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Mark Webbink on Trust, Oracle and Novell

Red Hat general counsel Mark Webbink has come out swinging at Oracle and Novell in a recent Linux Magazine entry, entitled "A Question of Trust".

Writing in Linux Magazine under the headline “A Question of Trust,” with a byline of Mark H. Webbink, Esq., the lawyer declared that what customers “value more than anything else in a vendor” is trust.

In other words, trust Red Hat – don’t trust Novell, Oracle, Sun or anyone else.

“Now some may consider trust somewhat abstract, particularly in this context, but it really isn’t,” Webbink wrote. “Webster’s Dictionary defines trust as ‘assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.’ Given that definition, let’s analyze each vendor’s recent announcements to measure trust.”

While conceding Oracle’s launch of “Unbreakable Linux” – a service offering designed to woo Red Hat customers away from support services – is “for the most part legal”, Webbink went on to ask Oracle “can be trusted” to deliver on promises.

It’s his contention that “Oracle intends to merely rebrand Red Hat Enterprise Linux,” and asks if Oracle has the Red Hat Enterprise Linux experience needed to deliver on promises.

“That remains to be seen, but if Oracle’s support of its own software is any indication, don’t hold your breath,” he wrote.


Webbink then wheels around and finds Novell in his sights, where he is able to sum up the Microvell deal succinctly: “No matter how much lipstick you put on that pig, it’s still a pig. It represents a deal done for business expediency, not customer protection.”

Webbink concedes that Red Hat, of course, is not without their own occasional misstep - but overall I must say that I prefer Red Hat's Philosophy to that of Novell, and it seems to have done well for them to date.

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