I was in San Francisco for Oracle World. I even spoke briefly in Thomas Kurian’s keynote on Java middleware. But Neelan and I had to leave on Tuesday and missed the Big Deal: Larry Ellison announcing that Oracle are offering support for Linux.
This is an interesting event from the perspective of the open source business. What are the wider implications?
Oracle are offering support for an open source product that they did not create and don’t control.
This is possible for a number of reasons:
- Linux is not a product. It is a class of technology, and companies or organizations assemble, document, distribute and support products.
- Linux support is already commoditized to some extent. Red Hat is only one of several distributors offering support.
- The leadership of Linux is diffused. Linus Torvalds does not work for a big distributor; Red Hat does more than most but no single company provides clear leadership.
- The leadership of Linux matters less than you think. Linux is not primarily an engine of innovation, but an engine of commodization.