What Oracle gave up for the Sun it wanted

Oracle's mySQL opponents now have roughly five years to create a viable fork and an organizational structure that can carry it forward, assuming they're serious and not just blowing smoke.

Some pie crust promises and $72 million should get the European Union off Oracle's back and let it take over Sun Microsystems.

Outgoing EU competition commissioner Nellie Kroes called the moves "significant concessions" but there is little real here.

The $72 million will be spent over three years upgrading mySQL, and the promises -- no lawsuits or canceling of contracts for five years -- are temporary in nature.

We won't kill you for five years, we won't sue you for being our customer during that time and we'll toss the programmers a few bones? And the EU collapses like a house of cards?

Cosmetic, charged Florian Mueller (above) and mySQL co-founder Monty Widenius. But probably enough.

The hold-up on the deal was rapidly becoming a flash point in US-EU relations, which don't need any more flash points thank you very much. Even Mueller's co-respondent on the American side of the free software movement, Eben Moglen, was standing against him.

Folks a bit older than me might call this "a bad scene." (Ask your father what it means.) The deal will leave the Tiger Woods marriage as the main source of US-Sweden friction. (Not counting Ikea returns.)

Seriously, Oracle's mySQL opponents now have roughly five years to create a viable fork and an organizational structure that can carry it forward, assuming they're serious and not just blowing smoke.

Companies like Amazon have stood up over the last several weeks and identified themselves as friendly toward the software, which carries a GPL license.

If they're willing to follow those good words with promises of cash, Florian can still stick a fork in any ambitions Oracle's Larry Ellison may have to kill open source competition.

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