Tim Holloway wrote:Oracle had cemented its reputation as an Evil Empire long before they bought Sun/Java. Their business model comes from the mainframe world, where developers could be well-paid, a software product could cost $64,000 up front and $5000/month for support and nobody cared because it was all dwarfed by the million-dollar hardware expense of the mainframe. And when software vendors sold unique products and basically could hold IT managers hostage by simple vendor lock-in, but that was OK, because when you needed support, you didn't get a "please stay on the line. Your call is very important to us!" and an unintelligible monkey-with-a-script, you got an actual rep or even a team of them to show up on-site and fix things. And in Oracle's case, a lot of early revenue was from government contracts, where you can charge absurd amounts of money and only the taxpayer bats a eye.
And on top of that, Larry Ellison's biggest ambition all his life has to become richer than Bill Gates (or anyone else).
It was never a case of if Oracle would start to squeeze money out of their acquisitions, merely when and how. They didn't have a working model from Sun, or Sun wouldn't have ended up in a position to be bought by Oracle.
It had to be done carefully, though. Their spin of Red Hat Linux attracted no adoring mobs - most people preferred Red Hat itself unless they wanted an Oracle OS to run their Oracle databases. Their attempt to monetize Sun's OpenOffice was such a dismal failure that they ended up donating it to the Apache Foundation - too late, since the Oracle-independent Libre Office fork had already won over the open-source world. Likewise, probably more people run the MariaDB spinoff of MySQL than actually run MySQL itself.
The old idea of paying for software from a proprietary vendor is fading. Red Hat demonstrated that not only could you repackage free software and become a dominant technology vendor, you could even develop your own software and give it away too. And they don't have to send in license-enforcement stormtroopers like the BSA to do it.
It remains to be seen whether people will start migrating wholesale to open-source Java. Java is a very complex environment, and even after years of work, the open-source version has problems. But people are no longer impressed by heavy-handed tactics from hardware or software vendors. And they're not interested in paying large sums of money in an era when everything is supposed to be as cheap as possible. Especially when it's them that are among the things that aren't allowed to cost much.
Tim Holloway wrote:This is the annoying thing about commercial software today, and one of the biggest reasons why I avoid commercial software as much as possible.
Commercial vendors like IBM, Oracle, and the like used to provide a lot of support for the admittedly astronomical sums they charged. When we had an Amdahl mainframe, Amdahl actually set up a local office right in our building. IBM had a whole building by themselves (and a very good Arabic sandwich shop on the ground floor).
But when we adopted OS/2, it was almost impossible to get support for it. And every time we found a good IBM support person, they ended up leaving IBM soon after. I was frustrated, because I'd bought my first Linux distro for the princely sum of $35 for 2 CDs and I could get more assistance from both the Linux OS itself and from online forums than I could get from Fortune-50 IBM for OS/2.
So IBM, Oracle, et. al., went to horrible phone queue systems with under-qualified software support (this is when the cliché phrase "Have you tried turning it off and back on again?" appeared), and the preferred support channel is to go to their forum system, which typically is getting half its help from unpaid volunteers and which rarely comes up to the quality of the wholly-volunteer sites like JavaRanch or open-source product forums.
If I'm going to pay tons of money, I think I expect something better. Or I might as well not bother. Most of what Oracle can do for me I can do with PostgreSQL. And probably a few things Oracle can't. Commercial products these days are designed by marketing droids and implemented almost entirely by cheap offshore labor. Open-source projects are usually done by people who actually believe in what they are doing and are generally better-skilled as well.
Tim Moores wrote:Just found this little post about a newly introduced problem with backward compatibility: https://www.symphonious.net/2019/02/04/fun-with-java-backwards-compatibility/
That kind of thing didn't used to happen.
Les Morgan wrote:Tim,
All I know is that of the $90K we paid Oracle for support over the life of our project, they answered ZERO questions, that is right no help what so ever, and because they could not render any support I did not allow them to ever close a help ticket, but they did anyway and without my permission and without ever providing an answer.
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