Oracle recently announced it’s own version of Linux. I’m not sure if the intent is to capture some desktops or if it is truly meant to operate in the datacenter. Oracle has a history of certifying it’s database to run on particular operating systems. I think this is partly because they want to make certain that their software licensing system remains in tack after installation and partly because they want to keep customer service operating costs to a minimum and if the OS is understood then the costs should be predictable.
Another Linux distro, Scientific Linux, peaked my interest this month. It was functional, quick, handled multiple displays nicely… generally modern. What bothered me about it was it’s construction. It was effectively RedHat with a modest increase in default packages (which I’m certain could have been installed manually or with Puppet or Chef).
So before I head of on some tangent I’ll cut to the conclusion. Neither of these groups/companies are worth the visit. Use the Oracle distro if you’re using the Oracle stack but not for general computing. I do not think they are adding any real value other than they understand their stack the best.
As for SL. They are not adding any real value to the experience. It would be easier for them to get/use institutional licenses or even a custom distro directly from RedHat. There is nothing that SL needs or wants that is not already available out there. Since SL is a funded project… once the Higgs-Bosen is discovered and confirmed I could imagine that the various colliders will either power down or rather all the money is going to head toward the next great adventure. Something like SL would likely see itself defunded in the first round; but that’s just my opinion.