The move extends Oracle's "Unbreakable Linux" platform, which covers Red Hat's distribution of the open-source operating system, to include distributions from the four members of the UnitedLinux program: Connectiva, The SCO Group, SuSE Linux and Turbolinux.
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To get the technical support for UnitedLinux, customers must have an Oracle support contract for Oracle products and an operating system support contract with one of the four UnitedLinux founders, Oracle said. The cost of support contracts varies.
"If you run Oracle on a distribution of Linux that is part of the UnitedLinux program, and you have problems, Oracle will get you up and running - even if the problem is with the operating system. We will provide a fix for the operating system," said Dave Dargo, vice president of Oracle's Linux Program Office.
UnitedLinux has already been certified with the full stack of Oracle products, and Oracle is running many of its own functions on Linux, and intends to run its entire business on that operating system, Dargo said.
By working with the development team for UnitedLinux, Oracle has added new features to the operating system, in particular in the virtual memory management unit and input-output subsystems, he added.
Businesses needing to cluster several UnitedLinux servers together to run very large applications will need support from companies like Oracle for now.
"Clustering is not in the UnitedLinux version," said Richard Seibt, chief executive officer of SuSE. However, Oracle has plugged this gap, according to Dargo.
"Oracle provides that capability with our real clustering software. It's specially designed to allow a cluster of Linux machines to work on a large database problem, and we have open-sourced our Linux cluster file system," he said.
For now, Oracle will support UnitedLinux on the x86 platform only.
"We will be opening it up to other platforms as they go through certification," Dargo said. "There are some processes that need to be worked out with the driver manufacturers in the Linux operating system. We don't have a delivery date yet."