IBM Hesitant About Approving Oracle Linux

IBM is offering no guarantees that its Linux-based applications are compatible with Oracle’s new version of the Linux operating system.

As a result, users of the recently released Oracle Enterprise Linux OS who have problems integrating IBM applications will have to call on Oracle — or sort out the issues themselves.

Running on Linux

Although Oracle, which started selling Linux just last October, says its version of the operating system is identical to ones shipped from Red Hat, and further claims that it will seamlessly run any software written for the Red Hat system, IBM isn’t making any such promises to customers running IBM products on the Oracle Linux OS.

“I hardly find it surprising,” Gordon Haff, principal IT advisor at the research firm Illuminata, told the E-Commerce Times. “I don’t think Oracle had any reasonable expectations that other vendors were going to let Red Hat Linux Enterprise carry over to Oracle versions.”

Now, software buyers will likely want stronger assurances from Oracle before they make the jump to the company’s product, he said.

“[IBM’s stance] does clear up some confusion,” Haff added. “Plus, they are never averse to sticking a sharp stick in Oracle’s eyes.”

IBM guarantees its products will work with Red Hat’s version of Linux.

Red Hat and Novell

Big Blue has long maintained it would support two or more Linux distributions, because customers benefit from an open market and freedom of choice, IBM spokesperson John E. Charlson told the E-Commerce Times.

“Today, Red Hat and Novell, which represent 90 percent of enterprise Linux OS market for servers, are both strategic partners for IBM,” he said.

“We will evaluate other offerings based on customer and marketplace acceptance,” Charlson added.

Importance of Certification

Compatibility certifications from other software makers rank among Red Hat’s key selling points, Illuminata’s Haff noted, adding that certifications from IBM are important because it sells widely used programs that companies use to run large computer networks.

“From Oracle’s perspective, they did this essentially to create an Oracle appliance,” he said. “And Red Hat was a very reasonable base to do that from.”

The issue, in large part, comes down to risk mitigation in the enterprise.

“In general, what we have seen is ISVs (independent software vendors) have had very little appetite for certifying their applications on a lot of different distributions,” said Haff.

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