back to article HP asks court to force Oracle to obey Itanium contract

HP has told a US court that it should force Oracle to keep supporting its Itanium-based servers for as long as HP sells them. The firm's lawyer said in closing arguments in the case that Oracle was contractually obliged to support Itanium chips based on the Hurd agreement. Oracle stood by its position that the Hurd agreement …

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Itanic

Remember when the Reg used to call this chip the "Itanic" every time it was mentioned, and it got funnier every time? I swear, I'm still laughing at that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Itanic

It's a bit more polite than Shitanium.

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Silver badge

Does HP *really* believe that a few emails are enough for an implied contract worth in the order of $4bn ?

I'm not a massive fan of Oracle, but from what I've seen, I can't see that HP have a leg to stand on.

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Verbal Contracts

Verbal Contracts are legal, why not an email contract? Surely an email is a convorsation in a written form and can and should be as binding as a verbal contract?

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Silver badge

Re: Verbal Contracts

I'm not saying an e-mail contract isn't legal. I'm saying: Who would realisticly negotiate & sign a $4bn contract just via a few e-mails? I'd expect a shed-load of lawyers to be involved with rain-forest amonts of paper work for such a contract.

*Unless you're Mark Zuckerberg, of course. (Which neither Oracle or HP are...)

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Re: Verbal Contracts

As Samuel Goldwin once said, "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."

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Devil

Re: Verbal Contracts

It depends on your business partner.

If he is bound to outfit you with concrete shoes in case of a ... "misunderstanding", a verbal contract is worth a lot indeed.

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Re: Verbal Contracts

Depends on whether the law in the country/ies concerned accepts emails as legal contracts, and whether the legal disclaimers in email sigs are valid.

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Anonymous Coward

And there are no e-mails....

implying any sort of contract. HP specifically asked for wording about Itanium in the Hurd press release and Oracle specifically told them no in the e-mail exchange. You can say that this is anti-competitive, anti-customer, or whatever on Oracle's behalf, but it is pretty impossible to see this as violating any sort of contract.

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Silver badge

Realistically HP are on to a loser.

Even suppose they win on the contract issue there is nothing stopping Oracle from forking the Db feature set so that Itanic (I love that name too) gets sloppy seconds.

And even if Oracle don't do that there could be plenty of queued bug fixes and performance tweaks that just sit in the request queue.

Rightly or wrongly HP Itanic is staring down the gun barrel on this one.

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Bronze badge

Re: Realistically HP are on to a loser.

Yep, that's why winning a huge amount of damages would probably be in HP's best interest....and they can kill off Itanic saying it's Oracle that made them do it, honestly...

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Re: Realistically HP are on to a loser.

If I were an Oracle customer with relatively new Itanium hardware, I would be quite unhappy with Oracle and not much comforted by the prospect of my software maintenance being done under compulsion of a court. I might even be open to other options like Postgresql which offer almost all the functionality for almost none of the licensing cost. If I were a large organization like, say the U. S. Department of Defense, I might realize that the cost of a reasonably sized support staff and its training might be far less than Oracle's $15K/CPU license fee and $3K/CPU annual maintenance cost.

If I were Hewlett-Packard, I might think that providing services and support for other-than-Oracle DMBS could be helpful to my loyal customers.

If I were Oracle, I might think about such things but, narcissist that I am, probably would not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Realistically HP are on to a loser.

Well that's an easy one, there aren't any recent Itanium customers (have you seen HP's sales figures?)

As much as everyone loves to hate Oracle, they didn't start the abandonment of Itanium, anyone remember how long ago Microsoft dumped Itanium over two years ago?

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Go

Re: Realistically HP are on to a loser.

"....If I were Hewlett-Packard, I might think that providing services and support for other-than-Oracle DMBS...." Just about weekly I get new whitepapers sent through to me from the hp reps, extolling the virtues of PostgreSQL, Sybase and some nastiness called DB2, and how easy it is to extract Oracle from my stack. Truth is we're unlikley to do anything until after the court case.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Realistically HP are on to a loser.

Please. I love PostgreSQL too, but it's *NOT* an Oracle replacement!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Realistically HP are on to a loser.

"Please. I love PostgreSQL too, but it's *NOT* an Oracle replacement!"

Yes, EnterpriseDB is all over the place trying to push Postgre as an Oracle replacement. There are all sorts of technical issues with Postgre vs. Oracle, but the most important shortcoming is that Postgre is not certified or supported for any major commercial applications (SAP, Oracle apps, IBM software, vertical banking apps, obviously not MS, etc). Primarily because their access controls and security features are not enterprise grade. If anyone is migrating off of Oracle, it will be to DB2... which is more or less on par with Oracle and way less costly.

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Big Brother

Violating...

Oracle has been "violating" everyone else, I have no real doubt that they at the very least acted in bad faith. The least they could do is send HP some lube, and give them a reach around before finally putting it to them like we know they will.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Violating...

What is the core factor price on lube?

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Anonymous Coward

After the Google lawsuit

Oracle needs to win this one after their big, big public embarassment in front of Google and the courts.

Perhaps Oracle is legally right and they are able to support or desupport Itanium whenever they please, but like the Google lawsuit, this one is going to harm them big time, regardless of the result.

Scenario one: Oracle wins and they desupport Itanium. Picture IT responsible getting visits from Oracle sales guys telling that their lovely and supported Oracle RDBMS is available, if only they shell out a few thousand bucks for Oracle (formerly Sun) hardware.

Scenario two: Oracle losses and they are forced to support Itanium. Picture IT responsible getting visits from Oracle sales guys telling him/her how Oracle is commited to support their business... as long as a judge forces them to do so.

I don't see happy customers either way, and what I see from this and the Google lawsuit is a company that is agressively trying to squeeze every cent of their Sun acquisition, with total disregard for customers. That strategy could pay for the next boat racer but is not a long term one certainly.

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Bronze badge

Re: After the Google lawsuit

"I don't see happy customers either way,"

Considering the:

1) disappointing performance

2) unjustifiable lack of SQL syntax features (e.g. no cross-table updates without painfully slow sub-selects, usually nested ones, braindead explain syntax with output that doesn't even provide index details and row count estimates, etc.)

3) lack of diagnostic functionality such as logging all queries (possible but the performance overhead is massive, output huge and cluttered and needs to be post-processed to be useful, whereas with MySQL it is pretty much free and gives just the useful part of the output)

[...]

I would say that Oracle have no happy customers in the first place. It was only after I had to use Oracle that I found out just what a shining beacon of SQL database excellence MySQL actually is.

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Re: After the Google lawsuit

I would stay away from any Oracle product, including MySQL. Concur about probable scarcity of happy or satisfied Oracle customers, however. Many probably are feeling a bit trapped now owing to their embrace of Oracle features like PL/SQL.

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Re: After the Google lawsuit

@Gordan

"whereas with MySQL..."

Are you aware that MySQL came to Oracle along with the Sun purchase?

It's probably not a coincidence that Apple have switched from MySQL to PostgreSQL for their server product.

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Re: After the Google lawsuit

@Wensleydale Cheese

Indeed, but MySQL is GPL-ed and there are forks available should Oracle start to not play ball. So far so good.

PostgreSQL is an _awesome_ database that I use quite extensively, better in many ways than MySQL, but MySQL is just more ubiqutous and more importantly, generally regarded as being crap. This is why I was so disappointed with Oracle when I found it doesn't even measure up to MySQL.

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Anonymous Coward

HP and Oracle

Two companies I thoroughly despise

so much fun to watch them scratch each others eyes out

handbags at dawn ladies!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: HP and Oracle

I share the sentiment - please can both lose, but Oracle lose more!

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Oracle continues to make software for Itanium...

The article has a significant fact-error. Oracle continues to update existing releases and fix problems on Itanium. Oracle WON'T provide its new releases on Itanium, though.

If it didn't do the former, it would have to relinquish maintenance monies for its Itanium base, immediately. Oracle has accountants that advised against THAT.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oracle continues to make software for Itanium...

Yes, Oracle is going to support the current Itanium install base on their current software because they want to wean people off of Itanium... but they are going to do a really poor job of it. They pulled everyone working on Oracle - Itanium development off of Itanium, so it you need a specific patch developed or some other non phone level support, best of luck with that.

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Anonymous Coward

As someone who uses Oracle on HP Itanium....

I presume that default support contracts will remain.

Fortunately it's "not my problem" as I don't support the hardware, OS or dB. I just use them heavily.

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Silver badge

Loose Loose

This is a typical loose loose situation law suit.

If Oracle loose in court they loose face and have to support a competitor.

If Oracle win in court they just piss off a massive number of highly lucrative customers. Oracle on HP-UX was worth 3 times as much to them as Oracle on Solaris + the Sun HW business, according to other articles on here.

The only winner will be IBM, who must be laughing all the way to the bank.

The lawyers will no doubt win too, I guess.

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Facepalm

Re: Loose Loose

Re:loose, pls see the oatmeal guide to spelling:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling

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Headmaster

Re: Loose Loose

Quite. I can feel my grip loosening. As I lose my grip on this cliff face my bowels become loose. I'll probably lose my life on the loose rocks below... I have a loose grip on sanity.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Loose Loose

I would upvote you if that wasn't such a grotesque image of Mr Grammar Nazi hanging from the cliff with me looking up his robes. Yuck!

Colin

Keyboard ... cos after 6 pints of stella on an empty stomach, that's what I feel like doing :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Loose Loose

I really dont understand why you think the customer would be more or less pissed off if Oracle wins?

The customer have had Oracle's message that they wont code new versions on Itanium for about year. I dont see why HP loosing the court case would make said customers more upset with Oracle, i can see why they wouldnt like HP... Oracle winning would just prove that HP didnt have a case to bring the lawsuit agaisnt them.

Perhaps I am missing something...

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Gimp

Re: Loose Loose

@Dazed and Confused.

"The only winner will be IBM, who must be laughing all the way to the bank."

You forget Intel.

// Jesper

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FAIL

LMFAO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Itanium_Sales_Forecasts_edit.png

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FAIL

Re: LMFAO

>Court papers were released from a case between HP and Oracle Corporation that gave insight to the fact that HP was paying Intel $690 Million to keep Itanium on life support

Wow how long until HP's need to maintain cash in the bank override it's hubris?

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FAIL

Re: Re: LMFAO

"....HP was paying Intel $690 Million to keep Itanium on life support...." And it's still making more money for hp than the Sun chips are for Snoreacle! Face it, this type of gangsterism is the ONLY chance Larry has of making some money out of SPARC.

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FAIL

Re: LMFAO

Not defending Larry as he is one of the world's biggest tools. Just saying comparing Itanium to the dead for years SPARC to make it look relevant is like bringing the fat guy from Borat on a date with you to make you look classy. Both architectures live on out of hubris only and even that will pass soon enough.

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FAIL

Re: LMFAO

>And it's still losing less money for hp than the Sun chips are for Snoreacle! Face it,

There fixed that for ya.

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Joke

'There is no contract'

Only Zuul!

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Anonymous Coward

OS?

Windows isn't supported on Itanic isn't, most (all?) Linux vendors dumped support for it too. What else are customers going to run on it? That crappy OS called HP-UX?! HP ditched their own decent UNIX: Tru64. You know, the one with TruCluster, AdvFS, etc. They had to go begging to Veritas/Symantec of all people to add those to HP-UX for them!

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Silver badge

Re: OS?

VMS? Yes its day has come and gone but still arguably the most stable widely available production OS of all time.

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Silver badge

Re: OS?

HP has never impressed me but DEC products sure did. Their sales people and executives did a good job (with draconian mandatory maintenance contracts) of keeping their awesome stuff out of the hands of small companies and riff raff like me but Alpha compared to its contemporary peers is still the most revolutionary CPU of my life time. Its a shame to see HP and its Dell like mindset come in shit on that legacy with the sad sorry joke that is Itanium. Itanium doesn't even deserve to be Alpha's fluffer.

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Re: OS?

Do you actually work on HP-UX or are you basing your judgment on its state in the days of Tru64?

HP-UX 11iv3 actually is a very decent production-level Unix. I have worked on Solaris (a lot), AiX (quite some time), Tru64 (a little bit) as well as many variants of Linux and *BSD and why there are bits of HP-UX I strongly dislike such as the reboots still needed for way too many product updates, I have to say that it has generally become a mature and extremely stable O/S with everything I need: LVM/VxFS, ServiceGuard for clustering etc. On Itanium, its level of support for HP-PA legacy apps is awesome, with excellent perfs and the ability to import whole HP-PA systems as simili-VMs running at close to native speeds.

I do a lot of HP-bashing here so no fanboism.

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Re: OS?

Don't blame HP for killing the Alpha. Blame DEC themselves. The have completely failed to promote and sell it and Alpha was very, very sick already even before Compaq bought DEC. Yes Alpha was great and insanely ahead of its time, but DEC has failed everything but its design.

I've been in a 100% DEC shop (mostly VMS, some Ultrix) for many years and they still are the best years of my (long now) career. VMS' tightly integrated clustering is unmatched by any *nix until nowadays as far as I know. Ultrix was OK, a true-blue BSD I liked. Spent several years in the board of our local DECUS chapter. Nostalgy, nostalgy...

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Mushroom

There is no contract, plan and simple

Oracle is evil

HP is working the pity card which does not work in the real world

Intel and IBM seem to be the winners. Intel I am sure is saying thank you Oracle for helping speed up the demise of this loser.

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Anonymous Coward

Winners = IBM, Intel and Oracle - Loser = HP

IBM will be the primary beneficiary as they will have the only viable Unix system after this takes its course. Intel gets to ditch Itanium which is great for them and this will likely drive many people to Xeon - Linux, of those that don't go to IBM - AIX. Oracle also wins. They will probably get a couple of Exas out of this for people that are gluttons for punishment. They will also win on all of those people who go to x86 - Linux. Those that formerly used Serviceguard who will now be using RAC and will now need to buy a bunch of extra Oracle core factors in the VMware soft partition licensing model. Larry knows what he is doing.

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Linux

>> They will also win on all of those people who go to x86 - Linux. Those that formerly used Serviceguard who will now be using RAC

They could always use Serviceguard for Linux:

http://www.hp.com/go/sglx

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Anonymous Coward

Sure, they could...

What is the relative market share positions of Serviceguard on Linux - x86 as compared to Itanium systems? I don't know, but probably something on the lines of 80% on Itanium and less than 5% on x86. They could also use RAC on Itanium systems, but the market is entirely in Oracle's favor on the x86 side and entirely in HP's favor on the Itanium side.

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