By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-02-14 Print this article Print

As far as what the open-source community thinks of Oracles intentions regarding purchasing open-source companies, abhorrence isnt uncommon. For example, a reader and Zend user responding to coverage of Oracles expected purchases of JBoss and Zend—on top of Sleepycat—has no intention of sticking with an Oracle-controlled Zend.
"Im disappointed, and I hope that Zend doesnt cave in and accept any offers," he wrote. "Like many open-source supporters, I dont trust Oracle (or Microsoft, for that matter) and would probably switch from PHP to another scripting language if Oracle were to buy PHP out.
"The same goes for MySQL users that make use of the InnoDB database engine—theyre looking for alternatives. The same would happen if Zend were bought out by Oracle. I think PHPs popularity and effectiveness would quickly change for the worst. "It is my firm belief that companies as big and powerful as Microsoft, Intel or Oracle get there by making illegal and/or immoral moves. Thats why most of them have been under investigation, at one point or another, for antitrust violations." Steven Grandchamp, CEO of OpenLogic, which sells a product that allows customers to deploy and manage more than 150 certified open-source stacks, said Oracles Sleepycat buy will be welcomed in the open-source community if and only if Oracle keeps its hands to itself. "Large enterprises are already using hundreds of different open-source products in their infrastructure—it is not a surprise that large software vendors want to participate in that demand," Grandchamp said. "If Oracle works within the proven open-source model and avoids using the acquisition to create lock-in with their proprietary technologies, then we welcome them to the open-source community." What exactly does Oracle plan to do with all this open-source booty? BusinessWeek Online caused a stir when it revealed details of what it called "Oracles open-source shopping spree" on Feb. 9. In that article, BusinessWeek Online conjectured that Oracle could well be planning what it called "the biggest endorsement yet by a mainstream software company for a movement that involves legions of developers across the globe who publish open software distributed freely over the Net, making money instead from support and maintenance. Its a bold bet for a company that gets a healthy chunk of its $16 billion in annual sales from multimillion-dollar software packages deals, but Oracle is ready to spend big on open source." In other words, BusinessWeek Online proposes, Oracle is planning to move from software license revenue generation to an ASP (application service provider) model. Its a stunning idea that would drive Wall Street nuts, but it makes sense to analysts. Charlie Garry, an independent consultant and former vice president for Meta Group, said that hes been saying for years now that the notion of paying for a software license is simply antiquated. "Look at the struggle Oracles had adjusting to the multicore [chip pricing issue]," Garry said. "On some we charge 75 percent, on others we charge [whatever]. Its just stupid." Next Page: The free database trend.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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