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Re: Ellison: OSS Needs Big Vendor to Thrive

Roy Schestowitz wrote:

> Say what you will...
> ,----[  ]
> |  
> | MARCH 02, 2006  (IDG NEWS SERVICE)  - The success of Linux and other
> | open-source projects has depended heavily on the support and investment
> | of major IT companies, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said on Thursday.
> | 
> | "Open-source becomes successful when major industrial corporations
> | invest heavily in that open-source project," Ellison said at a Tokyo
> | news conference. "Every open-source product that has become tremendously
> | successful became successful because of huge dollar investments from
> | commercial IT operations like IBM, Intel, Oracle and others," he said.
> |
> | He highlighted his own company's work in developing and promoting Linux
> | and said the operating system would not have enjoyed the success that it
> | has without vendor backing.
> | 
> | "There's a lot of romantic notions about open-source," Ellison said.
> | "That just from the air these developers contribute and don't charge.
> | Let me tell you the names of the companies that developed Linux: IBM,
> | Intel, Oracle -- not a community of people who think everything should
> | be free. Open-source is not a communist movement."
> |
> | [...]
> `----

He is wrong.  I don't say that Linux hasn't benefitted greatly by the input
of the majors IBM, SunSystems, HP and others mentioned, but he is wrong in
suggesting that without their input Linux wouldn't have continued on it's
upward path.

A great deal of the development of Linux still happens in small voluntary
teams and still sometimes individuals. Just look at the number and scale of
the projects currently going on in sourceforge. Sourceforge is massive, the
front page of the web site gives little indication of the scale of the
development attached to Linux. How long has sourceforge been bringing the
programmers together, is it 15 years or so, before then you had many
groups/individuals scattered around the internet, just harder to find them.

Remember that Linux was already a strong and complete server before the big
names even noticed it was there, it was seen as a toy, or a programmers
platform so he/she could test code and scripts before moving them to the
proper server (UNIX). But was already a very stable server. I admit that I
saw early Linux like that too, who would have thought back then that it
would get to this point now where it can take over the job that UNIX used
to do, and is doing just that at a very fast pace according to the
UNIX/Linux press.

Many big names only got involved when the desktop side was building
momentum, seeing it as a way to get out of the shackles of MS. All these
fights we have had and are currently having with MS being anti-linux, the
big boys have already fought. Having to do the likes of providing modules
for MS platforms to get round the anti-UNIX route that MS clients were
taking, making it difficult to use UNIX printers and communications paths
were two major ones for a long time, with the only cure coming from third
parties or software developed inhouse.

MS had some kissing their feet while they were taking over the world, 'If
your not nice to MS then we may well cut you off the network'. NT sold a
lot of machines for no other reason than some areas that a UNIX could
already do were cut off from MS clients. The directors would say 'Why not
buy an NT because it can already do the things we want'. Arguing that the
only reason a UNIX can't is because MS chose a packet system of their own
rather than a common one never holds water with directors, they not in the
business of protesting, they just want the application or what ever the
server was offering.

SunSystems were always a biggy, I can't remember a time when they weren't up
there in the top three. They really went up on my mental podium when they
stood up to MS over java. It will of cost them in trading agreements
somewhere. Many of us in our ignorance were thinking that SunSystems were
wrong and should share java. How wrong we would have been, had MS got their
hands on the java source, after what we have all seen them do with
application programming languages, then we would have had zero security on
any computer.

IBM had been bubbling under in the Linux world for quite some time, I
remember a post I did around the year 1998 about the projects that IBM were
either directly involved in or just giving support for. 

>From a client point of view, the office applications have of cause been
major to Linux success, OO and StarOffice. Though others were around too,
these stand out more I think because they leapt from unknown to suddenly
being a fully fledged rival to any office suite around.

So yes, I acknowledge the input of the big name companies, and I'm happy for
them to make an income from Linux within the License terms. But we mustn't
forget the teams of voluntary programmers, spending their time and in most
cases their own money (on developer platforms and hardware), then the time
spent on support while trying to make ready for a next release. 

I'm not surprised that Oracle are a little scared though, MySQL and Postgres
may not have the beef yet to push Oracle asside, but the rate that they are
growing from the new levels of both, it looks like they have Oracle in
their sites. Then too, in many databases you do not need the more powerfull
and expensive Oracle, so many a more minor project that at one time might
have had to be ran on an overkill-database engine, can now use Mysql or

Sorry, that man got my back up. Oracle is good and still a major in large
projects, but I wont let them spit shite at Linux. They could have joined
us, but they didn't, so sod 'em.

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