back to article Oracle forms new 'axis of evil' against open source, claims Adobe

Oracle has replaced Microsoft as the FOSS community’s number one enemy, according to Adobe System’s open source boss. David McAllister, the Flash and Photoshop maker’s open source and standards director, said in a blog post yesterday that the implosion of the OpenSolaris Governing Board highlighted how “the axis of evil has …


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  1. ripratm

    Go Adobe

    Thanks for being the guiding light for open source software. Takes a lot of nerve to stand up from an almost 100% closed source company and start talking crap about FOSS. Judging by the amount of FOSS in your own company I can see you carry a lot of clout.

    1. DrXym

      Well they do have some open source

      See here:

      Not a huge amount, but things like the Flex SDK and ActionScript lib are open source. Adobe have also been relatively laid back about PDF and Postscript. PDF is an open standard for example which is why there are so many free and non-free viewers and tools for it.

      1. ripratm

        give me a break adobe

        Oh boy, an open source SDK of a product I've never heard of. and a library (I went to the site the only thing I saw that I knew what it actually was, is webkit). Not bashing on you, just this guy probably is a suit who's has a title.

        It would have been one thing if he stood up and said, I don't like what Oracle is doing vs using the quote “the axis of evil has shifted south about 850 miles or so”. Thats pretty extreme for a closed source company (hell MS probably has the same number of opensource projects as Adobe).

        screw him

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well they do have some open source

        Open libraries and spec are not much. All of the Unix vendors have done this since the beginning of time (Unix time that is). Adobe does not allow anyone to edit PDF, just view. They only allow others to write to their "open" libraries... What open source products have they released again?

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Adobe "laid back" about pdf?

        Are you kidding. "... so man free and non-free viewers and tools for it." You're nuts! One quick

        Google of "adobe pdf lawsuit" shows just how many companies Adobe have sued for making any kind of tool that will edit or create their "open" PDF standard. You can read PDF, but that's it... It is not an open standard. Adobe does not do open standards (defacto is another thing).

        Even Microsoft is more open than Adobe. There are lots of third party tools that can edit or even create Word documents, for instance. Microsoft doesn't like it, but I don't recall them ever suing anyone for it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Adobe and FOSS

      On the whole there is a lot to agree with in what you say, except for the fact that Adobe do get involved in producing FOSS where it helps them.

      they have FOSS projects under the Mozilla license to do with porting Flash 64 bit to Linux, and they have fingers in the pies of a lot of browser development.

      Oracle are doing a splendid job of alienating communities at the moment though. OpenSolaris is a real kick in the teeth, Java is another ...

      I'm hoping that anything under the GPL is probably safe (MySQL and hopefully VirtualBox and OpenOffice) which Oracle in the past has seemed to treat that differently, because if any individual piece of code in a project is not "owned" by Oracle (the CDDL and accompanying user agreement allowed Sun to claim ownership of your code) they would have trouble changing those projects.


      1. Lou Gosselin

        Missed the patent angle.

        "I'm hoping that anything under the GPL is probably safe"

        Anything sun produced under the gpl can be forked, renamed and continue to survive independently if the open source community manage to reorganize.

        However, it is possible oracle posses software patents which, like it or not, gives them a legal authority to prevent open community efforts which infringe on "oracle's intellectual property".

        I put that in quotes because ownership of intellectual ideas is an outrageously illogical concept.

        1. Mr Spoon

          @Lou Gosselin

          Indeed. Suddenly GPLv3 doesn't seem like such a bad idea eh?

      2. gnufreex


        Java (OpenJDK) is also GPL. Java is safe. Google Dalvik is not, like Microsoft J++ isn't.

  2. Solomon Grundy


    So the extremely successful company isn't pushing FREE PRODUCTS as much as everyone would like? How strange...

  3. calagan

    Not much of an Ellison fan but...

    ...Wasn't it the right move to can OpenSolaris? Wouldn't it be better is all Open Source backers would focus on OSs based on the Linux kernel?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Move along people, no title to see here

      "Wouldn't it be better is all Open Source backers would focus on OSs based on the Linux kernel"


    2. FARfetched

      Not so much

      Choice is good, cross-pollination is better. If OpenSolaris has a vuln that Linux already fixed (or vice versa), there's potentially less effort needed to port that fix.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Filesystem fanboys.

      Yes, it would be better to focus on real open source kernel (and not fauxpen like sunos) but they are religious about ZFS. They can't get it is just a filesystem and not a way of life.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I hear the EU is about to start a probe into Oracle's dealings

    Seems they are not living up to their promises

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: I hear the EU is about to start a probe into Oracle's dealings

      Funny... The EU is a joke.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        ...the ones that Knocked MS and Intel down a peg or to....

        Lot more balls than the US.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          re: Really....

          The EU just spends a lot of time wringing their hands protecting European Tech Companies (read SAP). Oracle called their bluff, the EU pissed themselves, and Oracle got what they wanted. The EU has less balls than my boys hamster.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Let's see...

    Oracle contributes to:

    Linux dev (btrfs)

    Berkley DB (own)

    GlassFish (from Sun/own)

    InnoDB (Own)

    MySQL (from Sun/own)

    OOo (from Sun/own)

    VirtualBox (from Sun/own)

    Contribute to lots of other projects they don't own

    What does Adobe contribute to or even own in the FOSS world?

    Crickets chirping...

    1. Simpson

      I see...

      I wonder how hard they'll be working on btrfs, now that they own zfs? I'm sure they say that they will put just as much time into it, but will they?

      As they now own zfs, they could save a lot of development time, by simply changing the license on zfs. But would they?

      My magic 8-ball says "ask again later".

  6. JaitcH

    I'm with Google and Adobe on this one

    Larry Ellison has always been a publicity seeker and controversial.

    He and Steve Jobs make a wonderful pair ... of fruit cakes.


      Stop ignoring vdpau you hypocrites!

      Larry has his problems certainly.

      However, the fact that his company was OK with Linux help put it on the map at a time when everyone else was trying to ignore or bury it. Adobe really hasn't done very many favors for Linux. They tend to help "spread the FUD" in their particular area of expertise (desktops).

      Adobe is in no position to talk here. They like to put out crap and then make lame excuses.

      Adobe: add full support for vdpau into Flash and then come and talk.

      Better yet: actually support Linux in some meaningful fashion.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    The good news

    It seems that the bottom feeders are all fighting each other now.

  8. Kebabbert

    OpenSolaris dead, so what?

    There have been several previews of the Solaris 11 source code, released as binary distros with source code from Sun/Oracle:

    1) Solaris Express Community Editiion - SXCE. Released every other week.

    2) Solaris Express Developer Editiion - SXDE. Dies in a couple of years.

    3) SXCE dies in favour of OpenSolaris

    4) OpenSolaris dies and Solaris 11 Express will be released at the end of 2010.

    And then we have all the other community distros based on Solaris 11 source code: Schillix, Nexenta, Milax, Korona, etc etc etc etc.

    I dont really see the problem that another Solaris 11 distro is killed, and a new one released? I would see a problem if Oracle killed Solaris 11, but no. Basically it is just Oracle rebranding from OpenSolaris to Solaris 11 Express. What is the problem?

    Sun had 35.000 customers. Oracle has 350.000 customers. Larry Ellison will try to make them switch to Solaris 11 with new killer features in the combo OracleDB + Solaris 11. Maybe based on DTrace? Solaris 11 will play very well and tight with OracleDB. Oracle has ~ 75% of the database market: OracleDB + MySQL. IBM DB2 has ~15%. Oracle is no 1 in the database market, they will really try to make customers to switch.

    Larry will also see that there will be business reasons to switch. Earlier there were only technical reasons. The Solaris future is much brighter than under Sun.

    1. Mark 65

      Oracle DB and market share

      If they want people to switch maybe they should ease up a touch on their licensing costs. Moving to an Oracle backed/supported/enhanced MySQL with less onerous licensing costs would be a start but you'd just have a little inkling as a corporate that you were going to get f***ed somewhere down the line.

  9. John F***ing Stepp

    I am thinking that we actually do not have to deal with Oracle.

    So from a company standpoint I am giving them a pass.

    Adobe delivers all our viri and trojans.

    And really what is up with that?

    Are they trying to compete with Micro-Soft?

  10. asdf

    hey Adobe open source flash player

    Adobe should have kept its mouth shut. If they gave a crap about FOSS they would open source their piece of crap flash player and let those with some skill fix it instead letting a bunch of hack 5 dollar a day people from India drive the spaghetti code farther down the rabbit hole. The player is free anyway and they make their money on the dev tools. They could protect their business model with I guess a somewhat non-FOSS license but most of all just open the damn code so we can greatly reduce the risk to all the nubcake on the internet running non sandboxed flash <shiver like not using a condom and going anal on Tela Tequilla>.

  11. Tangential

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black

    This article is a non-event.

    Oracle has as much or more open source cred than Adobe does. After all, they have a linux distro.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I am maybe totally wrong here but Solaris is not based on any Linux Kernel I know of. Try good old Unix.

      1. nobby

        er.. not solaris

        I think you'll find he mean Oracle's "Unbreakable Linux" disto based upon RHELL and very capably of running live oracle databases and, well, anything RHEL can.

        It may be niche (probably only ever run to power an Oracle DB Instance) but its a valid distro..

  12. gimbal

    Adobe is playing scout, on this? Some things really *have* changed.

    :muted YAY!:

    I only hope that McAllister's statements will serve to finally inform the Oracle staff community of the gaping blind-spots in their policies so far - truly.

    and here's to the recently resigned of the Oracle holdings! Cheers!

  13. aaaa

    Free Software vs. Zero-Dollar Downloads

    Until recently Free Software has largely been indistinguishable from Zero-Dollar Downloads. This is changing of necessity: the volunteerism and the economic models that underpinned Zero-Dollar Downloads have largely failed to produce the hours of effort suitable for feature innovation, maintaining development and quality.

    As this changes, different teams are using all sorts of different models. Cutting out the 'development community' (even a successful one) may be required to accelerate development enough to convince the majority of 'users' that what they previously paid nothing for is now worth paying something for.

    Closing off the development process does not make the software any less FREE nor does it make it any less OPEN SOURCE. Yes: communities having access to 'in development' code and the development process can be beneficial - but not necessarily for the majority of the user base, and not necessarily for the primary contributor of development effort. Much successful open source software was NOT open to the community during initial development, including Java.

    The total cost of software implementation is barely affected by the cost of the download (see "The valuation of IT assets" published in The Financial Times UK Edition 36,501 on Monday October 1 2007) or whether the code was open to the community during development.

    Further reading:

    Note: I am NOT (and have never been) an Oracle or Sun employee. I have contributed roughly net $750K in salaries for staff to write code released publicly under GPL/LGPL.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BigCos - both good and bad

    Everyone is rightly laying into Adobe for corporate hypocrisy.

    But all the bigcos incorporate diverse opinions among many employees. Even Adobe presumably has bona-fide opensource advocates on its payroll. Just as Microsoft does, and Oracle did even before Sun.

    Isn't Apple in fact the most closed of the hundred-billion-dollar technology $megacompanies, with Oracle somewhere in the middle? Or maybe Apple is no longer classed as a technology company now it's working on a fashion-industry business model.

    Anonymous coward 'cos my paymaster features in this discussion.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Bull droppings!!

    I dont like Larry as much as the next free software developer but this is total Bullspit,

    Oracle is Nooooooooowhere close to Redmond when it comes to attacking FLOSS.

    As a Red Hat user, I can show you the Ballmer video from 2 years ago which he says that RH users owe his company money for using Linux (and he tells the people, that Novell has payed the extortion fee so SUSE is the legal Linux.) If you want a long list of Microsoft attacks on Linux and FLOSS

    just the past 2-3 years, go to TechRIghts and you will find it well explained.

    I trust the GPL does its job and keeps the code free-libre and as much as Oracle annoys me, it

    DOES NOT break the GPL. It uses it to its advantage. Fine. Find a business model that can do the same and respects the GPL and those are the rules.

    But Microsoft's battle against Linux, FLOSS and open fomats like ODF are very well covered.

    People like Bruce Perens, Glyn Moody, Jeremy Allison, Pamela Jones from Groklaw would strongly disagree with this articles premise.

    1. markfiend

      Downvoting you

      ... for putting all the &amp;nbsp; characters in there and giving my browser a wide-on.


  16. John 158

    This is more about business than open source

    Isn't it weird that Adobes non open source products are in competition with Java Applets/JavaFX. Yet they spout this nonsense

    This is just them trying to grab new customers that use free development tools with a free 'player', by implying (incorrectly) that what your doing might not be free in a few years time, and won't be supported.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    "Open Source culture at Sun"?

    I beg to differ. The wiki page on the CDD-License has this to say:

    "In the words of Danese Cooper, who is no longer with Sun, one of the reasons for basing the CDDL on the Mozilla license was that the Mozilla license is GPL-incompatible. Cooper stated, at the 6th annual Debian conference, that the engineers who had written the Solaris kernel requested that the license of OpenSolaris be GPL-incompatible. "Mozilla was selected partially because it is GPL incompatible. That was part of the design when they released OpenSolaris. [...] the engineers who wrote Solaris [...] had some biases about how it should be released, and you have to respect that"

    Doesn't sound like fully embracing the Opensource spirit, now does it?

    P.S: Adobe has an opensource guy? Wow, i totally didn't know. What does he do all day long I wonder? Just taking 64bit Flash for Linux on- and offline for shits & giggles? >:-)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: "Open Source culture at Sun"?

      I'm just curious... Which other license is compatible with GPL? GPL is by definition

      incompatible with all other licenses. LGPL is a bit better, but GPL does not play

      well with others. CDDL plays nice with many other license, including BSD.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    When pressed by commenters who point Adobe's hypocrisy, McAllister tried to defend his pitiful company with following claim:

    "We were part of the effort to more Iaccessible2 to the BSD license[...]"

    I didn't see that kind of arrogance even from Microsoft. For those who don't know, Iaccessible2 is accessibility suite for blind people, and is released by Linux Foundation originally under LGPL. Adobe liked it, but they didn't like the license because they would need to admit to their users that it's open source, and provide code with distribution.

    So Adobe decided to convince (bribe?) LF to give them that program with no-strings-attached, under BSD license, so they can take it, put it into their crap and claim they wrote it themselves. LGPL would be sufficient for normal company, or even company like Apple. They use LGPL'd KHTML in Safari (or they call it WebKit). But Adobe wants total ripoff, they want to claim they wrote it and they want users (small portion of them who read copyright notices) not to know about Linux Foundation. They want total propiratarization. So they had their way, LF gave them the thing under BSD.

    But Adobe's McAllister now that paint that as open source contribution! Can you believe it????

    What arogance, the frikin' Flash company talks about open source! What a spin!

    Then it must be true: War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength...

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