october 25, 2006

Oracle's Unbreakable Linux is basically a Red Hat Enterprise Linux rebuild. Oracle is taking RHEL source, stripping out the copyrighted logos, and recompiling it themselves. This is something that CentOS does also, but CentOS is giving away updates for free. Oracle is charging $99 a year for their updates only. They promise quicker bug fixes than Red Hat can provide -- but, really are they going to change things when they don't what to "fragment" RHEL and when they promise RHEL binary compatibility? My guess is that the updates will mostly be RHEL updates recompiled. So, now if you want a RHEL clone, you have three choices: Free (CentOS), cheap (Oracle), or gold standard (Red Hat). Will Oracle's entrance into the market by rebuilding RHEL code hurt Red Hat? Not as much as people will say. Whatever bug fixes Oracle implements, Red Hat will be able to take advantage of. That should lower costs for Red Hat. Red Hat will probably have to start lowering support costs though. I doubt that there will be a wholesale jumping of ship from Red Hat over to Oracle, but there will be customers lost. For regular guys like me, it doesn't make much difference. I use CentOS which provides "network access" for free. Maybe if free RHEL clones started disappearing, then I would pay up. But, for me CentOS is a damn good deal since I don't need support -- and for $99 with Oracle, you get only updates, no support.

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