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Jack Woehr

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Sun Microsystems Acquisition : Whither MySQL?

April 27, 2009

I'm happy my Sun stock rose in value when Oracle bid for Sun Microsystems. But why would Oracle really want Sun? To own the SPARC patents? Or to bury MySQL? [updated]

Anecdotally, I view MySQL as one of Oracle's most significant database competitors, perhaps The Most Significant After MSSQL. This is because I've been on hand several times when a supposedly solid-business-case-based Oracle implementation as a backend for this or that development project was deferred indefinitely in favor of an easier, cheaper MySQL bringup.

Relative to MySQL, Oracle is expensive and a bloated pain in the tailfeathers in return for certain genuine Oracle feature and performance advantages that many or most projects don't need.

So is Oracle going to continue Sun's exploitation of the huge MySQL support niche market? Or are they going to sow fear in the hearts of decision makers that MySQL development and support will lose its impetus?

The best folks to ask for an opinion might be some former PeopleSoft customers!

If Oracle tries to drown the kitten, the open source community can always come to the rescue due to the open source licensing of MySQL. But practically, it would require an immense amount of work to take up a multifaceted effort which took shape over more than a decade. In particular, it could require more organizational effort than our fractured community can muster in the present era.

In this age of bailouts, maybe it is time for the open source community to plan for an emergency bailout ... of the MySQL project ... just in case.


Since posting this screed, I started looking around the Web and I find that other bloggers with varying interests have expressed similar opinions on the acquisition. In this connection, Matthew Galinko's stock trading analysis from April 21 is interesting.

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