Oracle Fires Another Shot Over Red Hat's Bow

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 21, 2011

Oracle announced today that it had bought Ksplice Inc., the company behind the software that allows a rebootless kernel change. This exciting technology was welcomed by the Linux community and was even provided free of cost to Fedora users. Knowing Oracle's track record, this will undoubtedly cause worry throughout the community.

Oracle isn't planning on shutting this one down, although the blogs are currently down, but is planning on using it to offer zero downtime guarantees. In fact, the very wording of their press release almost comes out and states that this technology willl no longer be available to other distribution makers.

Oracle believes it will be the only enterprise Linux provider that can offer zero downtime updates, and expects to make the Ksplice technology a standard feature of Oracle Linux Premier Support. (emphasis added)

It sounds like a direct shot across Red Hat's bow, one of their main competitors. While CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu Server, and CloudLinux were also supported by Ksplice, Oracle has been encroaching into Red Hat territory for quite some time. It began when Oracle provided support services for Red Hat customers years ago. But perhaps the most notorious case was Oracle Linux and their Unbreakable Kernel based on Red Hat. Red Hat was even forced to ship its kernel sources as one big tarball instead of separating out the patches as has been the convention for years. Red Hat's the only supported distribution publicly traded and has done very well for itself; currently trading at 44.74‎, up .27% at close and 2.10% in after hours trading today. Oracle was up today on news of the acquisition trading at 32.47, up 1.23%‎.

Given the history, few doubt this was to gain an advantage over Red Hat specifically. No word from Red Hat or Fedora on the matter as of yet, but the implications will become apparent in coming days.