That probably implies probably several hundred employees.

            For manufacturing, generally the number of employees are used. "Small" in manufacturing is in no case less than 500 emp
        • by MECC (8478)
          On the other hand, a single mega corp like GM, dying from the head downward though it may be, probably represents a market of roughly equal magnitude to all the 30- person businesses in the country.

          Ellison is a hammer looking for nails. As for the above quoted statement, here are some facts:

          From www.sba.gov [sba.gov] (some headings clipped for brevity; link point to PDF file with full text):

          The Office of Advocacy defines a small business for research purposes as an independent business having fewer than 500

          • See my other post. "Small" is a category that includes firms that are 50x larger than the parent poster was talking about.
            • Even if GM does account for more market (I'm assuming you either meant revenues or employees or both) than all 30 person firms in the country combined (a statement that really merits either a reference or research or both), using size alone just doesn't reveal much about how mission critical an application is. To any business that depends on an application, that application is mission critical. Relegating some application to irrelevancy because of some assertion that its 'market' is too small reflects a l
    • Totally agree.

      Many smaller companies and online traders consider OSS like Apache, PHP, MySQL and so on to be 'mission critical' in every sense of the word.

      Of course, Larry E. probably can't get his mind down to that level: "Oh! You mean the little people?"
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Even if it did mean behemoths, it's still wrong. The .org TLD runs on PostgreSQL [slashdot.org], for example. Incidentally, it used to run on Oracle, and they switched to PostgreSQL - perhaps that explains why the FUD about open-source databases is flowing thick and fast from Oracle.

    • But isn't "mission critical" just anything that a particular business can't live without?

      basically, no.

      the term is so horribly over-used and misused that it's impossible to draw anything resembling a reliable definition from usage, but take a look at the comparative impact of systems or components. i used to work for a financial services company that provided systems and services to stock trading companies. at the time, this company cleared over half of all trades on the NASDAQ, and small portion of NYSE t

      • I think that you're confusing scale with definition in this case.

        Mission critical just means "something which is critical to the success of the mission." For a business, that can mean e-mail, billing and invoicing, banking services, procurement/logistics, telephony, or any one of hundreds of types of applications without which the organization simply cannot function. These vary from organization to organization - a mom and pop florist whose web site goes down for a couple of days is unlikely to suffer any l
    • When Larry Ellison say "mission critical", naturally he means "customer installations large enough that Oracle's revenues would be notably reduced if they migrated to an open-source alternative"...
    • Larry Ellison...denied that Oracle's recent open source acquisitions were designed to harm its rival.
      Phew, I feel safer already. I'm certainly relieved that the CEO did not admit to his company having anticompetitive motives.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:21AM (#14842229) Homepage Journal
    the CEO of General Mills has declared that breakfast is only successful when big business gets involved, the Maverick playing cards company has concluded that games of chance are only successful when big business gets involved, and the Louisville Slugger company have announced that bludgeoning people with baseball bats is only a success when big business gets involved.
    • Louisville Slugger company have announced that bludgeoning people with baseball bats is only a success when big business gets involved.

      I hope they consider Joe Pesci "big business."

    • "I am Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, Inc. I get paid a huge salary that is many times that of the average employee here, have major perks that most people will only dream of, and I am completely full of myself. I'd have a mirror here in my office so that I could admire my one true love, I haven't been able to find one big enough."

      He's obviously forgotten where/how Linux originated.
    • The thing that strikes me is that Sun Microsystems now offers 24x7 PostgreSQL support, and Fujitsu has been sponsoring PostgreSQL development. Are those companies big enough? Fujitsu is way bigger than Oracle.
  • Gaim? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hotspotbloc (767418) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:22AM (#14842233) Homepage Journal
    IFAIK Gaim doesn't have a corporate sponsor but is an extremely successful OSS project. Corporate sponsorship is a great thing but not a requirement for a great project.
    • Re:Gaim? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bradmont (513167)
      And how about Debian?
      • Where would Debian be without IBM (and other companies) supporting Linux kernel development?
        • If we're going to go down that route, where would GAIM be without MSN,ICQ/AIM, and all the other important chat networks. Probably sitting on the outside of obscurity with Jabber.
          • where would GAIM be without MSN,ICQ/AIM, and all the other important chat networks

            Err, if MSN, AIM and others didn't exist, don't you think Gaim would sort of lose its purpose?

            Besides, you're totally missing my point here. What I'm trying to say is (and what Larry Ellison also seems to be trying to say is), there's no such thing as a free lunch. Even Open Source projects cost something. And while it is possible to support smaller projects (like Gaim or Debian) by means of donations only, it's hardly poss

            • You think Debian is small?

              You think IBM made big kernel contributions when it mattered?

              The Linux kernel started from individuals it probably would never have happened the way it did without AT&T, but I don't think there was any big corporate contributions till it became big on merit. Sure people started companies from Linux, and free software, I think that was probably as common as big corporate sponsorship.

              I don't want to knock IBMs contributions, but I think they came quite late to the table, okay the
        • Re:Gaim? (Score:5, Funny)

          by dylan_- (1661) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:51AM (#14842771) Homepage
          Where would Debian be without IBM (and other companies) supporting Linux kernel development?
          Exactly the same place. IBM's contributions haven't made it into Debian yet...

          (Joke! I'm joking!)
    • You could argue that Google sponsors Gaim because they employ one of the developers to help with Google Talk I think. I would assume that some of the work on Google Talk would Trickle down into Gaim, especially with the voice/video support that is on it's way (into Gaim).
    • Re:Gaim? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ciroknight (601098)
      Gaim is not really a good example because its namesake and main functionality (gAIM), piggybacks on the AOL Instant Messanger server network. I do agree that Jabber functionality embedded in Gaim could be a good example, however, for the majority of users using Gaim, Jabber isn't a priority.

      A better example could be Apache and the Apache Foundation (but they get a lot of money from people), and the absolute best example I can think of are Seamonkey and Firefox from Mozilla. None of these products are dir
  • by bj8rn (583532)
    In the blurb, it reads: ...and denied that Oracle's recent open source acquisitions were designed to harm its rival, whereas the link (also in the Related Links bar) to the article itself reads Oracle's recent open source acquisitions were designed to harm its rival. Nice editorializing, mate.
  • by epiphani (254981) <epiphaniNO@SPAMdal.net> on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:24AM (#14842248)
    open source projects are only successful when major technology corporations get involved

    Show me the big buisness involvement with qmail. sendmail? how about bind? Does ISC count as a "major technology corporation" now?

    I suppose you could also require a definition of successful. Buisness definition of success is money. My definition of success is how many people use it. IRC. Big buisness has generally steered right clear of it. Probably about a million people using it. Is IRC successful? Cause thats one of my open source projects.

    What about RFC791. That could be seen as "open source". BSD's socket layer? Definitely open source. Definitely successful, Microsoft used it. I wouldnt say any big buisness made it successful. I would say it was successful beforehand, and big buisness used that success to further its own goals.
  • Ellison also cast doubt on the potential for open source software to pose a radical threat to the proprietary software market. "I don't think open source will replace traditional software. I think open source will in some areas replace traditional software," he said.

    I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat...
  • by tpgp (48001) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:25AM (#14842257) Homepage
    After all, he is never wrong [vnunet.com] ;-)

    Seriously however - story summary is "Big business says others need big business." Not really surprising is it.

    Lastly, he doesn't even get cause & effect right:
    "Open source becomes successful when major industrial corporations invest heavily in that open source product,"
    Should read:
    "Major industrial corporations invest heavily in Open source when that open source product becomes successful"
    Larry - stick to what you're good at - Amusing Bill Gates quotes [thinkexist.com]
  • nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cederic (9623) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:29AM (#14842270) Journal

    I think Larry's pushing an agenda here. Linux and Apache were both tremendously successful long before the big corporations got involved. They got involved _because_ the Open Source products were successful.

    If MySql hadn't established a market niche that's now threatening Oracle, would Larry have looked at buying it? How did he make it successful?

    What about standard staples of Java development such as Ant, JUnit, even things like Struts? Sure, most corporations use them. But they're successful because they're written well, they add great value, they're available, and they were all of those things without IBM or Oracle or Microsoft buying them, promoting them, offering to support them, etc.

    I think Larry's wrong. Surprisingly often people do just sit at home and write world-class software, and sometimes that does become successful. Open Source definitely doesn't need corporate sponsorship; the two can go together very nicely.
    • I think Larry's pushing an agenda here. Linux and Apache were both tremendously successful long before the big corporations got involved. They got involved _because_ the Open Source products were successful.

      If MySql hadn't established a market niche that's now threatening Oracle, would Larry have looked at buying it? How did he make it successful?


      Let's keep things in perspective here, MySql is a nice product but in terms of features, stability etc. it is a toy compared to Oracle Database. People rant on end
  • The article says Oracle [oracle.com.] compares its US$15G/yr revenue to MySQL [mysql.com.]'s US$30M/yr. But as Paul Graham [paulgraham.com.] says, it is OK to shrink a US$30G/yr industry to US$30M/yr, if your absolute share of the new US$30M is bigger than the one on US$30G was. Or in other words, MySQL will laugh to the bank on growing from US$30M, while Oracle will strive to keep their US$15G.

    Also, IBM [ibm.com.], Oracle and Intel [intel.com.] did not make Linux [linux.com.]. Richard Stallman [stallman.org.] created GNU [gnu.org.], Linus used GNU and complemented it with Linux, and now IBM, Oracle and Intel h
  • I used to work at an internet advertising company. We would track ads and keep a database of what was setup and clicked on,etc. We supported several databases including MySql, Oracle, and SqlServer. We defaulted to MySql unless the customer had a database installed already they wanted to use. The only reason we moved to Oracle was when folks hit a 2 GB limit on a table (and file) size that MySql on 32-bit X86 linux had back then (not sure if it does now). Things got soooo much slower. Scripts that wer
    • And Solaris can be slower than Linux. Here's why: lack of data safeguards. Remember LiveJournal's big outage after a power spike trashed their DB? Do you like the fact that Linux enables controller-side caching by default, never mind that a power hit while your data is in that cache means bye-bye data? These are examples where speed is gained at the cost of reliability.

      If we're talking about mission critical applications, whether you're a 30 person company or GE, you have to have data reliability. Can

      • re: Controller side caching
        If a system takes a power hit, your data could get lost in several places.
        Computer RAM: This can especially occur if you are going throug a file system and get stuck in the file system cache.
        Hardware RAID Cache: This can be in the FC/SCSI/SAS/SATA controller although from my experience the big systems put the RAID in with the storage. See the big beasts from EMC, NetApp, etc.
        Disk Cache: Each hard disk has its own write cache

        So on a massive power failure, you need UPS accross the
        • If Linux is so bad why does Oracle support it and event advertise for it?

          I don't recall saying that anything was "so bad". And I doubt that oracle's recommended configuration includes the disk side cache turned on.

          If Oracle is running on linux or solaris on the same hardware, there isn't really much difference in integrity.

          If it's in the same configuration (i.e. cache on vs cache off), you're right. My point was that by default Linux turns it on. By default Solaris turns it off. By default, Solaris

  • Ignorant comments (Score:4, Informative)

    by porkThreeWays (895269) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:32AM (#14842288)
    "Red Hat didn't make Linux: IBM made Linux, Intel made Linux, Oracle made Linux," according to Ellison.

    "We have many more developers on Linux than Red Hat," he added, pointing out that the Redwood Shores, California-based company Oracle Cluster File System to enable Linux to scale across enterprise clusters


    Man, those are some ignorant ass comments. Oracle is a much bigger company than red hat. It's more interesting to see the percentage of their developers focused on open source. I can pretty much guarantee it's red hat. Red hat needs open source to survive. It's the basis of their whole business model.

    Second of all, those three companies did NOT make Linux. IBM has been a very good general purpose contributor, and to a lesser extent Intel. However, Oracle is NOT in that bunch. Oracle's contributions are minor compared to the other two and can be mostly traced back to enhancements that directly benefit their commercial products. Not saying their contributions aren't appreciated, but they are by no means the same league as Intel and IBM. And really, he just spouted out a couple of his butt buddies. There are a lot of small companies that make a particular product based on linux (such as backup solutions) that make extremely important contributions. The only surviving iSCSI implementation on Linux came from a small company making a linux based backup solution. Intel in fact contributed iSCSI code that is now largely depreciated. Open source does need a commercial counterpart, however it's not the 500 pound gorillas that make open source unique. It's the small companies that need it to survive. I can't say the same or Oracle.
    • Not to mention that he dismisses Red Hat in favor of Oracle. I don't use RH, but if you look in the kernel, they've got a TON of stuff they've done. I highly respect them for that.
  • So Larry hasn't heard of Apache or Samba then...

    I think that pleny of people would consider these somewhat successful projects mission critical.

    I also don't recall any big companies helping them but I can think of one trying to kill them...
  • I mean, even aside from saying +5 Funny things all the time, he constantly bashes Gates.

    Larry, we need on on Slashdot. You'd love it. Jump on in -- the water's fine.

    "There's this idea that because it's open source people who work in Radio Shack develop the software for free, it's just not true."

    Although I didn't know that he didn't like Radio Shack. I like Radio Shack. Hmm. Maybe it just wouldn't work out.
  • who leads who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Virtex (2914) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:34AM (#14842298) Homepage
    Larry Ellison, has maintained that open source projects are only successful when major technology corporations get involved

    That's funny. It seems to me that major technology corporations usually get involved in open source projects only after they become successful.
    • You like how it works? If your program didn't take the whole world by storm, Big Business laughs at you and says you're "nothing but a basement hippy hacker". If your program *did* take the world by storm, Big Business pounces on it and says "it was our idea the whole time!"
  • In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Flying pig (925874) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:35AM (#14842302)
    William the Bastard of Normandy says "Democracy will never work. Cooperating groups of smallholders never get anywhere until large feudal landlords take over."

    Capitalism: the replacement of elected government by government by unelected multinational corporations in the name of freedom.

  • The reason big business is significant to open source software is that it can bring additional resources to a project. More hands and eyes produce more results. It's as simple as that. It doesn't matter where those resources come from.
  • I see a lot of changes in the licenses of these projects to help them adjust to the new found home. I see a lot of the code being taken at the pre-oracle assimilation point and splitting off into new code under the old licenses when possible, and total replacements being coded when it is not. Or maybe I am just paranoid, I certainly cannot read the future, but I don't believe it was all done just to help support open source. I am hoping they bought them just so they would not have to adhere to the licens
  • If this guy is right (and I'm not suggesting he is or is not), OSS may have a bumpy road ahead. The OSS community on balance is at best vaguely unreceptive to "big business," and on a typical day around here, openly hateful and hostile against it. I don't see "big business" feeling especially compelled to embrace the pseudosocialists that populate OSS communities. We, on balance, hate everything that has to do with successful private enterprise, especially when those enterprises feel threatened and begin
    • by Tony (765) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:43AM (#14842710) Journal
      We hate it, sometimes with good cause, just as often with no cause but social inertia.

      Generally, the dislike of big business is not due to "pseudo-socialism," but for the other factors you mention: the abuse that accompanies "success." We hate oil because they gouge the customer, hire thugs to shoot up villages in Africa, and abuse their position as gatekeepers to the world's energy.

      We hate Wal*Mart because their full-time workers don't make enough at their full-time job to live off, even if they shop at Wal*Mart. We hate Microsoft because they used their dominant market position to shut out competitors in the late 80s, early 90s, and are generally the Budwieser of software. We hate big pharmaceuticals because they research impotence cures, and not things like AIDS cures (they leave that to the universities, but they'll be the first to patent any real results).

      In every case, the company is using their superior position (usually government-protected monopoly; or in the case of Microsoft, a "natural" monopoly the abuse of which the government ignores) to destroy perceived competition, rather than competing on their merits. They do anything to maximize profit; and that generally means screwing the citizens of the world (often not even their customers).

      The easiest definition of "evil" is fucking over someone for your own gain. Big companies often do that as a first recourse, rather than a last resort. Enron's manipulation of the energy market cost California billions of dollars. Enron is a shining example of corporate success, if only they didn't get caught. Hell, even getting caught hardly did anything. The people most responsible are still walking free, enjoying their riches.

      As long as corporations can fuck over people for their own good, there is no free market. It's not like a candy store; we can't just open up next door and compete with Exxon. The market is regulated more by big business than by big government, to the point where government is in the pocket of big business.

      I can think of no giant international business that didn't get where it is by intentionally fucking over lots and lots of people. I'm sure there are some. I certainly don't despise all big business; just the ones I know are evil.

      Thanks for letting me rant.
  • I propose a test, to see if Ellison is correct:

    Big business can stop sponsoring and writing open source code, and then we'll see if it goes away before they do.

    It won't. Big business needs OSS to reduce costs far more than OSS needs them.

    This little speech is all part of a coordinated corporate assault on MySQL, with the intended audience being PHBs, not IT staff.
    • ...or you can look iat it another way. Big business can stop using open source code. All large corporations running Linux suddenly stop.

      Development would slow for Linux and any other open source project is it was not allowed to be used in big business.

      I see it more as a combination of the two. Large corporations deal with folks like IBM and Oracle. When their consultants go in, if they are able to push OSS then OSS will be touted as more and more of a success story while IBM and Oracle sit back and re
  • Apple's use of KHTML, for example, hasn't done much at all to boost the popularity of that framework. I guess it depends on how many ways the technology can be used. Unless you're building something that renders web pages, KHTML isn't very useful to you, and there may be a more compelling alternative at the moment. MySQL, on the other hand, is indispensable.
  • It's true. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stalyn (662) on Friday March 03, 2006 @10:55AM (#14842409) Homepage Journal
    If Linux is going to make headway into the desktop market it will need help from big business. The X.org version of the X protocol server has maybe 10 active developers working on it and maybe 20-30 semi-active developers. How is this going to be competitive? Also we need some big corps to push on graphics vendors like Nvidia and ATI to take Linux seriously. Even though ati/nvidia driver support is getting better it's only according to their limitied resources allocated towards Linux devel.
    • If Linux is going to make headway into the desktop market

      See, we're begging a question, here. Who says Linux *wanted* to conquer the world? I use Linux and love it; many others do, too. I never demanded that everybody else love it, too. Our only objection is when we're actively undermined by Big Business.

      Five years ago when the 9-to-5ers never heard of Linux was a good time. We had less spotlight on us, less distractions. Now everybody talks about Linux like it, itself, was a "Big Business". Expect, wh

    • If Linux is going to make headway into the desktop market it will need help from big business.
      According to IDC figures, since 2000 (dunno about before) the Linux desktop presence has shown >10% growth every year. I don't think that's anything to worry about.
  • Since every Oracle product/patch I have used has required intensive research of user forums (because your customer support site Metalink sucks balls) to get it to work properly, what exactly is the difference between your product and and open-source product other than the fact that you make your customers pay ridiculous sums for the privilege of debugging your software?

    P.S. You're an asshole Larry.

    Signed,

    An Oracle Customer

  • OSS began with no support from big business and would have carried on fine without it. It's growth and adoption has no doubt been helped by big business support, but to say it needs big business is just not true.

    Previously you might say OSS needed big business because a significant part of the business market would not use OSS without that support, but they are slowly comong to realise that they can use OSS perfectly well without it.

    Oracle are merely aligning themselves a bit more with OSS now in preparati
  • by kahei (466208)


    Just sayin'.

    Of course if big business would get involved and internationalize it a bit, and by that I mean replace the 50,000 places that all go something like

    if(char == '.' || char == '!' || char == '?') {sentenceEnd = true;} ...with proper character classes that are defined in one place and aren't limited to ASCII, then I would be very grateful.

  • by bshensky (110723) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:09AM (#14842510) Homepage
    I've been doing Oracle since V5 and Linux since Red Hat 4.5. My take:

    From the perspective of Open Source, Larry's like that "successful" uncle at your family picnic. He brings lots of toys to play with, the kids love him, is largely generous to a fault during his visit. But ask him how he made his riches, and he's liable to try to suck you into his pyramid scheme, and that's the last thing you want to hear at your family gathering.

    Most of you would think it would be just fine if he stopped showing up at the family shindigs, but deep down, you'd all miss him, even if only a little bit.

    Oracle wouldn't engage Open Source if there wasn't something for Oracle to gain from it. Let me tell you, Oracle App Server would be far more an abomination than it is today had they not built the latest version around Apache, for example. Their "grid" marketspeak is built firmly on the proliferation of free OS on cheap hardware, so they've already tied their future to (and bet it on) the success of Linux, and they're damned if they're wrong.

    Ultimately, I think Larry and Oracle have taken on a relatively healthy, pragmatic relationship with Open Source. There's plenty of banter about how Oracle's assisted Red Hat, helped Zend get off the ground, and all that, but it's sometimes difficult to actually quantify what they have infused back into the OSS realm. I wish I'd see more Oracle-backed projects on SourceForge, for example.

    In the same breath, I'm just a bit disturbed about their shenanigans with MySQL. WTF? I tend to believe they're trying to leverage the MySQL *technology* into their software offerings, and at the same time make themselves the clear target for migration when companies grow, rather than obliterate the MySQL product itself. Obliterating MySQL would amount to biting the hand that feeds Oracle - the backlash would be fierce and paralysing. Instead, I could easily see a Oracle-branded read-only data warehouse *cache* bolted onto its App Server product that's "Powered By InnoDB". Get it?

    Larry should just shut up and find a better way for the Rasums Lerdorfs and Bob Youngs of the world to get heard. We get it, Larry - you're successful. Now shut up and eat a hot dog.

  • Larry, I think you kind of missed the point. Open Source Doesn't need Big Business. Small business needs Open Source. Or more accurately Businesses trying to compete in a market ruled by qasi-monopolies need open source. When a business contributes to Open Source it may help the project succeed, but the help goes both ways.

    The current success of Open Source is just a natural product of a Free Market reacting to an existing Monopoly. Companies needed a way to compete. OSS gave them one way to do just that. O
  • If you define "successful" as meaning "involves big corporations and a lot of money", then Larry's words are absolutely true. It's only when you start using different definitions of "success" that that tautology breaks down.
  • with resources, not quality.
    Quality of software is 100% dependent on the quality of the development team, with the following caveats:
    1) Management: good developers + bad management = fouled software
    2) Finances: good developers - necessary resources = fouled software
    3) Business sense: good developers - "in touch with reality" = good developers out of touch with reality
    4) Personnell issues: good developers + huge egos that get in the way = bad developers

    Here is where big business can have an effect
    1)
  • by McFadden (809368) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:40AM (#14842691)
    I've said it before and I'll say it again. People may fear, loathe or just distrust Bill Gates and his lust for monopolistic dominance, but compared to Ellison, he's a pussycat. Ellison IS the antichrist. I've witnessed a few of his speeches firsthand, and been at a cocktail party where he was present. I've never seen anyone who seems so entirely driven by hatred. He has a strange aura of evil around him. I feel grateful that Microsoft is largely controlled by bumbling geeks like Gates and baboons like Ballmer. If Ellison was in their position we'd be paying his company to wipe our ass by now.

    He doesn't like OSS for one simple reason. It's not his. He doesn't own it, control it, or make money from it (although arguably his products sometimes rely on it).

    I'd let my children go to for a fun day at the park with Bill. I wouldn't let them in the same room as Larry.

    Sorry -now I've got that off my chest, feel free to resume the conversation.

    • Thing is, I trust Ellison. I trust him to be the ruthless scheming greedy SOB he is. Gates is trying to make him love you every other minute. He tries to trick you into thinking his product is good. He makes excuses for his shortcomings. How often do you hear anything like this from Ellison. His product dominates the high end database market and from what most people say is excellent. He doesn't waffle around issues or change his mind 40 times a day.

      He may be pure evil, but he's honest passionate
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday March 03, 2006 @12:03PM (#14842845) Homepage
    There are no MySQL's within a 150 miles of Silicon Valley! We will drive the infidel open source hoardes into the sea! MySQL tables will become bloated with corrupt data and their data bits will rot in the desert. Their administrators will wail and lose their jobs as they and their children beg in the street for scraps of data. Our glorious Oracle army will rise up and smite the invader!
  • This couldn't possibly have to do with them trying to buy up MySQL and Zend, along with their acquisition of JBoss, Sleepycat (who own the two transactional engines behind MySQL: BDB and InnoBase), and others that skip my mind at the moment. No, can't be that...

    Sure Larry would say this, because he wants to justify his purchased by drumming up some inertia behind their acquisitions.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday March 03, 2006 @12:12PM (#14842910) Homepage

    OSS needs big business to be successful? Oh, then I guess that Linux thing can't have become a huge success, then. And Apache, that can't have been successful as a Web server. And Sendmail couldn't be a very successful MTA. What? All of those are successful? How odd. :)

    I think the "open-source needs big business" is wishful thinking on the part of big business. They depend heavily on open-source software for critical things, and to admit that it could be successful without them would invalidate too many of the assumptions their world's based on.

  • OSS needs big business to give back to the community, but big business needs that return even more. Big business reduces costs, increases flexibility, shortens time to market, mitigates risks and amplifies its own innovations using other people's open source. They'll get a lot more of all of that when they spend time, money and resources on improving the source they're now mostly only reading and installing. That's called "return on investment", supposedly the #1 expertise of big business. The longer corpor
  • "Open source becomes successful when major industrial corporations invest heavily in that open source product," he continued. "Every open source product that has become tremendously successful became successful because of huge dollar investments from commercial IT operations like IBM and Oracle and Intel and others."

    I may be willing to grant that, if you squint, big businesses have been significantly involved in every major enterprise-impacting OSS project. Even projects like Hibernate, Tomcat, and JBoss, w
  • Apache? PHP?

    And not to leave out the smaller apps, 7-Zip? GAIM? vi? emacs? bash?

    Maybe I'm wrong on some of these... Maybe some of these projects do have some
    "big business" backing that I am unaware of, but those all came to mind and I
    don't remember ever seeing an ad or reading an article that said "Apache will
    really take off now that $favorite_big_business is involved.

  • Ellison has a point in that many of the major open source projects, such as Linux and Apache, have been pushed into the mainstream thanks to their adoption by the likes of IBM, and that major corporations employee the majority of open source developers.

    And projects like Gimp, perl, and the other no-name projects had better learn this fast or they will die, without anyone ever hearing of them.
    They should take a lesson from projects like mozilla which only became popular after AOL purchased Netscape.
    Projects
  • "Oracle Corp's CEO, Larry Ellison, has maintained that open source projects are only successful when major technology corporations get involved"

    Not to be confused with the assertion that major technology corporations only get involved with FOSS projects that are already successful. They wouldn't want to suggest to anyone that they were late to the MySQL party they just got stiffed on, now would they?

    The headline says "OSS needs big business". Whenever I see the word "need", it requires clarification: for w

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison

Working...