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Oracle Spreads FUD About CentOS But Misses The Mark

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Oracle is on a bit of a marketing attack against CentOS, the free Linux distribution that derives from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

To see Oracle promote its own Linux distribution and attack a rival is pretty much a joke. It can only be viewed as the hubris we have come to expect from Oracle.

Oracle is making a proposal to CentOs users. Oracle is trying to exploiting historical delays in CentOS release. They claim the update issue poses a security risk. To lure customers, they say they are making the Oracle Linux  software available free of charge. And they have created a script to switch a CentOS system to Oracle Linux. Oracle is offering this free Red Hat clone to pick up customers down the road. They offer the distribution for free and sell support. They claim their support is cheaper than Red Hat’s.

CentOS has had its fair share of delays in recent years. According to Planet Linux, the CentOS 6 release was eight  months later than the upstream RHEL release. “Since then though, CentOS developers have really picked up the pace. CentOS 6.3 was released, which is within a month of Red Hat’s official RHEL 6.3 release.”

In classic form, Oracle says that they are serious, really, about their work:

This is not some gimmick to get you running Oracle Linux so that you buy support from us. If you’re perfectly happy running without a support contract, so are we. We’re delighted that you’re running Oracle Linux instead of something else.

One thing I have learned about Oracle – when they say one thing, it means another. If they say it is cloud, it is not. And if they say it is free, check your wallet.

Oracle just can’t be trusted. A commenter said it well on Hacker News:

Oracle is simply not an ethical member of the Open Source community, and if you trust them, they will screw you, some day, some way. Red Hat may have their flaws, but they’ve never sued over patents and they’ve never attempted to destroy competing projects or companies through legal threats and bullying. CentOS may be slow to jump on updates sometimes and to get out new releases, but at least it’s a good Open Source citizen.

I have also learned that Oracle does have phenomenal support. The offer from Oracle is really about getting RHEL customers to switch. To say they can support faster than CentOS seems more like a ruse.

Even more so, Oracle is using marketing to try to convince open source users to use Oracle Linux. That’s not going to work. The CentOS community is satisfied right now. Using FUD will get Oracle nowhere.