08 September, 2009

MySQL and the EU

There have been concerns about commercial distribution and utilization of the business-licensed MySQL variant among IT companies doing development on the SQL-engine in the EU. Basically, Oracle just recently bought Sun Microsystems (who created MySQL). And since Oracle has it's own SQL database, many companies are worried about further commercial MySQL development.

The debate now is about the EU stopping the Oracle-Sun merger, to force Oracle into debating the future of MySQL on a commercial basis. The proprietary MySQL license is the only thing making other database-companies able to improve and innovate on SQL-technology. But since Oracle has all power over the licensing, they have indirect power over all MySQL-forks out there, which makes a lot of people nervous.

Oracle is in the favourable position (for themselves) on database innovation with their own implementation of SQL AND MySQL development. The danger for everyone else now, is if Oracle takes the opportunity to create a database monopoly.

It is not a completely absurd thought, since MySQL puts quite the market and price pressure on Oracle.

As in the link below, quite a few people think the deal should be put off until they can pan out the future of commercially available MySQL.

It could be argued that MySQL does not pose a direct threat, since it's revenue hardly compares to Oracle DB. Actually, the MySQL revenue for 2008 barely came close to 1% of Oracle's.

There is also the argument that Oracle DB operates in a high-level market, with large deployments, heavy db-driven applications and the like... Whereas MySQL's main focus is on the web-market and web-applications. MySQL does not operate in many high-level environments, and is therefore not considered that big a threat to this market.

Whatever happens, Oracle is holding MySQL's fate in it's hands...

This has nothing to do with the GPL-variant of MySQL. Commercial companies cannot use the GPL-variant, and so, it is not viable for commercial interest. That said, open-source projects can also suffer from this happening, because all the forks of the original MySQL that use the commercial license will also cease to be able to do further development. And who's to say someone will continue to develop MySQL once the commercial interest vanishes? So, if worse comes to worse, we all lose in the end some way or another.

Link to ComputerWorld.com:

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