Oracle Backs Linux Apps

Vendor dedicates $150M to support thrid-party development efforts

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Oracle is putting its money where its mouth is.

Last week, the database powerhouse said it will finance and support development of third-party Linux applications to the tune of up to $150 million this year.

"We will provide incentives,technical and financial,to all our ISVs to develop, market and sell on Linux," said Robert Shimp, vice president of database product marketing at Oracle.

The new program will include an online "campaign builder" on the Oracle Partner Network to help ISVs design advertising and promotional campaigns, he said. Oracle will put up $2 for every $1 the ISV puts in, Shimp said. The applications will also be posted on Oracle's Web site.

>> Oracle's Larry Ellison is slated to introduce new Linux push this week.


Perhaps most importantly, Oracle plans to offer qualifying ISVs access to its customer database. There are "millions of names" in the database that they can sell and market to, Shimp said.

Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison is expected to be on hand at a partner event in New York this week to kick off the program, the company said.

While Linux has made inroads in departmental servers, business applications for the operating system remain scarce, observers said.

"Our clients frequently have Linux servers and machines doing specific tasks but are not relying on [Linux] too heavily for mainstream apps or hard-core supply chain, ERP or financial apps," said Jason Bomers, executive with integrator Crowe, Chizek's office in Grand Rapids, Mich. "People are asking about it and testing the waters."

But industry watchers said backing from powers such as Oracle and IBM could foster an ecosystem of Linux ISVs and applications.

Ivan Nikkhoo, president of Vertex Systems, a Los Angeles-based Oracle partner, said that while interest in Linux applications is not overwhelming now, in the future companies will need to be able to deploy their applications across multiple platforms.

Oracle sees Linux as a way to penetrate the midmarket, where Microsoft Windows,and SQL Server,is strong. "Here's a huge opportunity for ISVs to develop for a lower-cost operating system without the Microsoft tax," Shimp said.

Some midmarket solution providers said Linux is not a factor in their market yet. "Strangely, we are not hearing any demand for Linux. The midmarket sees the value of an integrated stack, [therefore] Microsoft is going to dominate," said Andy Vabulas, president of IBIS, an Atlanta-based Microsoft partner. "Microsoft Business Solutions gives clients a compelling reason to go all-Microsoft. Linux has to team with Oracle, [but Oracle is] not a fan favorite in the midmarket."

Oracle unveiled its Unbreakable Linux campaign last June. That effort focused on Red Hat Software products and pledged full Oracle support for the entire software stack from the operating system on up. Earlier this month, Oracle extended that pledge to UnitedLinux.

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