The Humane Society of the United States

Oracle's proprietary Linux kernel: Proceed with caution


Oracle has been called "A virtual memory manager that speaks SQL". In running several very large systems with Oracle, I'm struck by how close to being a full operating system Oracle has always been. Completing the package with a Linux underpinning finally overcomes Oracle's greatest Achilles Heel -- limitations of the O/S it is running on.

Oracle is built around an extremely efficient and robust virtual memory manager that can talk directly to disk (or go through the O/S) anticipating what data is needed and loading it into memory. It's versioning (instead of locks, it creates a new copy of the data) prevents data loss while improving performance. In my view, Oracle does this better than any other product.

That said, I won't use Oracle products (and that now includes MySQL and OpenOffice) because of what I see as their predatory and deceptive business practices. (I'm only mortal so I can't afford them anyhow!)

However, developers of other products would do well to study Oracle and try to use its best concepts (without violating copyrights or patents of course).

The better PostGreSQL and other FOSS products can compete with Oracle, the better all database products will become -- even Oracle.

Our economy, and that of most of the world, depends on vibrant capitalism.

Capitalism depends on competition.

One or a few dominant companies in a market reduce competition.

Thus the health of our economy requires that no product be allowed to dominate a market. Oracle and MS-SQL dominate the database market.

Since anti-trust prosecution has become almost non-existant in this country, it falls on us -- every one of us -- to make the extra effort to seek out new products rather than just buying the "market leader". And as developers, it is our responsibility to never stop creating and improving products to serve us better.

I applaud Oracle for adopting Linux.

I condem it for maintaining the charade "Open Source".

Oracle on Linux will become more integrated as time goes by. It will become virtually impossible to tell where one leaves off and the other begins. This benefits everyone.

But I wish they'd stop calling it "Linux"!

It's now a proprietary branch off of RHEL and because it's proprietary, I don't think they should be allowed to call it "Linux". To me, that deceives people into believing Oracle produces "open source software" which couldn't be further from the truth.