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Oracle Government Open Source

Oracle Attacks Open Source; Says Community-Developed Code Is Inferior 394

sfcrazy writes "Oracle has a love-hate relationship with open source technologies. In a whitepaper (PDF) for the Deparment of Defense, Oracle claims that TCO (total cost of ownership) goes up with the use of open source. They're essentially trying to build a case for the use of their own products within the government. 'The skill required to successfully and economically blend source code into a commercially viable product is relatively scarce. It should not be done directly at government expense.' Oracle also attacks the community-based development model, calling it more insecure than company developed products. 'Government-sponsored community development approaches to software creation lack the financial incentives of commercial companies to produce low-defect, well-documented code.'"
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Oracle Attacks Open Source; Says Community-Developed Code Is Inferior

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:01PM (#45135129)

    the pot calling the kettle black

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:02PM (#45135137)

    Larry, wake the fuck up you dumbass.

    Half your product line was developed through open source programmers.

    Stupid mother fucker...

  • You said "Government-sponsored community development approaches to software creation lack the financial incentives of commercial companies to produce low-defect, well-documented code."

    What you really meant was "Unlike proprietary, hidden commercial code, Government-sponsored back doors in software can't be found in the traditional, open-source, many-eyes, well-documented code.

    But that probably doesn't rake in the profits, does it?

  • by jdunn14 ( 455930 ) <jdunn.iguanaworks@net> on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:06PM (#45135175) Homepage

    There are many other types of incentives and I have rarely done my best work for strictly financial ones. When contributing to an open source project you have to think that somewhere someone will look at the code you write and have the ability to publicly shame you if you do something truly stupid. Standing, respect, whatever you want to call it, is a big motivator for many people. If the same thing happens in many businesses there *may* be consequences, but often as long as it works well enough to collect the customer's money it ships. Personally, I've found more fugly code turds in various closed source projects than I've touched than in the open source world.

  • by Zelig ( 73519 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:07PM (#45135181) Homepage

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you. Then they fight you, then you win.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:10PM (#45135229)

    As we will see, total cost of ownership (TCO) for open source software often exceeds that of commercial software. While minimizing capital expenses by acquiring “free” open source software is appealing, the up front cost of any software endeavor represents only a small fraction of the total outlay over the lifecycle of ownership and usage.

    I had a similar discussion once with an engineer. We were looking at the numbers and I doubted some of the numbers. the engineer replied, "Well, that number came from somewhere!"

    Me: "Yeah, out of someone's ass!"

    Financial numbers are not physical constants where there's empirical evidence to back it up like say 'g'.

    And the thing is, there aren't necessarily lies. You can apportion costs in many different ways and still adhere to FASB and to IRS rules.

    tl;dr: Let me at those numbers and I'll prove that any Oracle solution costs way more than any F/OSS solution - and it'll pass FASB and IRS muster.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:14PM (#45135285)

    Open-source documentation is like an insomniac cat. Theoretically it exists somewhere, but no one's ever seen it.

    And remember, in this paper Oracle is pandering to risk-averse goverment "managers" in order to get money from them.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:21PM (#45135369) Homepage

    Oracle sells some of the most expensive software on the planet. It's not hard to come out ahead of Oracle. You don't even need to employ Free Software to do this. You can just employ much cheaper payware.

    You can buy quite a bit of in-house expertise and 3rd party consulting for what Oracle wants you to pay them.

  • by thevirtualcat ( 1071504 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:23PM (#45135397)

    Oracle: "We're buying Sun. Next step is to dismantle (MySQL,) close (Solaris, Java,) dissolve (OpenOffice) and generally disrupt all of Sun's open source properties that we can."

    Community: "What? You can't do that!"

    Oracle: "Watch us!"

    Community: "Well, we'll just fork it."

    Oracle: "S---! The forks (MariaDB, Percona, OpenIndiana, LibreOffice) and their pre-existing competitors (Linux, FreeBSD, Dalvik) are getting more popular than our versions! READY THE FUD CANNONS!"

  • by Dega704 ( 1454673 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:28PM (#45135453)
    Says the company that borrows from an open source project and puts the word "unbreakable in front of it..... In any case I suppose their point is supported by the fact that current government spending on proprietary software is soooo efficient. :S
  • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:28PM (#45135455) Homepage

    Open-source documentation is like an insomniac cat. Theoretically it exists somewhere, but no one's ever seen it.

    Don't over-generalize. The open-source PostgreSQL project has the best documentation of a software project [] that I have ever seen, open- or closed-source.

    Other open-source projects with really good documentation: The Linux man pages (documenting the Linux API), Tcl/Tk and Perl. And as far as end-user docs go, LibreOffice is fairly decent, though not in the same league as PostgreSQL.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:30PM (#45135473)

    As opposed to Oracle error codes that are documented as "Please contact Oracle support", for shit they know about and have a patch ready for but they have you over the coals and want to extort a couple hundred grand from you.

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:32PM (#45135483)
    Community developed code is insecure! Community developed code is inferior! Open source must be exterminated! Exterminate! Exterminate!

    Of course in the show the Daleks are supposed to be a huge threat, but they're also kind of laughable. Slow, clumsy, thrown together using whatever crap happened to by lying around at the time.

    So i guess that kind of fits Oracle and its software as well.
  • by Stone316 ( 629009 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:34PM (#45135509) Journal

    Do you expect them to say open source has a lower TCO? They are bidding/positioning themselves for contracts. If you were a real estate agent on a client interview and asked about a competitor, would you give them a glowing review? I doubt it.

    There are many factors which contribute to TCO and the code itself is just one piece.

    Security, both OpenSource and Oracle have fallen short in this area. In some cases Oracle has left security bugs sitting for a very long time. Sometimes until called on it publicly. However, with open source your relying on the code maintainers to put in a fix quick. Alot of times they do but that depends on the software and how actively supported it is. Sure, you can modify the code yourself but that affects TCO.

    We have both Oracle and open source software in house. Based on our experiences i'm not sure that the open source software has a lower TCO than its more commercial alternative. The upfront costs to open source are cheaper but the long term support costs were higher. Before I get flamed, i'm talking about a particular open source product. Since i'm posting from work i'll leave specifics out of it. But the point is, just because its open source doesn't always mean overall TCO is lower. You have to do the analysis on a product by product basis and factor in both upfront and long term costs.

  • by mstefanro ( 1965558 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:36PM (#45135543)

    > The Linux man pages (documenting the Linux API)

  • by c++0xFF ( 1758032 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:51PM (#45135753)

    And documentation for closed-source commercial software is better, somehow?

    I'm working with a handful of closed-source products right now. None of them have any worthwhile documentation beyond a basic API description. The vendor barely supports us. At least with open-source I can see what the software does if all else fails, and there's usually a community to offer support regardless of what the project itself offers.

  • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @03:59PM (#45135851) Homepage

    Maybe Oracle has a larger quantity of documentation than PostgreSQL, but how's the quality? (I genuinely don't know, having last used Oracle as an intern on MS-DOS back in 1989...)

  • by laird ( 2705 ) <lairdp@gmail . c om> on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @04:03PM (#45135907) Journal

    The question is who you want to pay, and what you want the cost model to be. That is, if it's something with both an FOSS and COTS option.

    If you want to pay a vendor a fee, typically based on capacity + professional services, go that way.

    If you want to use a FOSS technology, and pay only for professional services, go that way.

    Generally I think the FOSS model is much better for customers, because:
    1) The customer can scale the business without additional licensing costs.
    2) The customer has the flexibility to choose any vendor (or internal staff) to do the work.

    So, for example, my last startup grew to 70m users on FOSS software, with hundreds of servers, with only physical server, hosting and bandwidth costs (plus a small dev team, which I would need in any case). If I'd used a licensed OS, database, etc., that cost would have made my business not viable.

  • by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @04:05PM (#45135945)
    And their "Unbreakable" OS. What is it based on again?
    Oracle, put your money where your mouth is and write your own damn OS.
  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @04:36PM (#45136325)

    This is about Oracle and well they have PostgresSQL beat by a mile

    If you need that mile of bookshelves for people to be able to use your product, something has gone horribly wrong.

  • by mpe ( 36238 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @04:43PM (#45136427)
    Open-source documentation is like an insomniac cat. Theoretically it exists somewhere, but no one's ever seen it.

    Plenty of software is poorly documented. Alt least with OSS you always have the source code as documentation. So it's impossible for OSS to have undocumented "features". Unlike the situation with proprietary software.
  • Oh, yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @07:55PM (#45138123) Homepage Journal
    I was contracting at Sun a while back and heard some engineers talking some shit about the Linux kernel on the way to lunch one day. Meanwhile some Sun guy on the project I was on had just coded the entire authentication system using static java methods. Worked great, as long as only one person logged on. They didn't notice this until it was time to take the project live. I've seen plenty of commercially deployed code, buddy, and the one thing you can say about it is it's uniformly shit. I've held positions where I've had to look at chunks of old commercial UNIX source and seen published example drivers for OS/2 and Windows. I wasn't impressed. I wasn't impressed at all.

    What I've found over the years is, just because you get paid to develop code for someone doesn't mean you crap unicorns and daisies. I've also found that all of the installations I've run across that were running Oracle (or DB2) really didn't need to be running Oracle or DB2. It's been overkill for every position I've worked at. Of course, they end up needing it anyway because of their crappy table design and because they're afraid to ever throw anything away when they're done with it. But if they'd been paying attention to their business process and designing their tables correctly, they could have saved themselves a LOT of money with a copy of postgres running on some Linux box somewhere!

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @06:10AM (#45141101) Homepage

    How about this.
    Closed source proprietary code is better because;
    It is more bug free - Why? - Because we say so.
    It is more compact - Why? - Because we say so.
    It is more secure - Why? - Because we say so.
    It is better documented - Why? - Because we say so.
    OK, now if your are so sure, why don't you prove it and show me the code ;D.

    How about this message from the open source community to the any Department of Defence. Did you know that anybody with the money can buy Oracle and the source code and make any changes they want and screw your security right over. At least with open source you just like everyone else on the planet own the code and can refuse any changes to that code or make your own at any time you choose. Security of the Nation, don't base it upon defences that can be sold from out under it to the highest bidder (Corporations, money talks, patriotism walks).

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller