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Oracle Smoothes Feathers At LinuxWorld

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first time in its history, Oracle is taking the lid off its source code, all for the sake of Linux.

The No. 2 business software giant Wednesday said the code covers a new cluster file system that the company said will help Oracle9i Real Application Clusters (RAC) customers simplify their clustered database systems.

The code is available now to members of Oracle's online community, Oracle Technology Network (OTN), as a download. General availability is expected to be ready within 60 days.

The news is significant considering Oracle has been criticized for keeping its code cards breasted, while its partners have shown much more.

Oracle has been toting RAC as the "Unbreakable" part of its software. The idea is to divide a large task into subtasks and distribute the subtasks among multiple nodes. That way you can complete the task faster than if only one node did the work.

"Over the years, Oracle has been working closely with the Linux community to make Linux a scalable and reliable platform for running enterprise-class databases," said Oracle senior vice president of Database Technologies Andrew Mendelsohn. "The release of our cluster file system code to the open-source community is another major step in this direction. We see high demand for our products on Linux and will continue to ensure that all our products run extremely well on the Linux platform."

Oracle said its new cluster file system lets their Oracle9i RAC customers to build and manage files in a clustered environment easier and for less money. The code will help system administrators use semantics to manage large data files and extend files. Previously, Database Administrators (DBAs) were required to use raw disks to implement Oracle9i Real Application Clusters on Linux, which proved to more complex and costly.

Analyst firm International Data Corp. (IDC) also sees Linux as the fastest growing platform. The firm expects customer adoption to grow 174 percent to $5.9 billion by 2006, although the same group recently reported that the Linux market in 2001 actually shrank by 5 percent.

Unmoved by the stats, Oracle said requests for Oracle's database and application server software on Linux in the past year have increased twelve-fold. Since its release in June 2002, the company said more than 68,000 copies of its 9i Database Release 2 on Linux have been downloaded from OTN.

That effort was fortified when the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company added Linux to its "Unbreakable" family with the help of Dell Computer , Red Hat and Hewlett-Packard .

"People say is Linux ready for prime time? Is it reliable? Is it fast? With clusters, it is fast enough and with no single point of failure," Ellison said back in June. "Clusters are fault tolerant. A cluster of four Linux machines is more reliable and less expensive than an IBM mainframe. The problem with traditional database is that you are constantly in an endless upgrade cycle. The biggest benefit to our midrange user is the economics."

A last minute add to the LinuxWorld keynote list, Ellison is expected to chime in later today on how his company's solution is faster and more reliable than anything out of the Big Blue camp.