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back to article Oracle: 'US Navy tricked by illegal Solaris touts'

Oracle has launched legal action against channel firms in the US, accusing them of a "gray market conspiracy" to nick its software and flog Sun Solaris OS support. The allegations were made against Georgia-based managed services provider ServiceKey and Delaware-based DLT Federal Business Systems Corporation in a lawsuit filed …

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Silver badge
WTF?

Sounds like Oracle wants to have its cake and eat it.. Car manufacturers would not get away with this. If a fundamental flaw is discovered they are required by law to fix it for free. you don't need to take out a service agreement with the maker in order to qualify for critical fixes. And that is what we're talking about - critical updates.

Perhaps these companies are in breach of their agreement with Oracle, however Oracle should be providing patches for FREE to everyone who has bought the original item. New features can be charged for, but patches should not require on ongoing subscription directly with Oracle. In the EU that would definitely be anti-competitive preventing third party vendors from providing support.

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Anonymous Coward

I agree, is very much the case of selling a product not fit for purpose and forcing you to pay to make it fit for purpose periodicaly. Mafia protection chaps must be looking at Oracle and thinking, dam, we got outsmarted.

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Bronze badge

They aren't the first

Cisco have been at the whole "Charge for software patches and device drivers" thing for decades now and they grew to be the biggest manufacturer of network equipment for no good reason.

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Re: They aren't the first

@Crazy Operations Guy,

Yes and no. If you buy the product , run into a bug down the road, you can get the software update for free. You do have to show that you are being impacted by the bug. Most companies just have a support contract and that is that.

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Anonymous Coward

But they aren't saling the product ...

Just a license to use it. That's why all these software compagnies get away with that crap. Remember, you don't buy software. You buy the revocable right to use it.

That's why software was originally covered by copyright, NOT patents. And it's why if these people continue to insist on using patents, that are ment for PHYSICAL goods, then they should be bound by the same rules that apply to said physical goods.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But they aren't saling the product ...

True; They are on the other hand selling it. Though I'm sure the CEO of Oracle would like to be saling in his massive yacht.

Very fair point on difference on copyright and patents, and I also suspect you are touching on a sibject that will carry on being a mess for years more to come. Lets face it, if you get yoru software and then pop it into a dedicated chip and sell to others. Well is it a physical good then or a software good and in that respect what are CPU's beyond software in hardware. A very blurred line that and judges who don't help as there oppinion is based upon whoever can get the most expert witnesses to claim there side.

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Mushroom

Oracle's weird support model strikes again...

I'm sure these guys probably were trying to pull a fast one on Oracle, but resellers could really get burned.

Oracle, Cisco and others have an interesting model. You can go on Oracle's website, and download the latest major release of any of their software, with no licensing. If you were crazy, you could just take their software and use it in production. Or...could you? Our company has legit, paid-for support for Oracle and Solaris and we play the per-core, per-socket licensing game every year with them. And it turns out that you actually need it. Why?

1. No patches without a support contract

2. Oracle doesn't put out point releases on the web for free. Any problems that require you to patch the original media remain unsolved on the "free" side of the website.

3. Oracle also doesn't update the official product manuals, instead relying on "Notes" to tell you the real deal once they find a problem, again, only available on the support site.

Now, adding Solaris and Sun hardware into the mix, there are no more Solaris patches for download, and no more firmware updates for Sun kit without a corresponding contract. So in one shot, Oracle killed the hobbyist SPARC and Solaris ecosystem.

It could be that Oracle is working to keep their consultant base in business, but the simple RAC setup I did in our lab last month took WAY longer than it had to. I ran into spots in the install that I would never be able to overcome without patching the media, reading the 12 or so linked support notes, finding out what in the original install guide was just plain wrong. etc. etc. Compare that with a 45-60 minute install of a SQL Server cluster, a couple hours messing with DB2, etc.

So, given how critical support is to making Oracle products work, I could see a bunch of resellers falling into this trap. It's like Oracle is giving them enough rope to hang themselves, then swooping in when they discover someone has been sharing support contracts.

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Re: Oracle's weird support model strikes again...

"...So in one shot, Oracle killed the hobbyist SPARC and Solaris ecosystem..."

I dont agree with this one. There are OpenSolaris forks out there, for instance OpenIndiana / Nexenta and the up coming Illumian.

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Silver badge
Stop

Forks, Spoons and Knives.

> There are OpenSolaris forks out there

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/14/openindiana_launch/

"Then Oracle changed the licensing terms for the Solaris 10 freebie distribution, which only allows those who download the operating system to use it in test and development environments; if you use Solaris 10 in production, you are supposed to pay Oracle $1,000 to $2,000 per socket per year, depending on the scalability of the server. Then the OpenSolaris community died of neglect and eventually committed ritual suicide. While the Illumos Project, launched in early August to create an open source alternative to the OpenSolaris and Solaris kernel and core network features (called OS/Net in the Sun lingo), Illumos did not go so far as to create a full distribution."

The future of MySQL also is murky.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Forks, Spoons and Knives.

http://openindiana.org/

The point of your post is what exactly? Misinformation? Openindiana is open source, based on the last open source release of open solaris, which of course no longer exists.

Solaris 10 is a separate proprietary product which was never open source but Sun previously did not charge for.

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Re: Forks, Spoons and Knives.

Illumos is an fully open sourced version of the Solaris kernel. It is similar to Linux. There others that provide distros built upon Illumos. For instance the storage Enterprise distro Nexenta that is starting to replace NetApp and EMC out in the companies. Or Illumian (which is Illumos + Debian package system). OpenIndiana (which is similar to Solaris 11). Schillix. Belenix. and dozens of other distros.

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Joke

Oh yeah, pal?

A Red Hatter wonders: would that be the same way Oracle takes our software and sells support for it to people, then?

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Silver badge
Joke

Re: Oh yeah, pal?

Linux is GPL so there is that difference.

Lodging complaints with the EU seems to be very popular with US firms. Perhaps there is something with the EU after all (or something badly lacking in the States).

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Re: Re: Oh yeah, pal?

Oh, sure, there's no _legal_ problem with what Oracle does with RHEL / OEL. But it just seems rather pathetic that they're happy to go entirely against the spirit of F/OSS software to do that, but then lawyer up to stop someone doing the same thing with their software. Just because you're legally allowed to do something doesn't make it a good thing to do.

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IT Angle

How easy is it actually to write your own SQL database?

Seriously - the most successful companies on this planet (e.g. Google, Facebook) don't outsource, build their own hardware and write their own software and thereby keep their technological knowhow in house.

With databases structured in tables being around since the 1980s, this is a fully researched domain, it therefore should be possible rather than buying a COTS solution that gives us 70% of what we want to write our own DB and applications that give us 100% what we want. And put it on our own commodity hardware.

The developer and sysadmin salaries are easily saved by not having to pay licensing and support fees, and out of support charges. How many developers and syadmins can you pay for that £2m license and support contract a year? And both are fixed costs.

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Bronze badge
IT Angle

Re: How easy is it actually to write your own SQL database?

I completely agree.

I often wondered how much money our governments would save if they went with open source, and hired programmers to maintain the packages they use. Yes the learning curve would be huge, but afterwards, they would save money hand over fist, and because they controlled the software, they wouldn't have to replace completely working hardware with new hardware just to run the latest version of the OS, they would control their release dates.

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Anonymous Coward

license changes

be nice if there was a rule that said minimum 1yr notice for any change to licence agreement, as well as no requirement to sign a support contract in order to have software fit for purpose, functioning as described at purchase and without significant defect.

Bit like buying a train ticket, finding they aren't running trains but the ticket inspectors check and still fine people anyway.

Yeah, AC from the UK. What gave that away?

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