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HP Oracle The Courts

HP Asks Judge To Enforce Itanium Contract Vs. Oracle 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the oracle-making-a-play-for-more-courtroom-marketshare dept.
Dupple writes with this quote from a Reuters report: "Hewlett-Packard Co told a judge on Tuesday that Oracle Corp should be ordered to make its software available on HP's Itanium-based servers for as long as HP sells them. Lawyers for HP and Oracle presented closing arguments in a California state court for the first phase in a bitter lawsuit between the two tech giants. ... Oracle decided to stop developing software for use with Itanium last year, saying Intel made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and was shifting its focus to its x86 microprocessor. But HP said it had an agreement with Oracle that support for Itanium would continue, without which the equipment using the chip would become obsolete. HP said that commitment was affirmed when it settled a lawsuit over Oracle's hiring of ousted HP chief executive Mark Hurd. HP seeks up to $4 billion in damages."
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HP Asks Judge To Enforce Itanium Contract Vs. Oracle

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  • SOS (Score:5, Funny)

    by plover (150551) * on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:31PM (#40472341) Homepage Journal

    The Itanic is sinking!

    • Near, far, wherever you are, I believe that the heart does go on... at least until Oracle snuffs it.

  • by soupforare (542403) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:36PM (#40472387)
    he extends sympathies.
  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:36PM (#40472389)

    HP seeks up to $4 billion in damages.

    Years ago when the itanic was sinking, I heard shipping estimates as low as 200K processors annually. I'm sure its lower now. But that implies something on the order of $20K damages per processor shipped, which is astounding.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:44PM (#40472473)

      Where I work, we use Alpha, and have investigated moving to Itanium, but with this debacle, we won't make the move, as we use also Oracle. I won't discuss actual numbers, but $20,000 per CPU is in the ballpark of our annual support costs (if you include hardware and software). At some point we will either port or rewrite, and in either case, it won't be an HP platform we land on, but we may still use Oracle for the database. This case has very real implications for HP, and hurts them more than it hurts Oracle.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I would be interested in knowing what OS you have been using, VMS or Digital Unix maybe? You probably will have much bigger issues than just which new hardware platform you will be using. DEC is gone. SGI is gone. HP is slipping away. Sun Micro was rescued. Oracle might just be the best source for HW (Sun), OS (Win64, Solaris), and DB (Oracle DBS) combined.

        Oh, and I agree with you about the $20K / CPU, although that might be a bit on the low side for support costs (volume discount?).
        HP sacrificed their 64bi

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Alpha was available new for longer than you might think, at least for current HP customers. I believe 2006 was the cutoff for new alpha hardware. And it is still supported, through I believe at least 2014. and probably longer. We use VMS, and HP is still regularly patching an updating the OS. That is more than I can say for RDB, which started out as a DEC product and ended up in the hands of Oracle. We still use RDB, from back in the DEC days. But there are plenty of people running the numbered Oracle datab
          • by unixisc (2429386)

            Alpha's demise happened while it was still w/ Compaq. After NT was discontinued on the Alpha, that platform didn't stay long, since Compaq decided to go along w/ the Itanic as well. AFAIK, it was under Compaq that the migration started of OVMS from Alpha, and Tandem NonStop from MIPS, both to Itanic. So the GGP may have been using OVMS/AXP and may have investigated going to OVMS/Itanic.

            It doesn't make sense to go from one legacy platform to another whose future was never really there. Itanium would h

      • It is amazing Oracle is still in business. If it were not for the billions of lines of code specifically for crapware enterprise software it would be dead. Was it always this much or did Larry jerk up the prices this high after customers were hooked?

        To me Oracle DBMS is the IE 6 of databases. It is out of date, its sql is proprietary, has proprietary tools, and the only reason people use it like IE 6 is because code depends on it and these saps can't leave.

        Maybe when NoSQL matures it will eat it for lunch.

        • I wouldn't pin the insanely large amount of crap enterprise software being tied so tight to Oracle as being solely Oracle's fault. Bloated enterprise software will always find terrible platforms to become tied to. Companies like Oracle, IBM, Microsoft live off of vendor lock in and encourage it; but the managers at large software projects seem to want lock in as well.

          I could never really understand this effect, even large organizations that moan about how horrible it is to be locked in to Microsoft and Orac

          • It is funny they want lockin until companies like MS stop XP support or when Oracle keeps upping its requirements and costs. Then its holy shit how did this happen!!

            Free software like FOSS offers alternatives and noSQL is new and open alternatives like PostgreSQL and mysql greatly reduce this. I do no understand people who think average Joes should run Linux on the desktop but for the server this makes sense.

            No lock in and vendors and users encourage compatibility. The fact that browser vendors finally agre

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:52PM (#40472535)

      Years ago when the itanic was sinking, I heard shipping estimates as low as 200K processors annually. I'm sure its lower now. But that implies something on the order of $20K damages per processor shipped, which is astounding.

      Why would you even think of damages in terms of "per processor shipped" (and, even worse, in terms of annual processor shipments)? Even assuming the estimates you refer to are accurate, the computation you make is meaningless.

    • Yet Intel's Itanium profits are greater than all of AMD's. Wish AMD would do better financially.

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      $20K/core is what oracle charges right?
    • The metrics probably include the price of the server as well as lost HP management software it could have sold. Yes the latter part is always inflated but Itanium was never made for desktops but really expensive 8 - 128 cpu servers.

      Blades came out later and helped kill the Itanium as they were old fashioned big boxen but still this is what HP probably used to estimate the damages of lost sales.

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        I would guess so, since the most recent numbers I heard put their shipped Itanium systems at something like $20k-$250k, depending on configuration.

        Granted, it's been a couple months and I wasn't terribly interested in the article, so I could be off by quite a bit, but HP's made a continued investment because they are actually still making money servicing whatever niche is filled by those Itanium systems.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One of our customer bought some Itanium servers from HP, 3-year old unused hardware, they must have done a deal they couldn't refuse. Then the Oracle wouldn't run fast enough and of course it was our problem, us being the software vendor. After expensive CPU upgrades and everything else, it still runs like a dog. For the fraction of the money, they could have got some intel kit and run Linux with 10x performance.

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        Uh, Debian Linux could have been run on those HP Itanium servers as well. Or one could have used the last version of Centos that worked on the Itanium. Where did people get this idea that Linux is only good for Xeon or Opteron platforms?

        Currently, the Itanium supports

        • HP/UX - HP's own Unix back from the PA-RISC days
        • Debian Linux
        • FreeBSD

        So just b'cos someone buys a de-facto proprietary hardware from HP doesn't mean that they are locked on to HP/UX and whatever is in their mercy. They could have installe

  • Can somone opine as to why exactly HP is doing this ? What do they hope to get ? Why dont they simply cut n run, and/or move HP-UX to x86 as they've already proven to themselves that it can run on x86.

    Corporations are weird.

    • Existing Customers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by raehl (609729) <raehl311.yahoo@com> on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:45PM (#40472485) Homepage

      HP sold Itanium boxes to customers who use them to run Oracle. Oracle stops supporting Itanium and the customers are stuck holding computers that don't do what they paid for them to do.

      There's probably penalties in HPs contracts with their customers in the event of such a circumstance. Or maybe they just don't want their customers to feel like HP screwed them.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Even if HP forces Oracle to continue software development how much effort will they really put into it? If some critical bug only affects Itanium how many resources will be thrown at it?

        • by Aighearach (97333)

          Even if HP forces Oracle to continue software development how much effort will they really put into it? If some critical bug only affects Itanium how many resources will be thrown at it?

          In that case if it causes HP additional damages, they'll just have to pay whatever they're costing HP. They'll have already lost.

      • by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @06:24PM (#40472843) Homepage

        HP have been screwing their customers for a while already...
        Killing PA-RISC and Alpha, forcing customers onto IA64 which now looks like it will die soon too...
        With each processor transition, customers at the very least have to recompile their code or run it under slow emulation...

        Sun and IBM snapped up a lot of customers from HP over the IA64 transition, and i fully expect them to do the same when HP finally abandons IA64 and moves its customers onto something else.

        Introducing a new, incompatible CPU was never going to work...

        Too much code is only available in binary form, and so ran on ia64 very slowly under emulation. Vendors had no incentive to port their code because there were so few users, and users had no incentive to buy into the architecture because there was no software. Who wants to pay 5 times more for a cpu that when saddled with emulation is actually slower than the cheaper cpus?

        The hardware was never cheap enough to attract hobbyist developers, so even open source code was often not well tested on them (nor are new risc cpus from other vendors, but old ones can be had cheaply). Had the hardware been cheap, it would have gained a lot more traction in the linux market at least.

        • by laffer1 (701823)

          You are absolutely right. I looked into purchasing an older IA64 box on ebay last year. Prices were still to high to justify the cost for something I barely know anything about. Then trying to figure out what OS to run on it was another problem. I would have ended up with FreeBSD, but it's certainly not a viable platform at this point.

        • by unixisc (2429386)

          This is quite right. Actually, in case of Alpha, it was Compaq who screwed customers by trying to migrate them to Itanium. In HP's case, they had already planned to migrate from PA-RISC to Itanium in the 90s.

          But ultimately, it made no sense, and HP would have done well had they simply stayed w/ PA-RISC. They had HP/UX on the platform, and they also happened to have NEXTSTEP on the platform. Had they continued to develop PA-RISC, they'd have been the market leaders. And Microsoft would have done a lot

      • >Or maybe they just don't want their customers to feel like HP screwed them.

        Where, in the last three years, can you find a customer who doesn't feel screwed by HP?

      • ... Or maybe they just don't want their customers to feel like HP screwed them.

        They both HP hardware, what did they expect?

        I am not familiar with high end licensing schemes, but I have a feeling HP would make more money on support contracts for these behemoths than selling them new hardware. Failing that, I am sure a pretty good percentage of customers getting screwed on Itanium would take their support contract money to other vendors when it comes time to buy new hardware.

    • Re:Why exactly ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sique (173459) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:47PM (#40472501) Homepage

      Because they have contracts with their customers guaranteering them continued software support. And if the main supplier stops software support, those contracts become quite shaky.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Considering that ditching Itanic would mean porting HP-UX, NonStop OS, and VMS, it would be a non-trivial exercise. First, you have to port the OS. Then you have to either write a compatibility layer (similar to Apple's Rosetta), or port all of the applications, including those you didn't write yourself. Given the tendency of business to not want to spend more money than they have to, the former is more likely in the short term.

      There's also the political issues involved with abandoning a significant hardwar

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        non-trivial but already done for all three OS as experiments, and the x86 port is part of the papers Oracle now has from discovery

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/08/hp_ux_on_x86_project_kinetic/ [theregister.co.uk]

    • Re:Why exactly ? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:54PM (#40472557)
      Itanium servers are very profitable for HP and they don't really have any competition in this server space. It is very expensive for Intel as they don't sell enough of them to justify the R&D and support. Intel would like to drop it but for HP. Oracle would like to drop it for support costs. Probably HP wants to keep their profits even though it costs money for everyone else.
      • Re:Why exactly ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @06:08PM (#40472677) Homepage

        Are you kidding? Sparc and PPC are plenty of competition for HP in the server space. If anything, HP/UX has always been an ugly redheaded stepchild when it comes to Oracle support.

        If you're running HP, you're already trying to smash a square peg into a round hole here.

        That said: Oracle should still be held to any contracts it made.

        • by bmo (77928)

          FYI, SPARC and PPC don't run VMS, which is what this is all about.

          --
          BMO

          • by unixisc (2429386)

            While TFA doesn't mention it, the reason HP is pissed is that it's HP/UX that Oracle is refusing to support. Not (just) OpenVMS. The latter is already an EOLed OS, but HP/UX on Integrity servers is still very much alive, at least in HP's opinion.

            However, Oracle is hardly alone in dropping support. SAP has dropped support for the platform, and even among the Linux vendors, Red Hat, Centos and Canonical have all dropped support. Debian is the only Linux still supporting Itanium.

        • The last time I checked Sun and PPC do not run Itanium. If you want Itanium, HP is really the only company. As such HP charges gads of money.
          • by unixisc (2429386)

            A lot of companies, including IBM (don't recall about Sun) did once have Itanium plans. As they saw how it did in the market, they dropped it. Even guys like SGI dropped it. That made Itanium effectively an HP-only platform, just like PA-RISC used to be.

            But if customers are shopping for solutions, where Xeons or Opterons are not necessarily adequate, then UltraSparc and POWER7 are very much competitors in this space.

            Another thing what mentioning - Oracle is by no means the only vendor that has abando

            • Hardware wise SPARC and PowerPC are competitive however if the requirement is Itanium do to legacy applications or whatever, HP is the only company that makes Itanium servers. As such HP has no competition.
    • Can somone opine as to why exactly HP is doing this ?

      Money, mostly.

      What do they hope to get ?

      See previous response. (Both in damages, and by not losing their existing Itanium-based business.)

      Why dont they simply cut n run, and/or move HP-UX to x86 as they've already proven to themselves that it can run on x86.

      They will, but that doesn't recover costs they expended in reliance on the agreement they had with Oracle to maintain support on Itanium, so they still want to win the case.

      I mean, even if they win eve

    • by sjames (1099)

      They've got Itanium, a brand new pair of dead whale kickin' boots and the world looks like a beach?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    An Mac Book Itanium would sell more units than anyone could produce.

  • I don't know what HP's plans were BEFORE Oracle dumped Itanium support but according to the HP-UX support maxtrix from February 2012, they will support some Itanium systems until 2018. I don't know if they killed any products early due to lack of Oracle software support but without Oracle support, I would bet there is every reason for many of the Itanium users to (1) cancel any planned Itanium purchases and (2) drop the existing ones. With them being taken out of service, HP loses revenue. It's a lot of m

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstrickler (920733)

      And that's HP's problem, not Oracle's. HP didn't pay Oracle to develop, or maintain their software for HP systems. Oracle did it because they thought it was good business. All of the Itanium [wikipedia.org] sales projections over the years have been reduced by at least an order of magnitude. Now, with Itanic continuing to sink, Oracle has changed it's mind.

      $4B is insane, it's nearly the entire Itanium market. And the claim that Oracle would agree to a contract that could cost them $4B as part of the settlement of a lawsuit

      • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @06:23PM (#40472823)

        >HP didn't pay Oracle to develop, or maintain their software for HP systems. Oracle did it because they thought it was good business.

        Larry signed the contract. They're on the hook.

        Just like David Boies signed a contract to prosecute SCO's lawsuits until the heat death of the universe, because he thought he was going to get a chunk of the 5 billion SCO was suing IBM for.

        Greed leads to bad decisions. Who woulda thunk it.

        --
        BMO

        • We don't know what the contract said. We also don't know if HP subsidized the port of Oracle products to their Itanium line in exchange for some commitment.

          $4bn is probably more money than HP thought it was worth but you have to have room to negotiate.

          We can be pretty sure that dropping Oracle support did not help keep people using HP Itanium computers.

          If Oracle violated a signed contract, then they deserve this. Otherwise, it is no more of a waste of court time than anything Apple has done.

        • That's not exactly how contract law works.

          First, we don't know if the contract specified any particular length of time, or just a general "We'll continue to develop..."

          Second, in contract disputes, the intent and what is fair and equitable are as important, and often more important than the letter of the contract.

          Third, there is a "would a reasonable person willingly agree to such terms" guideline applied in resolving contract disputes.

          Fourth, we don't know if the contract specified any penalties for breach

          • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @07:06PM (#40473285)

            Oracle only gets out of the contract for development if the clause on it is unconscionable or otherwise unenforceable.

            Unlike your average joe, Oracle has lawyers that they pay to go over this stuff and pick out and cross out the unenforceable and unconscionable stuff for revision before signing.

            IANAL, but I trust Oracle hires good lawyers.

            --
            BMO

            • I would say a $4B penalty claim in such a case is unconscionable, and not foreseeable. Even HP's low end claim of $500M is unconscionable given that the market never developed and the Intel itself has indicated the CPU doesn't have much of a future.

              • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @07:44PM (#40473635)

                >I would say a $4B penalty claim in such a case is unconscionable, and not foreseeable.

                No. That's not how it works. It's not whether the penalty is unconscionable. That's just HP asking for relief. They can ask for any number they want. But in cases like this, you always ask for more than what you need because it only gets adjusted down anyway.

                You only get out of it if *the clause in the contract itself* is unconscionable or otherwise unenforceable. According to HP, Oracle signed a contract saying that Oracle would continue to support Itanium. HP is telling the court that to make them whole for Oracle to break the contract, it would be 4 billion to call it even, because that's what the projected damage would be, according to HP.

                Whether the court agrees with that amount or not, the court has to first determine whether the clause itself was unconscionable or otherwise unenforceable. If it's a valid clause, it's just a matter of determining how much it would be to make HP "whole" for Oracle breaking the contract.

                Proving the clause is unconscionable or otherwise unenforceable is a pretty high hurdle for Oracle to clear, since their lawyers are experienced in handling contracts like this and they should have known before signing that it was unconscionable. Proving this means that their lawyers were incompetent at the time of signing. Not proving it means that their current lawyers are incompetent.

                THE CONTRACT IS INVALID BECAUSE I WAS DRUNK, YOUR HONOUR.

                --
                BMO

            • BTW, if Oracle's lawyers are that good, how do you explain the Google/Java case?

              Just because they have lawyers, and lots of money, doesn't mean their lawyers are good. They're certainly not always correct.

              • by bmo (77928)

                I'm not saying they're perfect. If you go back and read my previous message with the drunken lawyer, at the end I say that they were either incompetent back then, or they are incompetent now, depending on if they are successful.

                Successful: We were dumb.
                Unsuccessful: We are dumb.

                I'm going with the latter.

                --
                BMO

  • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:54PM (#40472547) Homepage Journal

    The original Itanium was a disaster, the second generation was what the first should have been but wasn't, the third actually looks very respectable. Intel would be stupid to eliminate a product they've actually got functional.

    And for high-end use, the Itanium is a genuinely useful CPU. Because the performance of a cluster is a function of the communication delays, very high-end clusters WANT to have very high-end CPUs. You can only do so much with piles of PCs before the inefficiencies due to (a) distance and (b) an inefficient architecture really set in. There's also (c) - a crap instruction set - but the Itanium doesn't help much there because although it is somewhat better, nobody has built a particularly good compiler for it yet. Optimization on the Itanium remains a challenge.

    Admittedly, it's not the design I would have chosen - I far prefer many of the design decisions made in the Inmos Transputer and the Intel iWarp, since those were designed specifically for the purpose of clustering and started from that position. I also prefer the elegance of the MIPS64 instruction set over the unnecessary burden of anything Intel has done, but again I'm in the minority. I'd also have threaded compute elements and produced virtual cores, rather than threaded instructions on physical cores, since threading the compute elements would allow you to distribute the heat better, wouldn't prevent you accessing elements that are wholly independent of those in use and would reduce unnecessary swapping. But what do I know, I've only been observing what actually works vs what the customers want for 35 years. Customers are just as stupid as beancounters and pointy-haired bosses.

    • by multiplexo (27356) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @06:16PM (#40472757) Journal
      Yeah, it's too bad to see it go. I ran an SGI Altix 3000 at a previous job and it was a screaming box, very elegantly designed and designed for massive clustering. NASA had a cluster of 10,240 Itaniums using the SGI Altix architecture, and it wasn't a weird, one-off hack. You could have duplicated it if you had the money and the space. I think that not having an affordable way for hobbyists to build their own Itanium workstations really hurt Intel. If Intel, or someone else, had come out with an affordable motherboard for building a single or dual CPU system more people could have built their own systems, as they do with x86, and seen what the chip was capable of. What Intel has accomplished with the x86 is impressive, but how long can it go on?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When I was at Sun, and Sun's first Opteron boxes came out, we were told that we lost that NASA contract to SGI because intel paid SGI to give the cluster away for free to NASA (for the publicity) and only to charge for the support...

        The itanic was never that great, even compared to the first Opterons (which used less power and ran cooler too). It was effectively a large DSP and no one (no engineers) in the industry outside of intel took it seriously. It was only ever going to be any good at highly-predictab

      • by Teresita (982888)
        NASA had a cluster of 10,240 Itaniums using the SGI Altix architecture, and it wasn't a weird, one-off hack. They used it as a CGI render farm for their fake Mars rover program.
    • by GGardner (97375)

      And for high-end use, the Itanium is a genuinely useful CPU. Because the performance of a cluster is a function of the communication delays, very high-end clusters WANT to have very high-end CPUs.

      Note the above is certainly true for high-end HPC clusters, but running large Oracle databases on those kinds of machines seems kind of expensive for the performance you get. For Oracle (and other databases), the high-thread count Sparc T-3 / T-4 kinds of processors will give you much better performance at lower cost. Of the few ia-64 installations, I bet most are floating-point heavy HPC clusters, I wonder how many are running Oracle or VMS and "business" workloads.

      But what do I know, I've only been observing what actually works vs what the customers want for 35 years

      Of course, if customers actually wanted

      • by jd (1658)

        Well, yeah. Anyone doing FPU-intensive work on a database (especially an Oracle one) is in the wrong line of business and probably needs considerable therapy. Certainly for database work, you WANT to have as much of the CPU dedicated to running large numbers of relatively basic threads - something the UltraSPARCs and successors do BRILLIANTLY. Hell, if you scaled a StrongARM to handle that many cores and threads, I'd take that over a number-crunching chip for database work.

        Oracle RAC is the clustered versio

    • I don't understand Oracle's position here.Surely all they have to do is compile the latest release of their software with the relevant compiler options?

    • by slew (2918)

      Intel would be stupid to eliminate a product they've actually got functional.

      Companies do this all the time. When the expected revenue doesn't meet the support costs plus the opportunity cost, it's better to eliminate the product than continue to support it. Just getting something functional is a business 101's definition of a "sunk-cost".

      I far prefer many of the design decisions made in the Inmos Transputer and the Intel iWarp

      Interesting you picked those two. I was working at Inmos when CMU came up with the iWarp If the transputer were to be redone from scratch, it probably would have looked very similar to iWarp, but then I thought to myself, aren't people supposed

      • Bulldozer basically does what processors like Niagara did before i.e. it shares the FPU among cores to reduce die space. It works marvelously for web servers or java applications servers i.e. multi-threaded integer applications but sucks for everything else.
      • by jd (1658)

        To be fair to Inmos, the Transputer was really only competing with big iron - no, I do not take the Transputer module for the Amiga seriously.

        Even if it had simply evolved into a networking chip (rather than a DVD processor, which is what actually happened), the modern world spends a couple of grand on individual high-end SCI interconnects (which are essentially ptp serial links), which are distributed over an entire PCI card rather than being a system-on-a-chip. Being able to replace four such boards with

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't recall many (any?) periods in the lifespan of the Itanium where it was the best performing CPU, or gave the most bang per buck. It may have been fastest for a few very parallel scalable tasks, but very parallel scalable tasks have a habit of being able to be done faster on a cluster of cheap x86 nodes.

      If you want a very high end CPU, you'd go for IBM POWER. If you didn't, you went for AMD64. Furthermore the Itanic was merely a CPU, whereas IBM POWER had a lot around it. HP did provide systems, but i

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        Also, I happen to think that had HP stayed w/ the PA-RISC, and Compaq stayed w/ the Alpha, there would have been more serious CPU choices right now. The MIPS turns out to be a better CPU in the embedded and low power space - same space as ARM. Itanium was good as an R&D project, and there have been some DSPs based on VLIW. But other than that, a VLIW/EPIC CPU is only good to run liberated software, never anything that needs to be recompiled.
    • by unixisc (2429386)

      Problem though is that the VLIW architecture, which in the 90s was thought to be architecturally superior to RISC in the same way that RISC was architecturally superior to CISC, turned out to be minimal ROI over RISC. As it turned out, the % of the CPU dedicated to dynamic analysis was far less than what VLIW was supposed to have saved it. But in return for this, every generation of a CPU would have disrupted compatibility w/ the previous one - a problem neither there in CISC nor on RISC CPUs. That was t

      • by jd (1658)

        I agree that the damage to PA-RISC, Alpha and MIPS is unpardonable. Some of these architectures may want to be revisited and re-engineered with current knowledge. I am very much against homogeneous cultures in computing, a heterogeneous environment where the best suited gets to do the best job (where "best suited" factors in the latency of passing the data) will always give the best performance. A slight compromise on performance will give the best bang for the buck, but that sweet-point is almost never goi

        • Ideally, I wish Alpha and PA-RISC were released by HP/Intel in terms of whoever owns their IP, and be made into open-source CPU architectures, like OpenRISC/OpenCORE. That way, let IHVs revisit their designs, work on improving them, and then, if other vendors want to make some specialized legacy-compatible platforms, like AlphaServers for OVMS, they'd have a chance. In the case of MIPS, I believe that b/w what MIPS is doing, and what OpenRISC is doing, they have a lot covered, although there too, having t

          • by jd (1658)

            I don't see why that could not be done. Sun released a large percentage of their T1/T2 processor designs as open-source, so it's not like high-end commercial operators have never gone that path. (Indeed, Sun seems to have been very supportive of that approach, as several other open-source cores - both a space-rated version of the SPARC and an asynchronous version were open-sourced, and IIRC Sun was involved in both.)

            An open-sourced Alpha, PA-RISC and maybe even a StrongARM (IIRC ARM has abandoned that line

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:54PM (#40472553) Journal

    I can't stand either company, for different reasons, and have absolutely no interest in Itanium. I have a hard time picking someone to root for in this... I guess I'll have to go with HP. Go, HP! Only because (a) it's entertaining, and (b) it causes problems for Oracle.

    If Oracle counter-sues, I can always root for Oracle.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      I can't stand either company, for different reasons, and have absolutely no interest in Itanium. I have a hard time picking someone to root for in this... I guess I'll have to go with HP. Go, HP! Only because (a) it's entertaining, and (b) it causes problems for Oracle.

      If Oracle counter-sues, I can always root for Oracle.

      Hopefully the shareholders realise that every dollar that goes to the various law firms is a dollar that won't be part of the profit pool they get dividends from. Sure, $4 billion is a huge loss or gain for the parties in question but i don't think anyone believes that $4bn is ever actually going to change hands.

      If I was placing a bet on anyone, i'd be putting my money on the lawyers. That would be a sure bet.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        > Hopefully the shareholders realise that every dollar that goes to the various law firms is a dollar that won't be part of the profit pool they get dividends from.

        Bonus!

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Alien vs Predator?
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:58PM (#40472599)

    Any chance that they will both lose?

    A boy can dream...

    • by Narnie (1349029)

      Lose Lose
      Oracle: Loses the lawsuit and pays HP cash to buy out the contract, but still refuses to fully support Itanium.
      HP: Due to pending lawsuits, customers abandon HP and loses market share. HP is forced to migrate to yet another architecture and loses more customers.

  • Try MySQL (Score:4, Funny)

    by drooling-dog (189103) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @06:02PM (#40472643)

    If Oracle doesn't want to support it on your platform, you can do it yourself. For less than $4 billion, anyway...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Since HP hasn't really been spending any cash to innovate with HP-UX, and still has many what I'd consider bugs in the OS, there's really no reason for anyone with a modern OS mindset to use HP-UX. It's only for legacy apps in my opinion. Legacy apps don't need updates or upgrades - they need to continue to run until the wheels fall off.

    I see HP's Itanium line going the way of their PA-RISC line of HP-9000 servers, as well as MPE. PA-RISC at least had something going for it - as did the DEC-Alpha systems

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      I agree w/ this. HP/UX was more of an Unix for PA-RISC, and in its day, was pretty competitive w/ Solaris and AIX. But moving it to Itanium really threw a lot of legacy stuff away. I mean, who w/ an HP C8000 workstation w/ HP/UX running CAD simulation software ever moved to an Itanium platform?

      Honestly, HP should look @ selling these systems w/ either FreeBSD or Debian Linux, and port whatever HP/UX specialized software there was to one or both of these platforms. At least, customers would be able to

  • EnterpriseDB (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Defiler (1693) * on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @06:26PM (#40472869)

    It seems to me that HP would be better off sinking this money into contributions to PostgreSQL / EnterpriseDB; it already offers a ton of Oracle compatibility, and runs on HP-UX: http://enterprisedb.com/products-services-training/products/postgres-plus-advanced-server/advanced-server-oracle-features [enterprisedb.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It seems to me that HP would be better off sinking this money into contributions to PostgreSQL / EnterpriseDB;

      Sinking what money? HP is suing oracle. In other words, HP wants oracle to pay a penalty because they are breaching their contract.

    • HP would have made A HELL OF ALOT MORE money than offering support and cheap lintel servers running a free database. Yes HP has been mismanaged for years but Oracle screwed them and violated their contract and should pay HP up.

      $20,000 per server is what HP probably would have made as these systems are big iron and HP would sell their OS VMS, HP UX, and Nonstop in addition to enterprise software like openview. A $999 HP lintel x86 server doesn't offer that much. Even their more enterprise higher end lintel a

  • I've read that the Itanium has hardware partitioning and redundancy features that the x86 still doesn't have. If lives are on the on the line and cost was not a barrier it would be easy choice to make. If Oracle won't support HPUX on Itanium, why does anyone think they'll support it on HPUx86. Oracle is being a bitch and has also increased licensing costs so many customers have been caught out by this. This is a big pissing match with customers losing out.
    • They still support SPARC and POWER so who cares... A lot of HP's old clients already saw the writing on the wall a long time ago and switched to one of those. Meanwhile x86 keeps getting more features so eventually that won't matter.
    • by rubycodez (864176)

      x86 does it another way, the modern way is to virtualize on x86 blades, HP already had x86 port of HP/UX that can run on vmware ESXi on blades, google project "Odyssey"

  • If Oracle get forced to support Itanium I wonder what quality software they will actually make ?

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik

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