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How Long Will Oracle Stick With Open Source? 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the stand-by-your-program dept.
snydeq writes "The fact that Oracle has handed over the keys to two major open source projects in recent weeks has some questioning the fate of other prominent open source projects Oracle took on in the wake of its 2010 acquisition of Sun. But while OpenOffice.org and Hudson provided little commercial opportunity for Oracle, it appears that Oracle has plans to keep rein on NetBeans, MySQL, and GlassFish contrary to expectations, analysts contend."
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How Long Will Oracle Stick With Open Source?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @05:20PM (#36615986)

    Stick a fork in it. It's done.

    • I think that is what LibreOffice did...
    • by williamhb (758070)

      Stick a fork in it. It's done.

      Hmm. Earlier this year...
      Oracle won't hand over the keys to OpenOffice or Hudson! Clearly they have it in for open source! Run for the hills!
      Today...
      Oracle have handed over the keys to OpenOffice and Hudson! Clearly they have it in for open source! Run for the hills!
      Somehow I think there are a few people inside Oracle today shaking their heads and muttering about the press.

      • by Darfeld (1147131)

        Their must be something wrong in your summary. I don't think Oracle could ever not hand over the mentionned project. They are open source! The worry as I remember, was that they might :

        1) Drop the open source thing and continue to develop the project as closed. A fork wouldn't eraze the problem, since most Open Office users (for the exemple) won't be willing to change just because of a closed source status. This leading eventually to two products too different for an easy change... bad for open source anywa

    • How you aren't rated 5 at this point is beyond me. There's not even a story here - if you want it and it's open source right now fork it or lose it.

  • VirtualBox? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by utkonos (2104836) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @05:23PM (#36616026)
    So much talk about MySQL and Ooo etc etc. Why don't I hear anything about VirtualBox? It seems to be one of the best pieces of open source VM software out there.
    • Craig, is that you ?
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Best as compared to what? QEMU?

      • What other open source virtualisation is there? Virtualbox is actually pretty good, I dont know of any others that provide its features and ease of use.

        • by diegocg (1680514)

          I use virt-manager and I'm happy with it. But it's not as good as virtualbox for desktops (lacks 3d acceleration on guests, for example)

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I can count on one hand the number of times I've used VirtualBox's 3d features without VirtualBox blowing up... without using any fingers. And I tried several versions.

            • I use it to run Tribes 2 no problem.

              • what combinaisons do give you working 3D acceleration? windows guest on linux host, windows host and linux guest, nvidia driver on the host, or non-nvidia driver on the host.. they should provide a compatibility list for us to know.

                I never could play even Quake 3 under virtualbox. any game either doesn't work or give you software OpenGL.

                • I'd guess that the best combination is some working OpenGL acceleration at the host, the corresponding drivers installed on the guest. I've had no problem with the guest drivers (except for programs that try to identify the GPU) on Windows, and I'd bet the Linux ones are even better. I've also had no problem with the host capabilities, using Linux when hardware acceleration is running, didn't try Windows, and I don't expect it to work with the drivers that come with the OS. Now, you have no chance of making

                • OpenGL rendering works fine. Whatever the guest driver uses works great for me.

                  I have also gotten Quake 3 to run, as well as numerous other 3d games. I had issues with Supreme Commander, but Homeworld 2 runs fine.

        • What other open source virtualisation is there?

          Xen leaps to mind.

          • by Skuto (171945)

            Does that run on the operating system that everybody is actually using? No.

            • Xen doesn't run on any operating system. It's a type 1 hypervisor, operating systems run on it. VirtualBox is a type 2 hypervisor, it runs on an operating system. There are very few workloads where Xen and VirtualBox are comparable. For server virtualisation, Xen is a clear winner - fast PV devices, live migration, high-availability VMs via redundant copies and so on - but on the desktop VirtualBox performs well, is easy to use, and supports things like 3D pass-through. I'd be hard pressed to think of
        • VirtualBox is ehh okay at best. If you want to do anything even slightly fancy (manage a BlackBerry over USB, or perhaps run OpenBSD), it fails badly.

          More importantly, it's really just not up to serious production use where anything resembling money is at stake. VMware is the only way to go, which is why they can charge such hideous sums of money. I would LOVE not to give money to VMware any more, but VirtualBox is miserably inadequate to the task.

          After years of messing around with VirtualBox on the desktop

          • Funny, I've had fairly opposite experience. I'm not a fan of VMware. For commercial solutions I've had good experience with Parallels. In the OSS areana I've great experience with KVM for servers and VirtualBox for desktops.

            • If I were building a personal cloud of Linux VMs, KVM would certainly tempt, yes. At work we're about to shift from a pile of large, expensive, horribly underutilised Solaris SPARC servers to a bunch of Ubuntu VMs in our hosting company's cloud, with VMware to manage them. I'm confident the VM itself is a hell of a lot more robust in KVM than VB - but what are KVM's tools like?

          • by metamatic (202216)

            VirtualBox is ehh okay at best. If you want to do anything even slightly fancy (manage a BlackBerry over USB, or perhaps run OpenBSD), it fails badly.

            Yeah, but managing a BlackBerry over USB doesn't work in VMware either.

    • Can VirtualBox be forked like OpenOffice?

      • by syousef (465911)

        Can VirtualBox be forked like OpenOffice?

        No, not all of the source is open. At least last time I checked they kept the code for USB emulation as an incentive to buy a non-free license if you wanted the source - that code is not included in the open source version that you can build from scratch. That makes no sense to me and never did. Someone with a more detailed appreciation might answer more fully. Personally I think it's to prevent an easy fork.

        • Unlike Sun, the Oracle releases of VirtualBox are now entirely based on the open source release (no non-commercial license for the binaries, build from source if you want the really free version), and have the proprietary bits as an optional extra. I use it quite happily without them installed.
        • The non-free version is free for personal use. It is just not open source.

  • VirtualBox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Toe, The (545098) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @05:23PM (#36616032)

    I was surprised when I stumbled across Oracle VirtualBox [virtualbox.org]. It's pretty dang nice, at least for the end-user instance. What's in it for them to support this project?

    • by twocows (1216842)
      I don't know, but they've been doing significant development on it. The interface has radically changed since the last version Sun put out. Or perhaps it's not that they've done significant development, but that the old developers just haven't been hindered by Oracle.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You'll get a personal and evaluation license only for the interesting bits which are inside the "Expansion pack" : USB-2 support etc.

      Also is the community version lacking some features like remote display (regardless of OS) etc.

      Otherwise then money - I can imagine that VirtualBox is also a strategic project. The reason why Sun bought it firsthand...

      • by nostrad (879390)

        VirtualBox OSE has (Tight)VNC support if you run it through VBoxHeadless. I personally run it to virtualize an older windows installation tucked away on a cheap-o computer which does not do VM-extensions and it works well.

        Unless you need USB2 or PXE-boot (or RDP to your virtualized display for some reason), the open source edition is really neat.

      • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @06:37PM (#36616832)

        You'll get a personal and evaluation license only for the interesting bits which are inside the "Expansion pack" : USB-2 support etc.

        Also is the community version lacking some features like remote display (regardless of OS) etc.

        Otherwise then money - I can imagine that VirtualBox is also a strategic project. The reason why Sun bought it firsthand...

        VirtualBox OSE *ALWAYS* had those limitations.

        The thing is, Oracle stopped providing two different versions - the GPL'd source version (VirtualBox OSE) and VirtualBox (commercial license). Vbox OSE never had USB 2, Remote Desktop, etc. Ubuntu etc. provided Vbox OSE with didn't have those functions.

        Now Oracle just provides the GPL'd version and the GPL'd sources for it. If you want the features that were in the commercially-licensed version of Vbox, you use the expansion pack. This had the advantage that all the distros had an official binary from Oracle, and it oculd be easily upgaded to the commercial one without breaking your current OS's packaging conventions.

        In a sense, Vbox 4 is much easier now than Vbox3 was.

        Nothing really changed licensing-wise between 3 (Sun) and 4 (Oracle). All the stuff that was in commercially licensed 3 was moved to an expansion pack that was commercially licensed, so instead of having an OSE and commercial versions of Vbox, you just have one. Helps with code maintainance as well, which is always a plus.

        And I suppose, if someone wanted to write their own versions of USB2 and RDP (yes, it used RDP, not VNC) server, they could, and it'll be easier on the new architecture.

    • Thirding the VirtualBox subject, even if it's ninjaing the thread. I have enjoyed VirtualBox for a couple of years as my solution for virtualizing my Windows systems. As far as I know there is no better (free) solution exists and would hate to see it go.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    How can you stick with something you've never embraced in the first place?

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      How can you stick with something you've never embraced in the first place?

      Ellison goes through mood swings. He built a magnificent estate, modeled upon feudal Japanese architecture, now he's selling (or sold) it. Now he's into Yachting, we'll see how long that lasts.

      for sail (ha!) one boat, used lightly, to compete in americas cup. includes dinghy, life vests and sails.

  • Reversed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The real question should be how long are people going to stick with Oracle controlled projects?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Somebody finally realizes the jeopardy these projects are in. Java, MySQL and others. The future of these projects are vulnerable to neglect, mishandling, bad luck - whatever you want to call it. I hope this all works out.

  • by erice (13380)

    Yes, it is obvious but really, Oracle will do open source whenever and wherever they can profit from it. And by profit I mean actual dollars in the fairly short term. That has been their policy with everything they acquired from Sun. Long term growth and good will be damned.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @05:49PM (#36616352)
    as soon as the cost of R&D and maintenance on their open source products become higher than what revenue they bring in from service & support of said products you can bet they will quickly pull the plug on them...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a HPC admin, I hope Lustre FS stays open source, nothing else compares to it. http://wiki.lustre.org/index.php/Main_Page

  • by JabrTheHut (640719) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @06:08PM (#36616528)
    Oracle won't release MySQL. MySQL is a long-term, strategic threat to their primary product, Oracle database. 10 years ago in the finance sector in London every database was on Oracle, Sybase, MSSQL or DB2. Even the most noddy little applications got an Oracle or other database license bought for them. Now, only customer-facing services get an Oracle or Sybase license bought for them - the rest got MySQL. That's a lot of money Oracle isn't making any more.
    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @07:23PM (#36617236)

      Oracle won't release MySQL. MySQL is a long-term, strategic threat to their primary product, Oracle database.

      No, its not.

      Now, only customer-facing services get an Oracle or Sybase license bought for them - the rest got MySQL.

      You know, Oracle already has a free-for-production-use version of Oracle Database (Oracle Database XE) that has been around longer than they've owned MySQL. It may be true that low-cost (open source or not) database alternatives have reduced the number of licenses Oracle can sell, but Oracle has long ago figured out that it was better off if it was supplying the low-cost alternatives (and thus, using them as a vehicle to push upgrades to its more expensive products, or as vehicles to sell optional services) than if those were provided only by its competitors.

      MySQL might eventually get cut because it doesn't have a clear distinct market role for Oracle that isn't better served (from Oracle's perspective) by the existing XE product, but its not getting cut on the basis that the existence of low-cost and/or open-source DBs are a strategic threat to Oracle Database (indeed, keeping MySQL as the most visible open-source DB probably is the best way to keep mindshare off of open-source DBs that have the potential to be a strategic threat to Oracle Database, something PostgreSQL, for instance, stands a lot bigger chance of doing than MySQL does.)

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Without getting into the whole Postgres vs MySQL thing, I'm not sure that XE and MySQL are so evenly matched. XE has artificial limits on database size. It might perform better, or be more easily upgraded to something that performs better, but if you have a huge but relatively low-load database you're not going to want to use it. Quite a few databases get large without having the transaction volume of a credit card company/etc...

        Lots of people use MySQL, which I think is a big driver for Oracle to try to

        • by afabbro (33948)

          Without getting into the whole Postgres vs MySQL thing, I'm not sure that XE and MySQL are so evenly matched. XE has artificial limits on database size

          XE is an intro DB and really nothing more. It's really a product without an identity. Anyone who wants to use Oracle for training, lab, etc. just downloads the Enterprise Edition and uses it for free (which is fine, as long as you're using it in that role). Anyone who wants to spend money on a DB engine is going to buy one of the commercial engines because XE only supports 1 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, and 11GB of data.

          SQL Server's Express DB is more robust. DB/2 Express is kind of the same. I forget Informix Exp

          • XE is great if you are developping software for somebody that uses an Oracle DB, but you don't have one yourself. At least the last time I was on that situation, the Enterprise Edition wasn't free for that.

        • Without getting into the whole Postgres vs MySQL thing, I'm not sure that XE and MySQL are so evenly matched.

          I never said they are evenly matched. I said that they have a lot of overlap in the purpose they can be seen as serving for Oracle (which isn't exactly the same as having overlap in the purpose they serve for users.)

          It might perform better, or be more easily upgraded to something that performs better, but if you have a huge but relatively low-load database you're not going to want to use it.

          Clearly,

          • by Rich0 (548339)

            Oracle (incl. XE) has a lot of SQL features that MySQL doesn't have.

            Ugh, my pet peeve. Maybe I'm missing something, but I suspect you really mean that Oracle has a lot of PL/SQL features that MySQL doesn't have. ANSI SQL doesn't really do a whole lot more than INSERT, DELETE, UPDATE and such.

            Yes, I realize you can write a whole application in triggers and all that, but I've found that straying from ANSI SQL tends to get you an application that is very tied down to a particular database vendor, and often just a few versions for that vendor.

            At work every other Oracle upgrad

            • Maybe I'm missing something, but I suspect you really mean that Oracle has a lot of PL/SQL features that MySQL doesn't have.

              No, I mean SQL, not PL/SQL.

              ANSI SQL doesn't really do a whole lot more than INSERT, DELETE, UPDATE and such.

              If by "and such" you mean "and all the rest of the commands in ANSI SQL", then this is true by definition, but standard SQL does quite a bit that MYSQL SQL doesn't in terms both of supported commands and supported options within those commands. And, like most real world databases

      • Oracle XE is a loss leader, not a product. You know thats when you get a taste for free, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg the first time you get some undecipherable ORA-XXXX [howfuckedi...tabase.com] error. You get a version of Oracle Database limited in a number of ways, XE may legally:
        • execute a single instance on a single 32-bit CPU
        • allocate a maximum of 1 Gb of RAM
        • store a maximum of 4 Gb of data

        XE is a free for development use, not production use, version of Oracle Database. It can be used by developers, and educators or

        • XE is a free for development use, not production use, version of Oracle Database.

          False. The free (gratis) license for XE allows both development and production use (internal production use, and redistribution to licensees provided that the licensee accepts the same XE license as well as the license for your software.) Go read the "License Rights" section again.

    • by afabbro (33948)

      I think your analysis is too simplistic. Oracle makes a ton of money from their apps as well. Oracle is more than just a database software company. Oracle bought Sun for MySQL, for Java, and for the hardware for their database machines (Exadata).

  • Oracle does things for one reason and one reason alone: to win by controlling the market. Beat the competition at all costs. That is the driving force of Larry Ellison and the mantra behind the company. Don't ever dream or wish with these guys - they don't operate that way. Example: Oracle will keep MySQL so long as it leads to sales of one sort or another. The same with all the other open source code that it controls. If it's too much hassle and shows no returns, goodbye.
    • by afabbro (33948)

      Oracle does things for one reason and one reason alone: to win by controlling the market. Beat the competition at all costs. That is the driving force of Larry Ellison and the mantra behind the company. Don't ever dream or wish with these guys - they don't operate that way. Example: Oracle will keep MySQL so long as it leads to sales of one sort or another. The same with all the other open source code that it controls. If it's too much hassle and shows no returns, goodbye.

      s/Oracle/$any_business/g

      • by rusl (1255318)

        That's not true. Not every business is so focused on the bottom line. Sure you could say the most successful ones are the most greedy. But greed backfires in the long run. Also I'd rather have quality of life than insane wealth any day. By volume, most business is small people doing local things. Small mom and pop operations do things for those around them, not just greed.

  • how long can you hold your breath? yeah, that long.

  • In what way is whOracle doing anything with open source other than attacking it?
    They are becoming the next SCO.

  • OpenOffice.org, being a huge project with lots of contributors, used Mercurial for version control (after a disastrous [apache.org] and painful [apache.org] switch to Subversion). LibreOffice uses Git.

    IBM^WApache OOo has decided that's not good enough. No, they're going back to ... Subversion [apache.org], 'cos NIH totally works [apache.org].

    Good luck! Let us know how that works out for you!

    • by opk (149665)

      What's so totally stupid is that the open source world has to put up with NIH. There's a number of these big software groupings: KDE, Gnome, FSF, Apache, Eclipse and they're all fairly guilty of it. Apache should stick with producing a web server. I really can't see why they didn't decline the Oracle offer of Open Office.

      • These days Apache does the world's Java infrastructure and, oh yeah, a web server. Their stuff's pretty good, though they have a nasty tendency to break stuff in minor versions.

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