Some days, it doesn’t pay to be a Java shop. Oracle has discontinued OpenSolaris and is suing Google over making a Java fork for their mobile phones. Are OpenJDK, mySQL, and OpenOffice next on the destructive rampage?
We like using open source. We also like coding our Web apps in Java; it’s heavier duty than PHP/Ruby and more open than .NET – or at least it was. We’re actually a big Oracle shop – we use mySQL for our cloud offerings but use loads of Oracle databases (and Oracle ERP) internally. But it’s hard to interpret this as anything other than a series of crappy moves that will result in diminishing the ecosystem we’re trying to use to create products and Web apps.
It seems like Larry Ellison is really fond of the old Microsoft “I am your monopolistic corporate overlord” kind of business relationship. Warning – if we want one of those, we’d use Microsoft; they’re cheaper and better at it.
It’s partly the fault of the open source “companies” – they willingly sell out to the corporate-overlord set (Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, HP, CA) and then, no matter what they say, they’re not really open any more. Java was allegedly open sourced by Sun but now Oracle is suing Google for exercising that open source license on the basis of patent infringement. Heck, a lot of the open source companies have instead become “open core” which is often mostly a lie.
So is Open Source already dead, and this is just part of the feeding frenzy of the big boys scooping it up?
A year ago I wrote about Oracle’s plan on how to combine BEA Weblogic and OAS. A long time went by before any more information appeared – we met with our Oracle reps last week to figure out what the deal is. The answer wasn’t much more clear than it was way back last year. They do certainly want some kind of money to “upgrade” but it seems poorly thought through.
OAS came in various versions – Java, Standard, Standard One, Enterprise, and then the SOA Suite versions. The new BEA, now “Fusion Middleware 11g” comes in different versions as well.
- WLS Standard
- WLS Enterprise – adds clustering, costs double
- WLS Suite – adds Coherence, Enterprise Manager, and JRockit realtime, costs quadruple
But they can’t tell us what OAS product maps to what FMW version.
There is also an oddly stripped down “Basic” edition which noted as being a free upgrade from OAS SE but it strips out a lot of JMS and WS stuff; there’s an entire slide of stuff that gets stripped out and it’s hard to say if this would be feasible for us.
As for SOA Suite, “We totally just don’t know.”
Come on Oracle, you’ve had a year to get this put together. It’s pretty simple, there’s not all that many older and newer products. I suspect they’re being vague so they can feel out how much $$ they can get out of people for the upgrade. Hate to break it to you guys – the answer is $0. We didn’t pay for OAS upgrades before this, we just paid you the generous 22% a year maintenance that got you your 51% profit margin this year. If you’re retiring OAS for BEA in all but name, we expect to get the equivalent functionality for our continued 22%.
Oracle has two (well, three) clear to dos.
1. Figure out what BEA product bundles give functionality equivalent to old OAS bundles
2. Give those to support-paying customers
3. Profit. You’re making plenty without trying to upcharge customers. Don’t try it.
We use Oracle Application Server as our Java app server at NI. Yeah, yeah, I’ll wait till you stop laughing.
Why not JBoss or WebLogic or WebSphere? Well, a couple reasons. We made the decision five years ago, and JBoss wasn’t solid then, and we needed J2EE support so plain Tomcat wasn’t enough. And we’re a huge Oracle shop and figured that if we were using the same app server on the Web and our ERP tiers there’d be leverage in terms of developer knowledge etc. Would we make that same decision today? I’m not sure about that (I can hear my team members shouting “hell no” over the cube walls). Although since we’ve also gone with Oracle’s SOA suite for ESB and BPEL it would be harder to switch. But still tempting – Oracle has done a horrible job in getting their app server supported by other vendors. Every time we buy something and look at the supported app server section of their support matrix, and we ask “What about Oracle’s OAS?” we get expressions of mixed horror and pity from the supplier. (I liked it when the Chinese technical guy from one eComm vendor we had in responded to this question with, “You know, the Tomcat is good, and free! Maybe you use that!”)
Anyway, Oracle bought BEA a while back, which got keen interest from us. Stay with Oracle *and* use a good app server that other people support? Tempting! But Oracle’s been farting around for six months without coming out with a statement on what this will mean for the products. Oracle’s finally done a Webcast describing their strategy. Well, it’s half marketing and a celebration of how many million dollars they have. But there’s also a lot of product strategy in there. I’ll sum it up for you because the damn webcast is nearly two hours long, and I don’t want other people to have to waste that much time on it. Unless you like to hear someone go on about “strategic clarity” and “customer profiles,” in which case this is two hours of bliss for you and you should watch it. Although I also had the stream break a bunch of times while watching. Who the heck uses RealPlayer any more? Anyway, here’s a list of the interesting product facts from the Webcast. Some are marked with their timestamp if you want to fast forward to them and see more.