back to article Openness of Oracle licensing and audit tools questioned

Oracle customers can only use its licensing tools after the company has started to talk to them about software audits or offered license advice. Meanwhile, third-party tools that have been verified by Oracle do not help users in terms of license compliance. In what may seem a double bind for users in the complex and often …

  1. DJV Silver badge

    In a world of give and take...

    ...Oracle only ever does the latter.

  2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    What's the point? asks Craig Guarente

    I'd have thought that was blindingly obvious to everyone that's ever followed how big corporations deal with their customers over licensing. The big corporation does not want it's customers to be compliant on their own, they make more money if the customer can be non-compliant in spite of herculean efforts to understand the complex web of requirements - that way there's sales and "punitive prices" to be raked in. Alternatively, the customer errs on the side of caution and buys more than they actually need - which also rakes in more money. Either way the big corp wins - so why would they do anything at all to help their customers ?

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      I believe the word you're looking for is "extortion".

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    This needs legislation

    Namely, one cannot be legitimately fined or penalised for licence non compliance unless suitable tools for verifying said compliance are openly available; and/or a set of licence conditions written in the sort of language a reasonably well educated person would understand, and not relying on specific narrow legalese interpretations of particular words (especially if they have other looser meanings to normal people).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @heyrick - Re: This needs legislation

      Yeah but this would be common sense and it can't be allowed.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: This needs legislation

      Generally it's the rich who get to write the laws.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This needs legislation

        They're all rich, though. Who do you think Oracle's customers are, the winos on skid row? The great majority of Oracle's business is with the Global 2000 corporations, not mom-and-pops and certainly not individuals.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This needs legislation

          The tax-funded community college my wife attends uses Oracle for their website - classes, etc. It always borks whatever browser has had it open for a few hours.

        2. Richard Jones 1
          WTF?

          Re: This needs legislation

          However, little people always get the bill, just because they are little people at the bottom of the pile.

    3. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: This needs legislation

      Namely, one cannot be legitimately fined or penalised for licence non compliance unless suitable tools for verifying said compliance are openly available

      Sure they can. It was right there on page 374 of the T&C.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    El Diablo Rojo!

    Oracle are like drug dealers, you get a few hits for free, you're encouraged to use as much as you like and then they pull out the bill and if you haven't got the cash then "Big Harry" will be round to escort you to the nearest ATM and make you pay up under threat of watching your kneecaps being prized out using a rusty screwdriver!

    Seriously, don't dance with the red devil, there's plenty of viable alternatives. Before you have a pop at me I was a proud Oracle DBA of 25 years, I love Oracle's products but the world has changed but when MariaDB and PostgreSQL ( pretty damned close to Oracle! ) are as good if not better for most production uses unless you need some serious grit in your IT set up, then why sign up to pay for Larry to buy another huge yacht.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: El Diablo Rojo!

      Seriously, don't dance with the red devil, there's plenty of viable alternatives

      Not true across the board as Oracle doesn't just sell the the Relational database - there are hundreds of applications in its portfolio too, many without alternative.

      1. TheWeetabix

        Re: El Diablo Rojo!

        Yes and that apparently includes the compliance tools.

  5. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Can any one remind me why, in $DIETY's name, would I ever chose to use Oracle products?

    1. DJV Silver badge

      You might under these circumstances:

      * if you've died in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day;

      * have ever volunteered for a lobotomy after several too many beers;

      * be a politician and will therefore have had your common sense surgically removed;

      * be called Larry.

      Otherwise, no.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        FAIL

        You forgot reason number one

        Be told to by your CEO who just had the nicest chat with a Red Devil.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "* if you've died in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day"

        Goodyear?

        1. DJV Silver badge

          No, the worst.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I know it's a rhetorical question, but it has a real answer. Usually it's laziness; you find that Oracle has bought up most of the companies that made software that serves some niche aspect of your business process. Maybe it's something specific to your vertical or maybe it's just something that fits especially well into an existing process. Maybe you were already using it when Oracle bought the supplier, which is Oracle's preferred way of adding to their portfolio as they don't really have much of an engineering culture. Because your company is probably like most large corporations, it's forbidden you the IT director to hire people because headcount/salary comes out of a different (poisoned) budget bucket from capex and "other opex" like software licenses, contractors, and services. And capex is off-limits too. So while you'd like to hire a few engineers to build the thing you really need, which you would then own free and clear forever, you can't. So you decide to license Oracle's software.

      But Oracle won't just sell you one license for the one thing you need. Some combination of "technical requirements" (real or otherwise), bundling, and discounting will be used to force you to take a large collection of Oracle products whether you need them or not. If you won't buy them, you either won't be sold the software you do want or you'll get it only at a ruinous price -- often a price much higher than the price of the entire package. This is one of Oracle's basic sales strategies.

      The intent is that since you're paying for this stuff anyway you'll conclude that it's silly to pay for other stuff that does more or less the same things. They'll also do this in such a way that you're signed up for many years with no way to get out of the deal if, say, the person who negotiated this gets fired for costing the company billions of dollars on useless toxic Oracle products. Your beancounters won't sign off on the more-expensive point solution deal, because the multi-year subscription package both costs less in total and doesn't have to be capitalised. So now you're an Oracle shop. One license audit, coming right up!

      Oracle understands their customers very, very well. It takes advantage of the shortsighted defects in corporate structure, budgeting, and risk management very effectively. The hallmark of the devil is that he knows your weaknesses, and goes right after them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Utterly, bitterly true.. I will just add that many times the ones who are in charge are facing big pressure from management to get things "right" and are more than too often incline to pick Oracle over other "less advertised" suitable solutions because who could blame you for choosing the biggest shiny one ? Even if it means to sign a blood pact with the red devil ?

        Anon because you know... Used to be in company bought and put to death by Oracle as so many... And yeah pretty disgrunted too bu who wouldn't ?

    3. Silly Goose

      They did a great job with OpenOffice lol, well we did get LibreOffice due to Oracle's heavy-handed tactics, guess they just don't learn.

    4. IHateWearingATie

      Because no one ever gets fired for choosing Oracle.

      Until, of course, the bill from the licencing compliance people comes in.

      I've built up a small list of companies I never want to do business with again over the course of my career. Oracle are at the top of that list.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        the bill comes also with fines to cover the period you were not using Oracle products...

  6. trevorde Silver badge

    Meanwhile at Oracle...

    [Larry Ellison] BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

  7. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Far from unique

    "third-party tools that have been verified by Oracle do not help users in terms of license compliance"

    It's not just Oracle. It's widespread in principle. I was involved a while back in development of a tax accounting application. We found that strict adherence to the HMRC specifications for tax accounting software did not guarantee compliance as far as they were concerned. Nor do HMRC assure that the (obligatory) independently developed tax calculation applications comply with their requirements. However any errors are always by default the responsibility of the taxed party.

    It's called 'being in a position of power' that allows you to show with impunity how corrupt you've always been.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Far from unique

      don't bring up the subject of IR 35 here, please!

  8. werdsmith Silver badge

    Anybody who proposes using an Oracle product for the first time should be sacked and blacklisted from the industry. Anyone who has legacy Oracle stuff and doesn’t have replacement on their roadmap needs retraining.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So, unbelievably true.

      I did my damnnedest to get rid of instances of Oracle 6 that had persisted way beyond their best before end. Unfortunately our core asset management system has Oracle underlying it. (And, if one goes back far enough, hand-coding in Cobol even).

      It is not an accident that that is now up for replacement; as it does not even remotely serve our needs.

      The minor problem being that the business hasn't quite worked out the scale of the change we are talking about here and only assigned a small and inexperienced team to it so far... I'll just have to shout louder.

    2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Trollface

      The fun part comes when you are moving from one hosting provider to a new one that had the good sense to NEVER use Oracle products before...

  9. Silly Goose

    Another reason to go and use Open Source software in my opinion.

  10. stiine Silver badge

    my suggestion is...

    My suggestion, take it or leave it, is that the Glas team be engaged during initial contract negotiations. This would mean that the customer would have access to the tool(s) from day one. Additionally, running the tool(s) in a non-Oracle shop should report zero licenses required*.

    * - until they find JRE on 104% of of your computers

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: my suggestion is...

      Are you kidding?

      With the tool available BEFORE implementation, the client would know what to expect in the future and the bean-counters would block the project!

  11. Ozan

    THere's a lot of reasons not to use Oracle. Their license aggression is the top one. Don't fucking touch an Oracle product.

  12. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

    The compliance tools from Oracle are...

    ...on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.”

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