The Apocalypse -- Who Would Have Guessed Its Me?
October 28, 2006
The apocalypse. I’ve always known I’ll have a hand in it. – Hunter
Too true, Hunter. However, now that I’m the current maintainer of Current its all my fault. I’m sure if you are bored enough to read this than you have heard of Oracle announcement of Unbreakable Linux. Included with that is Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux Network which is the RHN-alike.
If you know where to look (besides here, obviously) its no secret. Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux Network is based on Current. The web user interface was created with Oracle’s Apex product. Fortunately, I seem to have a fairly decent relationship with a few folks in Oracle’s linux team. They’ve been hacking on Current and asking questions for a while. I’ve even been sent patches with the promise of more to come. They have been working on Current in good faith and I really appreciate that.
Most of the changes Oracle has made are in porting Current to run with an Oracle database. Unfortunately, with the way the database layer is designed and the differences that Oracle requires I can either have support for an Oracle database or have support for SQLite, MySQL, and Postgres. So those patches wont appear in Current’s SVN tree anytime soon. However, I’m definitely still interested in solving this problem the Right Way™ by porting Current to use SQLAlchemy. I’ve definitely told folks I will accept such a patch. However, there’s enough SQL in Current to make that quite a bit of work.
For the truly bored with way to much free time, there is one other thing that I’d like Current to have. A suite of unit tests aimed at the external XMLRPC API and the directory structure that Apache serves out via Current.
I definitely think that there are interesting times ahead for Red Hat and the Oracle Linux offering. Its obvious that Oracle has no desire to put Red Hat out of business as their linux offering is completely dependant on the continued maintenance and new releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. If you scratch off the Unbreakable Linux sticker you’ll see RHEL underneath. We all know that there have been rumors for months about Oracle wishing to acquire Red Hat.
I believe that this could really put Red Hat back in the game on the competitive edge. Perhaps Red Hat needs a good bit of competition. Working at a university I know well that Red Hat’s support offerings are very expensive and they are sold on the subscription model. Red Hat, the subscription model by itself just isn’t competitive and doesn’t allow my place of work to purchase support at a reasonable cost level. How about offering different support schemes and let your customers buy what’s right for them. Sell support instances. Let me buy a 10-pack. What about support contacts? Pay a flat rate per year for one person at an institution/company to open as many support instances as needed. Make a bigger deal of your web based support products. Quit porting RHN to Java and make it the management tool of the future.