Red Hat is dismissing Oracle's new support program for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux application as a fork that will void certification and compatibility.
"This derivate will not be Red hat Enterprise Linux and customers will not have the assurance of compatibility with the Red hat Enterprise Linux ecosystem," Red Hat wrote on its website.
Oracle on Wednesday unveiled a support program for Red Hat's Linux distribution, undercutting Red Hat's support fees by as much as 60 percent. The database vendor also will offer indemnification and support for older software versions. Neither option is currently available from Red Hat, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison charged in a keynote on Wednesday.
Oracle will develop its own patches and requires users to change their update server from to an Oracle URL.
Charging that its Linux distribution is "unfakeble" Red Hat on its website warned that the Oracle updates will amount to changes to the code. Because these aren't certified by Red Hat, they may cause unexpected behaviour, invalidating Red Hat's hardware and software validations.
Red Hat also challenged the notion that is doesn't support older versions of its operating system. Red Hat subscribers instead receive updates for versions that are up to 7 years old and if needed can get hot-fixes.
Raven Zachary, a senior analyst covering open source for the 451 Group said that the fork discussion is mainly a matter of perception, but added that it is in Oracle's best interest to maintain compatibility.
Although Oracle has made its new support available to anybody and isn't limiting itself to current Oracle users, the new support offering will mostly appeal to current Oracle clients, said Zachary.
"If you're not an existing Oracle customer, I see only a cost advantage in talking to Oracle. But look at the disruption of changing installations. The cost savings isn't going to help much there," Zachary told vnunet.com.
Although Oracle advertises that switching support providers is as easy as changing the URL of the update server, Zachary warned that enterprises will still need to go through a full assessment.
"I don't know of a single enterprise that would change a technology without going through a full quality assurance cycle."
Oracle's support furthermore is all bad news for Red Hat. The offering validates Red Hat's Linux lead.
"Even though there has been a lot of focus on competition, it is solidifying Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the standard distribution."
Red Hat dismisses Oracle's 'fake' Linux support
By Tom Sanders on Oct 27, 2006 9:43AM