Oracle and Linux: It's all about the money

Oracle loves Linux. Why? Because it helps its business while hurting that of others.

I stumbled across this article today, which goes a long way toward explaining Oracle's affection for Linux. I fault Oracle for the way it went about embracing Linux, but I don't fault its financial acumen:

Last quarter, [Oracle] pointed out that its database market share actually tends to improve when customers move to Linux, which has been a fast-growing server operating system for much of the decade. And Oracle is poised to capitalize on open-source trends in other ways. For instance, the company distributes Linux for free, and makes money by offering support.

So far so good: earlier this year CEO Larry Ellison reported that Oracle is in the early stages of selling high-margin Linux support contracts, some for as much as $500,000 a pop. Ellison claims the open-source strategy is also helping to lure database business away from competitors. "We're just taking share right away from IBM on mainframes and we're taking share away from Microsoft using Linux," he told analysts in September.

Linux = great way for Oracle to club its competitors, in other words. Too bad it felt it had to treat Red Hat as collateral damage along the way. But for that gauche moment, we'd all be cheering Oracle in its Linux efforts.

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