Oracle plays defense against open source

Oracle's grab for BEA has everything to do with BEA's sterling J2EE customer list. It also has everything to do with Oracle's push to become a true middleware company, and with keeping the threat of open source alternatives at bay. Oracle was quick to adopt Linux as a preferred platform, a good hedge against both Microsoft and Sun. But it has otherwise strived to keep the open source middleware and database genies in the bottle, going to a lot of trouble to run interference against up-and-coming rivals Red Hat and MySQL.

We all remember the rumors that Oracle would acquire JBoss (now part of Red Hat), then MySQL, and finally Red Hat itself, and in the case of MySQL the rumors turned out to be true. After that offer was spurned, Oracle dealt blows to MySQL by acquiring Sleepycat Software and then Innobase, both sources of transactional storage engines at the heart of MySQL's goal to deliver a truly enterprise-class database. At the end of last year, Oracle took wind out of Red Hat's sails by launching its own Red Hat Linux support services.