Hearing this week that Larry Ellison is thinking of acquiring and releasing its own version of Linux, whether it’s Novell or rather the surely much much cheaper Ubuntu distro, and seeing the ensuing media buzz reminded me of a different, but no simpler time: November 9, 1998. In fact, to say it reminded me is an understatement, I have a severe case of déja vu!
It was the day before the opening keynote at Openworld 1998 and I wrote in my blog ontopofit.com (yes I had a blog in 1998, but I dropped it in an early case of blog fatigue!):
I predict that during this Oracle Open World week, we’ll see Oracle announce some major initiatives with regards to Linux. We’ve seen some hints of this already, with a Linux beta of Oracle 8i floating around, and with some rumblings in the UK about an Oracle distro, or even Oracle-brand corporate support for Linux. it’s 11:30 ET on the 8th as I write, and we’ll soon know if I’m right or wrong.
Can you believe that was almost 8 years ago?
IFS had just recently been announced, you see, and I was certain that I had caught a glimpse of the makings of a grandiose plan of Oracle’s: to make the operating system, well, moot. And I wrote an article about it that is currently only available on the excellent Web Archive Project.
Anyway, for your reading pleasure, imagine yourselves in late 1998 and take this in: Why Oracle 8i Will Remodel the OS Landscape. Scroll to the bottom for some interesting spin from some IBM folks and an interesting comment from Eric Sedlar, then the IFS Senior Developer and now I think still at Oracle managing their XML initiatives. How time flies when you’re having fun.
Oracle can try to use open-source software to gain competitive advantage, but the open-source movement is also providing the company with lots of competition. Most directly are databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, but also on the list are Java application servers and software for managing customer relationships and corporate inventory and accounting.