Friday Jun 29, 2012

My own personal use of Oracle Linux

It always is easier to explain something with examples... Many people still don't seem to understand some of the convenient things around using Oracle Linux and since I personally (surprise!) use it at home, let me give you an idea.

I have quite a few servers at home and I also have 2 hosted servers with a hosted provider. The servers at home I use mostly to play with random Linux related things, or with Oracle VM or just try out various new Oracle products to learn more. I like the technology, it's like a hobby really. To be able to have a good installation experience and use an officially certified Linux distribution and not waste time trying to find the right libraries, I, of course, use Oracle Linux. Now, at least I can get a copy of Oracle Linux for free (even if I was not working for Oracle) and I can/could use that on as many servers at home (or at my company if I worked elsewhere) for testing, development and production. I just go to http://edelivery.oracle.com/linux and download the version(s) I want and off I go.

Now, I also have the right (and not because I am an employee) to take those images and put them on my own server and give them to someone else, I in fact, just recently set up my own mirror on my own hosted server. I don't have to remove oracle-logos, I don't have to rebuild the ISO images, I don't have to recompile anything, I can just put the whole binary distribution on my own server without contract. Perfectly free to do so. Of course the source code of all of this is there, I have a copy of the UEK code at home, just cloned from https://oss.oracle.com/git/?p=linux-2.6-unbreakable.git. And as you can see, the entire changelog, checkins, merges from Linus's tree, complete overview of everything that got changed from kernel to kernel, from patch to patch, errata to errata. No obfuscating, no tar balls and spending time with diff, or go read bug reports to find out what changed (seems silly to me).

Some of my servers are on the external network and I need to be current with security errata, but guess what, no problem, my servers are hooked up to http://public-yum.oracle.com which is open, free, and completely up to date, in a consistent, reliable way with any errata, security or bugfix. So I have nothing to worry about. Also, not because I am an employee. Anyone can. And, with this, I also can, and have, set up my own mirror site that hosts these RPMs. both binary and source rpms. Because I am free to get them and distribute them. I am quite capable of supporting my servers on my own, so I don't need to rely on the support organization so I don't need to have a support subscription :-). So I don't need to pay. Neither would you, at least not with Oracle Linux.

Another cool thing. The hosted servers came (unfortunately) with Centos installed. While Centos works just fine as is, I tend to prefer to be current with my security errata(reliably) and I prefer to just maintain one yum repository instead of 2, I converted them over to Oracle Linux as well (in place) so they happily receive and use the exact same RPMs. Since Oracle Linux is exactly the same from a user/application point of view as RHEL, including files like /etc/redhat-release and no changes from .el. to .centos. I know I have nothing to worry about installing one of the RHEL applications. So, OL everywhere makes my life a lot easier and why not...

Next! Since I run Oracle VM and I have -tons- of VM's on my machines, in some cases on my big WOPR box I have 15-20 VMs running. Well, no problem, OL is free and I don't have to worry about counting the number of VMs, whether it's 1, or 4, or more than 10 ... like some other alternatives started doing...

and finally :) I like to try out new stuff, not 3 year old stuff. So with UEK2 as part of OL6 (and 6.3 in particular) I can play with a 3.0.x based kernel and it just installs and runs perfectly clean with OL6, so quite current stuff in an environment that I know works, no need to toy around with an unsupported pre-alpha upstream distribution with libraries and versions that are not compatible with production software (I have nothing against ubuntu or fedora or opensuse... just not what I can rely on or use for what I need, and I don't need a desktop).

pretty compelling. I say... and again, it doesn't matter that I work for Oracle, if I was working elsewhere, or not at all, all of the above would still apply. Student, teacher, developer, whatever. contrast this with $349 for 2 sockets and oneguest and selfsupport per year to even just get the software bits.

About

Wim Coekaerts is the Senior Vice President of Linux and Virtualization Engineering for Oracle. He is responsible for Oracle's complete desktop to data center virtualization product line and the Oracle Linux support program.

You can follow him on Twitter at @wimcoekaerts

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