Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has announced the release of the vendor's own Linux kernel, slamming its existing Linux partner Red Hat for being too slow to update the version traditionally used by Oracle customers.
Oracle had, for the last four years, offered a Red Hat-compatible Linux distribution - the Oracle branded 'Unbreakable Linux' - and claimed to have 5,000 customers using the operating system.
Last night at Oracle OpenWorld, Ellison announced the release of Oracle's own 'Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel', which will be offered as a choice alongside its Red Hat compatible distribution and the Solaris operating system.
Ellison criticised Red Hat for being too slow to incorporate community improvements in its distribution.
"There are issues with us maintaining 100 percent compatibility with Red Hat Linux," Ellison said.
Ellison said that Red Hat "adopts community enhancements very slowly" and is currently offering partners like Oracle a version of Linux that is "four years behind the mainline."
"It's four years behind the times," Ellison claimed. "We can't afford to be four years behind in software."
Ellison said Oracle felt it could provide a Linux kernel of its own with superior performance and reliability.
"We were having real problems with the Linux OS not offering the performance we needed," he said.
"[So] we had to change the kernel," he said. "We had to change Linux."
Ellison promised that its Linux kernel deliver "dramatically better performance that you will get from Red Hat". It would also be more vigorously tested for compatibility with Oracle products.
But he also took care to comfort those of Oracle's 5,000 customers already using the Red Hat compatible version.
"We are going to keep Red Hat compatibility for the long term," he said. "We are going to keep that commitment, but deliver you the option of running the Unbreakable Kernel also."
Red Hat has been contacted for comment.