» VIEW ALL POSTS Dec 8 2009   9:52PM GMT

Would Oracle’s hands on MySQL mean users’ hands off?



Posted by: Shayna Garlick
Tags:
MySQL
Oracle open source

Up until now, most of the opinions we’ve heard about the possible fate of MySQL in the hands of Oracle have been limited to Oracle and the European Commission (EC).  Well, at least until Dec. 10 when Oracle competitors are expected to offer their views of Oracle taking charge of the world’s leading open source database.

But exactly how would Oracle taking control of the open source database affect open source software users themselves?

The 451 Group, an independent technology-industry analyst company, recently tried to gain insight into this question by surveying a group of 1,000+ members of the “Commercial Adoption of Open Source (CAOS) open source user community,” asking them about their MySQL usage and opinions on the Oracle-Sun acquisition.

According to the results of that survey, MySQL usage is expected to drop if Oracle gains control of the open source database. The report said that while 82.1% of the respondents use MySQL today, that number will decline to 78.7% in 2011 and 72.3 % in 2014. This is further borne out as 15% of open source users and 14.4% MySQL users said they would be less likely to use the product if indeed Oracle acquires it, according to the report.

But can the survey results be used as an accurate forecaster of what would happen should Oracle come into possession of MySQL?

This part seems a bit tricky. For example, the survey is only focusing on a 347-person sample when current open source users number in the millions. A much broader sampling could very likely bring a very different result.  And isn’t Oracle’s argument centered on the idea that since it does not directly compete with MySQL, it has no motive to make changes to the open source database?

Still, this survey shows that not everyone has faith in Oracle’s stated MySQL motives.  Only 4.3% of respondents thought that Oracle should sell it to another vendor, but 32.6% thought that Oracle should set up an independent foundation for MySQL. And with recent rumored reports of a compromise by Oracle in which it will set up a separate MySQL business unit, that just might be the direction in which the software giant is heading.

Are you an open source software user? Does it matter to you who owns the open source software you use?  Are you apprehensive about Oracle gaining ownership of MySQL? Let us know what you think.

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