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Oracle Lines Up Unbreakable MySQL 132

Posted by Hemos
from the the-swirling-of-large-and-small dept.
munchola writes "MySQL CEO, Marten Mickos, has revealed to CBRonline that Oracle has threatened to provide support for MySQL and is already distributing the open source database. "They have hinted to us that they will," said Mickos, indicating that the database giant is planning to repeat its October 2006 Unbreakable Linux plan, which saw it undercut Red Hat with enterprise Linux support. Despite the competitive threat, Mickos is unmoved. "I hope they do that," he said, noting that it would be seen as an endorsement of the open source database.""
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Oracle Lines Up Unbreakable MySQL

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  • Mikos is right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@MOSCOWgmail.com minus city> on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:12PM (#17801454) Journal
    I find it hard to believe that a company with the amount of overhead that Oracle has will be able to provide mySQL support for the same rates that mySQL can; the primary benefit for Oracle is that they'll be able to offer bundled support with people who already have Oracle support and want the convenience of dealing with one company for all their support needs.

    Definitely a win-win situation for mySQL, because they get press and legitimacy without losing too much business. The "unbreakable linux" deal probably hurt RedHat a hell of a lot more than this will hurt mySQL.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:31PM (#17801802)
      Same reasons. The more publicity, the better. If Oracle believes in it enough to offer support, everyone else can feel a little bit easier about using it.
      • by Zonk (troll) (1026140) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:03PM (#17802324)
        I doubt they'd support PostgreSQL. MySQL is basically a non-competitor. While PostgreSQL still isn't, it's much closer. Postgres is fully ACID compliant, is very strict about it's data, has mature support for just about everything (still lacks in clustering and replication, though...), is very fast, scales well, etc.

        When you hit the limitations with MySQL, need a feature it doesn't support, etc, Oracle can point you to a sales rep. There are far less limitations with PostgreSQL. It wouldn't make as much business sense to encourage it's use.
        • by Electrum (94638) <david@acz.org> on Monday January 29, 2007 @05:18PM (#17805712) Homepage
          Postgres is fully ACID compliant

          As is MySQL [mysql.com].

          has mature support for just about everything

          It lacks anlaytic functions [oracle.com].
      • by ortholattice (175065) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:23PM (#17802624)

        Same reasons. The more publicity, the better. If Oracle believes in it enough to offer support, everyone else can feel a little bit easier about using it.

        I doubt it. Unlike MySQL, PostgreSQL is much more of a direct competitor to Oracle. In fact, I've converted PG databases to Oracle with ease. (Why did I do this? The client wanted Oracle, so I ported our PG product to it.) The translation of some rather intensive PL/pgSQL to PL/SQL was almost trivial, with a translator script I wrote in a day. The resemblance is so close that if I didn't know better (and maybe I don't), I would almost say PG "borrowed" some of its syntax from Oracle. Going back would be a little harder if some of the more obscure Oracle PL/SQL features were used, but probably not rocket science for most applications. There are other interesting resemblances - you can see very meticulous, almost obsessive Oracle emulation in the behavior of date/time stuff (search the PG source code for "Oracle" - beautifully commented stuff is in there).

        With MySQL on the other hand, even without getting into an ACID problems discussion (some of which have been improved in recent releases), has a very poor feature overlap with Oracle, not a minor one being not having anything like PL/SQL.

        I guess the thing that bothers me personally about this is that it is publicity for MySQL, subconsciously encouraging more people to adopt it over the (IMHO) much better PostgreSQL. I think that it will poison your mind to learn DB theory from MySQL. :) But that is just my personal view and I encourage alternate viewpoints.

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by EugeneK (50783)
          The translation of some rather intensive PL/pgSQL to PL/SQL was almost trivial, with a translator script I wrote in a day.

          any chance you'd release that script as Free Software?
          • any chance you'd release that script as Free Software?

            There were several quick-and-dirty, throwaway scripts that were tailored for this conversion project. Essentially, we first converted by hand a sample stored procedure that had most of the features used, and got it to work. The script processed the other stored procedures according to the things that had to be changed. Finally, the results were manually adjusted (mainly to fix things Oracle complained about).

            I just searched for these scripts and u

            • I have emailed a complete "before" and "after" stored procedure example to the grandparent that illustrates pretty much all cases involved in the translation. I am the owner of that code and declare that it is released to public domain, if the grandparent wishes to distribute it. While it is hard to back up this statement since I want to remain anonymous, all I can vouch for is my reputation on slashdot, which will have to be taken at face value.
        • by newt0311 (973957)
          PG does take a lot from oracle. Some of their features like large objects are spitting images of blobs in oracle and like you pointed out, similarities in the date/time stuff.
        • I think that it will poison your mind to learn DB theory from MySQL. :) But that is just my personal view and I encourage alternate viewpoints.

          I don't think starting with MySQL "will poison your mind". However, I think starting with Access, Excel, or FileMaker will.

          You apparently are a DBA, however a "many hats" developer, such as myself, often works on things much smaller and less complicated than what you do every day. I think a good developer should know how a relational database works, and under

      • by DrXym (126579)
        Same reasons.

        The same reasons being most likely that by "supporting" MySQL or PostgreSQL they are effectively suffocating the companies who continue to develop of those databases and probably poaching a few sales too. Eventually those other companies might go down the tubes or at least suffer financially and Oracle can turn around and claim "see you can't trust open source, buy Oracle".

        I wonder why MS doesn't try the same thing - push out Microsoft Linux, complete with a free Vista / Windows runtime i

    • Confused. (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Given that MySQL and Oracle are on complete opposite ends of the scale with regard to their uses, what benefit does Oracle have in killing what is essentially a non-competitor?

      Knowledgeable IT people presumably already know when to use Oracle and when to use something smaller like MS-Access. IT morons who think that single-user databases with less than a thousand records need to be in Oracle have already drank the kool-aid and will never change to another product. Oracle's only threat would appear to be t
    • Re:Mikos is right. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jimbojw (1010949) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {r.mij.nosliw}> on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:39PM (#17801942) Homepage

      > the primary benefit for Oracle is that they'll be able to offer bundled support with people who already have Oracle support and want the convenience of dealing with one company for all their support needs

      This is not a trivial point.

      Brand recognition goes a long way when a company is shopping for support. Companies that already pay for Oracle support might be very willing to tack-on MySQL support from them, rather than to establish a new relationship with MySQL.

      Also, since Oracle will be distributing the MySQL database themselves, the unsuspecting middle-manager might think that "MySQL" is just another Oracle offering, or component of their architecture. It's the old "bundled with" implies "created by" heuristic.

    • by mpapet (761907)
      Oracle has one kind of customer, MySQL has another kind of customer.

      Just a guess, but I'll go out on a limb and state that any hopes MySQL had in wooing really pricey billable hour customers is evaporating. Even if I'm wrong, the mood at MySQL has probably been a little less happy when they figured out Oracle was going after the top of the consulting/support dollars.

      There's still *so* much they have to offer for businesses willing to pay. They just need to keep at it and understand that Oracle won't be th
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      considering that mysql is a cheap sonofabitch database without primary keys, and would not even remotely threaten OracleSQL for banks and their customers altogether, i can only supose that this move is done to field out postgress which may pose a serious security threat in the next decade.

      • There are things that we don't support, sure, but claiming that we don't support primary keys is ridiculous.

        I suggest that the parent is ignorant and/or trolling.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by head_dunce (828262)
      It worked for Red Hat, now they have big money invested in their systems
      http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/070129/20070129005032.html ?.v=1 [yahoo.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:19PM (#17801564)
    Sounds great! Maybe GM will "threaten" to buy fuel for my car, or Amazon will "threaten" to return my library books for me so I don't have to.
  • by Sweetshark (696449) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:26PM (#17801712)
    Customer: XYZ doesnt work. Help me!
    Oracle: MySQLs XYZ is crap - you better buy a real DBMS. As a support customer we can offer you Oracle 10g Enterprise at a reasonable prize!
    • If you don't know why you need Oracle, you don't need Oracle.

      Oracle makes it's money primarily by selling support and service, not by selling licenses, so while they may try to sell you a license, they're not going to go out of their way to snag an itty-bitty fish that's not going to be able to afford support.

      And frankly, if you're big enough to afford support, you probably DO need Oracle...mySQL is a good tool, but I'd be really hesitant about setting up a big accounting system on mySQL.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Nasarius (593729)

        And frankly, if you're big enough to afford support, you probably DO need Oracle...mySQL is a good tool, but I'd be really hesitant about setting up a big accounting system on mySQL.
        That's what PostgreSQL is for.
    • by stefanlasiewski (63134) <slashdot&stefanco,com> on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:44PM (#17802930) Homepage Journal
      On the other hand, Oracle 10g is overkill for many shops. MySQL is a great solution for many small databases, and Oracle Support now offers some more legitimacy to the product.

      I've seen a number of shops with a situation like this:

      Customer: "We're a small shop. We need an RDMBS. We can't afford a DBA. The sales rep said the Oracle Installer is easy to use, and I can install Oracle on my own.

      But to install the Oracle *client* , I need to download 3 ISOs, install Xwindows on the server, tunnel Xwindows over SSH. While installing the Oracle Server, the installer crashed out halfway through due to some Java bug. When I tried the installer a second time, the installer refuses to proceed and says that this database already exists.

      I called your support line urgently for help, and was transferred not once, not twice but SIX times before they threw my case over over to some department called 'Customer Care' because of a problem with my 'entitlement'. This is my first time calling Oracle Support, so forgive me if I don't understand your byzantine phone support.

      I opened this case last Thursday. Today is Tuesday, and I only just heard back from the entitlement department--- I called Saturday, but was told I had to call back Monday (I thought I said this was urgent)--- they finally got back to me with the proper license.

      Now that I have the license, can someone please help me with the problem I ran into 5 days ago?

      While I was waiting for this problem, my friend came over, installed MySQL in 5 minutes, and created a basic data model in 30 minutes. I can do basic data changes with phpMyAdmin. THIS is what I need. Please tell me why I need to spend $10K on some Oracle 10g Support Licenses?"
      • by Stone316 (629009)
        I would love to know if you could install mysql by yourself and not hit any issues? Maybe the problem here isn't the software..?

        I know plenty of people who have installed Oracle by themselves, with 10g its pretty simple. I've installed Oracle on many systems and i've never had to do what you've described.

        Sounds like you need to spend money on support because your going to need it sooner or later... You may want to be a bit proactive and go buy some support from mysql right now.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fabs64 (657132)
          I once did a "developer usability study" for some uni class, was told to basically get on the net, and set up the computer to be a development environment for developing a small dynamic webpage with a db backend.
          Having never done web dev before I went with the biggest target, MySQL backend with apache/php front, literally took me 5 minutes to download and install MySQL with its nice developer tools, and maybe another 10 minutes to have a reasonable understanding of how those tools work.

          Now, I've never in
      • by ednopantz (467288)
        installed MySQL in 5 minutes, and created a basic data model in 30 minutes ...and six months later we realized that none of our data integrity checks had actually been enforced.
      • by Electrum (94638)
        But to install the Oracle *client* , I need to download 3 ISOs, install Xwindows on the server, tunnel Xwindows over SSH.

        Installing the Instant Client [oracle.com] involves merely unzipping a file.
        • Rock on! I think Oracle is getting the picture with Oracle 10g. I'll have to check out the client.

          Oracle also has a simpler version of the database called Oracle 10g Express Edition [oracle.com], which should work for many people. I read that installation is almost as simple as 'apt-get install oracle-xe' for Debian users.
  • by dk.r*nger (460754) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:28PM (#17801744)

    ..and is already distributing the open source database
    Oracle distributing MySQL? Now, there's a sound business decision if I ever saw one. 80%(*) of Oracle's customers are there for buzzwords compliance - now they can get the database they actually need, and Oracle stays synonymous with databases in the enterprise.

    The rest of us can push MySQL saying "this is what Oracle recommends, just free".

    (*) I just pulled that number from clear air.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:32PM (#17801810) Homepage Journal

      (*) I just pulled that number from clear air.
      As a highly-trained professional business analyst at the top of my field, I'll thank you to stop muscling in on my freaking scam.
      • by mfh (56)
        As a highly-trained professional business analyst at the top of my field, I'll thank you to stop muscling in on my freaking scam.
        Would you like him to stop borrowing from your material? As I understand, you get your data from darker places, while his is allegedly from clean air! :)
    • by martenmickos (467191) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:35PM (#17802798)

      Thanks everyone for the interesting comments. It's a good discussion and I think there have been some good points made. I see Oracle and MySQL serving two distinct markets, so in most cases we are not competitors.

      One point of clarification: I never said that Oracle has threatened MySQL. (I think this may have been the writer's editorial comment.) Instead, I view it as a positive thing that Oracle distributes MySQL. I have often suggested that Oracle should distribute MySQL and I've made the same suggestion to Microsoft. Perhaps Oracle, Microsoft or IBM will provide support for MySQL and that could be good for open source in general. (And note that Red Hat, HP and others already do so.)

      If people want to buy support for MySQL from Oracle, that's great. And of course, if they want to buy it from us, we are fine with that also.

      -Marten Mickos, MySQL AB
      • Ah, I don't think Oracle wants to provide MySQL support for any of the following reasons:
        - because there is a lot of money to be made
        - because they think it is a better product than oracle
        - because they want to "endorse" mysql

        No, why would Larry Ellison want to provide support for mysql?

        Really, just one reason: to further injure MySQL AB.

        Look, he already bought InnoDB and Sleepycat out from under MySQL which robs them of important persistence layers (oh sure, bu
      • " I've made the same suggestion to Microsoft. Perhaps Oracle, Microsoft or IBM will provide support for MySQL and that could be good for open source in general."

        But very bad for Professional Database development though
  • Not support! (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheSpoom (715771) *
    Oh man, how low can you go? Providing support? How DARE they!

    Really though, I think people will see it as an endorsement (and more so, people might think that Oracle is losing faith in its flagship product). It's one thing to provide support for Linux, but MySQL is directly competing with Oracle (to a degree). I really don't know what message they're trying to send here, but if it's that people should buy Oracle, I really don't see how this will help.

    Anyway, competition is good. If Oracle thinks it can
  • interesting (Score:1, Interesting)

    by larry bagina (561269)

    postgresql is a more oracle-like (eg, plpgsql) and BSD licensed. Of course, postgres could cannibalize oracle sales; mysql is like sqlite, but with less features.

  • Oracle (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scareduck (177470) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:39PM (#17801940) Homepage Journal
    Actually buying their products was an out-and-out nightmare, as the rules changed every six months. You never got a consistent sales rep dedicated to your account, and they were always bringing in someone new who couldn't explain what was going on especially well. You had to keep buying new releases, because support for old versions died out, quicker and quicker over time.

    As for Oracle support, it was the main thing we looked forward to at first (this was the mid-90's); but it, too, got worse over time. I would not trust Oracle to properly support MySQL, especially since they have no motivation to push it, and they are not the developers (and in fact are in competition with them).

    • Re:Oracle (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rorschach1 (174480) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:47PM (#17802962) Homepage
      You're obviously using the wrong channels. I've never had any trouble obtaining Oracle licenses. The streamlined acquisition process goes like this:

      1. Government agency your company works for pays $90 million for Oracle licenses
      2. Larry Ellison gives your congressman a nice campaign contribution
      3. Government agency happily hands over license certificates by the wheelbarrow load to show that they were needed in the first place

      Never once had to deal with a sales rep.
      • by Scareduck (177470)
        Too bad "only" buying $25,000 worth of licenses every six months doesn't get you good service.
    • by CompMD (522020)
      Except Oracle doesn't have a product competing with MySQL. There are a few earlier comments detailing this. For a real world comparison, consider this: I use UGS Teamcenter Engineering with an Oracle 9i backend, and run pretty little websites with MySQL backends. Teamcenter has enormous amounts of data going through it all the time, but Oracle (although sometimes slowly) handles everything without fail. On the other hand, MySQL will periodically crash if I get too much web traffic...I'm not saying MySQL
      • by rjstanford (69735)
        How about 10g Express [oracle.com]? Runs on Linux and Windows, and as long as you're not setting up a cluster or anything it probably gives you everything you need. I think the price is right, too, at $free, although it only handles up to 4GB of data. Of course, for the vast majority of small sites, that's plenty.
  • sucks donkey nuts. The only reason we have it is because they won't let us have the source code. Not a problem with MySQL! ;-)
  • Upgrade Pathing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phrogman (80473) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:02PM (#17802286) Homepage
    I am sure this is just an effort on Oracle's part to capture as much of the low end database market as they can, then offer a seemless, supported upgrade to Oracle's DBMS for those who reach the limits of mysql or who start needing requirements that mysql can't support. This lets them continue to bombard customers with reasons to upgrade, while still getting support contract money from them. If the mysql community benefits from this, I am sure its just an accidental byproduct of a marketing and sales effort and nothing more.
  • I just think that all of these big name companies are tired of getting asked about their thoughts on the open source community, so they are all teaming up, partnering with, or simply trying to support open source technologies... Microsoft and Novell, and now Oracle with RedHat and MySQL... I think its just to say "we can play nice with the other guys..."

    Whether or not it is good or bad for the community, only time will really tell us that.
  • . . . when they can't even support their own products?

    Signed,

    Another Oracle "Fusion Middleware" (or whatever they're calling that abortion of an application server this week) User.

  • by mangu (126918) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:22PM (#17802604)
    While many people are commenting that Oracle's motivation is to gather sales for their own DB, I can see another motivation here. Oracle maintenance can be a nightmare for unexperienced DBAs. If they can move their lesser customers to MySQL that could mean less support costs for Oracle, while keeping the paying customer.


    I doubt very much that most DBAs that have a support contract with Oracle and move to MySQL will say "OK, now we don't need that contract anymore". They will keep it as insurance for who knows if MySQL will work as expected? They feel they may need to move back to Oracle in the future. After all, if they had felt at ease with MySQL to begin with, they wouldn't need Oracle to tell them how good it is.

  • From the company that censors [argeniss.com] people pointing out how shoddy their in-house software is?
  • Yeah, so they'll offer the same mess of convoluted support that they do for their Oracle database. Big Deal.

    I can provide Oracle support on a two-headed coin: Side A - you must have a typo somewhere; Side B - you'll need to find a work-around.

    And, of course there'll be another user forum of everyone asking for the same help that you are (with very few useful answers).

  • . . . to the Nine Circles of Oracle Support Hell.

  • by C_Kode (102755) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:44PM (#17802928) Journal
    C_Kode Software is releasing a new version of the MySQL Database. Very Unbreakable MySQL (V.U.M.) MySQL. This will be based of anything that we like and will prove to be better because I said it was. It will be very fast. We like to call it Vroom VUM! Does your app VUM? If not, shell out $50 a year to me and I will allow you to tell anyone your app VUMs.
  • The thread here seems to question (a) the value of Oracle and (b) why this would be good for Oracle's customers. Here are my 0.0002 cents:

    My current client is a large insurance company. (More than $7 billion dollars of policies a year underwritten by a staff of more than 1,200 people.)

    We have lots of Oracle, SQL/Server, and MS/Access applications all over the place. The Oracle data is generally available to everyone. We have more than 50 analysts who use a combination of Hyperion (formerly Brio) and SAS
  • It never occurred to me, but what an inspired, evil way of killing off open source competitors like MySQL. By offering enterprise-level support for MySQL, it will kill the revenue streams that MySQL would normally get, and over time would starve them of money needed to grow. For a small company like MySQL to flourish, they need to increase the amount of money they get from support and services and the enterprise market is usually their best bet. If Oracle blocks them from this, it really throttles MySQL'
    • I wonder if Microsoft could potentially do the same thing. If they offered to give support/services for a brand of Linux, like Debian for example, and give low cost/high quality support for it and just swallow the loss like they swallow the loss for X-box, could this be used to kill Red Hat off in a few years?
      s/Debian/Novell/
  • From 2005:

    http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=165697&cid =13823400 [slashdot.org]

    "Linux has commodotised the OS. MySQL and perhaps PostGRES are commodotising the Database.

    All the money is upstream. Larry's customers are asking him why should they use Oracle, when MySQL et al does what they want. Larry want to sell them his other mojo, and that is where the money is. Why support the database when a bunch of other people will do it for you."

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