Oracle’s Linux Claims Are a Head Scratcher

You can’t always take everything you hear in the technology industry at face

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said on his company’s Q3 2007
conference call today that Oracle has displaced Red Hat at Yahoo. Officials at
both Red Hat and Yahoo, however, see it differently.

A Yahoo spokesperson told that Yahoo doesn’t
discuss details around its IT infrastructure, but would say the company does uses both Red Hat and Oracle.

In a statement, Laurie Mann, vice president of engineering at Yahoo, said that to serve the company’s more than 500 million consumers, it must scale its global infrastructure beyond most traditional technology environments. “To accommodate this, we will continue to evaluate and use the most appropriate vendors depending on our needs and their expertise. Our current infrastructure leverages both Red Hat and Oracle products.”

Red Hat also doesn’t agree with Ellison’s assertion about Yahoo
displacing Red Hat with Oracle’s Enterprise Linux.

“Oracle was mistaken in their comments,” a Red Hat spokesperson told

Whatever the
case, Oracle’s Linux business is still likely an emerging force to be
reckoned with, as it’s been running a lucrative Linux business for years.

Oracle entered the Linux support business last fall when Ellison announced he would be undercutting Red Hat by offering direct Oracle support. Until Jan. 31 of this year Oracle had offered a promotional period during which the support services were free.

It is not clear yet how successful that effort has been, though. If Ellison is
accurate it is moving in the right direction.

“We’re in the early days of our Linux support business but we’re off to a
solid start,” Ellison said on the conference call. “We’ve already signed a
number of support contracts — some for over a half million dollars.”

Additionally Ellison claimed that Dell, HP and CDW are on board to resell
Oracle Enterprise Linux.

Neither Dell nor HP were immediately available for comment.

Earlier this year, an Oracle spokesperson also claimed that there was interest
from IBM customers to run Oracle’s Linux. To date, however, IBM has not
announced any formal agreement to resell Oracle’s Linux support.

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