Subject: Speculating on where the distro market is going
From: Federico Lucifredi <>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 10:09:36 -0400

Gentlemen -
  I have been pondering on the not so subtle signals Oracle has been 
giving out, and in the last two days I more or less stabilized my 
outlook as the following. Please, tear it up ;-)

Everyone's current reading of the market is that Oracle is going farther 
than already announced with Ubuntu.  Two scenarios pop out from all the 
possible futures: (a) Oracle extends said partnership, to a point where 
other major players feel uncomfortable not joining in and look at NOVL, 
and even RHAT, as acquisition and merger targets.  Under this scenario 
the Linux market gets merged-in into the big players: Oracle, IBM, 
perhaps even Sun (which has been getting closer to Red Hat since 
McNealy's departure and, as of late, Ubuntu.  Ubuntu support through 
Canonical on the new Niagara hardware -announced at LW::SFO- is a 
win-win move for Sun: it helps sell their new machines, and it costs 
then nothing in upfront support infrastructure as Canonical takes the 
(lower-revenue) business of supporting their Ubuntu Linux customers).

Scenario (b) is similar but slightly different. Oracle toes the line but 
does not set off Big Blue into 'me too' purchase mode. However, IBM 
recognizes reality (that Oracle running on Ubuntu makes Ubuntu a tier-1 
enterprise distro is a fact), and starts selling their 
consulting/customers Ubuntu itself alongside RHAT and NOVL's distros. 
We still have RHAT as the market segment leader in the mid term, but 
with a serious challenge to face given the momentum and mindshare that 
Ubuntu already has would be supported by Oracle's might and money. 
Neither RHAT or NOVL are acquired, but Suse Linux loses the #2 market 
spot in favor of Ubuntu within 12 months, with the two crossing each 
other in terms of total revenue in a slightly longer timeframe.

Yay - I almost sound like an analyst there. My apologies, I will paste 
in some Perl here just to make ammends: perl -i -pe 's/\r/\n/g' <filename>

Best -Federico

-- "'Problem' is a bleak word for challenge" - Richard Fish
(Federico L. Lucifredi) -