What the Oracle Acquisition of Sun Means for Linux

jzemlin's picture

It’s no surprise that the executive director of the Linux Foundation would see good news for Linux in the unexpected announcement this morning of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, but I do feel it necessary to shed some light on how it may or may not affect Linux.

- Oracle is strategically aligned with Linux: Oracle is a Linux distributor, and all its products are developed and run on Linux. As Edward Screven, chief architect of Oracle, said in a keynote at our Collaboration Summit two weeks ago, “entering the Linux market was the right choice for Oracle.” They are also a major user: Oracle’s entire enterprise runs on Linux, and they are major contributors to the Linux kernel among other Linux projects.

- While Oracle specifically is calling out the software assets and upside in this deal, specially the acquisition of Java and Solaris, this does not mean they will lessen their support for Linux. In fact Oracle’s support for Linux is so crucial to the company, they felt it useful to say in the official press release that they will continue to be “committed as ever to Linux.”

- Oracle is first and foremost an applications and business software vendor, meaning they need to support the OS that the customer wishes to deploy their software on. Solaris has traditionally been a very popular OS choice for the Oracle DB. This acquisition makes a lot of sense for Oracle to fine tune Solaris for their products, but it certainly will not lessen the support or investment Oracle has in Linux. This isn’t a zero sum game. Much like IBM or HP who continue to build out their Linux businesses while sustaining their Unix investments, it’s about granting customers choice and making sure your software is optimized to run on the OS of their choice. In fact, Sun has an existing Linux business that has been growing in recent years.

- Oracle is a key supporter of open standards such as ODF and we believe this only strengthens that stance. This acquisition could prove fruitful for Open Office and ODF support in the enterprise. Both Oracle and Sun’s commitments to open standards based products and services that enable customer choice and effective integration amongst the variety of technology it takes to run a business is a win for technology consumers.

Both Sun and Oracle are members of the Linux Foundation, with Oracle a prominent supporter of the Foundation with its platinum membership. We look forward to working with the combined company to further the growth of open source, open standards, and Linux.