back to article Larry Ellison tiers Amazon a new one: Oracle cloud gets 'always' free offer, plus something about Linux

Oracle on Monday debuted a free, self-fixing Linux distribution for paying Oracle Cloud customers, and a free Cloud service tier that includes a limited version of its paid Autonomous Database, for winning developer favor and fostering future Cloud customers. At its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, co-founder and CTO …

  1. doublelayer Silver badge

    Always free services

    When places have something they intend to be "always free" or "unlimited", it's usually a sign that someone will have figured out how to exploit it and the offer will be retracted or restricted. For example, I fully expect that people will start to set up the free VMs to do cryptomining or something similar within a week or two. While I'm certain the terms tell people not to do that, that's never stopped these people before. How long do you think each of these offers will last before someone manages to make them less profitable than Oracle had in mind?

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Always free services

      Unless they already took that into consideration by limiting the CPU power and network bandwidth. Have you read those specs? They don't seem to be anything to write home about.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Always free services

        I know the specs are terrible for real cryptomining. However, the specs of embedded devices like IoT junk or consumer routers are even worse, and they get broken into for cryptomining quite frequently. If people can find a way of setting up many free VMs through multiple accounts or the like, it could pay off. If not, just having two means a little mining that costs the user nothing. And there are plenty of other things a user could have one of these do without needing more specs. I can think of some tasks a VM like this could do, and I might never need to upgrade them because I already have stuff to run my real systems that I care about. I somehow think Oracle is hoping that I'd try their free versions, decide I need more power, then continue to buy through them. I don't think that will work as well as they think.

        1. Charles 9

          Re: Always free services

          "However, the specs of embedded devices like IoT junk or consumer routers are even worse, and they get broken into for cryptomining quite frequently."

          Because Mirai showed they can make up for it with sheer numbers. You don't have such a guarantee here (because, let's face it, they'll take information from you first which they can check--if you need to come up with a bunch of phony lives for these accounts, you might be better off stealing accounts outright).

    2. TheVogon

      Re: Always free services

      How can Oracle ever hope to sell anything based on "free"? They would surely be better off with remakes of the "it's reassuringly expensive" Stella Artois adverts - at least that would be believable.

      1. Erik4872

        Re: Always free services

        "How can Oracle ever hope to sell anything based on "free"? " Download any Oracle SW package free! FREE I tell you!

        Three years later..."We seem to have a record that you downloaded Oracle XXX Platinum Enterprise Edition media on xx/yy/zzzz. How's that going? Tell you what, how about I send one of our consultants to your office to do a complimentary health check? Oh, did I mention it's not optional? It is complimentary though..."

        Oracle are the absolute kings of getting companies to pay for free things. I had a colleague who downloaded the VirtualBox extensions a while back get strong-armed by their licensing squad..."You do know that's not free...don't you? Oh, that's cool, tell it to the software auditor we're sending your way." They did this with product they offer is truly free, and if it is free, it's a strategy to put you in a position to pay later when they change the rules.

        No one is willingly starting new business with Oracle these days.

        1. like_it_or_not

          Re: Always free services

          All the big cloud players offer access to their stuffs up to a certain limit, for free, to attract all the folks out there. Oracle is just doing the same for the same purpose. I don't see why Oracle, who is still catching-up, would ask people to pay for something they provided for free ?, just like the Oracle Database Express Edition 18c which is actually free, with no support and restricts itself to a certain capacity limitations.

          By the way, well done for the 'unlimited time'.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Always free services

      or they're desperately looking for signups to juice their "onboarded users" numbers

  2. Shadow Systems

    Just like any other drug pusher...

    The first hit is free. Once you're hooked then you're well & truely fucked.

  3. LeoP

    Larry must be desperate

    Let's face it: Using a public cloud offer always comes with a measure of lock-in: A spectrum from just "convenience lock-in" where the effort of moving a workload to another provider or self-hosting is just a resource-costing nuissance up to a "systematic lock-in" where you need to rebuild a lot of components to make it even possible to move to a different vendor. We have come to accept this and many (if not most) mitigate as good as possible.

    The only reason we are willing to even consider accepting it is an uneasy trust not in the vendors, but in the market forces moving them: If one cloud vendor were to start screwing his customers more than the pain threshold, he would have a very hard time acquiring new customers and stall his growth - which is very near to a death sentence in an industry where economy of scale is a major effect.

    There is one thing though: For many of us (and this definitly includes me) this trust does certainly not extend to Oracle, whose business model is sometimes perceived as "lock, screw and blackmail". And while this does work with (mosty legacy) applications that are tied into the main Oracle Database product, the idea of beginning or extending such a relation to cloud hosting does not go down well with IT departments. And forcing a product into goverment contracts via the courts doesn't inspire confidence as well.

    So Larry made a cloud, and nobody wants it - if not coerced with one of those beloved audits, basically nobody signs up. Beware of a furious and desperate Billionaire!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Larry must be desperate

      A former employer of mine suffered through one of those Oracle Audit Colonoscopies with no anesthesia and the typical ransomware demands. They were all met and complied with along with a launch of a 5 year project to just get off them once and for all. I don't know if they succeeded, but they did have a plan. I applauded the approach but knowing them had extreme doubts about the follow through.

  4. flashdba


    "It is the first and the only autonomous OS in the world," Ellison said.

    I heard a rumour that, every time Larry uses the word Autonomous, a kitten dies.

    1. TheVogon

      Re: Um

      Just like it was unbreakable? Until it wasn't shortly after.

  5. karlkarl Silver badge

    "debuted a free, self-fixing Linux distribution for paying Oracle Cloud customers"

    the word 'free' just 4 words from the word 'paying' didn't quite make sense. Lets dig into this.

    "debuted a free, relatively ripe tomato for paying ASDA customers"

    Oh! So its like a shitty pen that we get if we renew our car insurance as existing customers rather than be eligible for the new customer deals.

    Also... I do like Linux but autonomous it is not! Yes; compared to Windows. No; compared to something autonomous.

    1. Dabbb

      It probably means that you don't need buy separate license for Oracle Linux, which you would need to run, say, RHEL.

  6. Steve Medway

    To Err is human; To really foul things up requires an Autonomous Operating System...

    "It is the first and the only autonomous OS in the world," Ellison said. That means automated provisioning, scaling, tuning, patching, upgrading, security monitoring and remediation, he explained".

    The above statement is patently untrue - Microsoft has been automatically breaking Windows 10 via updates for some time now - so much so the automatic 'feature' has been rolled back to a certain extent... Best of luck Larry - you'll need it.

    1. Steve K

      Change Control

      How does the autonomous OS/database deal with change control in Production systems then?

      I presume it doesn't JFDI outside of a change window when it feels like it?

  7. Martin Summers Silver badge

    It's Oracle, will probably be OK until it needs support. Wouldn't touch the commercial wares of that company by choice even for free.

  8. Phil Bennett

    Bollocks to that

    As much as I dislike the idea of being tied into AWS / Azure / Google's equivalent, I would rather move everything into any of them *and* sandpaper my testicles before locking myself into another Oracle system.

    The legacy stuff using their core DB product is bad enough.

  9. jfw25

    "And when you eliminate labor, you eliminate human error."

    Just open the pod bay doors, HAL.

    1. Midnight

      Re: "And when you eliminate labor, you eliminate human error."

      "Okay. Playing The Doors on Spotify..."

    2. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: "And when you eliminate labor, you eliminate human error."

      You also eliminate Human Oversight.

      Paging John Conner to the Crystal Peak Bunker...

  10. Tom 38

    "Everyone should leave now," Ellison said to Open World attendees

    Larry finally says something I can get behind.

  11. LeahroyNake

    All good

    Until the licensing monkeys get their hands on it. Even if they said free forever, it wouldn't actually be free... Would it?

    Oh that license you signed up for in 2019, we are investigating your usage and it seems that something is amiss. The invoice is in the post.

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    "Autonomous systems eliminate human labor," Ellison insisted. "And when you eliminate labor, you eliminate human error."

    Does Larry have a Tesla?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Isn’t “Autonomy” a bit of a tarnished brand name now?

  14. fredesmite

    Remember - Cloud computing

    Is nothing more than putting your crap on someone else's computer that other people are using , and expecting the owners to care more about it than you do..

    The service are nothing more than live yum updates and live patching

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