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Widenius Warns Against MySQL Falling Into Oracle's Hands 278

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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  • Jeez what a whiner (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:32PM (#30423176)
    Perhaps Monty SHOULDN'T HAVE SOLD the damn thing in the first place if he's so worried about these things happening, no? Besides, there is NOTHING in the world preventing him from forking it, naming it something else and continuing development. NOTHING.
  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:39PM (#30423212) Journal

    so a guy who sold out is now worried about what he sold?

    It's worse than that - Monty is a greedy self-centered pig. He sold it, then waited long enough so that he couldn't be sued (non-compete), then starts whining about how nobody else can be trusted with it.

    If Oracle *doesn't* get it, I'm switching everything to a combination of PostgreSQL and NoSQL. I trust Oracle more than Monty any day. Oracle at least has a business case to not screw around - unlike Monty, who has already demonstrated his crappy ethics.

  • by poet ( 8021 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:40PM (#30423222) Homepage

    People in the Open Source community have been warning against this for years with MySQL. It is one of the key tenets in the PostgreSQL vs MySQL playbook. Use PostgreSQL because no single company controls the source. It can't be bought. MySQL dug its own destiny by tying its hand into the GPL AND (note the AND) being owned by a single entity.

  • by mrmeval ( 662166 ) <> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:45PM (#30423244) Journal

    That is possible if I read this right. []
    It would leave any closed source licensed versions dependent on Oracle or force them to carefully separate out their code from mysql so they can use the forked version.

    I would use Postgresql [] since it's standards compliant, feature full and is fast if properly configured.

  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:46PM (#30423258) Homepage
    No one should take his opinion seriously because if he really cared then it wouldn't have sold it. Just fork the thing and forget Oracle.

    Maybe he's hoping it would stay open source so he could pinch Oracle's improved code an basically have his mysql money and access to the myql code as it improves so he can plug it into his branch.
  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:53PM (#30423310)

    I'm switching everything to a combination of PostgreSQL and NoSQL.

    Not willing to start a religious war here, but I always liked Postgres better than MySQL, for its features alone.

    However, I don't like Oracle getting hold of MySQL. I have enough trouble with managers who blindly follow the Oracle gospel. Better not to have the same managers saying "OK, if you want a lightweight open source database then why don't you use MySQL?"

  • Re:Oracle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by butlerm ( 3112 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:04PM (#30423376)

    I agree that Oracle's dominance and proprietary nature places it in a unique position to dictate terms to its customers. The problem is that Oracle is at least twenty years ahead of all of their competitors in database technology. Oracle 7, ca 1991, has a better overall implementation than the latest and greatest from IBM, Microsoft, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and so on. I mean MySQL is barely out of the 'toy' stage (special purpose applications excluded). In the intervening two decades Oracle has widened the gap. That means for a certain classes of OLTP applications, people tend to think you are suicidal if you recommend anything else.

    The only way to minimize this problem is to bring (open source) databases closer to parity, even with where Oracle was twenty years ago. PostgreSQL is the only one that comes close in the open source world. MySQL started out with so many bizarre design decisions and gratuitous incompatibilities, that I wonder if it will *ever* come close, at least not without losing backward compatibility in a big way.

  • Re:Oracle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:12PM (#30423426) Journal

    Agreed. As a big ferinstance, MySQL just barely got two-way replication w/ 5.1, and even then you had to do some seriously weird hoodoo on it to make that happen (hint: it's not a listed feature)... this is a basic function of any full-on enterprise-level DB.

    Now Postgres comes fairly close, but everyone else can't even touch it.

    If Postgres ever got something resembling the ease and power of RAC, then Oracle would have something to worry about. Until then, they're in a position to dictate whatever terms they want to. (I would've put MS SQL Server as a contender, but clustering that into something resembling RAC is a friggin' nightmare to build and maintain, and I doubt that too many MCDBAs have quite wrapped their heads around using SQL Server on a Core (read: non-UI) install of Windows Server just yet.)

  • Would not be a loss (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:38PM (#30423582) Homepage Journal

    MySQL is the Visual Basic of databases - clumsy and of poor quality, used most strongly by people who don't know any better. I would be delighted to see MySQL fail as a project and have its mindshare go to projects that are superior, like PostgreSQL. There are only two things I can think of that the world would miss - MySQLe (the embedded version, which competes with BDB-esque type uses - it's a really cool idea) and the solid Windows support (PostgreSQL added this about a year ago - I'm not sure how solid it is yet).

    MySQL's wins tend to be based on good marketing for a bad product.

  • by whrde ( 1120405 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:49PM (#30423652) Homepage
    It's possible that open source licences can be revoked by the copyright/IP holder. Under anglo common law, a bare licence can be revoked, but a contractual licence can't be --- It all depends on whether you consider there to be a contract, supported by consideration (ie someone of value is exchanged for the licence). I personally believe there is consideration and so no one can revoke open source licences. But unlike the US courts, Australian courts don't seem to agree. (I wrote a dissertation on this problem: feel free to read it [])
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @02:04PM (#30423756)

    Firebird kicks the crap out of PostgreSQL. Firebird is like a combination of the performance of MySQL with the featureset of PostgreSQL.

  • by diegocg ( 1680514 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @02:05PM (#30423766)

    Why? After opensourcing solaris and java, Sun had a great record of being opensource friendly, and they had a LOT of incentives to improve MySQL and compete with Oracle. Sun also was a Big Company that could invest in MySQL more money than MySQL alone could even dream.

    Oracle is a different story. They make a lot of their money from a bussines based in software licenses of their closed-source database. Opensource competence kills their bussiness model. They clearly don't have many incentives to make MySQL compete with Oracle - unless bankrupcy is a bussiness model. And MySQL CAN compete with Oracle long-term - look what a JokeOS Linux was some years ago, and how today it has eaten most of the Unix bussiness.

    So why Monty is an hypocrite? It's Sun who has sold out, not Monty. The decisions where Monty was involved were to make mysql BETTER. How could he expect that Sun was going to die? Is he an hypocrite just because he wants to avoid the fall of mysql?

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @02:11PM (#30423816)

    A fork of MySQL could provide all the necessary competition, to say nothing of PostgreSQL.

    It's not quite as bad as it was 5 years ago, but there are still a hell of a lot of F/OSS applications which only support MySQL and users who have neither the need nor the desire to tweak them to support PostgreSQL.

    (Though FWIW, I stopped taking MySQL seriously when I figured out the product was designed with a downright cavalier attitude to data integrity)

  • by SwashbucklingCowboy ( 727629 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @02:29PM (#30423926)

    Just to make his life easier?

    Welcome to the world of commercial open source...

  • Re:Oracle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by butlerm ( 3112 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @02:30PM (#30423934)

    I didn't say "features" (although there are those) but rather "better overall implementation".

    For example, with Oracle you can add columns, drop columns, and modify columns while there are ongoing transactions against the table. Try that with DB2 sometime.

    MySQL is worse:

    In most cases, ALTER TABLE works by making a temporary copy of the original table. The alteration is performed on the copy, and then the original table is deleted and the new one is renamed

    That is a trivial example. Generally speaking, however, Oracle gets significant new features with a high quality implementation about a decade before anyone else does. For example, during the 1990s the lack of MVCC and row level locking were serious problems with virtually every database except Oracle. Without them, you can't reliably run large or long running transactions without risking locking every other user out of the database, even if the transactions don't have any row level overlap.

  • by davecb ( 6526 ) * <> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @04:58PM (#30425000) Homepage Journal

    Factually, Oracle bought InnoDB and improved it's performance, while Sun bought MySQL proper and improved it's performance. Not a rational use of their money if the aim was to kill the product. In fact, something of the opposite to what one would want to do to kill it.

    According to Groklaw, the objectors to the deal were Microsoft, who competes with MySQL, SAP, who competes with Oracle, and Monty, who has some kind of relationship with Microsoft, albeit not one involving an explicit employer/employee relationship.

    I smell a rat, arguably involving our favorite monopolist.


  • by Simetrical ( 1047518 ) <> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @07:30PM (#30426140) Homepage

    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.

    The same is true for any serious MySQL site. Just with MySQL, you have to go to the hassle of take out slave, apply change, let slave catch up, repeat for all other slaves, promote some slave to master, apply change to old master to get everything working. This works for changing columns' type/adding columns/removing columns/etc. because MySQL normally uses statement-based replication, not row-based. It can be fiddly, but it works fine. Wikipedia has no downtime for database changes, or any planned downtime at all, and it's a pure MySQL shop. Of course, being able to change tables without this whole procedure is probably quite convenient.

  • by Vexorian ( 959249 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @08:23PM (#30426446)
    What's worse is that he is attempting to make the EU commision require forcing oracle to change the license from the GPL [] I guess this will become typical of codeplex foundation members...

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost