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4/22/2009
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MySQL Manager: In Oracle We Must Trust

Black humor about the Oracle Sun deal rippled through the MySQL Conference & Expo, but MySQL manager Karen Padin stood up for Oracle.

The future may be uncertain for both her product and herself, but Karen Padir, Sun's new manager of the MySQL database system, offered a stalwart defense of Oracle as MySQL's future owner at the MySQL Conference & Expo Tuesday.

The conference is going on this week at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Through a bit of bad timing, it got under way just as Oracle announced it was closing a deal to take over Sun Microsystems, which bought MySQL AB a year ago. For MySQL users, it was the second year in a row the conference had followed on the heels of a major acquisition announcement.

The hallways of the Santa Clara Convention Center were filled with wry comments and black humor as attendees discussed the deal. But Padir, a team player who was described as a good manager by former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos as he left Sun, wouldn't allow any hand wringing or bewilderment.

"I can't comment on forward-looking statements about the product line. Oracle will have to put together what it plans to do and how it will integrate MySQL" into the merged company, she started out. SEC rules bar publicly held company officials from commenting on what the other company is about to do. The rules say they are still two separate companies.

But without further hesitation, she launched into the defense.

"I've had the opportunity to work with Oracle on a number of occasions," she said.

Oracle contributed TopLink, its code for mapping a Java object into a relational database, to the Sun GlassFish application server project in 2006. The following year, it donated TopLink code to the Eclipse Foundation. As two different sets of developers worked with TopLink under two different open source licenses, "the code could easily have gotten out of sync," said Padir.

Oracle sought to safeguard against a fork by requesting that Sun adopt the Eclipse version of TopLink as its reference implemention for Java Enterprise Edition. But TopLink's Eclipse license wasn't compatible with the GPL, which Sun was using by then for Java. Padir worked with Oracle's senior VP Steve Harris to address the issue.

"They [Oracle officials] bent over backwards to solve that problem," she said. Sun would maintain the reference implementation, but Oracle would make sure any changes in the Eclipse version were fed into the GlassFish project in a manner that they could be quickly incorporated into the reference version, she said.

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