Oracle wants to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to open source operating systems. With the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 today, Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Linux and virtualization engineering for Oracle, says Oracle is now delivering not only one of the most open of all Linux distributions, but also a platform that comes embedded with more functionality.
New features in Oracle Linux 7 include support for Linux Containers, the XFS and Btrfs file systems, DTrace and Ksplice management tools and an updated version of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel.
In addition, Coekaerts says that Oracle has enhanced its implementation of Xen virtual machines to better support guest operating systems in any environment. Coekaerts says that Oracle has specifically designed Oracle Linux 7 to run as a guest in another virtual environment or allow any other operating system to run as a guest on Oracle Linux 7. In contrast to Red Hat, Coekaerts says Oracle is delivering on the promise of the OpenStack cloud management framework by not specifically tying an instance of OpenStack to a particular Linux distribution. In fact, Coekaerts notes that Oracle has gone so far as to give customers a choice of OpenStack environments following the signing of an alliance with Mirantis.
In addition, Coekaerts notes that customers are not only free to download Oracle Linux 7, they can make as many copies as they want without having to register each instance with Oracle.
Coekaerts says that Oracle is trying to promote the adoption of Oracle Linux 7 beyond its own installed base of software. At the moment, 12,000 customers are running Oracle Linux with support from Oracle. The majority of those instances involve running at least one Oracle product on top of Oracle Linux 7.
Of course, the relationship between Oracle and the open source community has always been complex. After acquiring Sun Microsystems and MySQL, the company became one of the largest contributors of open source software. But as also one of the largest providers of commercial software, many factions with the open source community don’t always trust Oracle’s intentions.
Nevertheless, Oracle has made it clear that when it comes to open source, it’s not going away. And for a lot of IT organizations that rely on Oracle for any number of other products, Oracle Linux 7 is an added bonus in that it provides them access to an enterprise-class distribution of Linux that results in them having one less vendor to have to manage.