back to article CentOS penguins maul Oracle's Linux migration pitch

Having tried, and failed, to kill Red Hat Linux with Unbreakable Linux, Oracle is now sneaking up on CentOS. Larry Ellison's database giant is now touting a piece of code it claims will let you convert your CentOS machine into Oracle Linux systems with no strings attached. Well, there is one catch: switching actually provides …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The simple script


    echo "Welcome to Oracle Linux!" > /etc/motd

    exit 0

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The simple script

      It also installs a new shared object.


    2. Gordan

      Re: The simple script

      Probably similar but a bit more along the lines of:

      rpm -Uvh --force oracle-release-$version.x86-64.rpm

      rpm -Uvh --force oracle-logos-$version.x86-64.rpm

      1. Vic

        Re: The simple script

        > rpm -Uvh --force oracle-release-$version.x86-64.rpm

        Not far off.

        It does other things, though - like disabling your old repositories before it's downloaded the new -release RPM. Instant broken yum system if anything goes wrong.

        And Oracle wonders why nobody trusts them...


  2. wheelybird


    KSplice is a great product; it allows us to meet PCI (payment card) compliance without rebooting our live servers every time a kernel update is uploaded to the repo. Shame Oracle had to go and buy it though.

    Of course, you don't need to install Oracle Linux to use KSplice - it runs on CentOS already, along with Debian, Ubuntu etc.

    It's very difficult to try and run a commercial Linux infrastructure these days without running something or other from Oracle (e.g. MySQL, Java etc.), but I can guarantee that if I ever fancied commercial Linux support, Oracle are the last people I'd go to.

  3. Miek

    "And it's a prospect CentOS users are widely turning down, saying they won't switch to Oracle Linux because they don't trust Oracle and also because of the company's poor standing as a member of the open-source community." -- If it 'ain't broke, why break it?

    1. Code Monkey
      Thumb Up

      "If it 'ain't broke, why break it?"

      Exactly. CentOS is the absolute dogs danglies and all for the excellent price of free!

      We run CentOS for dev, staging and production servers and it's rock solid. I'm unashamedly a CentOS fanboi.

      1. Miek

        Re: "If it 'ain't broke, why break it?"

        I couldn't agree more :D

      2. nineworlds

        Re: "If it 'ain't broke, why break it?"

        Except that when there's a major new release to work on, CentOS seems to stop issuing security updates. Perhaps the new version is much more fun than repackaging bug fixes, or perhaps it's just that they want everyone to upgrade ASAP, but that's unacceptable for a production system, and I switched away about a year ago.

    2. RICHTO

      Well yes, Oracle's database products and JAVA are some of the few things on the planet with a worse security record than Linux...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Oracle's database products and JAVA are some of the few things on the planet with a worse security record than Linux

        Not sure if [citation needed] or [medication needed].

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Immediate removal from "the industry" needed.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Are they deliberately trying to piss off the Linux community, it's seems like CentOS would be the correct target, if they were...

  5. Jim 59

    "And it's a prospect CentOS users are widely turning down, saying they won't switch to Oracle Linux because they don't trust Oracle and also because of the company's poor standing as a member of the open-source community."

    What goes around comes around, Larry.

  6. DJV Silver badge


    ...a Microsoft for the 2010s!


  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "binary compatibility"

    I felt a timegate to the early 90s open, a dimension where compilers were rare, expensive and buggy and big binary blobs came on "floppys" with dire warnings from "industry players" not to copy anything.

  8. Antony Riley

    Something smells.

    Oracle are trying to commercialize a free version of a commercial linux, which is itself based on a free linux.

    I remember Deadrat in the early days, no love from the developers because they were taking something essentially free and charging for it combined with a few bells and whistles. Then came CentOS, which basically exists by extracting the free and not so free work that Redhat do with Linux into a completely free version.

    Along comes Oracle and they want to install a few binaries on top of CentOS which add a few bells and whistles and provide a few extra updates.

    Disclaimer: I have no love for Redhat*, Centos or Oracle.

    *I will concede without Redhat, Linux would not be where it is today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Something smells.

      I remember Deadrat in the early days, no love from the developers because they were taking something essentially free and charging for it

      That's not the "early days" I remember, having first installed RedHat in 1996 when 3.0.3 was the current version. Back then, they only charged if you bought a CD set from them or wanted commercial support. Alternatively you could download from an FTP site, or buy a CD set from someone like Walbut Creek. The second option is how I got it, in a set along with a bunch of other distributions fo around a tenner.

      The only discontent was among the neckbeards who used Debian, which at the time had hilariously bad package management tools like dselect (APT wasn't to appear until a few years later). Debian support was also piss poor for non-x86 platforms. I tried repurposing a SparcStation 1+ as an FTP server, and decided to try Debian to see what all the fuss was about. It failed to boot after installation, so I tried the so called "rough cut" of RedHat for Sparc which worked very well. So much so that I it replaced SunOS on my SparcStation 5.

      Now get off my lawn.

    2. Vic

      Re: Something smells.

      > I remember Deadrat in the early days

      Your next phrase gives the lie to your memory stemming from "the early days"...

      > no love from the developers because they were taking something essentially free and charging for it

      RH were giving away a free version for years and years. CentOS only came into play when RH ballsed up the transition from RHL to Fedora.

      Any anger at RH was because it *appeared* at the time that they were ditching the idea of a free distribution. They actually ended up doing something very different - hatching a free distro with community control - but we didn't know that at the time.


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    This may be a good deal, no really, it might be? Just because Oracle have an 'Oracle Wallet' product (never quite sure what it does) they might not be after all your money.

    Only last month I read of Oracle's CEO "His passion for nature, particularly the ocean, is well known specifically in the realm of America’s Cup sailing. He is also a businessman whose record of community involvement in medical research and education causes is equally notable.".

    Don't be so cynical.

    1. Vic

      Re: Oracle

      > This may be a good deal

      It isn't.


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oracle appears to be a corporate psychopath

    Looking here Oracle seems to hit many of the traits head on... as does a certain other company in Redmond. Of course some of the traits don't apply (those that can only apply to a flesh and blood person), but the shoe definitely seems to fit.

    Avoid, avoid, avoid.

    1. agricola

      Re: Oracle appears to be a corporate psychopath...

      ...perhaps because it's led by a psycopath? Just wondering...

    2. Tomato42

      Re: Oracle appears to be a corporate psychopath

      Last I checked, the percent of psychopaths in C-level executives was about 3 times larger than the average, so it's not very surprising...

  11. tom dial Silver badge


    A couple of years ago I wanted to run an Oracle test instance and gain experience installing Oracle 11. Thinking it might be easiest, I averted my eyes and installed Oracle Linux to a fresh VM. This turned out to be pretty much a mistake, with Oracle Linux requiring more than a few tweaks and kernel parameter changes even to start the install, which failed at the end due to missing bits I mercifully have forgotten, but as I recall it I could not get them without an Oracle support contract.

    Because Oracle DBMS depended on RPM packaging, I switched to CentOS. Huge difference. Easier install, no problem downloading and adding the missing pieces, fewer necessary kernel changes from the default, and a straightforward Oracle install that worked the first time. Oracle Unbreakable Linux is not the answer to any question I care to ask.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have heard from several execs that we should go to Oracle Linux so as the resident Linux admin I asked them the following questions:

    1) Is our Oracle DBA team happy with the support they receive from Oracle? (Answer was no)

    2) What benefits other than initial support costs does OUL provide over RHEL (none that are relative to our business)

    I researched it and while things like Dtrace and Ksplice are nice, I do see this as another money trap from Oracle. Most other *nix admins I have talked to see right through Oracle's bullshit so I really don't see this taking much from Red Hat'a market share anytime soon.

  13. Sacioz


    Guys and girlz

    You all with a lot more clout than I , have to convice Ellison to have a go at the Sydney -Hobart THIS YEARS boxing day . He might get done this time . And we all live better then.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "they complain that Oracle doesn't get the credit or attention it deserves for its work on Linux. "

    But they do get the recognition the deserve, its just that Oracle employees might have a different perspective.

    Oracle is turning into a one-trick pony: to me, the trick looks a lot like "bait and switch".

  15. Smoking Man

    And names keep changing

    IIRC, Oracle Linux started as "Unbreakable Linux". Until somebody found out, that it wasn't unbreakable. Then it got renamed "Oracle Enterprise Linux". Well, until they [Oracle, or Oracle customers] found out, that it wasn't enterprise-ready. So these days it's just Oracle Linux. Let's wait and see which part of the name changes next and why :)

    1. Roger 11

      Re: And names keep changing

      Oracle Xunil.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please Sign This Contract

    Then spend all eternity in Oracle hell having your blood sucked dry and poked in the bottom by little devils wielding pointy sticks so that Ming The Merciless can buy a new super yacht.

  17. vgrig_us

    "Six years on, Oracle has 7,000 Oracle Linux customers."

    Holly-molly! They'd have more buyers for Brooklyn Bridge!

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: "Six years on, Oracle has 7,000 Oracle Linux customers."

      Yes, but how many pay for support?

  18. keithpeter Silver badge

    Oracle Linux 6.3 ships with libreoffice

    Some may appreciate the irony involved. Oracle Linux is a clone of RHEL and RHEL 6.3 ships with libreoffice 3.4.5, replacing in 6.2 and previous.

    I imagine desktop is a small part of the target market.

    Vagabond icon: not a Windows user but I'll be on the carpark with the industrial lager if Oracle have their way

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unbreakable warranty?

    'Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND`

  20. Ilgaz

    I have a guess why red hat is more expensive

    I guess redhat charges more since it is a real Linux company solely interested in Linux.

    Perhaps one day someone having time and expertise should shave all redhat sponsored, supported and even affiliated code from.a stable and known Linux like Debian and show the result. I bet it won't even boot.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems like oracle...

    ... again has missed a rather important point completely. This time why people running centos are running centos and not, say, redhat.

    And there's their reputation to consider. My first ever interaction with oracle went a bit like this: Some irc chum a couple countries over asked for an X display, for he was installing something using what in previous versions had been the vendor-supplied shell script but that suddenly required a graphical display to even run, and he only had a text-only terminal available. For most any unix administration you simply don't need more, but you did for newfangled oracle. We're talking a decade or so back, but it's still true for what I consider to be server software. So I opened up a port and told him what IP address and port to use, and watched with interest what would happen.

    I distinctly remember his unbelief and anger that the brand new oracle installer, re-done in java, demanded an X display and then did exactly nothing with it. No splash screen, no progress windows, no anything at all. It just had to be there for the sodding thing to continue. They've since "fixed" that, I believe, but you still need to install java on your headless servers just to install oracle, which itself doesn't need or use java at all. It's pure make work, it doesn't add to the bottom line, there's better ways to do the same one-off thing, it's oracle style in a few strokes. That and the rampant gouging on price.

    I've never actually run oracle and for the life of me I can't imagine why I would try. That is my impression of oracle. I know redhat, I've had a few beers with centos guys, I run a lot of open source software and understand why it's there, how to deal with it, how to fix it, how to submit patches, and so on. Oracle? I know Larry likes to pay his late landing fines in cash. That money he's throwing around isn't coming from me and I'm fine with that, TYVM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems like oracle...

      Actually, Oracle are heavily tied to Java. Their IDEs and GUI make heavy use of it and their databases have integrated support. That's a big factor in them buying Sun.

      That X dependency could have been a result of early versions of Java having poor headless operation. Dependencies could appear in strange places.

  22. agricola

    Trust Larry Ellison?

    C'mon, people; get real.

    The only people I know who trust Larry Ellison eat their dead.

    Clarification for all you cobra-lovers: "Oracle Linux" is an oxymoron. Go look it up. Don't ask Ellison; he won't know, either.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reaping what he sowed

    Trust is about the most important aspect to address if you want to win in what is a flat and competitive landscape - or you remove choice (which is the Microsoft way, but Larry started a tad late there).

    As Oracle has demonstrated over the years that it cannot really be trusted it now pays for that in this market - people can choose, and value versus risk does not stack up on Oracle's favour as a consequence of their reputation - which is very hard to fix.

    Own goal IMHO..

  24. A J Stiles

    Binary Compatibility

    Those words alone should ring an alarm bell.

    Linux was never designed with binary compatibility in mind. If a necessary improvement to the kernel or a library broke an app, tough: you recompiled the app, and it worked again. And yes, 15 or 20 years ago when Linux was young, you did actually have to do that, sometimes. Of course, as it has matured, the pace of change has slowed down and the scale of each change is less severe. That's just classical exponential decay.

    The only reason you would ever need binary compatibility across releases, was if you didn't have the Source Code handy to recompile.

    Binary compatibility is never for your benefit. The line "You don't have to compile it yourself" is a red herring; the process only needs to be done once, is quick (on modern kit) compared to the time you will spend running the program afterwards, and anyway can be automated. Binary compatibility is always for the benefit of those who would deny you access to the Source Code.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money for nothing

    This is Oracle getting money for nothing.

    See, they already need a Linux stack for their Exabyte vertical offering. Since they've got to do all the work, anyway, they might as well offer freebies to other people and maybe get some support contracts out of it; it's zero marginal cost for them and may bring in new customers.

    Let's hope they build a community 'cos if you go to a CentOS forum and say you have an Oracle Linux issue then you'll be laughed at (you just just lie, but the first time you post "rpm" or "yum" output then you'll get caught...).

    Anyone using Oracle Linux without a support contract will be making the wrong choice 'cos of lack of community support.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    I was having my usual all in brawls and saw first hand, how completely fucked up - in an inept and heavy handed way, the take over of "Open Office" went... and

    "Ugghhhh - How could they be just so fucking stupid?"

    Then everyone pulled up the tent pegs, the circus left town and Office Libre started up in the next town, leaving these ham fisted fuckwits with egg on their faces.

    Yay for the corporate morons!!!!

    1. Fatman

      Re: leaving these ham fisted fuckwits with egg on their faces.

      Let me correct that:

      .... leaving these ham fisted fuckwits with eggshit on their faces.

      There, better?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having had direct meetings with Oracle

    Around the comparison of RHEL Support vs Oracle support, I can say 1st hand, that they are not competing like for like.

    You can get a nice, office hours based support package from RHEL, which fits my business needs exactly, Oracle compare themselves to the Enterprise RHEL support, which I just don't need, and so won't be going down an Oracle route for Linux.

    We already have Oracle DBs in house, and the support we get for them is patchy, at best. We can't even raise a P1 ticket until a certain has expired on a P2 ticket - and guess what, they have a 100% fail rate of getting back to us at all with P2 tickets.

    If I gave my customers this level of support I'd be fired, and my company would be bust!

    They are so used to running a virtual monopoly they forget what things cost, and their value, in the real world, the rest of us work in.

    Can you tell I work in the commercial sector, and not on fat government contracts?!

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