Subject Re: Oracle buys Sun
Author Myles Wakeham
>Anyone care to share insights on what will happen to MySql and
especially how this will affect Firebird?

A friend of mine works for a huge corporation that makes software for
the education market including a bundled SQL database. One day I asked
him what database they use and he told me Oracle. I said, "I'm really
surprised that since you are selling into the education market that you
are not using an open source database.". He replied, "Well we looked at
MySQL but due to the way that their licensing worked, it was MORE
expensive to license it for our commercial product, than it was to
license Oracle".

I was shocked, but although I have made attempts to suggest to them that
they look at Firebird, they are so entrenched with Oracle now that they
won't likely do it.

The fact is that for higher end, commercial organizations that have been
using MySQL, they are probably in the same boat as these guys. The
licensing was so significant a cost to them, that using Oracle doesn't
really make any difference financially. And some bright spark in IT
thinks that it furthers their career to have Oracle on their resume
rather than that 'free' database called MySQL, and that's how corporate
America seems to work.

Anyway in reference to the specific question of how this aquisition will
affect Firebird? I see it driving a wedge down the middle of the
developer community. The reason for MySQL's significance as a database
was due to the hobbyist, and SOHO developer market seeing it as a way to
avoid spending thousands of dollars on commercial database licensing.
The Linux market championed it and bundles it as standard in distros.
The non-Microsoft community want it because its not MS SQL. Etc.

But if it has become associated with the big, bad corporate structure
now, that community will go looking for alternatives. Mind you,
entrenched users are typically not going to jump ship until the ship
starts showing real signs of breaking. But they will when that starts
to happen. The founders of MySQL leaving Sun was the first signs of all
of this happening.

What we can do is to market, market, market as the 'soft cushion' for
those developers to fall on. If we don't, they'll to go PostgreSQL. At
least they do have options.

Of course some won't. Some might see an advantage to having some
association with Oracle on their resume. An association that they might
have found harder to come by in past years. But for the average
hobbyist, PHP coder, etc. there will be some serious doubt in the market
as to the future of MySQL here. They will see that Oracle's competing
product will either kill off MySQL or find a way to monetarize MySQL to
help pay for this aquisition.

It was interesting that the journalist in that NYT article didn't make
any one statement regarding MySQL. They cited that Oracle wanted Java
and Solaris. So that sends an interesting message forward that this
might be a way that Oracle can kill off a rival database, and return the
world back to paying millions in licensing fees to use their DB
technology. I hope not, but it wouldn't surprise me if they do
something like that a year or so from now.

Look for any signs in the MySQL community of Oracle trying to 'calm
down' the community and read as much from it as you can.

Myles Wakeham
Director of Engineering
Tech Solutions USA, Inc.
Scottsdale, Arizona USA
Phone +1-480-451-7440