Fresh Rumors Erupt over Red Hat-Oracle Buy

By Lisa Vaas Print this article Print

Opinion: Open Source industry watchers are weighing in on Oracle's Linux moves, a potential Red Hat buyout and other related rumors.

First, rumor had it that Oracle was buying JBoss.

Didn't happen.

Then Larry Ellison reportedly was dissing Red Hat support and making noises about Oracle stepping in to provide that support.

Oracle went (typically) mute about any supposed plans put forth by its free-wheeling head, Mr. "I-don't-check-with-no-stinkin'-media-relations-before-I-open-my-mouth" Ellison.

Then there was last week at LinuxWorld, with all the anticipation about Oracle supposedly on the brink of putting out an Oracle flavor of Linux.


This week, the rumor mill is churning about Oracle buying Red Hat. People were contacting me Aug. 22, asking about the possibility.

Since Oracle always checks with me before it buys a company (yes, that was sarcasm), I assured people that no such purchase was imminent. I mean, c'mon, they would have called.

OK, so Red Hat was absent at LinuxWorld. Maybe preparing for the wedding, maybe because it figured out that it wasn't worth the money or wasn't generating enough leads.

But then this interesting pitch from a rep at a Sun third-party PR firm came out. To quote:

"Is it possible that Red Hat is quietly readying itself for acquisition by Oracle? The rumor mill is hinting at it, and so do the bloggers. Just type 'Red Hat Sucks' into Google, and watch the slams against Red Hat and its poor-quality support pile up."

(I did just that, and as of Aug. 22, the first thing that popped up was a complaint; the second hit was the first, mild response to that complaint; and the third was a rant from… oh, let's see… yes, the year 2001, that would be. "Piling up?" Uh, no.)

It continues: "There certainly seems to be an increasing level of frustration against the former darling of the Linux world. To add insult to injury, Red Hat was barely present at Linux World.

"If they're not readying themselves for a sale, they'd better figure something out—because if they alienate their customers with poor quality support, and their developers by ignoring their big show, they're not going to have a lot of supporters to help them hold out against an industry giant who comes knocking.

"Support/service contracts are the way RHAT makes its money, so if that revenue is eliminated, they become a company in trouble.

"Sun prides itself on an open-source software business model that also features world-class support. If you'd like to hear some competitive perspective on how Red Hat's weak support offering makes it vulnerable not only to takeover, but to customer defection, please let me know."

There goes Sun, spreading FUD, trying to sow doubt in the minds of would-be Red Hat customers, sounding the siren call of open-source Solaris, right?

Well, nah. Like the other rumors and innuendos, this one was kind of, well, bunk. Turns out it wasn't authorized by Sun, just a self-described renegade flak.


Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Fresh Rumors Erupt over Red Hat-Oracle Buy

This article was originally published on 2006-08-22
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.
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