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Database Alliance Secures MySQL's Future, Co-Founder Says

With the threat of major changes by future owner Oracle, Monty Widenius, original author of MySQL, says the group will act as a safe haven for the open source database system.
Nevertheless, even Widenius thinks it's likely that Oracle will try to make MySQL more compatible with its wide range of products, including its middleware and applications. As the head of an open source version of MySQL, Widenius said, "I think it makes perfect sense for Oracle to drive MySQL to be more compatible with other Oracle offerings. I don't, however, think that should conflict with keeping MySQL working in the way our current users expect it to work."

Just in case Oracle did something that interfered with how "current users expect it to work," the alliance will continue its own development, still based on the core MySQL system coming out of Oracle. "We don't plan to fork, unless Oracle cripples MySQL in some way that is unacceptable to us or our users," he said.

Widenius is under no restrictive covenants or clauses after the sale of MySQL AB to Sun. He did not sign a no-compete agreement; he wasn't asked to, he said. "In fact, Sun never asked me to sign anything as part of the deal. When I parted from Sun, I had no noncompete period," he wrote.

Widenius said there's no reason Oracle developers can't contribute code to MySQL. "The alliance is happy to accept any donation of source code that makes MariaDB/MySQL better for our users," he wrote. "We would really like to see that MySQL/MariaDB operates better with Oracle products. This is something that would be good for all MySQL/MariaDB users."

But he didn't shy away from the prospect that the Open Database Alliance, which includes Zaitsev's Percona, a company specializing in MySQL high-performance systems, might become a rival download site to Oracle's, once Oracle takes ownership of Sun. Open source developers "will download the version of MySQL that best fits their needs. MariaDB will be developed in an open source, transparent spirit and will always be a superset of MySQL; over time, the developers may opt to use MariaDB," he wrote.

Oracle is acquiring Sun for $7.4 billion. In January 2008, Sun paid $1 billion for MySQL AB, which included the open source brain trust of original co-authors David Axmark and Widenius, and CEO Marten Mickos. The three men left Sun before the first anniversary of the sale.

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