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Why Oracle Isn't Part of the OSDL 193

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the breaking-it-down dept.
darthcamaro writes "Some may wonder why OSDL, the self-proclaimed center of gravity for the Linux Universe and employer of Linus Torvalds, does not include Oracle as a member. Well, in a recent interview Wim Coekaerts, Director of Linux Engineering at Oracle has spelled it out in no uncertain terms. From the article: 'The thing that was really kind of revolting is that OSDL goes out and basically says that they represent the Linux community while there is no direct feedback line back to the community.'"
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Why Oracle Isn't Part of the OSDL

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  • by Bromskloss (750445) <auxiliary,address,for,privacy&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:43AM (#15574499)
    I also wonder, why isn't Apple or Microsoft in?
  • by vchoy (134429) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:18AM (#15574564)
    No need to join because:

    Oracle Still Diggs Linux
  • Answer: MySQL (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ABeowulfCluster (854634) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:19AM (#15574567)
    They're in competition with MySQL.
  • Linus? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DuncanE (35734) * on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:26AM (#15574584) Homepage
    Isn't Linus a direct feedback line to the Linux community? Does it get any more direct?
  • by wysiwia (932559) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:26AM (#15574585) Homepage
    Many people, as also I, don't know much of OSDL beside Linus Torvalds is there employed or they care for Carrier Grade Linux (whatever that means). Yet I know OSDL has done a survey about why the Linux desktop isn't a success (http://www.osdl.org/dtl/DTL_Survey_Report_Nov2005 .pdf [osdl.org]).

    But now what? Even if the reasons now are more than obvious does the OSDL take the next needed steps? Sure OSDL has created the Portland initiative, unfortunately these people aren't able to do anything about the most pressing matter, the first top inhibitor for the Linux desktop adoption. It might be these people simply don't know how to fix this problem albeit I've shown them one possible solution (http://lists.osdl.org/pipermail/desktop_architect s/2005-December/000349.html [osdl.org]).

    OSDL might say that "they represent the Linux community", yet OSDL isn't able to bring Linux to success, to increase its market share to a significant amount. So I would think twice if to participate in such an organization. It's sad when even the self proclaimed speaker of the Linux community can't do better.

    To say it once more, without agreeing on a single set of application guidelines, guidelines which enhance the usability and the look&feel, there's no hope. All one can say is "Yet another year without a Linux desktop".

    O. Wyss
    • by argoff (142580) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:05AM (#15574649)
      The purpose of the OSDL is collaberation and sharing R&D. In a proprietary world, it doesn't make sense to collaberate or to share R&D, you are more profitable forking off a bunch of proprietary extensions to differentiate and fense off features from your competitors. But in the open source community that will get you killed in a hurry, hense OSDL. If companies have R&D to do, they are better off each putting $1 of R&D for a total combined R&D of $2, $3 or $4... then each doing their own independent R&D in parallel which would average out to $1 R&D in value.

      In addition, Oracle is not a member of OSDL because their core is not open source, and they have no intention to be.
    • ""Yet another year without a Linux desktop".

      What do you mean by that? Are you saying that nobody is using linux on the desktop? That linux on the desktop is not increasing? That linux desktop usage is decreasing?

      Maybe it's not growing as fast as you would like but linux adoption grows every year. Every year the desktop gets better and better. Some figures suggest that linux has now caught up to the mac if not passed it.

      Just because you don't like it or it's not growing at the rate you would like that doesn'
      • by dwandy (907337) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @07:58AM (#15574963) Homepage Journal
        I submit as argument that the #1 reason MS Windows is so popular is because it was so heavily pirated. As people used it at home (for free!) they either were the boss who made the decision to buy Windows, or convinced the boss that they should go with it.
        Microsoft spent most of the 90s looking the other way when it came even to business piracy, while talking tough through the BSA. Even now, when they have ramped up their aggresiveness, (AFAIK) they have yet to sue a single home-user, still only targeting businesses.

        Enter Vista
        This will severely limit* Joe Average's ability to pirate Windows.
        Faced with being either unable to pirate, or an unwillingness to divulge the personal info (I know people switching now as Genuine Advantage is rolling out), people will look for alternatives.

        So, I suggest that Vista will be the single biggest event in Linux desktop adoption.

        I suspect Apple knows it, and that is the reason for their current ads doing a Mac/Windows comparison - because they also see Vista as a possible catalyst ... 'look for alternatives' is really Mac and Linux at this point.

        *limit != eliminate, and the less 'average' Joe's will also be less limited.

        • Good luck with that since the vast vast majority of Vista sales will be through new computer purchases. I don't think it will be a catalyst for anything despite all the hype in either direction.

          If Microsoft didn't already have that market share you'd have a point but since the market is there's they no longer depend on piracy. Furthermore when they come across businesses pirating they always gives them the option to license properly before suing them. I'm not sure the number of times MS has ever sued a co

          • Good luck with that since the vast vast majority of Vista sales will be through new computer purchases.

            The same could be said for pretty much every version since 95. Yet we still have seen a ton of piracy out there. How do you reconcile that?
          • Yeah, I don't think M$ ever directly goes after anyone; I meant the Bully Software Alliance. And they have stepped up their aggresiveness and now offer a $200k [bsa.org] reward to snitches.

            As for new computers, yes the Big Boys preload, but not all PC sales have Win preloaded. From http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-5561113.html [zdnet.com]

            Last quarter, for example, Microsoft saw revenue in the Windows client unit grow by 5 percent, but PC shipments grew more than twice that fast.

            The BSA says 1/3 of the world software is pir

    • by 10Ghz (453478) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:15AM (#15574747)
      "OSDL might say that "they represent the Linux community", yet OSDL isn't able to bring Linux to success"

      Linux is already a humungous success, no matter how you look at it

      "to increase its market share to a significant amount."

      Huh? Soon after Linux started to appear in High-Performance Computing, it quickly dominated the entire field. Linux'es use on server continues to increase and it's the second most popular OS in servers, Linux'es use on embedded devices is increasing, we have major phone-manufacturers releasing phones that run Linux. And yes, Linux'es market-share on the desktops is also increasing. What do you expect? "It's been few years already, and Linux STILL doesn't dominate the desktop-market! OSDL is a failure!". Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to "dominate" a market, where the competitor is DEEPLY entrenched with about 95% market-share?

      "To say it once more, without agreeing on a single set of application guidelines, guidelines which enhance the usability and the look&feel, there's no hope."

      So, you feel that OSDL should spend it's time thinking about button-order on dialog-boxes and the like? I think that your viewpoint on this matter is very narrow and VERY superficial. And what if they came up with "single set of guidelines"? How do you suggest that they then enforce those guidelines? Answer: the can't.

      "All one can say is "Yet another year without a Linux desktop"."

      It's on my desktop. Hell, it's on my neighbours desktop as well!
    • by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:21AM (#15574757) Homepage Journal
      Carrier Grade Linux (whatever that means)

      Carrier Grade means reliable enough that the phone company and other major data carriers would use it to run a switch. That means between 99.999% and 99.99999% uptime, or between 5 about minutes and 30 seconds of total downtime per year.

      Sound excessive? Those switches aren't just carrying phone calls to grandma. They carry 911 calls. Realtime FCC flight control data. Multibillion dollar bank transfers. In other words if they fail, planes collide and economies collapse.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @08:21AM (#15575006)
        Carrier Grade means reliable enough that the phone company and other major data carriers would use it to run a switch. That means between 99.999% and 99.99999% uptime, or between 5 about minutes and 30 seconds of total downtime per year.

        Actually, according to this page:

        http://www.bcr.com/management/networking_intellige nce/reality_five_nines_20020519301.htm [bcr.com]

        OS failure does not count when the mythical "5 nines" is measured.

        The way it was explained to me when I was in telephony was that the 99.999% applied only to getting a dialtone. That is, you didn't actually have to be able to call anyone, just that your line would produce that pleasing tone in your ear.
        • The way it was explained to me when I was in telephony was that the 99.999% applied only to getting a dialtone. That is, you didn't actually have to be able to call anyone, just that your line would produce that pleasing tone in your ear.

          While that may have been true in telephony if we take that as "land-based voice telephone service over the last century as a whole," in telecom that surely wasn't true a decade ago, and I doubt that's changed since. The industry was already moving toward a packet-based, "

      • Realtime FCC flight control data.

        Uh, no. First, the Federal Communications Commission doesn't do flight control. And second, flight control still runs on good ol' IBM mainframe technology.

      • In other words if they fail, planes collide and economies collapse.

        These systems are highly redundant. If a component fails none of the above happens.
    • by ciggieposeur (715798) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @09:18AM (#15575241)
      Everytime Slashdot mentions Linux, you bring up wyoGuide as though it's some magic bullet that would fix everything if only every Linux user started adhering to it. I've decided to respond this time instead of move on.

      Here are the problems I've got with wyoGuide:

      1) It assumes that developers should make new Linux applications that look and behave like established Windows applications circa 1997. Even Windows applications don't do this anymore, and users seem more than happy to use applications with skinnable eye candy rather than Office 97 menus.

      2) The example language is C++, and the example toolkit is wxWindows. There are plenty of other cross-platform GUI toolkits, and other languages include cross-platform GUI as a core feature. You'll get more traction if you include more languages (Java would be a good choice, as many CS students are taught that now) and other toolkits.

      3) The screenshots are all Windows. Sorry, I've got NO applications on my Linux desktop that look like that. Include some OS X and Linux screenshots and maybe people from the non-Windows side will begin listening.

      4) As with #3, your tone in the document and in your Slashdot posts seems to put most of the blame on Linux developers for not making their applications resemble Windows, and then you go on inside the document and make wrong statements about non-Windows platforms:

      a) Section 10.1: Linux already has a defacto standard for application paths: binary/symlink in /usr/bin, application data (including app-specific libraries) in /usr/lib/appname, documentation in /usr/share/doc/appname, and top-level configuration file in /etc/appname(.conf) . Desktop Windows applications ported to Linux should use this standard, not some dump-it-all-in-one-place-any-structure-you-want Windows-style solution (which you call "the easiest solution").

      b) Section 6.1: preferences dialog. Many Mac applications do not have "Apply" or "OK" buttons, they simply apply immediately and you close the window to get out.

      c) Section 3.7: On Linux, the Ctrl key is Ctrl, the Alt key is often called "Meta" but modern desktops often just leave it as Alt. Any Linux app that used Alt-C/X/V instead of Ctrl-C/X/V would be broken.

      5) More of the "at all costs, make it resemble Windows" criteria in Section 3: "The standard entries in the file menu have their defined command keys as shown in the sample, if they have any. These keys are reserved and may not used elsewhere, not even if the corresponding menu entry is missing." I see that menu and think Office 97 (except that the editing filenames should be below Quit). Some applications might want those keys for other things, and some users might want to remap those functions to other keys.

      6) What about keyboard accelerators, ala Alt-F -> File menu dropdown? If you're going to mandate/suggest the keyboard shortcuts, you may as well include the accelerators too.

      7) You mention the Windows registry barely in passing in Section 6.3. It needs more than that: Windows applications must use the registry _correctly_ such that non-admin users can use their application.

      8) You added a section for coding style? Now I'm beginning to think that you might not actually write a lot of code.

      In short, when I read wyoGuide, I see a document telling me how to use one language with one toolkit to make an inconsistent Windows-like application with some "helpful" newb tips at the end.

      Let me offer some suggestions:

      1) Move the code snippets out to separate links. We're talking HCI design, not "low-level" implementation. Coders can always click the links to see source code snippets. And an HTML page with annotated source that links BACK to the wyoGuide would be nice.

      2) Focus on successful applications that have already proven themselves cross-platform, such as Mozilla, Abiword, Gaim, LyX, etc. Show screenshots
  • by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:32AM (#15574598) Homepage Journal
    Ok... while he DID say the direct feedback comment, it was in response to challenges that Oracles TAB will address. His response to the question of why they're not in the OSDL is:

    Let's just say that one part of the OSDL is trying to represent businesses to the Linux community. I know that a number of the members aren't heavily involved in Linux but still are members.

    We basically know where to go. We have a good relationship directly with people in the Linux community. We have all our partners. So there is no immediate advantage to being a member for us.

    Not to sound arrogant, but we know how to deal with the Linux community.

    What he's saying is that they're fine on their own, and that they're trying to avoid some of the problems that the OSDL has.

    Summary put a bit of spin on that one.
  • still no answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nietsch (112711) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:33AM (#15574602) Homepage Journal
    This article is pretty frustrating, as it still gives no answers why Oracle is not a member of ODSL and why they should be? As far as I know Oracle makes database and middleware tools, wich is pretty distinct from operating system kernels. Maybe they require some specific kernel modules to get some better performance in some instances, but does that require them to be a memberof ODSL?

    So in the end i think the PR department scored another media exposure without any news.
    • Re:still no answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FST777 (913657) <frans-janNO@SPAMvan-steenbeek.net> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:53AM (#15574631) Homepage
      Very few members of OSDL are actually kernel-producers. Oracle could well be on their place in OSDL because they could have a certain influence in the direction Linux is heading, as well as paying for it (no small thing to pay Linus).

      But my question is: why is MySQL AG not a member? (some above stated they where, as a reason Oracle isn't. Look at the memberlist on osdl.org before making such bold statements)
      Or when "producer of Linux" is THE requirement (I think it shouldn't): why are Linspire Inc. and Canonical Ltd. not members?
  • by davFr (679391)
    Some may wonder why OSDL, [...] does not include Oracle as a member.

    Really? No, I don't wonder. Because I certainly don't care.

    Next interesting Slashdot topic : "Some may wonder why Intel never went in the screwdriver business" ...
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @07:09AM (#15574871) Homepage
    It would be hard to have an organization that "represents the Linux community." That'd almost be like herding cats because it's so diverse and anarchaic. Better to stay out, leave their motives as a business clear as they do now and work with those they need to while assuaging the fears of others. Seems that they regard OSDL almost like a rat regards a ship that is starting to have trouble at sea.
  • by iabervon (1971) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @09:41AM (#15575360) Homepage Journal
    It was only back in February that people in the Linux community were pointing out that the OSDL organization wasn't actually particularly useful to the community, beyond funnelling corporate money to a few worthy individual developers. They had a list of requests for things OSDL could do to actually be useful, and they also, for the first time, got a community representative on the board of directors.

    If you actually look at the OSDL's stated mission [osdl.org], it's all about attracting corporate interest to Linux, not about actually getting any open source development done directly. It's still a valuable function, but if Oracle wants to interact with the community (like, for example, pushing Ubuntu's kernel patches through the review process and into the mainline kernel), OSDL isn't going to be particularly useful, assuming that Oracle has employees who're active in the community (like, for example, Randy Dunlap).
  • Not to sound arrogant, but we know how to deal with the Linux community.


    Does that include telling Larry [cbronline.com] to STFU?

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