In one fell swoop, Ellison both blessed Red Hat and blew it out of the water.
On the one hand, Oracle dubbed Red Hat Linux as the de facto enterprise Linux standard. On the other, Oracle now competes full-on with Red Hat for enterprise support dollars. Red Hat makes money--or doesn't--on support contracts.
It is a very tiny step from fielding Linux support to actually offering the operating system code, observers said. And Oracle executives said the company could well do that.
"As of this moment, Oracle is announcing full support of Red Hat Linux. If you are Red Hat Linux customers, you now have a choice. ... You can very easily switch from Red Hat support to Oracle support," Ellison said to applause Wednesday at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.