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Oracle-Sun Deal Observers Mull MySQL Fate

The impact on MySQL and Java are the subject of industry chatter as Oracle's acquistion of Sun Microsystems lurches towards the finish line.
"This is business. Oracle has bought that [MySQL AB] business," he said, but MySQL users shouldn't believe nothing will change after the acquisition. The Web site changes indicate a sensitivity within the MySQL staff to Oracle interests that will only be heightened once the acquisition is completed, Burkhardt said.

One observer, Nobby Akiha, senior VP of marketing at Actuate, a supplier of business intelligence reporting applications, was optimistic Oracle will be able to steer the right course. Actuate has incorporated the Eclipse Foundation's BIRT open source code into its proprietary product, while supporting the open source community, he said.

"If Oracle sticks to its commitment to spend more on R&D, maintain healthy relations with third-party developers and launch advisory board to help guide MySQL's future, we imagine they'll see great success," he said in an e-mail to InformationWeek.

Oracle already owns InnoDB and Berkeley DB, embeddable open source code systems that it acquired and maintains, without complaints, as open source code.

But Florian Mueller, the EU campaigner opposed to the deal and advisor to Michael Widenius, one of MySQL's original authors, remained unmollified. In an message, he said the EC's decision was "based on wishful thinking for the future, more than anything else. "

Many observers say MySQL is OK inside Oracle because if Oracle artificially restrains it, the code can fork and a new open source version launched. "Forks are a legal possibility but there's no reason to assume than any MySQL fork could threaten Oracle to the extent that MySQL could."

He said the commitments Oracle had made to continue development of MySQL "are not legally binding." Once the owner of MySQL, "I can't think of a single bad thing, short of discontinuing the product immediately, that Oracle couldn't do, while still complying fully with those promises in a legal sense," he wrote.