back to article How to Netflix Oracle’s blockbuster audit model

It's a good rule of nostril that if your litigation department is a source of revenue, your business model stinks. The law is there to discourage delinquent behavior when all else fails, not to amplify power for profit. If there's a better, fairer way to stop naughtiness, you should try that first. Let's pick a random example …

  1. Filippo Silver badge

    >It's time IT's own late fee model becomes late as in the late Arthur Dent.

    Didn't Arthur Dent survive the destruction of Earth itself?

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      It's a sort of threat. I've never been terribly good at them.

    2. Bebu Silver badge
      Windows

      《>It's time IT's own late fee model becomes late as in the late Arthur Dent.

      Didn't Arthur Dent survive the destruction of Earth itself?》

      As far as I recall he managed to survive to the end of all Douglas Adams' books.

      He surived Earth's demolition, Vogon poetry (more avoided) and ejection into inter-planetary or -stellar space, the krikkit robots and more so not quite a paradigm of terran mortality.

      By his own admission Slartibartfast wasn't particularly good at threats.

      Agrajag might be a better model of tenuous existence as Arthur managed end Agrajag's on numerous occasions except possibly in his bowl of petunias incarnation(?)

      1. Ozzard
        Happy

        The hitch and the hikes with Oracle

        To bring this back to Oracle and audits: "Oh no, not again."

    3. captain veg Silver badge

      Dentharthurdent

      - What's your name, Earthman?

      - Dent. Arthur Dent.

      - Well, late as in the late Dentarthurdent. It's a sort of threat. You see?

      -A.

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Better option

    The best option is, of course, never to touch any company that has difficult/opaque licensing terms, or are known abusers of audits.

    We were quite fond of Solaris back in the day, but once borged by Oracle it was game over and Linux machines went in to do those jobs as the Sun boxes were retired.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Better option

      Anybody going for an Oracle database today is an extreme sadist to self and everybody around.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Better option

      "never to touch any company that has difficult/opaque licensing terms"

      Absolutely this. I've come across tons of software where there are a bunch of install options that are activated or nor depending on the license key supplied. That means that if a feature is installed and usable, it has been licensed. Conversely, if a feature is not licensed, it won't be available at all. If I have a 30 concurrent seat license, The 31st user gets a 'no can do' message.

      Surely if Oracle really wanted their customers to only use what they pay for, they could automate the auditing themselves.

      1. sketharaman

        Re: Better option

        That's always what customers say before they get a feature. Back in the day, many software products had exactly the kind of "technical license limit" that you mention. Customers hated it. They'd complain that, just when they desperately wanted the 31st user to use the software, it was a horrible practice for the software vendor to restrict the use. That's how software vendors progressively withdrew their realtime technical license limits and replaced that with commercial licensing limits, which are enforced only once a year, via audits.

        1. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

          Re: Better option

          > They'd complain that, just when they desperately wanted the 31st user to use the software, it was a horrible practice for the software vendor to restrict the use.

          I’m guessing that’s because they wanted to use license 31 “now” and couldn’t wait for procurement process to wind its way to having the license in their hands. That way be dragons; it’s mightily kicking the can down the road and leaving you way open to overspend.

          1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Better option

            It's also because they could not license that 31st seat at all. They'd have to license another 20. And be told it's a programming thing.

  3. thondwe

    Oracle Cloud

    Suspect Oracle Cloud licencing is the self auditing solution you are looking for,,, Still can't be recommended though!

    1. seven of five

      Re: Oracle Cloud

      OCI is the by far best way to maximise cost and lock-in.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle Cloud

      Exactly that.

      love or hate Oracle if you want want to use the DB, Weblogic or a few of the other best of breed solutions and dont want any license headaches or audit risk then move to License included model on cloud / OCI. if you must stay on prem then get a ULA or one of their 'Cloud in your own datacentre' deployments and License included again. Or just use something else

      Never ceased to be amazed by the 'smart' people in IT who cannot understand a software license. Oracle and many other licenses are trust based so no license keys or restrictions ever which means that companies with poor SLM and governance have plenty of rope to hang themselves with

      1. thondwe

        Re: Oracle Cloud

        Smart people in I.T. usually focus on the I.T. - If you're lucky they ask the local licencing guru (hopefully an old wise former "smart I.T. guy") before deployment - but more often they ask after the system started moaning about licencing or are picked up by an internal "audit"!

        A reminder that Oracle, Microsoft licencing people should be on the Goldafrinchum B ark!

        1. The Boojum

          Re: Oracle Cloud

          No, because the B-arkers actually survived (at least until the Vogons temporarily destroyed the earth). The A- and C-arkers were wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone. Seems a just reward to me.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Nice idea but it would take a monumental effort to keep up with the rule changes. Much easier to push FOSS a bit further up the food-chain. Maybe use it as a the database?

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      My assumption was that Oracle would be happy to outspend anyone who tried this in court.

    2. barracus

      Absolutely! I wonder what percentage of Oracle DB installations could be migrated to PostgeSQL without losing any functionality. 60%? 80%?

      1. devin3782

        Quite then spend the savings on commercial support if you need that and give the developers a hefty donation. I don't have an M$ office licence I instead took that money and gave it to the libreoffice devs, they're more deserving. I honestly think this would be a very fair way to help open source developers.

    3. ldo

      Re: monumental effort to keep up with the rule changes

      But any particular installation only needs to implement the rules that applied to that customer’s agreement, at the time it was agreed. See the example mentioned in the article, of how Oracle itself tends to forget this point.

  5. Ian Mason

    The late?

    Given it's about auditing I'd have gone with the late Arthur Anderson.

  6. Larry D

    I remember optimising the Oracle CPU and seat licensing at one site by moving apps around and getting rigorous with offboarding userids of people that left. A fair bit of work but it paid off. Next thing I know Oracle then ring our switch who put them through to me. "Can we change the licensing model?" I played dumb like I was cleaning staff.

  7. Bebu Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Huh?

    《The law is there to discourage delinquent behavior when all else fails, not to amplify power for profit. 》

    On what planet? Certainly not on planet america. Washington Irving wrote complaining of such legal shenanigans between his compatriots a very long time ago.

    Not just in the US, the Law is drafted by those who wish to legitimize their delinquent behaviour in order to amplify their power and profits.

    Just downright simplemindedness, not even rising to the level of naivety, to believe otherwise.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: the Law is drafted by those who wish to legitimize their delinquent behaviour

      If that were a fact, then murder would be legal.

      1. xeroks

        Re: the Law is drafted by those who wish to legitimize their delinquent behaviour

        War is, for the most part, a legalised form of murder.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Post Office

    If/when they clear out some of the people in the Post Office who wrongly litigated the sub-postmasters, may be they could apply for employment with Oracle Audit

    1. Jon 37

      Re: Post Office

      Never happen. They are going for the ideal "run out the clock" solution. Wait for the victims to die of old age and the perpetrators to be either dead or retired on a fat pension, and for all the evidence to be lost due to time passing.

  9. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thank you Reg...

    "We must reluctantly assume that Oracle acts in the name of shareholder value."

    ...for honestly stating that. So often we demonize the company for their strategy. However, it is really the shareholders* who are driving the behavior. They don't invest in a company for charitable good, they expect their investment to grow and return money.

    (* Regular people like us with 401k's and other retirement plans, often using mutual funds which are invested in companies like Oracle.)

    1. James Anderson

      Re: Thank you Reg...

      Make that short term shareholder value.

      For non critical loads simply switching to Postgres will save a ton of money.

      Critical applications need closer scrutiny but it is likely that what was bleeding edge performance requirements 10 to 15 years ago could now be handled by commodity Linux, Postgres and several tweaks.

      Plus never specify Oracle on a system under development.

      What's the betting that in 10 years time the company gets swallowed into the Broadcom/CA software care home.

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Thank you Reg...

      However, it is really the shareholders* who are driving the behavior.

      Give me a break. Employees (profit, non-profit and government) generally work in their own interest. Sometimes that coincides with the customers, sometimes with the owners, sometimes with the management. The whole farce that is "executive renumeration" is intended to try to get management interest to coincide with owner interest, but that is notoriously ineffective.

    3. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Thank you Reg...

      They don't, though.

      There have been multiple studies showing that executives who receive large rewards generally cause all other shareholders investments to lose value.

      Share awards diluting the value of existing shares, bad acquisitions, and of course the simple extraction of $100,000,000 or more every year.

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