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SAP, Oracle Holding Out on Ubuntu?

Linux

Linux vendor Canonical is working hard to get more software and hardware certifications for its Ubuntu Linux distribution. In its latest round of partnerships, Canonical is expanding its relationship with IBM (NYSE: IBM), Alfresco, Zimbra, Likewise, Centrify and others.

Yet though Canonical is trying valiantly to show momentum in its alliances, at least two notable companies are missing from its partner lineup for Ubuntu. Neither Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) nor SAP (NYSE: SAP) currently support Ubuntu, and both lack immediate plans to do so.

Linux competitors Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) are both certified by Oracle and SAP, which could potentially leave Ubuntu on the outside looking in for large Linux deployments.

"Those [Oracle and SAP] are the two big software opportunities that we can work on," Malcolm Yates, ISV alliance manager at Canonical, told InternetNews.com. "Both of them have reasons as to why they wouldn't necessarily want to move to Ubuntu. The old story from ISVs is 'Why would we move to another OS vendor when it might cannibalize what we have already -- we would have to retrain all of our people."

Oracle's support for Linux in 1998 has been cited by experts as one of the key reasons why Linux has become successful in the marketplace. Ubuntu has been gaining fans and adoption over the past four years, often topping the popularity scales at Linux distribution tracking site DistroWatch and elsewhere. Despite that apparent community popularity, Oracle isn't too interested in Ubuntu.

"Oracle has no current plans to support Ubuntu Linux," an Oracle spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to InternetNews.com. "Oracle's supported distributions are Novell's SLES, Red Hat's RHEL, Asianux and Oracle Enterprise Linux. These decisions are based on customer demand and Oracle's focus on enterprise Linux usage."

Oracle Enterprise Linux is Oracle's own Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Earlier this year Oracle claimed that it had more than 2000 customers on its version of Linux. All told Oracle's Linux initiatives are worth at least $500 million in revenue.

"We've spoken to them [Oracle] before," Canonical's Yates said. "I think that Oracle is in a different situation than most ISVs because they have their own Linux. I think that it's easier for them to sell their own Linux than it is for them to start selling Ubuntu."

Yates added that Oracle support is something he would like, but that it's not on his short-term hit list.

Next page: SAP holds its line?