If Oracle owned MySQL, it would not make a big difference with regards to competition on the database market. Oracle would then own 2 relational databases. But there is also the BSD-licensed PostgreSQL, the world’s most advanced open source database with several enhanced products from companies.

If Oracle closed MySQL, the community would step in. I truly believe that the free software community is strong enough to support MySQL. There already is MariaDB and I believe that this project could serve as the base in case Oracle closes MySQL or stops MySQL completely. The community was strong enough to build complete operating systems and maintain them, so it should not be that hard to support one database.

All in all, I don’t see how Oracle buying Sun (and thus MySQL) could negatively influence competition in the database market, and I would therefore recommend the EC to approve the Oracle-Sun deal as it, without imposing any conditions on Oracle.


7 thoughts on “MySQL

  1. I represent a large web company that uses MySQL for its site database. I’d like to pay you EU50M to write a custom patch for MySQL. However, I don’t want the work I pay for to be released under the GPL. I want a custom patch that only we will use.

    Oh, I have to talk to Oracle? Really? Oh, right. They’re the only ones who can write non-GPL patches. Everyone else has forked the GPL version, and therefore are bound by the GPL.

    But I already talked to Oracle and they just tried to sell me a license for Oracle’s database instead.

    What do I do?

    1. For €50m I’ll write your custom patch. You don’t have to release it in any form, and neither will I unless you want me to. That way, the GPL doesn’t affect it.

      Of course if you didn’t have that budget, you’d face the choice of doing it yourself or getting friendly with open source developers, who might be persuaded to hack it but would probably not let you keep it to yourself.

  2. Actually, Oracle owns already several open source database products :

    1) INNODB which is the most common datastore for MySQL in the enterprise world. It’s open source.

    2) BerkeleyDB which is an embedded database, and is also open source.

    Having MySQL is going to bring them the means to properly compete with Microsoft’s SQL server… and they will do that with an open source database… with 0 acquisition cost : MySQL. They will make sure that MySQL is the best possible database so that it competes head-on with SQL server.

    About the custom patch… If the company writes it just for you… and gives you the source code… and you decide NEVER to give it out to somebody… where’s the problem? Yes… it will be GPL… but unless somebody else than your company gets a copy of the binary and then requests the source… what is wrong with that? The fact that a contractor is writing a GPLed piece of code for you doesn’t FORCE you to publish the code. It only forces THEM to give YOU the source if YOU request it. It only gets messy if YOU decide to redistribute the patch, and, as such, the GPL forces you to (if required) make the sources available.

  3. Kurt,
    I think what you should do is learn about the GPL. Why can’t the web site hire someone to write that code? There are interesting issues to discuss. Why the FUD?

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