Marten Mickos: MySQL's undaunted leader

Summary:Prior to Stephen Shankland's scoop about Oracle's attempt to add MySQL to its portfolio, I chatted with the open source database company's CEO Marten Mickos about Oracle's open source envy, his reaction to Oracle's purchase of InnoDB, and how he plans to keep MySQL ahead of the game. Mickos had tried to acquire InnoDB, which provides online backup for MySQL, but the pastures were apparently greener at the omnivorous Oracle for InnoDB creator Heikki Tuuri.

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Prior to Stephen Shankland's scoop about Oracle's attempt to add MySQL to its portfolio, I chatted with the open source database company's CEO Marten Mickos about Oracle's open source envy, his reaction to Oracle's purchase of InnoDB, and how he plans to keep MySQL ahead of the game. Mickos had tried to acquire InnoDB, which provides online backup for MySQL, but the pastures were apparently greener at the omnivorous Oracle for InnoDB creator Heikki Tuuri.

Not only are Oracle and IBM pushing down from the top, other open source databases, such as EnterpriseDB (based on PostgreSQL), Ingres and Derby, are vying for market share. Mickos is undaunted, and not afraid to play on an even more level playing field than his competitors. Unlike most commercial open source companies, MySQL's database is pure GPL-based open source (some of its support service infrastructure software is not open sourced). No secret , proprietary sauce in a separate "professional" database edition to stack the deck.

According to Shankland's story, Mickos rebuffed Oracle's offer, but didn't share any of his reasoning. Mickos told me that he believes that he is creating a brand, like Nike or Starbucks, that will standout from competitors. He also just got a $18.5 million infusion of capital to help that cause.

He is also adamant that open source is the superior method for producing sofware, and that proprietary software vendors will have to move over to it to stay competitive. It's like streamships taking over from sailing ships, Mickos said. He just has to watch out for those aged sailing ships converting to diesel power.... The podcast can be delivered directly to your desktop or MP3 player if you're subscribed to our podcasts (see ZDNet’s podcasts: How to tune in). 

Topics: Open Source

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