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Monty Wants To Save MySQL 371

An anonymous reader writes "It seems as if the MySQL author is trying hard to win back control over MySQL. In his blog he calls upon the MySQL users to 'Help keep the Internet free' by signing his petition. He fears that if Oracle buys Sun they automatically get MySQL which would spell doom for the project. But I have have mixed feelings with this call for help, because after all — who sold MySQL in the first place?"
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Monty Wants To Save MySQL

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  • well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buanzo ( 542591 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @11:58AM (#30641562) Homepage
    we still have pgsql, right? yeah, migration, but still free/libre, right? first post? nah...
  • How many times... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @11:58AM (#30641566)

    Will this show up every 2 weeks on /.

  • Own fault (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Monday January 04, 2010 @11:59AM (#30641574) Journal

    Maybe he shouldn't had sold it in the first time, so he wouldn't be crying it back now?

    It's like you broke up with your girlfriend and then go crying her back when she has found a new guy, while you're having no luck.

  • Me too! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @11:59AM (#30641586) Journal
    I, too, would love to sell something for a billion dollars and then have it given back.
  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:04PM (#30641664) Homepage
    He got paid a large amount of money for MySQL, and now he's not satisfied. MySQL is under GPL v. 2, so there isn't a problem. If Sun takes it in a bad direction, it can be forked.
  • Hypocrite (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:04PM (#30641672)

    Hypocrite Monty.
    Give back the billion dollars and we may talk.

  • Dear Monty... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:06PM (#30641706)
    If you had never sold MySQL to Sun in the first place, it wouldn't be in the position it is now in. I hope the money was worth it.

    Why are you so concerned now? Your chance to do something came and went, and so did you.

    Also, I rather think you overrate MySQL in that petition post, but thats just mho.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:08PM (#30641750)
    It's called PostgreSQL. It's fast, what's even more important, it's correct and it's tried and tested. Get it here [].
  • by SwashbucklingCowboy ( 727629 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:09PM (#30641758)

    He wants to build another business on MySQL and force Oracle into letting him do it.

    This is greed masquerading as virtue.

  • Re:Own fault (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:11PM (#30641790)

    Is it still edible if it has American cheese on it?

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <> on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:11PM (#30641796) Journal
    "In January, 2008, Sun legally acquired MySQL for $1 billion."
  • by praseodym ( 813457 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:15PM (#30641856) Homepage
    Since InnoDB (the only proper storage engine in the default MySQL distribution) is owned by Oracle already, why bother?
  • by JohnMurtari ( 829882 ) <> on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:16PM (#30641868) Homepage
    Folks, I read the petition before commenting. There are options on what to do, and one of them is to release it to an independent entity "MySQL must be divested to a suitable third party that can continue to develop it under the GPL." That certainly doesn't have to be him. It does provide a very effective low cost alternative and I can't see Oracle putting a lot of effort into a competing product.
  • by ReallyEvilCanine ( 991886 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:16PM (#30641874) Homepage
    This three-week-old story hasn't changed a bit and neither has Monty's disingenuous hypocrisy.

    If he'd wanted to retain control then why did he sell mySQL to Sun? Once that sale was completed he gave up his rights and claims. He certainly didn't have a problem with a corporation owning it in exchange for a cool billion earlier.

    What Sun said they wanted to do with it is immaterial; Monty's rights to do anything more than complain vocally were terminated by his own hand the instant he signed the contract, and were made irreversible when he deposited that check.

    The fact of the matter is that Oracle doesn't give more than about a shit-and-a-half about mySQL. Oracle cares about Enterprise installations and mySQL not only ain't there now, it never will be. Even Foxbase^W^H MS SQL Server spanks it 37 ways to next Tuesday in Enterprise and Data Warehousing environments.

    Meanwhile, if mySQL really is and has remained open source, then it's still open, so Monty should STFU and fork it already. If not, then he himself killed it and there's no one else to blame.

    Once you sell your 2CV to someone, you have no more say in what's done with the car, even if it turns out to have been bought by Top Gear and they want to blow it up. Once you take the money, you don't get to complain anymore. If it had meant that much to Monty then why did he sell?

    Cake: have vs. eat.

    The comment moderation on his blog is just icing on that cake -- only comments supporting poor, ickle widdle Monty's untenable position are allowed through.

    And for those who still refuse to change the "evil Oracle" record, The base Oracle DB charge [] is $350 (Std) / $950 (Ent) per user or $17,500 (Std) / $47,500 (Ent) per processor -- annually, not including required support and other charges -- Oracle doesn't give a shit about mySQL and the paltry few thousand that supporting it might bring in.

    If it's really still Open Sauce and the community doesn't like what happens with it then mySQL will fork. Again. Except that it will need a new core team since the current core team has bills to pay and enjoys employment during an economic mess.

  • by frinkacheese ( 790787 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:16PM (#30641884) Journal
    So MySQL sold for a cool $1 billion in whatever it was, and now he wants to get it back for free? This is so funny it may just work.
  • Re:Me too! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onefriedrice ( 1171917 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:26PM (#30642030)

    It's not as if he was unaware of the danger of the death of free software.

    The supposed death of free software and a "free internet" is just the distraction he's trying to use. MySQL is open source. Even if Oracle relicenses future releases of MySQL under terms that are less free, we still have the same MySQL as we've always had with the same free terms. If it were ever to be an issue, a fork would happen immediately and/or we'd see increased use of PostgreSQL. Either way, the "internet" will be kept free regardless. I don't know much about Monty, but my prejudgment is that he's slime.

  • by jvillain ( 546827 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:27PM (#30642046)

    There is a third problem. No one is going to risk their business on Monty's fork or sign over their patches because the risk is so great that he will sell every one out again. The fact that he is fully in bed with Microsoft on this makes it even more likely. Fool us once shame on you, fool us twice shame on us.

  • Re:Own fault (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tushar.tyagi ( 1453665 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:35PM (#30642166)

    It's like you broke up with your girlfriend and then go crying her back when she has found a new guy, while you're having no luck.

    If Oracle does whatever MySQL guy thinks it'll do then that means the new guy is trying to kill your girl. In that case it's all right trying to save her.

  •     You have to provide references [] before saying something like that. :)

        It was $1B in total considerations, which most likely wasn't all cash. I'm sure all of it didn't go in Monty's pocket, but I'm sure he did walk away with a pretty nice sum.

        There's a thing about business though. Most places want to grow a business from nothing, to the point where it's a viable product to sell. Then they sell it. All of it. There's no looking back. It was yours, now it's not. So sorry, move on.

        If I made something, and it sold for $1B, I'd be a pretty happy camper. Hell, Sabeer Bhatia [] sold Hotmail in 1997 for $400M, and he was happy. Now (in a 2007 article I read), is funding new startups with the hope of making the next killer app that will be bigger than Hotmail.

        I have a few things that I've done, and if someone offered me even $1M to give one up, I'd take it. I wouldn't look back. I'd smile the whole way to the bank. :)

        If he wants MySQL back, tough. If Sun decides to gut it, and make the MySQL site into a porn link farm web site, and the database engine into a shell script that greps a flat file, so be it. It's theirs, and it's their decision. They could sell to Oracle, or Microsoft, or anyone they'd like.

        If he *really* wants it back, he should put his effort into his new database, and don't give it up next time, even for $1B.

  • Re:Ob (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:40PM (#30642240)

    You know, sadly, nobody is going to get that, right?

  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:40PM (#30642252)
    The Flash plugin does not merely use dynamic linking to create a derivative work of Firefox. It uses a published API for the express purpose of making such plugins, with permission granted by the original author of that API - Mosaic Communications Company.
  • Unclean Hands (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blackeagle_Falcon ( 784253 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:42PM (#30642278)
    So, Monty uses dual licensing to turn his open source software into a profitable company, sells that company for a billion dollars, and now he's suddenly concerned with freedom. Oracle buying MySQL may be bad, but I don't think Monty has much credibility in opposing it.
  • by Just!nVix ( 1124421 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:54PM (#30642490)
    Sooo, To understand the basics here...
    Monty wants to keep the internet free, and that is somehow connected to his old, crappy product being "freed" from the rightful owner. Uhuh, riiiiight.

    I read the tripe of a blog-entry, and I am disgusted. This man seems to write as bad as he codes. Aside from quite healthy competition, PostgreSQL comes to mind. Especially the feature of stored procedures (don't bitch, I am sure they included that after Monty sold it.)

    First and foremost, I need to point out the painfully obvious:
    The Infrastructure of the Internet is NOT free. The pipes are owned by companies, and they can rightfully charge for the usage. No second-rate celebunerd can change that. You have to be be BONO to be recognized beyond a casual /. entry, and even the glorious Number 2 (southpark reference) has problems with his logic on property rights (when it suits his coffers).

    To add to that, Oracle, in all their evil splendor, has the complete right, if it owns SUN, to modify, improve, abolish any and all property that came with the purchase. Who knows, maybe they will turn MySQL into something usable by serious programmers! Oh, wait, they HAVE a product, closed source, that has been established to work for decades, and that profitable companies pay good money for when it comes to managing data... I am shocked and awed!

    I know this is a very difficult thing to understand for you young freetards out there: Stuff costs money. Things and services. Like iPods, cleaning cars, using the turnpike, going to the pool, beer, hookers, and other fun stuff.

    And again, why is there no concerted effort to produce a GOOD product? MySQL can go away tomorrow and no one will give a flying rat's ass. Your SQL statements will still work, and all those young PHP coders will flock to competitors that suits their freetard mentality.

    Maybe someone can explain to me that whole FREE mentality. Somehow, everything has to be free if you WANT it. And then what? The pattern keeps emerging that those pining for the FREE fjords fail to differentiate other people's work from theirs. Others should provide free tools, free software, free this free that. But somehow, they want to charge for the result of using said tools.
    That, Gentlemen (and those high regarded few Ladies), is the problem here.

    I call Monty in reference to a Family Guy episode: HE IS A BIG FAT PHONY
    ... Now, keep sending those letters.
  • Re:Own fault (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:54PM (#30642492) Journal

    David and I however thought that this would not be a problem, as we would help ensure that MySQL would be bought by a good owner.

    So it was really short-sighted thinking. They should had have some clause that limits how MySQL project would be possibly resold, or not sell the company at all, because its pretty clear that the project could be resold or go along with larger corporate overtakes. It's happened hundreds of times. They got to have known this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:02PM (#30642642)

    Widenius is hoping that Oracle will cave in because the delay of the Sun acquisition are costing Sun an estimated $100 million a month, and the uncertainty is damaging to both companies

    Monty is an insignificant buzzing gnat and couldn't delay things by an hour. It's SAP that gets to gum up the works. Heck IBM is probably in on the fun too.

  • Re:Own fault (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:05PM (#30642700)

    Ah, but I think he wants to dual-licence it again, with a free, GPLed "community version", and a pay-for commercial version.

    He can't do that now that he no longer holds the copyright.

  • I'm sorry, but Monty sold his baby, and got well paid for it. If I could sell any program I wrote for a fraction of what he sold MySQL for, and they kicked me out of working on it, I could do any number of any other things I wanted to work on in life. Come on Monty, attack P=NP. It's not like you need a job.

  • Re:well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pmontra ( 738736 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:06PM (#30642704) Homepage
    The P of LAMP used to by PHP. When did it change to Python and did something happened to Apache while I wasn't looking?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:07PM (#30642742)

    > Use a standardized environment

    Windows it is then.

  • Re:well... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:13PM (#30642802)

    What the fuck are you talking about? Monty isn't involved with Microsoft or their Codeplex site.

    Also, Python has never traditionally been part of the "LAMP" stack. The "P" stands for PHP.

    Finally, the LAMP stack has been on its way out for some time now. These days, most new sites developed by sensible developers are built on FLPP (FreeBSD/Lighttpd/PostgreSQL/Python) or FNPP (FreeBSD/Nginx/PostgreSQL/Python) stacks.

  • Re:Me too! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AlexMax2742 ( 602517 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:13PM (#30642812)

    ...except that if Oracle owns the copyrights to MySQL, they can close source future versions of MySQL and/or let mainline development languish. I don't know if they also own the name "MySQL" but if they do they can forbid any forks of MySQL from being called "MySQL" as well.

    Of course, the existing source will live forever, but any forks will not have the advantage of the "MySQL" brand name or the ability to dual-license the code for situations where more restrictive licensing might be desired by their customers.

    It's kind of surprising how few people realize this disadvantage of the GPL. Keep that in mind the next time you use it on a project.

  • Time to switch... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XB-70 ( 812342 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:17PM (#30642878)
    Instead of whining, it's time to make the switch to a 'real' database: PostgreSQL - []

    It may not be as fast as MySQL, but it's certainly more robust and capable. If you look at the core of ORACLE's design (which is pretty damned good), you'll find that Postgresql has similar design principals.

    When it comes to data loss, I'd rather the more robust database than the fastest one.

  • by TheSunborn ( 68004 ) <> on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:20PM (#30642932)

    Correct as in
    If you insert "Hello world" as a date, it will not accept it, and convert it into "god known what". (This problem exists with all datatypes).
    If you use transactions on table that don't support it, it will not just ignore commit/rollback commands.
    If part of a transaction fails, a commit will not commit the rest of the transaction.

    And PostgreSQL got a much better query optimizer. I still can't use views in our MySQL database because mysql keep using the wrong index. (MySQL is really bad when optimizing queries where the select that created the view uses a key)

  • Re:well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:22PM (#30642954) Journal

    I thought it was PHP/Python, my apologies if I read wrong.

    Apache got screwed in 07, back when this came around. []

    What do I mean by this? Well have you noticed how there has been endorsement of the apache license for proprietary software as of late? Basically anything proprietary that is labeled open source will be due to apache license compatibility? That's not to promote apache, that's to dilute it. MS-PL is an easy example of that.

  • by rednival ( 981330 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:55PM (#30643382) Homepage
    Killing MySQL is not what we should be concerned about. Oracle taking control of MySQL's direction is a far greater danger. It will be harder to build a new community around a fork if MySQL still exists. If Oracle kills MySQL, a new fork will appear overnight and people will flock to it. If they keep MySQL around and do everything in their power to control it, Oracle can virtually ensure that MySQL never becomes a real threat to its proprietary database. My guess is that Oracle will keep MySQL but they will position it as a lightweight database server for small to mid-size databases. They'll push people toward their proprietary database for a "REAL" enterprise database.
  • Except it doesn't, really. To paraphrase: "The OSS community can't succeed at managing a project without a driving corporate interest". I think there are many, many thriving examples that prove that statement to be blatantly false.

    If you look a little closer at his words, you'll see that he's really saying MySQL can't succeed commercially as open source. This is, of course, true: a product that isn't commercially maintained can't be a commercial success. Fortunately, it doesn't need to be a commercial success in order to succeed.

  • Re:Own fault (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Znork ( 31774 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:05PM (#30643496)

    but it is bad for business.

    Bad for the selling software part of business, perhaps, but good for the buying and using software part of business. Which is the vast majority of businesses. So if you want to generalize, the GPL is without a doubt great for business.

    If one could feed a family

    Anything that helps you cut costs makes it easier to feed a family. Profitability has two parts, not only revenue but also expenses.

    Why would anyone ... use a license that undermines their business?

    Because it simply doesn't undermine most businesses. It undermines a few business models based completely on monopoly rights, but for most businesses software or software development is simply a cost centre. They get a higher profitability by cutting the costs and using (and/or modifying and/or producing) GPL software than they would by taking the whole cost themselves and having to increase revenue elsewhere.

    Microsoft would probably have a hard time switching over to the GPL+services model as they've accumulated so much fat from living in a high-margin uncompetitive segment for so long they'd get a corporate aneurysm if they actually had to shed that fat. But Microsoft is hardly the average company in the computing industry.

  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:22PM (#30643768) Journal

    You still haven't explained how a derivative work is created. You make an appeal to authority where you have none, period. (See, wasn't that easy?)

    Copyright law governs the distribution of copies of a protected work. That's all. It doesn't govern use (although, sometimes, contracts are used as part of the licensing agreement to receive a copy for proprietary software, which can add further restrictions). But the GPL is not a contract, it is a license, and only covers the work it was applied to, and any *derivative works*.

    The thing is, even though the linked library or EXE uses the API, it doesn't *contain* the API. So, the argument can be made that where there is no copying, there is no copyright violation. Put another way, there is a very logical argument that a dynamically linked work is completely separate from the executable or library it links against. Think of a book or magazine article, or even an article on a website, which directs the reader to go read something else, then come back and finish reading the text of the article. Is the article a derivative work of the work it references/links to?

      Hence, even though the library or exe *depends* upon the other work, it may not be a derivative because it does not *contain* the other work (or, perhaps the courts will decide that it *is* in fact, a derivative, but no one really knows for sure). See, like I said, we can argue about this all day, but the question is still not settled in law. The law, so far as I know, *does not* address the question of dynamically linking computer programs in any statute or court precedent.

    "Your argument is like saying oral sex is not sex."

    No, it's not. It's nice you're so opinionated, but that makes no sense.

  • Re:Own fault (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EnglishTim ( 9662 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:27PM (#30643852)

    Do you think they would have been able to get the investment if they had stipulated that the company couldn't be sold? I'm sure they realised that there were risks in taking the path they took; but that was the cost of being able to afford enough developers to keep MySQL competitive.

  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MartinSchou ( 1360093 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:50PM (#30644146)

    "Your argument is like saying oral sex is not sex."

    No, it's not. It's nice you're so opinionated, but that makes no sense.

    It's more like saying "Oral sex can't get you pregnant".

  • Re:Own fault (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yttrstein ( 891553 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:03PM (#30644310) Homepage
    I have to step in and say something here. If at any point in the 90s or early oughts... even up to 2004, you'd considered dropping in the ability to do hot DB dumps without table locking, you would have very likely gotten bigger than Oracle. (Much as Linux has gotten bigger than Solaris). It was idiocy of you not to do so, in favor of... god only knows what.

    And now frankly its too little, too late. MYSQL is pretty ok for a light-to-medium duty database, but you guys have had a couple of decades to really, *really* get it right, and you didn't.

    If Oracle kills MySQL, the biggest pain in the arse will be moving things over to postgresql, which everyone should have done ten years ago in the first place.
  • Re:Me too! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:22PM (#30644582)

    ...except that if Oracle owns the copyrights to MySQL, they can close source future versions of MySQL and/or let mainline development languish. I don't know if they also own the name "MySQL" but if they do they can forbid any forks of MySQL from being called "MySQL" as well.

    Of course, the existing source will live forever, but any forks will not have the advantage of the "MySQL" brand name or the ability to dual-license the code for situations where more restrictive licensing might be desired by their customers.

    It's kind of surprising how few people realize this disadvantage of the GPL. Keep that in mind the next time you use it on a project.

    So I'm curious - what license does a better job at this than the GPL? What license specifically provides access to a trademark and negates dual-licensing? Or was dual-licensing the advantage? You know - the advantage of shutting down future forks. Just like Oracle is feared to do. Which is an issue. Except when everyone else wants to do it. Then that's an advantage. Right?

  • by i_ate_god ( 899684 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:51PM (#30644928)

    Uhm, full text indexes truly suck in the context of web application development. Perhaps you should look up Solr next time you need a search engine?

  • Re:Dear Monty... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by montywi ( 1713110 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:05PM (#30646162)
    I have answered your questions in my blog post here []
    What we are now working on is just to ensure that MySQL gets a good home, which is of benefit for all MySQL users.
  • by ge ( 12698 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:31PM (#30648156)

    If you're a GPL fundamentalist you get what you deserve: you get to run a GPL MySQL version.

  • Re:Own fault (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LOLLinux ( 1682094 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @09:05PM (#30649444)

    How can Oracle "kill" MySQL? Aren't we told over and over by GNU zealots that the GPL ensures that these projects will live on forever since the source code is always available? Isn't this why they rally against the BSD-like licenses?

  • Re:well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hardwarefreak ( 899370 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @05:44AM (#30652914)

    Postgres is a freaking enterprise database. Its documentation is so good, it makes every other framework in my development stack look bad. But people complain because they'd rather have the easy things be trivial, without caring about the difficulty of the not so easy things.

    Some people just want their sql enabled php/java webmail app to be able to store and retrieve address book entries and what not. Should we have to become db gurus just to support such a tiny function of one of our applications? Or just to run a BBS, ahem, sorry, I mean *forum*?

    There is a finite amount of time in a lifetime. If all of us had to become an expert on every god damn piece of software we ever touch, we'd all be broke, starving, and near death. Some software, especially support software (which is what all dbs are), needs to be "drop in an go" in many cases, with little to no configuration required.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.