Like other execs on Tuesday, Robison characterized open source as both a technology and a social movement. The company sells and supports a lot of Red Hat, and he insisted that HP would never build its own flavor of Linux. But he left the door open slightly, saying that if "something fairly disruptive happens," HP would step in and support its customers directly by developing its own product. With so many partners and so little core technology, why buy from HP at all? For accountability, according to Robison. "We will provide a single throat to choke" if something goes wrong, he said. HP still considers its huge Itanium bet a strategic one, especially on the high end, calling it a "very important architecture for us" and "the best competitor for high-end RISC replacement." But Robison was particularly enthusiastic about AMDs 64-bit Opteron, calling it a great architecture. He touted HPs leadership in delivering blades, servers and desktops with the chip, compared with archrival Dell, which has yet to embrace the platform.The day ended with Oracles president, Charles Phillips, as he presented Oracles view of the computing world. With all of the attention on Oracle over the past few months, much of what he had to say had been said before. Phillips did admit that Oracles focus on leading in Linux led to a drop in Windows market share, but he promised that Oracle would be making a big Windows announcement in December to shore up its flagging position. Phillips said he sees Oracles position in the database market as virtually unassailable, mostly due to the companys strong technology talent. "There are maybe 300 people in the world that understand database kernels, and luckily we have half of them." Phillips pooh-poohed the idea that MySQL was any sort of a competitor at all, calling it good for Oracle instead. "Were both in the transportation business," he claimed. "We have a 747, and they have a Toyota." But MySQL and other low-end products certainly have Oracle concerned, because Phillips went on to highlight the $149 Oracle Standard Edition product, the cheapest Oracle ever. Phillips repeated his assertion that the companys push to acquire PeopleSoft is all about increasing customers, and reiterated that Oracle would maintain the PeopleSoft product line for as long as customers wanted both. Read more here about Oracles chances of acquiring PeopleSoft. But when the talk turned to other acquisitions, Phillips was more revealing. "It will get easier going forward," he said, adding that CEOs will be more likely to sell rather than fightbased on the recent court actions in both Delaware and San Francisco. Looking forward, Phillips focused on mobile applications and data broadcasting as exciting areas for Oracle. "Every product will be able to communicate something back about itself," he said. Oracle has built a sensor capture technology to try to capitalize on this nascent market, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center at http://infrastructure.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
Click here to read about HPs development of Itanium-powered blade servers.