Home > Open Source > Open Source Needs Backing To Succeed Open Source Needs Backing To Succeed Submitted by Jan 2005-09-26 Open Source 17 Comments Open-source databases will not succeed without commercial support, says Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle. “One of the myths of open-source is that it’s built by a bunch of guys who work at RadioShack.” About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 17 Comments 2005-09-26 2:53 pm This coming from the guy that sings “unbreakable Oracle” every chance he gets??? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen MULTIPLE security alerts for their “unbreakable” products. You’d think their stuff was coded in Redmond. Who cares what that joker has to say. I’d venture to say his credibility is barely a notch above SCO’s. JT 2005-09-26 2:59 pm Guess he’s never heard of that database called MySQL eh? The problem with too many of these guys are they are so disconnected from the rest of the IT world they are clueless. Sure most of the OSS databases have a ways to go in certain areas but have seen some serious improvements in the last few years. The future of open source databases looks very bright. 2005-09-26 8:37 pm As a MySQL developer I fully agree 2005-09-27 6:26 am sappyvcv mySQL is very nice and impressive, and works great for smaller projects, but it simply does not scale well. 2005-09-26 3:18 pm It is a myth that FOSS is written by a bunch of unpaid hobbyists. Sure, lots of unpaid hobbyists contribute, but a whole lot of code is written by people who are paid to write it. The article is correct. IBM, HP, Redhat, Novell, Intel, etc. all contribute. That’s not to say, however, that FOSS is somehow in danger due to a lack of support. Those companies already support open source. 2005-09-26 3:19 pm Larry Ellison can pontificate all he wants about the software industry as a whole, but it glosses over the fact he’s one of those that “just doesn’t get it”. First, there’s no myth that open-source software is developed by guys at Radioshack. I buy batteries at Radioshack and I get the impression that the staff don’t do much programming, not even VCRs and IR remotes. The notion that corporate backing is necessary for “open source” software to succeed is, of course, demonstrably untrue. Clearly the most nettling problem of open source for corporations is that it doesn’t go away and that paid and unpaid contributors are both having impact. GCC? KDE? … Sure, money will speed along certain projects, but only the select few that patrons want. The rest hum along as they were (and may always be). I once interviewed for a moderately high level position at Oracle and got to meet a very impressive combination of upper-management, project managers, and lead developers. What really struck me was that short of the fundamental database — their core competence — they had no direction or concrete goals. Everything that they touched that was an application on top of the database was more or less slapped together as a value-add to their product without really thinking through the requirements of the application. In my particular case, they were attempting to impress me with certain features that they built into their database specifically to be used by individuals in my particular (very specialized) field — not recognizing that there are all sorts of practical reasons why nobody would ever use it that way. They wasted a year of development (3 FTEs) on a feature that they had no evidence anybody actually used. I think what Ellison is tryin to say is something like, “dear shareholders, worry not for PostgreSQL will never supplant us because there’s no central organization to purchase professional services from for it.” That’s not right. The only issues that keep PostgreSQL from supplanting Oracle are technical ones and as PSQL matures, Oracle will be increasingly less relevent. Incidentally, ever find mention in Oracle literature of a great sounding database feature only to not find any sensible documentation about how to use it? Having dealt with their professional services people, I can only conclude that even Oracle isn’t clear how those features work (the original developer must have left prematurely). 2005-09-26 3:46 pm I code F/OSS. I was kicked out of a Radioshack once for “hacking”. Also kicked out of my highschool library, suspended from computer class, etc. Now I’m “hacking” professionally on Linux making 6 figures and getting high every night. This just goes to show how unimportant traditional things like education and respect are in the real world. Whats important is what you know. If you /know/ computers you can get a job making bank writing GPL software. You don’t need to go to school, you just have to read the man pages. I offer my services for just under market value for F/OSS businesses. Closed source and NDA options are available at twice the price, plus additional fees, benefits, taxes, surcharges, and royalties. Not available in all areas. 2005-09-26 6:20 pm ma_d You’re an insult to your work. I seriously doubt your credibility. I’ve known too many people who are stoned every night to believe that you can keep the short term memory needed to code well while being a serious stoner. Not to mention how immensely fat you’d have to be to be a pothead at night and a programmer by day . And if it’s another drug, well it only gets worse and permanent. 2005-09-26 6:23 pm ma_d You’re an insult to your work. I seriously doubt your credibility. I’ve known too many people who are stoned every night to believe that you can keep the short term memory needed to code well while being a serious stoner. Not to mention how immensely fat you’d have to be to be a pothead at night and a programmer by day . And if it’s another drug, well it only gets worse and permanent. 2005-09-26 11:27 pm Absolutely pathetic. A sad individual and I doubt your software is of any quality whatsoever. Grow up, son. 2005-09-26 4:05 pm I think what Ellison is tryin to say is something like, “dear shareholders, worry not for PostgreSQL will never supplant us because there’s no central organization to purchase professional services from for it.” That’s not right. The only issues that keep PostgreSQL from supplanting Oracle are technical ones and as PSQL matures, Oracle will be increasingly less relevent. I couldn’t agree more, all the major OSS DBMS have a central organization to purchase support from. Having said that, I don’t think any of them offer the level of support that Oracle offers at it’s insanely expensive highest level of support (though they might do if they thought there was a chance anyone would pay for it). To my knowledge, the expensive part of using Oracle isn’t the software licenses it is the support costs. I would certainly agree that this statement is purely for the benefit of shareholders. What is interesting is the subtext of what Larry is saying. It seems to me almost like he is admitting a certain amount of defeat. He can no longer claim that Oracle is light years ahead of the compitition, in terms of technical features. 2005-09-26 4:25 pm Smartpatrol It amazes me that a complete moron like Larry Ellison can be the CEO of such a high dollar company. Now I’m “hacking” professionally on Linux making 6 figures and getting high every night. Sounds like fun your code quality is directly related to how much cronic you smoke. Please post your name so i can avoid any open source software you write or contribute too. 2005-09-26 8:12 pm On a project I work on we had a stoner that implemented support for third party vendor ICDs of GL drivers and a fall back system to load a Mesa3d when the vendor GL does not implement required functions. There are quite a few potheads that can function properly and code quite well. 2005-09-26 11:06 pm butters I for one would like to see a comparison showing where the OSS databases fall short of the proprietary ones. Something tells me that one of the major problems is that the test hardware is really expensive. As for the other issue discussed here, I’ve found that it usually takes me about 25% longer to write the code, but I usually have about 25% fewer bugs initially. I keep going, “wait! will this actually work?… yeah, ok, man, everything’s cool.” But for long coding session you typically need cigarettes and massive amounts of coffee or mountain dew. The tunes are also very important. I recommend the crystal method, dj shadow, square pusher, or any other uptempo house or trance. Blacklights, incense, glow in the dark mushroom candles… they’re all part of the productive coding experience. I would highly discourage programming while under the influence of alcohol or any disassociative, psychoactive, or euphoric substances. It won’t be an enjoyable experience, and you won’t get any useful work done. How’s this for an offtopic discussion!! 2005-09-27 2:30 am morgoth Who cares? It’s just another proprietary software developer trying to justify their existence. It’s nothing more than FUD. Nothing to see here, move along! Dave PS I’ve seen 2 major corporations (Toshiba Australia and Canon Australia) upgraded to Oracle 11 and have nothing but problems with it – taking up to six months to sort itself out. Not good. 2005-09-27 1:46 pm Sphinx I’m sure many fine midnight engineers have worked at radio shack, hardly deserving of such a disparaging remark. Without the fine efforts of their ilk there would be no open source and Larry would be even richer. Someday they may put him out of business. 2005-09-27 3:18 pm SUN hardware + Oracle DBMS + J2EE = fast + expensive + pretty reliable One of the thing why some ppl don’t use MySQL i heard because of the syntax issue back then ? compatibility between versions regarding the syntax. Correct me if I’m wrong. I just don’t get it with you guys, if OSS software are DAMN good, why the mass professional haven’t use it ? We keep calling them professional, so they should know better which product is better and cost effective. All you can do is bitching toward commercial software. Why don’t you do something on the OSS side before it’s too late and bitching/flaming isn’t one of them.