August 26, 2007

Our open source strategy

People love to say that Oracle is the big bad wolf of software development. They go on and on about how we blow everybody's house down and then sell software that's completely locked. In fact, burned-out open source hippies like John "Maddog" Hall even say we're like a used car dealership that sells vehicles with the hoods welded shut, and then we go and charge exorbitant fees for things like oil changes and tunes ups and taking sawdust out of the engine.

Yeah, right. Listen, if you actually believe that crock of shit, I have some land in Florida I'd like to sell you. Because nothing could be further from the truth. Oracle loves open source. Seriously. It all has to do with something I call subsidized software development. Goes like this. You find some sixth and seventh graders who know Python and C and you get them really pumped up about open source software development. You know. Feed them a line about how open source is all about the future and punk music and skateboarding and nerds and really, really, really hot women who go gaga for geeks. Then you send them on over to SourceForge and have them pick a project to work on. Preferably something we can actually use, like Tomcat. Then you unleash the little turd droppers. Send 'em a couple free O'Reilly books and a case of Mountain Dew and a short pamphlet that talks about the importance of dropping out of school.

Boom. There's your makeshift R&D team.

Then, you take all of the source code and send it to your lawyers. You tell them to sort out the licensing mess and turn it into something you can actually use. Then you pop it up on your website as a free download and tell people it's unsupported and crippled, etc. until they purchase the service package. And the service package is $500,000 per year per socket. Or whatever. Jack the price up as much as you want.

Novell and Red Hat and MySQL think we won't do it. To which Larry says, think again, buttheads. You stole our pricing model. Now we're taking your support and distribution model and perfecting it. Just wait and see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant strategy Larry! Archimedes once said: "give me a lever big enough, and I will move the world". This guy obviously knew nothing - and would have been a second hand car salesman in todays world. I say: use many small levers. Finagle those 'levers' the right way - and you can make a shit load of money. Especially when those levers are kids. It is excellent to hear that you know how to use this natural resource to your advantage.