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Open Source: Oracle Blasts Open Source as Being Too Expensive and Unreliable

By Dick Weisinger

Oracle recently published a whitepaper directed to the Department of Defense (DoD) advising them to stay clear of the dangers of Open Source software and to stick with more trustworthy and ultimately more economical proprietary software packages, like those offered by Oracle.

The recommendations seem a bit ironic given the fact that Oracle now manages high-profile Open Source projects like Java and MySQL.

The Oracle report says that “at first glance it might seem that DoD organizations can avoid buying commercial software products simply by starting with open source software and developing their own applications… total cost of ownership (TCO) for open source software often exceeds that of commercial software. While minimizing capital expenses by acquiring ‘free’ open source software is appealing, the up front cost of any software endeavor represents only a small fraction of the total outlay over the lifecycle of ownership and usage. And while cost effectiveness is important, it must be carefully weighed against mission – effectiveness.”

The solution to high Open Source costs? The report says that “for the intensive, mission critical capabilities required by most DoD projects, Oracle recommends its flagship commercial software products.”

The Open Source community generally denounced the whitepaper as being too self serving and nonsense. Matt Asay, VP of business development at MongoDB, points out that Oracle’s arguments to the DoD against Open Source were probably made for naught though. The DoD has consistently been a strong advocate of Open Source for nearly a decade. Asay presents numerous DoD reports and comments over the years that refute the argument against Open Source made by Oracle in this report.

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