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Why Oracle is absolutely right about Oracle wanting more money

Oracle makes a case to the U.S. government against open source software...and in support of its own.

Oracle has released a PDF document titled "The Department of Defense (DoD) and Open Source Software." And - surprise, surprise - it makes the case that the U.S. government should be using less open source software and more proprietary software... specifically software built by Oracle.

Crazy, right? A long-running company with a firmly established way of doing things would really prefer it if people gave them more money. Here's a few of the choice quotes that stuck out at me.

"Don't underestimate the difficulties associated with testing open source software and incorporating required changes into the main development stream, especially when it comes to testing for robustness and reliability under load."

That is really just good advice. Load testing can be a pretty critical part of the kind of software that a large organization (like the DoD) will be using. Oracle is attempting to make the case that open source methodologies would be inferior for any software that needs to handle high loads by saying:

"Commercial software companies have developed highly refined methodologies to perform these tasks."

Which... again is a good point on its own. This is totally, 100% accurate. Many software companies that produce closed source software have built (and refined) methodologies to build and test high-load and high-capacity software. So I really have no problem with that statement by itself. Of course, the implication that open source methodologies can't be used to build high-load software is a bit silly (see: Apache).

The document also says:

"Government sponsored community development approaches to software creation lack the financial incentives of commercial companies to produce low defect, well documented code and are not subject to the same market pressure at the software code level."

This statement, also, has some truth to it. Funding of open source projects can be problematic and tricky in some instances. Though that problem predominantly applies to consumer-oriented software – and not the type of software that the DoD is likely to need. Which leads us to the most important two sentences in the entire document:

"Oracle helps ensure that open source software fits well within the surrounding infrastructure and provides a route to enterprise grade production. However, for the intensive, mission-critical capabilities required by most DoD projects, Oracle recommends its flagship commercial software products."

What's that, you say? Oracle thinks open source software isn't very good and thinks we should, instead, use Oracle's closed source software? Huh. Whodathunkit? (That should be officially added to the dictionary, by the way. Oxford and Webster take note.)

So, what I'm reading is that this document was written strictly as a sales brochure (with a highly debatable set of facts and conclusions)... and that we should all ignore it entirely. Consider it done.

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