Oracle's Purchase Corner's MySQL

Oracle's Purchase Corner's MySQL

Summary: Oracle bought Sleepycat today.   Sleepycat makes a good embedded database product and an XML database built on top of it.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Oracle bought Sleepycat today.   Sleepycat makes a good embedded database product and an XML database built on top of it.  I've used the XML database in several projects and found that it's stable and quick.  What's more the built-in XQuery engine makes querying with the XML data easy.  So, with all that, this announcement could be taken as just another part of  MySQL made a strategic blunder by not buying InnoDB to begin with.Oracle's open source shopping spree, but there are likely other, more strategic, stakes in play.

Last November Oracle gobbled up InnoDB.  InnoDB is the embedded database system that underlies MySQL.  Having the core of your product controlled by your chief competitor isn't a heartwarming development.  Sleepycat was seen as a workable replacement for InnoDB.  Today's announcement squashed any hope of that. 

I certainly can't blame Sleepycat for making the deal.  Good for them.   On the other hand, this sort of thing points out some clear differences between "open source" and "free" software.  MySQL, InnoDB, and Sleepycat are all "open source" but they aren't "free."  If they were, there'd be no company to buy.  Take Linux as a counter example.  Do you think that Microsoft would have bought Linux long ago and put the threat to their own OS to bed if they could?  Sure, but fortunately there's nothing to buy.  Oracle has effectively cornered MySQL by buying the storage engine they use.  Moreover, they accomplished it much more cheaply than they could by buying MySQL outright. 

Anyone who relies on free and open source software,  should be asking themselves what that means if commercial companies can so easily stall the development of the products they depend.  To be sure, someone could build a free replacement for InnoDB--that's the beauty of open source.  But it won't be easy or quick.  What's more, all that development effort could be put to use in adding features to MySQL. 

For non-commercial users, this probably doesn't mean much since the licenses for InnoDB and Sleepycat likely allow them to continue to be used.  Commercial users of these products however, don't enjoy the same license terms, as far as I know.  MySQL made a strategic blunder by not buying InnoDB to begin with and then failing to consummate a purchase of Sleepycat later.  Commercial users of MySQL are left wondering if Oracle could someday come knocking at the door, demanding payment.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • Stall?

    [i]Anyone who relies on free and open source software, should be asking themselves what that means if commercial companies can so easily stall the development of the products they depend.[/i]

    How? By not working on it?

    The Berkely DB from Sleepycat is BSD licensed, so there's no way for them to "stall" development, except by not working on it themselves.

    Well, I can "stall" it by not working on it, too, but I doubt that that's going to stress out the folk at MySQL.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Some of the original code for Berkely DB is BSD, but they have a licensse

      for all of the new code that states you can only link with open source code, otherwise, you have to purchase a license. The key sentence is below:


      "Redistributions in any form must be accompanied by information on how to obtain complete source code for the DB software and any accompanying software that uses the DB software."

      The license is here:

      http://www.sleepycat.com/company/oslicense.html

      This kind of thing blows holes in the MySQL business model of being able to sell a license to use with proprietary software.
      DonnieBoy
    • Berkeley DB is under Sleepycat Public License

      BDB is under the Sleepycat Public License, which is functionally equivalent to the GPL, not the BSD. Only the really old versions BDB v1.85 and v1.86 are under BSD.

      Oracle intends to accelerate development of BDB, not stall it.
      rexwang
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