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Widenius Warns Against MySQL Falling Into Oracle's Hands 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-must-not-activate-the-superweapon dept.
jamie sends in a blog post from MySQL co-founder Monty Widenius calling for help to "save MySQL from Oracle's clutches." While the US DoJ approved Oracle's purchase of Sun back in August, the European Commission has been less forthcoming. Widenius points out that Oracle has been using their customers to put pressure on the EC, and he questions Oracle's commitment to MySQL, saying their vague promises aren't good enough. He writes: "Oracle has NOT promised (as far as I know and certainly not in a legally binding manner): To keep (all of) MySQL under an open source license; Not to add closed source parts, modules or required tools; To not raise MySQL license or MySQL support prices; To release new MySQL versions in a regular and timely manner; To continue with dual licensing and always provide affordable commercial licenses to MySQL to those who needs them (to storage vendors and application vendors) or provide MySQL under a more permissive license; To develop MySQL as an Open Source project; To actively work with the community; Apply submitted patches in a timely manner; To not discriminate patches that make MySQL compete more with Oracle's other products; To ensure that MySQL is improved also in manners that make it compete even more with Oracle's main offering."
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Widenius Warns Against MySQL Falling Into Oracle's Hands

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  • by Toze (1668155) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:50PM (#30423292)
    Fork it and then name it MariaDB [askmonty.org], specifically. Sun buys MySQL. Monty complains about Sun's treatment of MySQL. Monty leaves MySQL. Monty forks MySQL. Monty complains about Oracle. This isn't exactly a surprising development.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:23PM (#30423482)

    Wrong. It's all the the same code. (Not counting readline in one vs libedit in the other.)

    We (yes, I work for MySQL/Sun) do NOT maintain separate GPL and commercial codebases.

  • by butlerm (3112) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:29PM (#30423514)

    On the contrary, it is not a problem at all. MySQL can be forked and the people dependent on it can use the forked version indefinitely. The commercial users who want to stick with the evolution of "MyOracle" can pay for the privilege. Everyone is happy. The EC has no need to worry. A fork of MySQL could provide all the necessary competition, to say nothing of PostgreSQL.

  • Background Info (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:36PM (#30423558)

    I encourage anyone who mistakes Monty for a friend of Open Source to do a little reading...

    The case against the case against Oracle-MySQL [the451group.com]

    MySQL and a tale of two biases [cnet.com]

    Monty Program AB's Suggestion to EU Commission to Get Rid of the GPL on MySQL [groklaw.net]

    How Many Times Can Monty Sell MySQL? [blogspot.com]

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:43PM (#30423614) Journal

    SQL is pronounced .in many old timer circles as "squeal"

    Old-timers never pronounced it "squeal" or "sequel" - that's a give-away that you're either a newbie or you come from a Microsoft background. Real old-timers pronounce it "ess queue ell".

    Just saying ...

  • by jocknerd (29758) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:51PM (#30423664)

    As long as there was a company behind it, there was always potential that it could be bought. Switch to PostgreSQL. Nobody owns it.

  • Re:Oracle (Score:5, Informative)

    by butlerm (3112) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @03:29PM (#30424312)

    I don't work for Oracle, and I would like to see other databases to get into the same league inf every material respect. Take Oracle RAC (formerly Oracle Parallel Server) for example, Oracle's shared everything database clustering technology. There are no open source equivalents. MS SQL, PostgreSQL, and MySQL don't have anything like it. Apparently IBM DB2 does, but only in the mainframe editions.

    There are often things that can be done to work around these limitations (replication works in some cases, for example), it is just a question of cost effectiveness. There is no reason to buy Oracle just because it is "Oracle". Only if it does what you need better than the alternatives. For many businesses that is the case. Oracle doesn't dominate the business because of FUD. It dominates due to true technical superiority. A business would be positively stupid to pay a large premium for a database that doesn't have any real superiority to much less expensive (if not free) alternatives. That is one of the reasons why it would be great if the alternatives caught up. Transparent clustering for PostgreSQL would be outstanding.

    I *can* use PostgreSQL to do everything I could with Oracle 7 back in the early 90s. That is saying something (MySQL doesn't come close). A lot of people don't need much of what Oracle has added since then. If that is the case, there is a great case to be made for using something else. It is certainly a lot less expensive.

  • by dclozier (1002772) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @03:52PM (#30424486)

    I wish the parent could be modded higher - Widenius is a hypocrite and does not give a rat's ass about MySQL. He simply wants it under a closed source friendly license so he can build another business around everyone else's hard work that is in MySQL. Widenius has complained that the GPL prevents other companies from competing. This simply isn't true. PJ at Groklaw sheds the light on this rather well.

  • by butlerm (3112) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @05:10PM (#30425096)

    Online upgrades. Suppose you have a service that needs to be available on a 24 x 7 basis. Is there any reason to shut everything down just because the upgrade script needs to add a new column, drop an old one, or increase the precision or maximum length of an existing one?

    We do software as a service, for example, and generally speaking, we don't take our site down *ever*, certainly not for application software updates. Logged in users stay logged in and continue their work without noticing.

  • Mod -1 wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by metamatic (202216) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @05:17PM (#30425152) Homepage Journal

    First came QUEL [wikipedia.org]. The followup developed at IBM was jokingly called SEQUEL. It was changed to SEQL and then SQL for trademark reasons. See Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

    So it was originally called "sequel". Pronouncing it as S-Q-L came later.

  • by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witness AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:47PM (#30427742) Homepage Journal

    That's one of the reasons we have open source licenses. So we can fork if we have to.

    He did already - it's called MariaDB. He just doesn't like the fact that his fork has to be GPL only - he can't integrate any commercial code like he did when he owned MySQL AB. I don't think I can put it any better here than I did at Groklaw (see this comment [groklaw.net]. Basically:

    • Monty made MySQL; licensed it under a dual license (GPL + MySQL Commercial License)
    • dual license structure worked well for MySQL AB - prevented commercial competitors, fostered community around GPL version
    • Monty sold MySQL AB to Sun for $1B without changing the license. No compliants; he worked for Sun.
    • Sun seems to be under the gun and going to get sold off - Monty quits, tries to fork MySQL as MariaDB. Wants to build a new "MySQL AB" under another name; but the dual license prevents it.
    • See opportunity to force Sun to change the license so he can keep his money from the sale, while still getting all the code, possibly also the commercial code, and redo MySQL AB
    • Monty's looking to do a "rinse-repeat".

    Monty just doesn't like the hand that he dealt himself - one he had every opportunity to change while he owned MySQL AB, probably even would have been able to influence while he was a Sun Employee too; but never complained (that we know of while he was at Sun) and never did (when he had the chance himself - he could of done it as part of the sale to Sun).

    Yeah - he could just setup a services-oriented company around MySQL; but he doesn't want that - he wants his MySQL back, as well as the money he took from Sun. It's all about his wallet; nothing else.

  • by Get Behind the Mule (61986) on Monday December 14, 2009 @08:55AM (#30429938)

    Oracle has announced a statement today making commitments concerning MySQL that may (or may not) address some of these concerns -- of both Widenius and the EU.

    http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Oracle-Corporation-NASDAQ-ORCL-1090000.html [marketwire.com]

    These include:

    * Continued Availability of Storage Engine APIs
    * Commitment to enhance MySQL in the future under the GPL
    * Support not mandatory
    * Increase spending on MySQL research and development
    * Continuing to maintain the MySQL Reference Manual
    * Preserve Customer Choice for Support

    And some other things about preserving the conditions of licenses currently held by storage vendors.

    Healthy skepticism is of course always a good idea. On first reading, I can't tell how binding these commitments are (the statement says "Oracle hereby publicly commits to the following", and that's about it), and it doesn't exactly make Widenius' commitment to the timeliness of new releases and patches, except for the commitment to increase spending, which Oracle presumably would like to have result in new revenue.

    But Oracle is evidently trying to address the EU's concerns in an effort to get the deal approved, and the EU might get them to make these commitments binding. The EU's initial reaction appears to be positive:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a4SRxTHKHzTA&pos=7 [bloomberg.com]

    The European Commission said Oracle’s proposal addresses concerns about the acquisition of Sun’s MySQL database product, signaling the EU will approve the acquisition next month. European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement that she’s “optimistic that the case will have a satisfactory outcome.”

    “Neelie Kroes has switched on the green traffic light,” Charles van Sasse van Ysselt, a competition lawyer at NautaDutilh in Brussels, said in a telephone interview today. “She is optimistic and this is a step in the right direction.”

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