Oracle is putting its full weight behind the Linux open source operating in a bid to compete more effectively against Microsoft.
The database supplier rolled out a Linux version of its database and application server at Internet World in New York this week, but also said it intended to licence and support the operating system (OS) itself.
The database supplier originally announced the port in July, but since then, most of its major rivals have followed suit. Only Microsoft has stood out against the Linux ground swell and its SQL Server database appears destined to remain a Windows NT-only offering.
But, Mark Jarvis, Oracle?s senior vice president of marketing, said, "Microsoft is quaking in its boots over Linux," and as a result, the company intends to put its weight behind the open source operating system.
It plans to provide users with support services for the actual OS rather than simply the Linux version of its database, making it one of the first major industry players to do so. The move is also a first for Oracle, which has never played in the operating system space before.
"Ultimately, we?re going to be a one stop shop for Linux", said Jarvis, who added that the company would sell and support a Linux bundle, which included its database and tools.
But he continued that Oracle was more likely to license one of the popular versions of Linux than develop its own, although he acknowledged that the existence of many variants posed a problem. "We are all set to support four Linux versions", he claimed.
"Every sale of Windows NT Server is a potential threat to us. Look at Microsoft?s strength. If you have a problem with the operating system, the database or the tools, you call Microsoft. We want to do the same with Linux. We will support the complete stack," he explained.
Jarvis said that almost 20,000 Linux programmers had already signed up for the firm?s development programme, while the total number of Oracle developers had doubled to 110,000 from 55,000 over the past two months.
At the same time, Oracle is also investing $100 million in a developer programme that will be staffed by 100 people to try and stimulate the development of "Internet Computing" applications.
Under the scheme, software developers will receive free licenses for Oracle?s database and tools for the first time, and will also receive free education, support and access to software libraries.
Oracle?s policy of charging for licenses in the past meant that "we segmented ourselves off into the high-end," Jarvis explained, something that he is now keen to change.
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