What Do Oracle's MySQL Promises Amount To? - InformationWeek

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12/14/2009
11:25 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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What Do Oracle's MySQL Promises Amount To?

That's the essence of the challenges posed by MySQL originator Monty Widenius in his newest blog post about Oracle's ongoing acquisition of Sun and MySQL. His confidence in Oracle to do the right thing remains thin. Very thin.

That's the essence of the challenges posed by MySQL originator Monty Widenius in his newest blog post about Oracle's ongoing acquisition of Sun and MySQL. His confidence in Oracle to do the right thing remains thin. Very thin.

Apart from some further calls to action (keep the pressure on Oracle, Monty insists), the post also runs down a list of things Monty finds to be crucially missing from any of Oracle's statements about the acquisition:

Oracle has NOT promised (as far as I know and certainly not in a legally binding manner):

- To keep (all of) MySQL under an open source license.
- Not to add closed source parts, modules or required tools.
- To keep the code for MySQL enterprise edition and MySQL community edition the same.
- To not raise MySQL license or MySQL support prices.
- To release new MySQL versions in a regular and timely manner.*
- To continue with dual licensing and always provide affordable commercial licenses to MySQL to those who needs them (to storage vendors and application vendors) or provide MySQL under a more permissive license
- To develop MySQL as an Open Source project
- To actively work with the community
- Apply submitted patches in a timely manner
- To not discriminate patches that make MySQL compete more with Oracles other products
- To ensure that MySQL is improved also in manners that make it compete even more with Oracles' main offering.

In short, to Monty, Oracle hasn't promised to do much of anything that truly matters.

Not long after Monty made his post, Oracle made a statement about MySQL's future -- but which addressed only one of the concerns on the above list, the one marked with an asterisk. Nothing -- or at least, nothing of substance -- has been said about MySQL's future as an open source project.

It's not surprising at all, given that all of Oracle's experience with open source would come through their acquisition of Sun and not through anything they've done directly. Plus, almost nothing Oracle has said so far indicates they're willing to let Sun's people do the heavy lifting where MySQL is concerned.

At the very least, all that hammering on Oracle's facade is producing a few cracks. It's a sign that they can be persuaded to do the smart thing, and not tick off a great many people who could be potential customers.

Our "A New IT Manifesto" report looks at a variety of new approaches and technologies that let IT rebels take on a whole new role, enhancing their companies' competitiveness and engaging their entire organizations more intimately with customers. Download the report here (registration required).

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