Saturday, August 14, 2010

Is Oracle the new SCO?

I avoided Java for many years, partly because I thought it was a failure in language design and partly because I found Sun's tight control disconcerting. I avoided Solaris because of Sun's tight control and because there were plenty of satisfactory alternatives.

When OpenSolaris appeared, I began to experiment with it. It still felt risky, but operating systems are much easier to change than the languages you use to create software with, so the risks seemed acceptable. When Sun made moves to open Java up, I began to consider using it or, more likely, other languages that built on the JVM.

Then Sun fell in a hole and I put things on hold. I had some hopes for a takeover by IBM, based on my belief that that they might continue the Sun stuff of interest in a way I could live with. That might have been unduly optimistic, but is now irrelevant. IBM went away and Oracle stepped in. Oracle is not a company I have ever admired in any way and it is run by a man I find even less admirable than Bill Gates. But many analysts, who claimed to have better sources of information than I have, seemed to think that Oracle would probably continue with OpenSolaris and would certainly nurture Java.

Now it appears that OpenSolaris is dead. And Larry Ellison has decided to tackle Google over Java. I have no idea how that will unfold. I do know that Google have the money to withstand a legal challenge. I'd like to see Oracle do a SCO and collapse under the legal mess, although I fear that they might survive. I am certainly going to avoid OpenSolaris and Java for the next few months or years. I'm also starting to think about alternatives to OpenOffice. I'd love big Oracle customers to announce that they are going to walk away from Oracle because they can't rely on Oracle's ability to survive.

At least database technology is pretty much a solved problem and alternatives to Oracle exist and others can be created. So it will be possible for people to drop the Oracle database money pit. Getting everybody to walk away from their Java investments will be much harder, but I'd like to see people considering that too. At least I have nothing to lose, having no investment in either Java or Oracle. But I will be cheering for anybody who helps to cut the ground from under Oracle.

1 comment:

  1. is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government...


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