mySQL founders fork on the post-Oracle future

mySQL founders fork on the post-Oracle future

Summary: The co-founders of mySQL have profound disagreements on the future of the open source database following Oracle's takeover.Monty Widenius wants mySQL sold, not given to Oracle, telling reporters his Monty AB encouraged the investigation that has held up the Oracle-Sun deal.


The co-founders of mySQL have profound disagreements on the future of the open source database following Oracle's takeover.

Monty Widenius wants mySQL sold, not given to Oracle, telling reporters his Monty AB encouraged the investigation that has held up the Oracle-Sun deal.

Meanwhile Marten Mickos has written the EU's Competition Commissioner, Nellie Kroes, to let the deal go through.

At issue is whether the community around mySQL can compete best against Oracle's dominance from inside or outside the company. Ineffectual forks of the code have already been launched.

Our Matt Asay suggests resistance is futile, writing that Oracle and mySQL are built for different markets, and that fighting Oracle will just degrade the asset. He notes that IBM put $1 billion into Linux, and hints that kind of investment is necessary to compete.

I suspect he's right on that, but this does not mean the EC must stand idly by and watch a proprietary vendor extend its monopoly into open source. It means they should know the cost of what they're proposing.

If Europe wants to build a mySQL fork that truly competes with Oracle in the enterprise market, the way forward is to collect the funds needed to make that happen. There is more at stake here than competition in the database market.

As Sun's Scott McNealy told Oracle's OpenWorld, the combined company wants to compete with IBM in hardware. That will take money, more money than Sun has, and the Sun assets are degrading as the EU dithers. Hardware customized around the Oracle database is the way to compete, he says.

He may be right or wrong on that, but he deserves the chance to try. Holding up the merger on competitive grounds, ironically, could have the effect of preventing competition.

Competition costs money. You have to pay to play. If the EU is serious about mySQL competing with Oracle the way forward is clear. Put together the $1 billion needed for a fork to provide effective competition.

Regulators only have the power to say yes or no. They don't have the ability to create businesses. Businessmen have that. And the best businessmen know that money alone does not make for a successful business. It takes money, talent, and a well-executed business plan for that.

Does Europe have what it takes to compete, or is its only talent destruction? That's a question its businesspeople need to answer. Monty says yes they can, Marten says no they can't.

Topics: Data Centers, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Open Source, Oracle, Software

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  • paranoia again

    i remember paranoia when sun bought openoffice and mysql...look they are still here!!!

    and oracle bought sun...people will be paranoid for some time, and than that story will go to oblivion just like any other paranoid story in open source world.
    • Agreed. MySQL

      will do just fine under Oracle, as they will just monotinize on it(support), as Oracle does very well with their support offerings.

    • I think a credible fork would be great for MySQL, to keep Oracle honest.

      But, I do not think it will cost billions for them
      to re-write the client side libraries that are
      GPL, with Oracle owning the copyright. That little
      detail gives Oracle the right to charge for
      proprietary usage. If the founders re-write those
      libraries, then they too will also be able to
      charge for proprietary usage.
    • WTF?... Get your facts straight!

      Star Office was purchased by SUN and then the source was released to create Open Office. They dual licensed it for a while LGPL/SISSL and then later changed it to straight LGPL.

      That's a slightly different story than what you were passing off as factual history.

      And.., SUN bought MySQL about a year and a half ago so the jury isn't really out about how that is going to pan out.

      As far as Oracle and Ellison go... If I had an interest in a competitive product, I wouldn't tun my back on Mr. Ellison. I've followed him loosely over the last 10 or so years and he is dedicated to one thing. Putting Oracle ahead of everything else.
  • Oracle must commit 1 billion for MySQL

    and also 5 billions for StarOffice, Java and Solaris, every year.
    This way The EU will back down and M$ will suffer.
    Linux Geek
    • 5 billion isnt it a bit big

      Oracle will never put that much money ever ...
      1 billion maybe.

      Oracle should is serious about this push and
      become the leader that open source need at this

      Solaris -Open solaris
      Star-office -open office

      As far as hurting MS ok but one step at the
    • Why? There is no money in it

      5 billion to improve a free software package? And for what: Microsoft Office will still dominate, and they would have spent 5 billion on everything else, with no return on Investment.
      • they can kill M$ cash cows

        Open Office will kill M$ Office, Java will kill .net, Solaris will kill windoze, and MySQL will kill M$ SQL.
        Linux Geek
        • When is this all happening?

          The year of linux perhaps?

          Help me out, guys. When is that again? Is it next year? Or was it this year? Did I miss it last year? I think I heard it was the year before that. Or was it...

          OH! I know why I was confused. Most people are calling it "the year the snowflake had a chance in hell".
  • Read also...

    ...Carlo Piana's "Let the Sun-Shine In (Oracle)" at
    • Behind the Link

      This is a defense of the Oracle-Sun deal by Carlo Piana, a lawyer and European advocate for free software, who has agreed his credibility within the open source community at the service of Oracle's legal effort to get the Sun deal approved

      Thanks, TriangleDoor for the link. I only wanted here to give readers some background on why the link you offered is important and worth reading.
  • RE: mySQL founders fork on the post-Oracle future

    As long as Oracle doesn't kill MySql, I believe it will do well enough on its own. It is already very widely used and has quite a few developers. But either way, maybe if they just have Oracle spin off MySql back into the hands of the MySql community or to some other company who will benefit from developing it, it can stand or fall on its on merits and level of market support.
  • Let it go through.

    Oracle paid for Sun so they get everything that comes with that, even MySQL. If Oracle starts abusing MySQL, then the developers will leave, something else will arise, and Oracle will have killed the MySQL tree without having it bear fruit for them. Let the deal go through, and let whatever happens happen. As long as Oracle doesn't do anything illegal to battle competition of course.
    • That's what the EU is concerned about

      The EU is concerned about Oracle starving mySQL of funds and not allowing it to become a true competitor on the high end, which it was on its way to becoming when Oracle bought Sun.

      How they go about that is another question, which I've expressed my view on.
      • Larry E. would Do That...

        or would he? Sure, he is not exactly friendly to open source, but if as some have speculated, his real goal is to compete with IBM on hardware, then he should just sell MySQL off to ease EU regulatory concerns and get on with it.
  • Everything is FREE so there is no problem!

    But, it's FREEware!! Tell everybody to just do it for FREE!! I'm sure Richard Stallman is available... I just wanna be FREE!!!
    • Elisson must commit 1 billion

      Oracle has a great asset in MySql and nw has to support it with funds.
      Linux Geek
    • How Republican of you

      If I get one more screed from someone at ZDNet Healthcare complaining that all taxes are infringement on their FREEDOM I'm going to laugh out loud.

      And some of the same folks who support open source because it's free hate government because it's not. Even though the opposite of freedom isn't government, but Somalia.
      • More garbage from you, Dana?

        <i>How Republican of you</i>

        Why are you so insistent on turning every thread or every issue into a political one? Don't you have enough headaches defending your politics and your agenda and your big government ideas in all of your other posts?

        <i>If I get one more screed from someone at ZDNet Healthcare complaining that all taxes are infringement on their FREEDOM I'm going to laugh out loud.</i>

        You're deliberately framing the issues with fallacious arguments.

        Most people have come to accept taxes as a necessary "evil". So, that part of your argument is already destroyed.

        And, it's not the high taxes for big government programs that infringe on people's freedoms. In that are too, you're framing your argument incorrectly. But, it's to be expected since you have no clue about what "freedoms" are and how they could be lost, and you don't understand the free-market system; you only understand that big government is the only solution to all our problems.

        Big government, via big government programs, does take away from people's freedoms to choose their own lifestyle, whether that lifestyle is good, bad or indifferent. Big government health care, as an example, will take away the freedom to make your own choices. And big government will "take" or "confiscate" a huge chunk of your salary via high taxes to pay for programs in which you might not have chosen to participate in. When people are forced into a a government "choice", then it's not really a choice is it? If the government takes away your freedom to choose, or to even choose whether to "participate" or not, then again, you are not really free to do with your money as you wish, are you?

        <i>And some of the same folks who support open source because it's free hate government because it's not.</i>

        You keep making the same fallacious argument in just about all of your posts.

        Most people don't hate government. Republicans and conservatives believe in government as designed by our forefathers. What people complain about is "big government" which by definition has to be "intrusive" upon people's lives. Intrusive government leaves no room for the freedoms which were guaranteed under our constitution and our bill of rights. There has never been, in the history of civilization, a big intrusive government which didn't also have to restrict people's freedoms. Big government is "in your face" government, and when it's in your face, you had better conform or else, you might end up in prison.

        <i>Even though the opposite of freedom isn't government, but Somalia. </i>

        Another big fallacious argument you like to use.

        You like to state that Somalia is in a state of "chaos" or "anarchy", but Somalia does have a government; whether it works efficiently, or for the good of the people, is where the debate should be begin.

        However, you like to point at Somalia as a means of comparison for those "republicans" or "big government hating" infidels that you hate.

        You like to point out that the opposite of "government" is "anarchy". But, that's a false argument in the context of all discussions happening currently in the U.S. Anarchy is a form of government, even if chaotic, but it is the ultimate "free" type of rule. But, the ultimate "free" form of government is also the least desirable.

        What you like to disregard is the true framing of the argument. The argument is about "big government" versus "small government" (or just regular government). What republicans and conservatives argue against is "big government". Nobody in republican or conservative ranks have ever argued for "no government". In fact, it is the republicans who believe in proper government as defined under our constitution and its amendments. That kind of government argued for a small and un-intrusive federal government. Whatever power was not granted to the federal at the inception of the nation would by default be granted to the states and to the people.

        The liberals have moved the country from small to larger and very big government. And they want a lot more. Meanwhile, all of those programs are in reality, unconstitutional.

        So, you can try your false arguments on the clueless and the uncaring, but there are still many of us out her watching out and guarding against people like you.

        • Now I see Why...

          Dana gets paid to write what he writes, and you do not! Yours IS the very screed he complained about. Yes, blame it all on "the liberals". Turn a blind eye to the neocons bankrupting our government by refusing to budget for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and bankrupting the free market by handing Wall Street over to the most shameless Robber Barons we have seen in decades.

          But most important, Dana is absolutely right: the opposite of government IS Somalia. There is a REASON all civilized peoples and nations have had governments for the last 3000 years or so. You with your strong Libertarian, neocon prejudices simply refuse to see it.