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Oracle The Courts IT

Oracle Sues Companies It Says Provide Solaris OS Support In Illegal Manner 154

Posted by timothy
from the larry-may-I? dept.
alphadogg writes "Oracle is continuing to crack down on companies it claims are providing support services for its products in an illegal fashion. Last week, Oracle sued IT services providers Terix and Maintech, alleging they have 'engaged in a deliberate scheme to misappropriate and distribute copyrighted, proprietary Oracle software code' in the course of providing support for customers using Oracle's Solaris OS. Oracle's allegations are similar to ones it has made in lawsuits against other Solaris service providers, such as ServiceKey, as well as Rimini Street, which provides third-party support for Oracle and SAP applications."
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Oracle Sues Companies It Says Provide Solaris OS Support In Illegal Manner

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  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:42PM (#44396271)

    So Oracle is trying to kill off Solaris? Because nobody in their right mind would buy an OS from a company behaving like this.

    • they're sales people are legendary, and that's all that matters. IBM doesn't even bother giving IT a thought nowadays. It's all about the sales people. Oracle realized that ages ago.

      For all the complaints, the people that matter will still choose Oracle, and techies like you and me will get stuck learning and implementing it.
      • by zhrike (448699) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:07PM (#44396433)

        they're (sic) sales people are legendary, and that's all that matters. IBM doesn't even bother giving IT a thought nowadays. It's all about the sales people. Oracle realized that ages ago.

        Nonsense. I work for a fairly large university in the NE. We were an virtually exclusive Sun hardware/Solaris shop. Due to Oracle's behavior, we've moved wholly away on both hardware and software since they acquired Sun. Good riddance. I also know of an enormous urban school district (where I used to work and still know many people) that has done the same. While this is only an N of 2, I doubt we're all that rare.

        While it is certainly true in some cases that sleazy snake oil salesmen snow decision makers, there are also organizations that will make informed decisions.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:29PM (#44396813)

          Here, here. VERY large Oracle hardware/Solaris OS shop (many thousands of systems) plus Exadata, Exalytics, etc. Done with them. Our two really good Oracle SEs (who really did most of the honest selling) recently left Oracle. They are not alone as the real talent appears to be on exodus as the pressure to sell anything regardless of fit becomes intolerable. In addition, they have become damn near adversarial with their loyal customer base in trying to jin up license undersubscription where it doesn't exist. Screw them. We've moved a great distance into the big-data realm anyway and Oracle is kind of joke their anyhoo (late comer...poopooed it for years...Exalytics blows). Anyway, I agree with you. Mark my words, their next step will be to fire their sales staff and replace them with attractive females (that's not tongue in cheek, I'm quite serious).

          • by Tamerlin (940577)

            The hot chicks in suits approach has worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for quite a while. It does occasionally get them sued for breaching their contracts since they blatantly hire based on looks and not on qualifications, and it usually gets them paid. There's no reason that Oracle couldn't use the same strategy.

            Maybe we'll start seeing some competition there. At least it would add some pleasant distraction from the drudgery of mindless drivel that 99% of craporate IT work involves.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aodash (776554)

          Nonsense. I work for a fairly large university in the NE. We were an virtually exclusive Sun hardware/Solaris shop. Due to Oracle's behavior, we've moved wholly away on both hardware and software since they acquired Sun. Good riddance. I also know of an enormous urban school district (where I used to work and still know many people) that has done the same. While this is only an N of 2, I doubt we're all that rare.

          I work for a University out west, and our story is the same as yours. We had a large Sun/Solaris presense... not anymore.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Mr. Freeman (933986)
          Aside from the fact that such changes cost obscene amounts of money and aren't an option for everyone, you're working in an academic environment. Such environments can make decisions in a more rational manner with more thought given to ethics and future considerations than just about any other environment out there. Corporations, however, will make decisions based solely upon the bottom line as decided by higher-up managers. This means that sales people will control what businesses use.
        • they're (sic) sales people are legendary, and that's all that matters. IBM doesn't even bother giving IT a thought nowadays. It's all about the sales people. Oracle realized that ages ago.

          Nonsense. I work for a fairly large university in the NE. We were an virtually exclusive Sun hardware/Solaris shop. Due to Oracle's behavior, we've moved wholly away on both hardware and software since they acquired Sun. Good riddance. I also know of an enormous urban school district (where I used to work and still know many people) that has done the same. While this is only an N of 2, I doubt we're all that rare.

          While it is certainly true in some cases that sleazy snake oil salesmen snow decision makers, there are also organizations that will make informed decisions.

          Nonsense, I have no power at all with my last several clients which software I support and what some geeks on a website think to the CIO or MBA folks. Their response is support it or find another job!

          That is how the real world works. Sales move up and play a game of golf to the bosses bosses boss and make a decision from dinner afterwards after a few drinks to impair judgement.

          I am a cost and so are you who has no real value. Now the MBA guys ... they are the ones who are in charge of I.T!! The CEO thinks t

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @04:51AM (#44398077)

          You're not alone and the move is not confined to education.

          Us: "Hi, we'd like to move all of our hosts from 20 different patch levels of Solaris 8, 9 and 10 to just 3."
          Oracle: "That'll be $1 million in license fees please."
          Us: "No thanks."
          Us: "Hello Redhat, when can we book in half a dozen guys to do RHEL training?"

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Solaris 8 predates all versions of RHEL, why are you comparing its support costs to a current product?

            Sounds like typical IT rip and replace bullcrappery where the current neglected platform is blamed for all your problems and the solution is finding a new platform to neglect.

            My prediction: you'll still have RHEL 6 servers in production a decade from now and some youngster will be pitching a RedHat to Android Server 'upgrade'..

            You'll ask why don't we just do the proper maintenance on current systems and get

      • by jbolden (176878)

        What planet do you live on? Oracle's sales people kinda suck and they are often underfunded to boot. Oracle sells because of features and depth. You can make a very good case,, that the areas where Oracle is ahead in 2013 are areas that 98% of the databases don't need and thus many companies should explore moving down market. But at least understand what you are arguing against. Oracle sells databases because they arguably make the best database for companies that have a dedicated staff of whose full

        • the areas where Oracle is ahead in 2013 are areas that 98% of the databases don't need and thus many companies should explore moving down market.

          Except down-market is Oracle too. Oracle owns MySQL and Berkeley DB.

          • by hedronist (233240)

            Yes, Larry's minions may have their hands on the old MySQL code, but there's this little project called MariaDB [wikipedia.org] that is MySQL++++. It is a direct, bit-for-bit drop-in, and it's faster and has more features and they even do bug fixes for (gasp!) free. Admittedly it's run by a guy [wikipedia.org] who probably doesn't know that much about MySQL, but he seems to be muddling through.

            Oh, and there's a company called Percona [percona.com] that actually does support for MariaDB, adds features, and then feeds them back to the MariaDB community,

          • by jbolden (176878)

            I meant Oracle DB not Oracle Inc in that sentence. Certainly Oracle is a player to some extent down market though that's not really the focus of the sales team per the GP's point.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        Actually I know of a few large corporations that have been looking for a way to get rid of Oracle for quite some time, both for the DB and for the OS. They just have slow product cycles, but no sales monkey will stop them, using Oracle products has just been to painful and to hugely expensive.

      • by hey! (33014) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @12:58PM (#44400791) Homepage Journal

        Having bean a lead developer in a company that was an Oracle reseller (pretty much a necessity in some markets), your characterization of Oracle is partly wrong; the part that isn't wrong is a gross oversimplification.

        I've visited some of the places where Oracle's developers work, and as you might expect I am (or rather *was*) pretty familiar with their product. Trust me, they pour an almost unthinkable amount of money into developing unique and useful technology. As you might suspect they don't do it out of the goodness of their heart; they don't even do it out of pride in the product. They do it in order to encourage large, institutional customers to make their systems dependent on features they can only get from Oracle.

        There's good and bad aspects to this lock-in strategy. Some of the things Oracle simply does better than anyone else, such as transaction isolation (in an ACID environment). When you develop and test on Oracle, you can pretty much proceed like the user has exclusive access to the database -- no worrying about things like dirty reads or the like (although the DBA had better make sure he's allocated enough rollback segments). It's nice, but not critical; but it also makes switching to a different RDBMS inconvenient. Oracle has gone farther down this path than you probably ever imagined, right up to creating something they call "virtual private databases" -- super-long duration wrapping transactions that persist across database connections and function something like a fork in a source control system. I've known *very* large data acquisition and management operations (e.g. a commercial vendor of worldwide street data for GIS) that depend on capabilities they can *only* get from Oracle.

        There are some things about Oracle I really like, like their transaction log management tools, which make it easy to find a past set of changes to your data and undo them with a wave of your magic wand, as if they never happened. For me that's a killer feature. On the other hand they've also done sleazy, bottom-feeder things to lock clients in, like making the way their JDBC drivers handle BLOBs incompatible with everyone else. They may have fixed that, but I don't think it was accidental this annoying incompatibility persisted so long.

        I've also visited Oracle sales offices, and know about how they handle "channel" sales. It's all very numbers driven. Oracle's corporate culture is that they don't care about the customer, once he's good and locked in. Oracle's licensing is very complex, it take days of study to figure out what you're allowed to do with your Oracle installation. If a customer makes a mistake he doesn't get any slack; he's got to pay up fast. On the flip side, if a customer accidentally spends five or ten times what he needs (very easy to do), or if he licenses his installation in a way that won't allow for the growth he needs to plan for (also very easy to do), nobody is going to tell him. He's a sucker, and they've got quarterly targets to meet. It flies in the face of most people's instincts to treat customers this way.

        Frankly, I find Oracle's corporate values detestable; but it's possible to work with them. They make sure it's *always* possible to work with them, because they want your money. But *don't* expect your Oracle salesman or reseller to take care of you, to look out for you, to warn you if you are about to make a mistake that's in their favor, or to have pity on you if such a mistake leaves you strapped over a barrel. Oracle's business strategy is *built* upon exploiting locked-in customers. You must approach a relationship with Oracle in a defensive posture -- as indeed you should with any agreement other than free software licenses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fustakrakich (1673220)

      Oracle is in the midst of creating a closed ecosystem, helps keep prying outsiders out. And maybe it wants all traces of anything 'Sun' that's out in the wild to be made extinct. I am sure that many of its customers, like banks and governments are very satisfied with the services they provide.

      • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:00PM (#44396691)

        Branding is branding. Yes, they still killed Sun Ray a couple of weeks ago, and more Sun products will be renamed. This is about revenue, however, and you don't screw with Oracle revenue.

        For the longest time, Oracle has wanted a vertically integrated stack from the plug to your play. Now they're starting to achieve that, and won't have to mess around with hardware vendors, as hardware vendors are changing from a server model to a services model. Oracle wants that services revenue, too. HP, once their odd friend, is now their sworn enemy and IBM eats Oracle's lunch. If you're Google, you know the taste of their silly legal department. They don't have many friends left. Products, like at Google, have only a chance so long as they make revenue numbers. Otherwise, goodbye. And the less dependence there is on outsiders, the better.

        These are all natural courses of events for them. To the outside world, if you're not a stockholder or customer or very favored vendor, please self-fornicate and expire.

        If you're looking for mirth, industrial leadership, and warmth, turn left, please.

        • What I'm saying is that they'll maintain a niche market, like a lawyer with one client.. I believe they want to disappear from public view. Sort of their own little 'dark net'. It will put them in a good position in our ubiquitous surveillance society.

    • by jythie (914043) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:10PM (#44396455)
      'behaving like this?'

      From the complaint it sounds like they have a subscription service they charge for, then a couple companies came along, subscribed themselves, and they are reselling it to other companies. Kinda like someone buying a cable subscription then starting 'joe's cable company' reselling the connection to other people.
      • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:07PM (#44397203) Homepage

        'behaving like this?'
        From the complaint it sounds like they have a subscription service they charge for, then a couple companies came along, subscribed themselves, and they are reselling it to other companies. Kinda like someone buying a cable subscription then starting 'joe's cable company' reselling the connection to other people.

        Completely wrong. There have been 3rd party service providers for Sun as long as there has been a Sun Microsystems. Think of it as level 2 1/2 support, anything that the actual people that wrote the code can help you with. They are often more hands on, and willing to help with configuration issues as well as actual maintenance. Or were. All our support went to Oracle this year, and we are in the midst of seeing what we can trim. When the current hardware is EOL, then that is the last we'll see of Sparc in my current shop. It's sad really. The "common" Windows/Linux admin has no idea what it's like to support "classy" hardware instead of cheap throwaway PCs.

        • There have been 3rd party service providers for Sun as long as there has been a Sun Microsystems.

          Yes, and they probably had an agreement with Sun/Oracle as VARs. That would be one on the likely ways to get legal access to Sun/Oracle code.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by anyanka (1953414)

          The "common" Windows/Linux admin has no idea what it's like to support "classy" hardware instead of cheap throwaway PCs.

          And they'd probably be quite happy to not have to deal with crappy (package/patch) management software, insecure-by-default, and waiting days for support people to fix nonstandard hardware because "the disk is on order".

          But yes, there's also a certain charm to dealing with equipment costing several hundred thousands / millions of dollars and old-fashioned unixen.

          • by BitZtream (692029)

            Ignorance is bliss isn't it.

            Its too bad you seem to be one of the ignorant, trying to slander one of the OSes that built the Internet before your fanboy ass was a wet stain in mommies panties.

            1985 called, they want there memes back.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You're both right. Because a normal vendor likes it when third parties redistribute their patches for them, and that's what's going on here. But since Oracle is now charging for those updates, because as it turns out they don't actually like being an OS vendor and all that entails, it's also illegal activity in just the way you describe.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I never understood the mob mentality of slashdotters! Any enterprise UNIX company barring Sun never provided free updates. Heck IBM or HP never provided AIX for HP-UX for free, leave alone providing updates for it. You need to buy AIX separately even if you buy the Power gear from them. And then pay separately if you want to run LPARs on it. Sun gave Solaris for free. And if you notice, Oracle continues to provide Solaris for free - you can download it if you sign up for OTN (which is free). And there are n

      • And you know that these guys aren't downloading the same updates from Oracle to the servers they're being paid to maintain. Sorry Mr. Business Owner, that IT guy you hired to run your servers is downloading our free updates, and installing them on your servers violating our copyright...
        • by whoever57 (658626) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:41PM (#44397327) Journal

          Sorry Mr. Business Owner, that IT guy you hired to run your servers is downloading our free updates, and installing them on your servers violating our copyright...

          Except that the updates are probably not free. IIRC correctly, Sun was charging for updates a few years before the Oracle acquisition.

          • by TCM (130219)

            Isn't charging for patches a conflict of interest within the same company? They make more profit the shoddier their work is. I wouldn't touch anything from them with a pole.

      • Thanks for letting us know that you are a teenager living with your mom who has never seen a enterprise datacenter in life.

        Thanks for letting us know that you are a teenager living with your mom.

    • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:18PM (#44397235)
      No more than they tried to kill off MySQL or OpenOffice. Okay, so they're not actively trying to make any of these things go (please spare me the flames to the contrary - I'd rather believe my own eyes TYVM), but let's remember two things: 1) Oracle OWNS Solaris and the SPARC architecture - they were never free to begin with, they have always been owned, and 2) Oracle is a DATABASE company. OS/free/end-user software was never their core and center.

      Now, is this a wise move on their part? Unfortunately, yes. Evil on a par with MicroSoft, International Business Machines and Hewlett-Packard, but not unwise. You don't like it? Neither do I - which I why I stopped actively marketing my Solaris 2.4/2.5/2.6/8/10 skills some time ago. Nowadays when I look for work I look for an incredibly popular flavor of Linux which has a two-word name starting with "R". Still can't argue with their logic - they spend money and time to create software which they intend to sell at a profit. They can't very well make money while letting someone else undercut them with their own product now, can they?

      Just a final point - Oracle (and Sun before them) are in business. Their business model is the proprietary software sales/support model. It has worked, it is working and as far as they can tell it will continue to work.

      Now, their absolutely worthless technical support combined with their arrogance - these are likely to kill Solaris and SPARC. Not their business model (which is actually pretty much par for the course for the large IT software providers in the game), but their widely perceived inability to provide quick, accurate correct support for their existing (non-database) products.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Now, their absolutely worthless technical support combined with their arrogance - these are likely to kill Solaris and SPARC.

        As a long time Sparc/SunOS/Solaris fan, it pains me to say this, but I think that Solaris and Sparc are what is going to kill Solaris and Sparc.

        In every case where we have migrated from mega-buck, dedicated Solaris on Sparc servers to Linux VMs on still high-end but not quite as many mega-bucks x86 hardware we have seen drastically increased performance, greatly simplified administration, and big reductions in call volume for the help desk folks.

        Unless you have a need for one of the niche areas where Solari

      • by avatar139 (918375)

        1) Oracle OWNS Solaris and the SPARC architecture - they were never free to begin with, they have always been owned,

        Um, actually no they don't. I used to work in the offices of the non-profit that owns to the rights to SPARC hardware. It's an organization called SPARC International, Inc. and they make money off of licensing the trademark. If you pay up enough, your company can have a seat on the executive board of the organization, along with Oracle, Fujitsu amongst several others.

    • by u19925 (613350)

      Replace Oracle with Apple or Microsoft and Solaris with Windows. Does MS give free OS upgrade for lifetime on your hardware? What if thirdparty tells you that it is licensed to provide you new versions of OS on your old PC? Oracle is going after those. Each customer gets certain upgrade free and then they have to either buy paid support which include free upgrade or have to pay to get upgrade. I am almost sure, the people in charge of Rimini street were in TomorrowNow which was found guilty of copyright inf

  • New business model (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Post patches and upgrades to a public/semi public website behind a "user agreement." Sue anyone who downloads them in the act of providing third party support to customers who actually do have the right to use the patches and upgrades.

    • by mysidia (191772) on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:55PM (#44396355)

      Post patches and upgrades to a public/semi public website behind a "user agreement." Sue anyone who downloads them in the act of providing third party support to customers who actually do have the right to use the patches and upgrades.

      That doesn't work. All the service provider has to do is get their customer to sign a "letter of agency"; authorizing the service provider to act on the customer's behalf to download assets and administer the updates/patches, pursuant to their customer's entitlements.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Clearly you read the article because one of the companies being sued says all of its Sun support customers have valid Oracle licenses and their own logins to the Oracle support portal.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:44PM (#44396293)
    ... Oracle continues to make more friends in the business world!

    Wait... what? Never mind.
  • by raymorris (2726007) on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:48PM (#44396315)
    If I'm reading that right, Oracle clams that:
    Oracle provides updated software versions for a yearly fee.
    Defendants are unlawfully distributing the updated versions to people who haven't paid the fee.

    If I'm reading that right, Oracle is being slightly non-generous by having annual payments to get updates. That's understandable, though, it costs them money to keep making new updates.

    I see nothing in TFA about Oracle objecting to services the defendants provide, just and objection to them distributing new updates that haven't been paid for. So the headline is a load of bull, right?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:57PM (#44396361)
      Normally i'm pretty pro-opensource and not really a fan of Oracle. In this case, it looks like they are right here. They do give Solaris for non-prod use for free (sans updates). If you want the updates you need to sign up for a maintenance contract. Flip side, they do douche moves all the time. Case in point I have an old SUN X4500 and wanted the drivers for it. Their website prevents you from downloading these without a "maintenance contract". On what, 8 year old hardware? You cant give a small download away on obsolete hardware?
      • Testing drivers, and maintaining testable builds, of 8 year old hardware is quite expensive. I've certainly done so and helped partners do so, but charging real money for supporting such outdated software and hardware is both common and quite reasonable. They're high fees because you have to maintain a full tool suite: hardware, media, backups, patches, and expertise.

        • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:43PM (#44396617) Homepage

          But the hardware, software, and drivers were all created and tested 8 years ago.
          There is no reason to retest the same drivers over and over again, simply because time has elapsing in the interim.

          They built those back when SUN X4500 was brand new. And it cost them nothing to have the drivers sitting in storage for 8 years. Theoretically, someone even had a maintenance contract for that exact SUN X4500, and had those exact drivers on it. When you need a maintenance contract to even use your 8 year old hardware, you don't really own it. You are just leasing the right to operate it.

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            There is no reason to retest the same drivers over and over again

            If you're rolling out changes to the OS, you have to test, no? So I'm pretty sure that if they do have any updates, they do need to do testing. The drivers may have been written 8 years ago, but the other changes they're making are new and still need to work.

            You are just leasing the right to operate it.

            That is exactly Oracle's business model these days. They locked down even the documentation unless you have a support contract.

            Oracle will o

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Princeofcups (150855)

            But the hardware, software, and drivers were all created and tested 8 years ago.
            There is no reason to retest the same drivers over and over again, simply because time has elapsing in the interim.

            They built those back when SUN X4500 was brand new. And it cost them nothing to have the drivers sitting in storage for 8 years. Theoretically, someone even had a maintenance contract for that exact SUN X4500, and had those exact drivers on it. When you need a maintenance contract to even use your 8 year old hardware, you don't really own it. You are just leasing the right to operate it.

            OK, more mod ups for people who have no idea what they are talking about. Sigh. There is nothing stopping you from running unsupported. We have several V490 in production for a legacy app and a few spares. When something breaks, we swap as needed. There are no OS updates for our version of Solaris, so we just live with it. You see, this isn't Windows where you need constant security patches and updates. It's a rock solid OS, and rock solid hardware. The diagnostics can tell me exactly what is misbeh

            • But that is not the issue here. The issue mentioned a few comments up is that someone cannot even get an 8 year old driver for his 8 year old hardware.

              He is not so much worried about the bleeding edge, he just wants his hardware to run.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The "software" I wanted to download (SUNWhd) hasn't been updated since 04-Nov-2011. Its a small utility to "map" drives to their slots and offline drives.
          So, where is this "testing, building, etc" costs come from, storage space on their download servers?
          When they sold the gear (new) it was fairly pricey and people paid a small fortune for the maintenance.
          All things considered i cant see why they would "guard" this so much.
        • by asmkm22 (1902712)

          He said nothing about needing updated drivers for the latest and greatest hardware. He just wants to download the stuff from 8 years ago.

        • by i.r.id10t (595143)

          Only if you are offering new versions of stuff or offering support of new stuff. The hardware certainly hasn't changed, and as long as you are only offering support/updates for the version of the OS that was current at the time, then the patches/updates/etc. all still work fine.

          Now, if someone is using old hardware with newest releases of software, I see a problem with it working, and yes, it would cost some company money to support it - someone would need to write the code or modify the existing. But eve

          • And all that's fine. But don't be upset when a third party vendor is selling front you the support with the latest patches, and it turns out they're just selling ou copies of _their_ licensed support from Sun, or Oracle. I've had vendors pull that, and get caught, and had to explain to my purchasing department to cancel the check.

        • by abirdman (557790) *
          No, the fees are high because it costs a lot to keep Larry Ellison in jets and new Pacific islands. Oracle is a rapacious, money-gobbling machine of a company. Every upgrade, bug fix, OS update, dev or test server costs large money. If you run the database on a VM (besides the one Oracle owns), you have to license for every processor on the VM server, even if your DB only uses one core. They send actual auditors to your site to check your license compliance. They like to "partner" with their customers, such
          • by hjf (703092) on Friday July 26, 2013 @10:17PM (#44397007) Homepage

            Sounds a lot like Cisco.

            Me: Hi Mr. Cisco, I need a Catalyst 4500, how much is it?

            Cisco: Sure, fill in this form, send a copy of your last quarterly report, bank statements, and a letter of recommendation from some of your customers, and a sales executive will contact you.

            Me: But i only want a switch?

            Cisco: Please, we need that information.

            Me: Okay...

            (weeks later)

            Cisco: HI THIS IS COCAINE JOE YOUR OVER ENTHUSIAST ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, THE PRICE FOR THE CISCO CRS YOU ORDERED IS $3M AND A SUPPORT CONTRACT OF $5M

            Me: Hey but I only asked for the price of a Catalyst 4500

            Cisco: YES BUT WE HAVE DETERMINED IT WILL NOT MEET YOUR COMPANY'S REQUIREMENTS SO IN ORDER TO SUPPORT YOU WE HAVE TO SELL YOU OUR LATEST AND GREATEST AND MORE EXPENSIVE!!!

            Me: never mind, I'll find another vendor.

            I especially love it when sales people try to sell you a $50,000 solution for a small business and claim that TCO is always lower. It seems, the higher the up-front cost, the lower the TCO is!

            • by thegarbz (1787294)

              I especially love it when sales people try to sell you a $50,000 solution for a small business and claim that TCO is always lower. It seems, the higher the up-front cost, the lower the TCO is!

              Sounds a lot like the Indian call centre employees calling on behalf of telcos.

              "Sir I just want to save you money on your phone bill."
              "But you're trying to sign me up for a more expensive plan."
              "Yes but you get a new phone with more included value."

          • > Oracle is a rapacious, money-gobbling machine of a company.

            No, they're a vast multi-level marketing scheme that happens to sell a database or two as a side venture, and recently bought a product (Java) that doesn't require an army of highly-paid consultants who have to tithe 20% of their income to them in return for mandatory certifications and licensing just to keep it running.

            The big "gotcha" with Java is that Sun's license for Java was always pretty nasty, but they generally looked the other way and

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Find somebody with a Solaris support contract and ask them to download it for you. If I knew you, I'd do it for you (I manage a Solaris environment).

        Anyway, what Oracle is probably thinking is that making drivers and software for old platforms available for free would allow someone to continue running their old platform for a while longer. They would rather you either buy an expensive contract to keep your apps running or have you buy newer hardware. Greedy, yes, but not an entirely unreasonable motive.

        BTW

        • by tibit (1762298)

          New support agreements for low-end Cisco gear are fairly cheap. I'd say $300-$500 is what you should budget.

      • Same here. I support open source, I helped write a lot of it. I wrote one package from scratch that was distributed with Solaris. I wouldn't BUY their product, but that means I won't USE it. I wouldn't steal it, as these defendants allegedly did.

        I wish Oracle released all of their stuff as open source, but they don't. I expect them to respect the license on my software (GPL), and people should respect their license.
  • How did it pan out the last time?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sap:

    3. A foolish and gullible person.

    • by pla (258480)
      Why did this get modded down?

      Single most insightful comment in the whole damned thread.

      You get what you pay for - And I prefer labors of love over cheap (or in this case, not so cheap) whores.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes I get a bit tripped up by bad grammar, but the title of this slashdot article "Oracle Sues Companies It Says Provide Solaris OS Support In Illegal Manner" as well as the link text "Oracle is continuing to crack down on companies it claims are providing support services for its products in an illegal fashion" are both ambiguous as to where the illegality is.

    How I read it: "Oracle sues (companies it says provide Solaris OS support) in illegal manner." How I think it's supposed to read: "Oracle

    • by abirdman (557790) *
      I understood the headline the first time I read it, but I am familiar with the company, the product, and the market, so maybe it was more obvious to me. I assumed the dangling "in an illegal fashion" was attached to the provision of Solaris Support, but you're right. It's ambiguous.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The illumos project [illumos.org] provides the basis for a Solaris-like operating system. Many distributions of illumos are now available, just like Linux. I think OmniOS [omniti.com] and SmartOS [smartos.org] are particularly worthy of your consideration, and ready for enterprise-scale production use, big data, DevOps, and all the other buzzwords.

  • Other companies wouldn't have to provide Solaris support if Oracle would provide it. Oracle's support sales team is in the witness protection program.

  • So if as a consultant I install and show people how to use DTrace on Linux (its available at least for debian systems) and they pay me, would Oracle feel entitled to go after me?
  • by BookRead (610258) on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:17PM (#44396755)
    Is Oracle's behavior legal? Yes. Are the support companies in the wrong? Yes. Oracle owns Solaris and gets to set the rules. Is this a smart strategy for Solaris or Oracle? I doubt it. My company was a long term Sun/Solaris customer but when Oracle took over they locked down support and pretty much everything in the Solaris community and started attempting to extract as much cash as they could from us. We weren't the biggest customer but we were a pretty good customer and we weren't a tiny little startup either. Oracle did an excellent job of convincing my management to move to Windows and open source solutions. We stay as far away from Oracle as we can these days. Oracle knows the cost of everything but not the value of a community to support them.
    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @07:36AM (#44398629)

      Is Oracle's behavior legal? Yes. Are the support companies in the wrong? Yes.

      Your answer to the first question is most likely correct (although not necessarily). The answer to the second question is not so clear cut. At least one of the support companies claims that their clients have legal licenses and credentials to download the updates and that they are merely acting as their clients' agent in doing the download. I have come across several references (including overheard conversations by colleagues responsible for internal support of Oracle products at a previous employer) that suggest that in addition to the license fee for updates Oracle charges customers who need support installing those updates. If that is the case, Oracle may be suing these support companies because, while clients of the support companies have paid for the license to download the updates, Oracle wants them to pay Oracle for the support they need to install those updates without disrupting their ongoing operations. Considering that Oracle's approach seems to be "pay us huge sum of money per hour while our guy figures out how your database is configured (since we can't be bothered to assign the same guy to your account every time you need to update) and installs the update, which will probably take several days since the first couple of times he will break your database," it is no surprise that companies would rather hire a third party to handle this (a third party that carefully documents how the database is used and configures the update on a test server before rolling it out to production).

  • Oh you want that installed? That will be X dollars for the license... just me pirate that and pocket the licensing fee as profit.

    Its sadly very common.

    Best way to stop it is to have a tighter relationship between developers and support companies. Give the support companies some sort of distributor/reseller price break so they can make SOMETHING on the sale. And ideally build some tracking into the whole process such that if some pirated copies show up it leads directly back to the offending company.

    • Except if you RTFA it's not that simple. These support companies are using the login credentials of their customers to download the updates for their customers. So, they're acting as the end user's agents when doing all this. They even have the paperwork to prove it.

      This lawsuit would be the same as Red Hat suing Linux support companies because their techs used `yum update`. It only makes sense in a weird twisted world of copyright. Even then, it's mainly just corporate bullying. An injunction would m

      • You missed the bit where I said they should give the support companies a discount on purchases. Then you associate the ID numbers of those discounted products with the company that facilitated the transaction.

        The point would be to incentive running purchases through support companies and allow the support companies a legitimate way to eat a little of the profits.

        Its an entirely fair place for a support company to take profits because after all they're frequently recommending the products in the first place.

        • Except you seem to have missed the part where the support companies are claiming that their clients have paid for the license for the update, so they are claiming that they are not pirating the update.
        • by abirdman (557790) *
          As far as I know, Oracle treats their 3rd party support companies as badly as they treat their customers. They charge full price for all their products, even if it's used in education or software development. The software is readily available online (once you sign up), but be prepared to pay up if the Oracle police visit. Every Oracle support company I've worked with do their own audits. If they work with a customer who is infringing, Oracle partly blames them, their 3rd party consultants. Larry wants every
          • Everything I've ever learned the hard way was based on a statistically invalid sample.

            Nice sig. So sad, yet so true.

          • Then they're going to get pirated mercilessly and no amount of legal action will stop it.

            1. You need free educational licenses or the only professionals in your software will come out of places where piracy is so rampant that its practiced BY universities. Go to india or pakistan. Its hilarious.

            2. You need to reward support companies that support your product. They don't have to specialize in it. They can specialize in something else. If they provide support for your product they also effectively encourage

  • How will Larry buy new shoes if he doesn't have this revenue stream?
  • by bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:24AM (#44397809)
    I used to work for the Big-O. Bottom-line is king there. That's why I had to quit. I understand the legalise of this situation. However, you have a bunch of folks out there still running Solaris w/o maintenance contracts. And if they don't update the OS with patches, they are vunerable to security hacks which hurts everyone in the long run. I wish Oracle would let folks update their software w/o contracts but that doesn't help the bottom-line and we all suffer for it....
  • ...I'm done. It's a pity, really; for all their misteps, Sun did some interesting, useful, innovative things. And during those parts of my career when I was working in education, they were generous with hardware, software, and time -- even when it wasn't clear that it would have a short-term benefit for Sun. They knew that down the road, we'd remember, and we'd spec their gear in proposals -- and we did.

    But now? I've spent the last year excising Oracle products. I've decomissioned and sold off har

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