Oracle faces questions from Sun users on takeover

Oracle's planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems is raising questions among users on, well, just about every aspect of the deal.

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What will happen, for instance to Java, OpenOffice, the MySQL database and Sun's hardware support after Oracle completes its $7.4 billion purchase? And what sort of new systems might emerge from the pairing of Oracle and Sun?

There really aren't any answers yet. In a brief conference call Monday morning, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison outlined some of the reasons for the move, praised a few of Sun's technologies, notably Java and the Solaris operating system - and largely left it at that. Ellison and other Oracle executives didn't take any questions, leaving plenty to be answered.

If you're running Solaris on Sparc-based systems, an immediate issue is the pending acquisition's affect on customer support. That's the case for Alfonso Rivera, manager of network engineering at Embarq, a telecommunications and Internet services provider in Winter Park, Fla.

Sun's hardware is generally more expensive than that of its competitors, Rivera said via email. But, he added, the differentiators working in the vendor's favor are a more stable operating system, more reliable hardware and "outstanding service and support practices." Those factors "more than offset the premium in hardware costs," Rivera said.

Now, Rivera said, he's concerned that Oracle will "undermine the Sun culture and negatively impact Sun's commitment to provide best-of-class service and support." If that happens, he wrote, "there will no longer be justification to pay the premium costs for their hardware."

Alex Wingeier, chief technical officer at CLR Choice , a Palm Coast, Fla.-based company that has developed a real-estate search engine, thinks Java has a measure of protection because many other large vendors use the open-source technology as well. And Oracle itself has a vested interest in Java; during Monday's conference call, Ellison described Oracle's Java-based Fusion Middleware as the fastest-growing part of the vendor's business.

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