Recently it came to my attention that Oracle has attempted to undercut RedHat Linux. How you ask? Well Oracle is basically taking RedHat software, removing all mention of RedHat and all RedHat trademarks, releasing the new operating system with "bug fixes" (says an Oracle company press release.) Next, Oracle sells customer support for the operating system for a mere $99.00 a year per system. That's pennies compared to many support plans.
Oracle calls this "unbreakable Linux".
RedHat responds with "unfakeable Linux".
I respond with a nod to what was once the "unshakeable Linux".
Many people will look at this situation, laugh, and say "I told ya so." But before they release one snicker I will offer up this scenario:
10> Oracle undercuts RedHat Linux to the point RedHat Linux folds.
20> RedHat is no longer developing Linux.
30> Oracle can no longer suck the blood of its Linux victim
40> Fedora Core folds without the financial backing of RedHat
50> The open source community begins to dry up
60> Apple can no longer continue with OS X because the open source community no longer exists
70> Microsoft once again becomes the monopoly it once was
80> Now that the Apple hardware runs on Intel it has no choice but to be a Windows-only machine
90> Microsoft has no competition therefore it can start creating the same shoddy software it always has without challenge
Yes that's a rather harsh exaggeration. But it highlights a rather interesting point. The Open Source license is very easily taken advantage of. When the OSL began it acted on the honor system - kinda like honor candy. But human nature (just like the robot nature of Crow and Tom Servo - they just couldn't stay away from that honor candy) very quickly takes advantage wherever it can.
What makes me sad is that the original spirit of the OSL has been overtaken by capitalism. What was born in the spirit of giving is being undercut by the spirit of taking.
Shame on your Oracle. You show signs of SCO and will probably wind up being seen in the same way, in the same courts, and in the same bankruptcy filing.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.