Relationship with Oracle to

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-10-26 Print this article Print

Stay the Same"> "That is starting to look like the basis on which a customer would deploy an application. If you were to take those pieces and compare them to the equivalent thats implied in an Oracle offering, then the modest price difference between us on the support line vanishes," Yeaton said.

There are probably more than 80 Red Hat Enterprise Linux derivatives in the market today, "but in the end, if you make a change it is not RHEL and the ISV certification does not apply. There are a whole lot of things that you get with our subscription model that you dont get from others," he said.
Also, having an open source story for one piece of the puzzle does not always resonate with customers. "You are committed to community-driven innovation and collaborative development or you are not. We have a very clear story that doesnt change," Yeaton said.
Click here to read more about Red Hats open-source subscriptions. Yeaton is also very clear that the company has no plans to make RHEL freely available without support, saying that it will always be tied to a support model. "We dont anticipate any changes to our strategy here," he said. The code base will indeed fork if Oracle did what they have said they are going to do, he said, noting that it has yet to be determined how those changes that represent a fork will be folded back into the community. "When you make a change to the source base, even if you strip out all the copyrights and the like, changes in the source base puts at risk the ISV certification, the hardware support and all of those things," he said, pointing out that other distributions have done that before, had not done well because of it," he said. To read more about how the Linux community reacted to Oracles Unbreakable Linux move, click here. "If you are introducing bug fixes or optimizations, or any of those things, it is a fork and that fork is going to have to deal with how those get resent with the next release," he said, adding that the company will continue to engage with the upstream community around everything it does. "But what we wont do is upset our release strategy. We continue to innovate in our release model and customers do not have to move forward to inherit a set of fixes. We spend a large portion of our engineering resources on backporting fixes and this will be expanded pretty dramatically in RHEL 5," he said. The company is investing in a much finer-grained support model for every point release within a given stream, not just for the major releases. Red Hat also does not intend to change its relationship with Oracle, even though it was not notified in advance of the announcement, unlike many of its partners such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard, he said. Red Hat would also continue to focus on growing and driving the channel, which remained an important priority, he said. The company also does not intend to try and prevent Oracle from accessing or using its source code as this would not be consistent with its goal of maintaining "transparency and community-based involvement. All that stuff stays the same," Yeaton said. Asked if Red Hat is at all concerned that Oracle could use its size and financial resources to destroy it, Yeaton said that the beautiful thing about open source is that customers have a choice and get to decide what is meeting their needs. "We are not going to have a knee-jerk reaction. Oracle is a big company to be sure, but it is a big company doing a lot of things. We are an open-source company from top to bottom. Its in our DNA, and we are not wavering from that," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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