Never mind the honor that Symantec bestowed on Oracle’s Enterprise Linux software by qualifying it as a platform, Oracle says the qualification was not actually necessary.
Symantec this week became the first major vendor to qualify the operating system for use with its products, namely its Veritas-originated volume management, clustering, backup and other infrastructure tools.
While other big vendors have said they support OEL, none have gone so far as to formally certify it, and Symantec’s move is an important contribution to Oracle’s efforts to establish OEL as a mainstream, well-supported platform.
Oracle’s imaginative launch of OEL and its Unbreakable Linux program was made in October, and OEL is in fact Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux, acquired via an open source license that is open to all comers. That is why Symantec did not need to certify OEL – because it had already certified RHEL.
In an email sent to Computer Business Review, Oracle said that while many third-party suppliers have tested OEL, many decided not to go through a formal certification since OEL is fully source and binary compatible with RHEL.
Which is presumably also the reason that Oracle would give if asked why ten months after OEL was launched, Symantec is only the first major vendor to formally certify the platform.
Red Hat says that since REHL version 5 was launched five months ago, it has been certified by nearly 400 suppliers alongside Symantec.
For its part, Symantec was adamant that it undertook extra testing to certify OEL certification, covering installation and configuration, destructive testing, and functionality testing.
Whenever Oracle issues a patch for OEL, its code will diverge from that of RHEL. According to Oracle that does not mean that eventually OEL and RHEL will fork into two products, because at major releases, Oracle will re-synchronize with the RHEL code.
In the interim, the Oracle patches will not require their own certification testing, any more than Red Hat patches do, according to the database giant. ISVs do not certify with every single patch that comes out of RHEL; most of them certify when a major release comes out, Oracle said.
Not surprisingly, Red Hat does not like to see OEL described as virtually the same product as RHEL. Red Hat argues that Oracle’s changes – the patches and bug fixes – will make the code different, and will certainly cause a fork. Because they will not be put through Red Hat’s certification testing, they may cause unexpected behavior, according to Red Hat.