Oracle reassures MySQL customers as wrestles with EU over the Sun purchase

Oracle moved to reassure MySQL customers as it engages in "constructive discussions" with the European Union to win approval of its purchase of Sun Microsystems.

Oracle on Monday moved to reassure MySQL customers as it engages in "constructive discussions" with the European Union to win approval of its purchase of Sun Microsystems.

In a statement, Oracle said it will maintain MySQL as a competitive force in the database market. The big worry from EU regulators is that Oracle will nuke MySQL in favor its own database.

Oracle's key points:

  • The company will keep MySQLs storage engine APIs public. The documentation won't change from what Sun Microsystems currently has. Oracle will also maintain the reference manual that Sun has created.
  • Oracle "shall not assert or threaten to assert against anyone that a third party vendor's implementations of storage engines must be released under the GPL because they have implemented the application programming interfaces available as part of MySQL's Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture." That move is a change from Sun's current practice.
  • MySQL customers will be able to extend Sun's commercial license until Dec. 10, 2014. These customers also won't be required to buy support from Oracle. Support subscriptions can renew annually or over multiple years.
  • Oracle said it will continue to enhance MySQL under the General Public License. It will also increase research and development spending.
  • The company will create MySQL customer advisory board. There will also be a vendor advisory board.

What's unclear is whether these MySQL statements will be enough to satisfy the EU. Oracle said its commitments to MySQL will be worldwide and continue for five years after the deal closes. The EU may want an indefinite commitment to MySQL or a divestment.

For MySQL customers I'd argue that you can take Oracle at its word. I've been skeptical about Oracle's intentions with multiple mergers and the common worry is that customers of the acquired companies (PeopleSoft, Siebel etc.) would get screwed. The reality is that Oracle hasn't force fed migrations and has generally treated its acquired customers well.

Simply put, it's doubtful that Oracle would take in MySQL customers and crush them. After all, MySQL covers a portion of the market nicely and Oracle will be happy to sell you PeopleSoft, Siebel, Hyperion or any other app it has running on MySQL. Remember the game is about maintenance not about open source religion.

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