A blog for the enterprise open source community
What did Oracle ever do for open source? Part two.Matthew Aslett, November 14, 2007 @ 4:01 pm ET
Here at OpenWorld Oracle hosted a round table on its open source strategy earlier today. Here’s what happened as it happened, including Berkeley DB, Oracle VM, InnoDB, and what Oracle really thinks of MySQL. NB All comments are paraphrased unless direct quote marks are used.
Ken Jacobs, VP of product strategy, server technologies division.
Omar Tazi, chief open source evangelist
Mike Olson, VP embedded technology, former Sleepycat CEO
Ed Screven, chief corporate architect
(Moderating) Monica Kumar, senior director product marketing, Linux and open source
Wim Coekaerts, VP of Linux engineering, corporate architecture
MK: How does Berkeley DB fit into the product portfolio? Any changes since acquired by Oracle?
MO: Berkeley DB is aimed at a very different kind of user. Built by programmers for programmers providing Low level persistence. Distributed under an open source licenses. Sleepycat license behaves like the GPL, but you can choose a closed source license. That was Sleepycat’s business as a small company. Saw an immediate opportunity in devices that could not exploit as a small company. “The real change that I’ve seen is that I finally have the marketing and sales support. What hasn’t changed is target market, the way we develop the software, engage with the community.”
MK: What contributions from Oracle VM will go back to Xen?
ES: One component is the Xen hypervisor, Working with other Xen developers to fix bugs and use a cut down version OEL as DOM 0. Management console is not open source; it is built using OC4J, Oracle XE and OCF. Oracle’s worked with other folks in the community, including XenSource, to make Xen a better product.
WC: “All the things we do go back to the community. We want to make sure the server CD is something other people can replicate as well.” Oracle will make sure Oracle VM is as close to the mainline Xen version as possible.
ES: “The way that we approach open source is definitely very different from other companies. We don’t try to differentiate based on creating forked versions of the code, we differentiate based on support and testing.” Oracle VM is a product that has Xen as a component, it’s not really Xen. “Our value add to customers is the level of support and testing. Linux vendors have differentiated by adding their own components. We didn’t want to do that. Unlike some other companies in this space we release the full binaries. That’s something that Red Hat do not do.”
MK: What about Oracle’s free products?
KJ: Low cost of acquisition one of the hallmarks of open source. “Oracle historically has had a reputation of being difficult to buy products from. Some people think free is a four letter word in the Oracle lexicon; actually we’ve been delivering free software a very long time.” Free to download, but also free to deploy and free to distribute. Oracle XE. It is free to download, deploy and redistribute. Likewise JDeveloper SQL Developer – products easy to get and use from Oracle. Private source. I think people are becoming somewhat more mature. It is not only a matter of ease of distribution or whether it’s called open source or not, it’s whether it meets technical needs and is easy to adopt and deploy.
MK: What contributions have been made to PHP?
OT: Scripting language becoming increasingly popular. Use Oracle XE with PHP and upgrade to SE or EE without having to change anything in your source code. Oracle has worked closely with Zend and added support for many new features in Oracle 11g.
KJ: There’s a lot of info on OTN on all of our open source offerings. Info on PHP, Groovy and other open source technologies. Another example is integration of JRuby with the stack. “We’re active in scripting languages. Very popular as a means of building quick applications. App Express is another quick way of building web-based apps. It’s free but not free as in kumbaya free.”
MK: How does Oracle use open source internally?
WC: Pretty much all of Oracle’s internal production and development systems run on Linux across the whole company. Linux by itself is across the whole company. Also uses a lot of Python. It’s really across the whole co. 10,000 Linux servers that run Oracle on-demand.
Question from the floor: Customer has groups looking at LAMP stack and MySQL in particular. What advice does Oracle have for customers and groups looking at LAMP?
KJ: The OPAL stack: Oracle, Perl/PHP, Apache, Linux. Having been responsible for the InnoDB storage engine within Oracle, knows that MySQL very simple easy to use product and it does a lot of things very well: web-sites, content delivery. It’s not made its mark in transactional, OLTP, not in data warehousing. Oracle User Group survey: there is use of MySQL throughout the Oracle community, but then the questions start to get interesting. Where people are using MySQL is at the periphery, in apps that don’t have high uptime, scalability, and security requirements. The questions really are whether you’re going to purchase support for MySQL, how you’re going to do backups?
“We acquired InnoDB two years ago. Continue to invest in InnoDB and be good partners with MySQL and expand our open source activities in database. MySQL is very complementary to Oracle, I don’t think it’s a replacement for Oracle.” Achieving scale is very hard. Some of the large social network sites out there, not all of which sue MySQL, if you were to talk to MySQL DBAs you’d find different mindset and discipline than Oracle DBAs. The methods used to gain scale are very different. It’s about TCO. It’s not just licensing and support its administrative effort you have to put into it.
Question from the floor: Why did Oracle buy InnoDB and what has it added to the company?
ES: Make money and interesting technology.
KJ: “We’ve gained credibility in the open source community. People thought we were going to screw over MySQL and we didn’t do that, so I think we gained some credibility. I think we’ve learned a lot about how to engage in the open source community, and personally I’ve had a lot of fun.”
MO: MySQL is working on its own and partnering with third party storage engines. If you’re using MySQL storage engine today you’re using Oracle technology and I predict that will be the case for the next five years. Replacement storage engines still young and in development.
Question from the floor: If I’m developing to Oracle products on Red Hat with Xen…
ES: “The only general purpose virtualization solution we certify our products on is Oracle VM.”
Question from the floor: Will you support xVM announced by Sun?
ES: “We don’t certify our product on xVM, we don’t have any plans to…” A virtualization solution is more than the hypervisor layer, it’s also DOM 0 and the management layer.
See also part one, including Oracle’s engagement with open source communities and contributions to Linux and open source middleware.
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