Eye on Oracle

Mar 24 2010   2:25PM GMT

Is it time to stop worrying about MySQL?

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

As Oracle works to ease anti-competition concerns over the MySQL open source database, its takeover of Sun Microsystems has been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission. And as of last Friday, we can also add Russia to that list.

Russia’s anti-monopoly regulator (FAS) approved the deal on conditions that Oracle continues to develop MySQL and create new versions of the database.  FAS also said that Oracle should allow customers to buy commercial licenses for MySQL without being required to purchase Oracle services.

Some members of the open source community seem to still be holding out hope, however, that they can “save MySQL” from Oracle. This campaign and online petition driven by MySQL founder Monty Widenius was launched over concerns about competition and Oracle’s “empty promises.” The petition is still active, with its latest statistics showing 25 sign-ups in the past 24 hours (and 42,723 total).

But are we finally starting to see that regulators and the general open source community may have less to worry about than they think?

According to some, yes. In his blog post, “MySQL’s new best friend forever? Oracle,” Cnet’s Matt Asay discusses his takeaways from talks with Oracle executives at last week’s Open Source Business Intelligence Conference. Asay says that it seems like Oracle will not only continue to invest in MySQL, but increase its investment in the open source database.

“The little-open-source-database-that-could will become the not-so-little-open-source-database-that-does,” he writes, referring to the effect that Oracle’s long history of expertise in database engineering could have on MySQL’s future.

Still, Oracle has some hurdles to cross. Even with Oracle’s own expertise, it also needs the help and knowledge of veteran Sun staff, many of whom, such as Chief Open Source Officer Simon Phipps, have recently left the company.  The growing popularity of the NoSQL movement could also be a threat to MySQL offerings. NoSQL, a term commonly translated as “not only SQL,” refers to open source databases that are non-relational and horizontally scaled.  Their increased scalability and flexibility are making them a new alternative that is ideal for Web applications needing to handle large amounts of data storage. It should be interesting to see how (and if) this has any major impact on the use of MySQL.

Do you think Oracle will live up to its promises on MySQL, given these recent developments? Or should we really be worrying about the rest of Sun’s open source products (Java,OpenSPARC, GlassFish, etc)? With all the attention on MySQL, is there a chance of these being forgotten?

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