Strong Contenders

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-04-17 Print this article Print

Ubuntu and Mandriva are two strong contenders, Monson-Haefel believes. Theyre both on the Top 10 Linux distribution list. He thinks Ubuntu in particular is a likely candidate to play the starring role as the Linux operating system in an Oracle stack.
Ubuntu, which has only been in distribution since 2004, is now cited as the most popular of all the distributions. Its based on whats considered to be the "unstable" branch of Debian and, according to Linux Forums, features "a fast release cycle, up to date and numerous packages, fast download mirrors, great documentation and even free shipment of CDs."
According to Linux Forums, its unclear whether the distributing company, Canonical Ltd., makes a profit off the distribution, but thats reportedly not the main purpose or priority. Hence, its only "con" is considered to be an unviable business model. A possibly unviable business model: Thats one thing Oracle, one of the worlds largest software vendors, would certainly be able to help with. Besides it being an ideal target, Ubuntu also is darn flexible, serving both as a desktop and server platform. "Ubuntu really makes a lot of sense" as an acquisition, Monson-Haefel said. "Its a popular open-source platform, as well as being a desktop and server platform. If you want to create a full stack, thats an important element." If you could buy the most popular Linux distribution for a figure in the low millions, compared with buying Novell for what could have amounted to billions, its not too hard a choice, he said. "I dont see where the hesitation would be," he said. What do users think of all this? I would have thought Id be hearing from users who would be leery at the idea of having Oracle control everything from the operating system on up through the database, management tools, middleware, development tools and applications. But as Ari Kaplan, president of the IOUG, pointed out in a recent conversation, based on recent history, Oracle can be trusted not to lock anybody into an Oracle-only setup. "Based on recent history, you can still run PeopleSoft on IBM or other databases," he said. "It would be a mistake for Oracle" to do otherwise, he said. After all, its a heterogeneous world, as the IOUGs survey pointed out, with Oracle users running Windows, Linux, HP-UX, mainframe—you name it. Its up to Oracle to make the Oracle stack compelling from the customers point of view, Kaplan pointed out. And thats not too hard to imagine, given that a company like Teradata has developed its database to be so tightly coupled with hardware and software and the operating system that Teradata also owns. An Oracle stack: Tell me why this isnt going to pose a serious threat to Microsoft. Tell me why this wouldnt be a technology boon for Oracle users. Youll have to spell it out, because from where I stand, it all looks good. Lisa Vaas is Ziff Davis Internets news editor in charge of operations. She is also the editor of eWEEK.coms Database and Business Intelligence topic center. She has been with eWEEK and since 1995, most recently covering enterprise applications and database technology. She can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for 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, 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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