IBM guarantees its products will work with Red Hat’s version of Linux; although, they are being very cautious in adopting support for Oracle Corporation’s Unbreakable Linux, despite the fact that Oracle’s distribution is a mere clone.Oracle Corporation’s Unbreakable Linux became widely available in October of last year, and is based on the much popular Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution. The only difference, according to Oracle, is the claim to provide cheaper support for their customers.
On Friday, Matthew McMahon, a spokesman for IBM, stated they are not ready to guarantee their software to be compatible with Oracle’s version of Linux. If any compatibility issue is raised between the two, it will be strictly up to Oracle to provide a fix.
Oracle not only claims their version to be identical to Red Hat Linux, but says software that was written for Red Had will run consistently on their version as well; this is still not enough for IBM to support their software on the new Linux distribution.
Instead, IBM is taking the safe approach by waiting to see if any software compatibility issues arise.
“We are going to wait and see if there is traction in the marketplace,” McMahon said. “If clients want it (Oracle), then we will support it.”
However, analysts are claiming that consumers want to be assured of compatibility before switching to Oracle, and this remains one of Red Hat’s strongest selling points. Red Hat provides an assurance of compatibility among over 2,700 business software packages; in which, their products are 100% compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
“What Red Hat is selling to the customer is peace of mind. Oracle cannot do that because it is unable to certify comparability,” said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research.
IBM’s denial of support, for Oracle, is causing uncertainty with companies in adopting the OS. IBM sells widely used software (DB2 database, Tivoli software) that corporations use to run sizable computer networks. Without a compatibility guarantee, businesses simply can’t afford to take chances with Oracle.
Oracle spokeswoman, Deborah Hellinger, declined to say how the company would respond if it’s Linux customers were to have issues with 3rd party software; although, Oracle may be taking the safe approach along with IBM.