Oracle’s Linuxization of software almost complete

Oracle Corp. is close to having its entire software portfolio running on Linux, with Wednesday’s announcement that the company’s Internet Application Server (iAS) 8i will support the open-source operating system. The vendor also announced expanded partnerships with four Linux distribution companies – Caldera Systems Inc., SuSE Linux AG, TurboLinux Inc. and VA Linux Systems Inc.

All three versions of iAS – the standard, enterprise and wireless editions – will support Linux, according to Bob Shimp, Oracle’s senior director of Internet platform marketing. “Linux is ready for the very high end,” he said. IAS is a Java-based application server specifically designed to support e-business applications.

Oracle has been shipping a Linux version of its Oracle 8i database for a year and has gradually moved its other software to the operating system, such as its development tools Linux Oracle Business Components for Java and Oracle Forms Developer 6i, and its E-Business Suite 11i, which includes the vendor’s ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) applications. Still to migrate to Linux are Oracle Internet Directory and Oracle Parallel Server, but it’s only a matter of weeks before Linux versions of those products are available, Shimp said.

The vendor also said Wednesday that it has expanded its joint marketing arrangements with Caldera, SuSE, TurboLinux and VA Linux Systems so that the Linux distribution companies now include an offer for a free software sample of Oracle 8i and iAS for Linux with copies of their operating systems. “We’re building up our Linux reseller chain,” Shimp said.

Although he couldn’t provide any statistics for the current number of Linux-based deployments of Oracle software, Shimp said that during last month developers downloaded 285,000 copies of the Linux version of Oracle 8i from the vendor’s developer network, Oracle Technology Network (OTN). “Linux has grown at an incredible rate,” he said. One Oracle 8i customer, private label Net access provider Corp., carried out 50 million transactions a day last month on a single Linux server, Shimp said.

As early as February last year, Oracle decided to upgrade Linux to a “tier-one” platform in its operating systems strategy, Shimp noted. “Linux is at the same porting and support level as (Microsoft Corp.’s) Windows and (Sun Microsystems Inc.’s) Solaris,” he said. Oracle’s Linux revenue is growing very rapidly, Shimp added, but couldn’t provide specific revenue breakout figures.

Oracle has seen Linux grow from its roots in the developer community to attract plenty of support from dot-com operations and then recently gain followers in larger corporations, Shimp said. He expects that next year, Linux will make major strides in terms of adoption by Fortune 500 companies.

“Companies are gaining confidence in the level of performance and robustness of the OS,” he said.

Oracle has also demonstrated its support for Linux by making investments in Linux distribution and services companies, namely Red Hat Software Inc., Linuxcare Inc. and TurboLinux. Although Oracle officials won’t specify the company’s precise investments in the Linux vendors, they noted that in any financing round, Oracle’s contribution tends to be in the order of 15 to 25 per cent of the total investment.

Oracle’s iAS 8i standard and enterprise editions cost US$5 per universal power unit and $30 per universal power unit respectively, while iAS wireless version is priced at $150 per universal power unit and $95 per named user.

Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif., can be reached at