Why Oracle Isn't a Member of the OSDL

In an interview with InternetNews Wim Coekaerts, who is the Director of Linux Engineering at Oracle, goes into some details on how Oracle is utilizing Linux. It's fantastic to see that “almost half of Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3 shipments were on Linux in the first three months of 2006”. I knew that Oracle penetration on Linux was really gaining traction, but almost half is extremely impressive. When the topic of the OSDL came up, Wim has this to say:
Let's just say that one part of the OSDL is trying to represent businesses to the Linux community. I know that a number of the members aren't heavily involved in Linux but still are members.
We basically know where to go. We have a good relationship directly with people in the Linux community. We have all our partners. So there is no immediate advantage to being a member for us. Not to sound arrogant, but we know how to deal with the Linux community.
The thing that was really kind of revolting is that OSDL goes out and basically says that they represent the Linux community while there is no direct feedback line back to the community.

Now, it's true that a number of the members aren't heavily directly involved in Linux but still are members. Beyond that though you have to remember that for Oracle, Open Source is not core. One of the main points of OSDL is to share R&D costs and Oracle certainly doesn't want to do that. I'd have thought “Why isn't MySQL AB not in OSDL” would come up before Oracle. His last comment, however, is the one I felt was poignant here. The OSDL really seems to be taking a beating on this point lately. I've not seen a ton actually change though. Greg KH seems hopeful now that some of the things that were proposed will be adopted, which is encouraging. I had offered (both personally and on behalf of LQ) to help the OSDL with their community efforts not too long ago. While some people from within OSDL did contact me and some useful discussion took place, nothing ever came of it. The offer, of course, still stands…but I still don't have a clear picture of exactly what we could do.
–jeremy
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