Oracle’s Community

And another thing! ZDNet’s Dana Blankenthorn points out one of the more interesting issues in the Oracle Linux new world order, the community’s perception. I didn’t comment on this in my previous post on the situation because, although it’s crucially important, it wasn’t within the scope of what I wanted to express. Dana notes that the Oracle support business for Linux “…is aimed, not at competition, but at domination.”

That is the perception one usually gets from reading news about Oracle’s moves. It is the perception selected from sound bites and media clips of Larry Ellison’s talks. Oracle conquers and dominates, it positions itself to have the appearance of shrewd aggression. It’s employees have commented on that feeling pervading their work environment. That has brought Oracle success in a proprietary software market. Can that approach carry it into the FOSS world?

Blankenthorn essentially is pointing out how Oracle will have to undergo some real change to be an accepted part of the FOSS community. What if Oracle chose not to care? Would it be able to pull off its support model successfully? That remains to be seen. Quickly combing through other companies in mind, I cannot recall any that have been successful delivering and supporting FOSS solutions and that did not somehow strive to be members in good-standing within the FOSS community. So when Oracle has initial customers on board with this initiative will it be able to continue and follow through down the road?

Maybe the conqueror will be changed by that which it has conquered.

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