If you haven’t known it already, here is confirmation that a lot of people thinks that Oracle and Open Source don’t mix. IMHO, with the acquisition of SUN, Oracle had leapfrog Microsoft as Open Source biggest enemy.With Microsoft, we see only concerted barrage of marketing material and FUDs. With Oracle, we see good solid Open Source projects once spearheaded by SUN got sidelined or people losing confident in them. Microsoft is like enemy at the other side of the wall, Oracle is like the enemy within. The enemy within is the more dangerous one.
With Oracle, we finally can put the theory that Open Source software has a community behinds it and can survive beyond its main commercial sponsor. We are spoil for testbed to choose: LibreOffice, Jenkins, and GridEngine. What we need is time for this experiment to run its due course. So far, we only see the initial euphoria.
Not that Oracle cares about its reputation in open source. If I am frank, why should it? It is a company famous for making hard-nosed business decision and is thriving from its ability to make such decision.
The only thing that came slightly surprised is RedHat feels it needs to react to Oracle by making it harder for Oracle to repackage RedHat Enterprise Linux ad Oracle Unified Linux. Brian Profitt’s article put it into context why the slight change in RedHat distribution strategy (releasing a big tar ball instead of vanilla kernel plus patches) means to developers’ universe (including Oracle’s). Quite simply, it is a nuance. Instead of giving you a step-by-step guide on what had changed, you have to find out what changes had been made by reverse engineering. It sticks to the letter of GPL but arguably not the spirit: Part or the point of Open Source is to make reverse engineering, the way you have to do with RedHat’s big tar ball, redundant. However, it must be said that RedHat still contribute changes ‘upstream’ (supplying changes back to the kernel development), which is the more important part compared to ‘downstream’ (make it easier for people to modify RedHat’s source).
The sad thing is, rather than RedHat getting all the blame, Open Source supporters like me simply accept it as a (almost necessary) consequence of Oralce’s bad boy behaviour: Another point against Oracle.