Oracles Director of Linux Engineering, Wim Coekaerts, told me that theyre basically making sure that they simulate the real world instead of just focusing on running Oracle on Linux, which theyve always done.
Also—and this goes back to the Linux Kernel Developers Summit in Ottawa last July, when it came up that there was a need for better diagnostics—Oracle is going to try to add some diagnostics information to see if theres a way to make it easier to detect problems.
As it is, it takes a long time to figure out how to correctly dump debugging info, Coekaerts said. "Given its in the enterprise now, theyre saying, If something goes wrong, we want the data right there to diagnose it," he said.
For resources, Oracle is making sure every product division has one or two people assigned to the lab at all times. As bugs come up and Oracle fixes them, it will file bugs and patches with partners and will provide fixes as part of its Linux support plan.
You wont have to pay to get patches, but to get updates you do. Of course, if its a mainline kernel problem, it goes straight to Linus Torvalds and the usual suspects. This does not mean Linux is full of bugs, Coekaerts hastened to point out. Far from it—theyre actually pretty tough to find, he said.
• Beyond the small fish, theres also, by now, a swarm of open-source supporting players thats grown up to nibble crumbs at the feet of the mighty. This is good, this is an ecosystem. But its tough to eat your grilled chicken sandwich as people are selling databases at you. No offense, Kirix Corp.—by all means, do send info. I was just a bit low-blood-sugary when we chatted.
After you talk to big vendors like Oracle, you get the impression that there are no more questions left about open sources readiness for the enterprise. Impressions from the show floor were that theres still plenty of toe-dipping, though.
I talked to Kenneth Fung, director of Information Services for Zoo New England. He for one is just at the level of trying to figure out whats best for his nonprofit organization, which runs the Franklin Park Zoo and the Stone Zoo and, yikes! is still running on dial-up access and an NT domain. On sites that are 72 acres and 76 acres, respectively, mind you.
"Instead of automatically going to Windows 2003, I want to see whats out there," he said as he waited to catch the attention of a MySQL AB sales guy. "Im thinking ahead as to whats out there, whats best for the company."