Does Oracle/Sun Mean Operating Systems No Longer Matter?

Dennis Byron

The Linux Foundation has been promising a video of the debate among Linux, Windows and Solaris devotees at its recent collaboration summit. But it has not been released yet that I can find. Perhaps it is because - as is often the case - the moment has passed. As Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, writes in: "What the Oracle Acquisition of Sun Means for Linux."


More and more, operating system debates-if they matter at all-are binary. So it's time to start a new debate:


"Do operating systems even matter anymore?"


Probably not.


"Appliances" are holding "virtualization's" coat as the latter digs OSes' grave. "Middleware" is standing by mournfully as it inherits OSes' importance in the stack.


Pardon the macabre analogy. Let me try it again with the tried-and-true automotive comparison. Although Jim Zemlin posts a good summary of Oracle's commitment to Linux (which I think is sincere), Oracle has an even bigger commitment in my opinion to virtualization, and Java. Linux vs. Windows becomes simply V-8 (not the juice but the engine) vs. straight six. Diesel vs. electric. Four-wheel vs. two-wheel drive. You have voted with your pocketbooks that you want and need both operating system options. But you also want one piece of software that ties the two together.


That's most likely good news for you unless you are an operating system developer. As an IT staffer or manager, concentrate on understanding what brings enterprise software and enterprise software as a service (SaaS) together, be it cloud computing or better administrative tools or middleware features that speak .NET as well as Java.


As for the OS debate, it was fun for the last 10 years, but it's time to move on.

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