Speaking to a crowd of thousands at Oracle OpenWorld after ringing the closing bell of NASDAQ stock exchange, Ellison announced that Oracle is now offering full support for Red Hat customers -- and he pledged to offer it at much cheaper rates than the longtime Linux distributor.
"If you are a Red Hat support customer, you can very easily switch from Red Hat support to Oracle support. And our support costs way less than half of what Red Hat charges," Ellison said, adding that Red Hat's basic support costs $1,499 per year for a 2 processor server.
Solving Linux's problems
Ellison explained that the now mature Linux operating system is a major component of Oracle's goal of propagating the use of grid computing architectures. Oracle is so committed to grid, he said, that the next version of Oracle's flagship database, Version 11g, which goes into beta testing at the end of this year, will support 128 PC server database grids. He said the current version, 10g, supports 64 PC database grids.
But in order to increase the adoption of grids, Oracle needs to help increase the adoption of Linux, and that means breaking down the remaining barriers to Linux adoption, he said.
Ellison said those obstacles include long waits for bug fixes, high prices for support; and a lack of legal protections -- or indemnification -- from Linux vendors.
The problem of slow bug fixes serves to slow the movement of mission critical applications to Linux, he added.
"I believe this is the most serious problem facing the Linux community today," Ellison said. We'll be "fixing your problems in the version of Linux that you are running" as opposed to future versions, he said.
Ellison said that Oracle's new Red Hat support offering will solve the bug, legal and pricing issues in one fell swoop.
Ellison said that it's very important not to fragment the Linux market as Oracle begins to introduce bug fixes -- and he offered a solution to that potential issue.
"Every time Red Hat comes out with a new version, we will synchronize our systems to that product and then we'll just add the bug fixes," he said.
Anyone who wants to try our Oracle's new support program can do so for free for the next 90 days. Oracle customers who decide to sign on can get 50% off list prices until January 31, 2007.
"We are really trying to speed the adoption of Linux.," Ellison said in a question and answer session following the keynote. "I don't think that we're trying to kill Red Hat… We're trying to offer a better product at a lower price."