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Databases Businesses Sun Microsystems

MySQL Cofounder Says Oracle Should Sell Database To a Neutral 3d Party 207

alphadogg writes "Oracle should resolve antitrust concerns over its acquisition of Sun Microsystems by selling open-source database MySQL to a suitable third party, its cofounder and creator Michael 'Monty' Widenius said in a blog post on Monday. Oracle's $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun is currently being held up by an investigation by the European Commission. The Commission's main concern seems to be MySQL, which was acquired by Sun in January 2008 for $1 billion. A takeover by the world's leading proprietary database company of the world's leading open source database company compels the regulator to closely examine the effects on the European market, according to remarks made by Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes last month. The key objective by Widenius is to find a home outside Oracle for MySQL, where the database can be developed and compete with existing products, including Oracle's, according to Florian Mueller, a former MySQL shareholder who is currently working with Monty Program AB on this matter." Richard Stallman agrees.
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MySQL Cofounder Says Oracle Should Sell Database To a Neutral 3d Party

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  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:44PM (#29810207)

    The letter by RMS addresses that question. That being that the commercially licensed version of MySQL funded suns continued development of the GPL'ed MySQL, and oracle would have a conflict of interest in continuing to develop and license a low cost alternative to its high priced core product.

  • Re:Bring on the hate (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@anthon ... m ['in.' in gap]> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:52PM (#29810365) Homepage

    Unlike Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, Apple doesn't own an existing database product.

    Ummm.... Filemaker?

    Granted it's a horrible POS that makes Access look clean and well-developed, but as someone who has to suffer with using it on a daily basis, it IS a database product.

  • by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:59PM (#29810481) Homepage

    Here's what RMS said in the letter:

    MySQL uses the parallel licensing approach to generate revenue to continue the FLOSS development of the software. If Oracle acquired MySQL, it would then be the only entity able to release the code other than under the GPL. Oracle would not be obligated to diligently sell or reasonably price the MySQL commercial licenses. More importantly, Oracle is under no obligation to use the revenues from these licenses to advance MySQL. In making decisions in these matters, Oracle is facing an obvious conflict of interest - the continued development of a powerful, feature rich free alternative to its core product.

    As only the original rights holder can sell commercial licenses, no new forked version of the code will have the ability to practice the parallel licensing approach, and will not easily generate the resources to support continued development of the MySQL platform.

    The acquisition of MySQL by Oracle will be a major setback to the development of a FLOSS database platform, potentially alienating and dispersing MySQL's core community of developers. It could take several years before another database platform could rival the progress and opportunities now available to MySQL, because it will take time before any of them attract and cultivate a large enough team of developers and achieve a similar customer base.

    So basically, RMS is concerned that Oracle really would fork MySQL, and end the dual-licensing for any future versions they release. This effectively would make the Oracle fork of MySQL into proprietary or "closed source" software.

    And Oracle would likely keep the "MySQL" name, because Oracle really wants that brand recognition in the low-end database market, competing with MS-SQL. So I'd guess a forked F/OSS version of MySQL would need to call themselves something else, losing the name.

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by viralMeme ( 1461143 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:11PM (#29810685)
    "Someone paid $1 BILLION for a software company that made maybe a few million in revenue a year, and who already distribute most of the source code for their main product? Why?"

    To slowly dilute its market share and ultimately mop up MySQLs customer base ..
  • Re:Held up? (Score:3, Informative)

    by kthejoker ( 931838 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:37PM (#29811125)

    The transaction itself doesn't have to be held up, but if the EU rules it violates anti-trust, they won't be allowed to do business in the EU. Kind of a mood-killer, if you will.

  • Re:Bring on the hate (Score:2, Informative)

    by apokruphos ( 911590 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:49PM (#29811341)

    Unlike Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, Apple doesn't own an existing useful database product.

    Fixed for pedantry. As another person who has to deal with it on a daily basis, the thought of willfully using Filemaker in a development project is sure sign of technical incompetence.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.