Subject Greg Sabino Mullane: Postgres is not for sale
Author mariuz
Firebird is not for sale

Sent to you by mariuz via Google Reader: Greg Sabino Mullane: Postgres
is not for sale via ::Planet PostgreSQL:: on 1/20/08
In light of the recent MySQL sellout, I'd like to once again answer the
question that pops up occasionally: "Who will purchase Postgres?" Sure,
it brings a smile to those of us immersed in the open source world, but
it bears a serious answer: Postgres cannot be bought. While from a
distance, MySQL and PostgreSQL look the same ("open-source databases"),
they are very different beasts, both in technical and non-technical
ways. In a nutshell, the difference can be expressed as:

MySQL is an open-source PRODUCT.

Postgres is an open-source PROJECT.

Only two letters of difference between 'product' and 'project', but a
very important distinction. MySQL is run by a for-profit corporation
(MySQL AB), which owns the code, employs practically all the
developers, dictates what direction the software goes in, and has the
right to change (indeed, has changed) the licensing terms for use of
the software (and documentation).

By contrast, Postgres is not owned by any one company, is controlled by
the community, has no licensing issues, and has its main developers
spread across a wide spectrum of companies, both public and private.
Can a software product succeed using such a system? Well, the other
letters in the original LAMP (Linux, Apache, and Perl) have similar
models, and they seem to be doing just fine. Like Postgres, there is no
way to "buy" any of those project either.

I'm not sure yet what to make of the buyout. It's hard to see if this
will be good or bad for Postgres (the product of the project), or if it
will be good or bad for MySQL (the product). It is probably bad for the
MySQL project, at least as far as I think the MySQL employees and
community would have preferred the once-promised IPO option. It
certainly would have garnered them more publicity and visibility in the
long-term. In the short-term, the product will inevitably slow down a
little bit as the company gets absorbed into Sun (not to mention
getting a production-ready Falcon). In the long term it will may
probably be a plus for the product. The only clear winner so far is the
venture capitalists and the executives, who probably didn't think too
long or hard about the $800 million in cash offer .

Will Sun continue to support Postgres? They claim they are going to do
so, although it's not as if they currently make large contributions to
Postgres, in terms of developer percentage or cash contributions.
Companies wishing to support Postgres can not only hire developers, but
they can donate to SPI (Software in the Public Interest, a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization). So if Sun doesn't want to demonstrate their
continued support of Postgres by paying me $1 million dollars to write
some really awesome code, they could always donate the money to SPI.

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