January 21, 2008

MySQL under the Sun

Sun is "buying" the MySQL database. What does it mean for the rest of us?

By now you probably know Sun is buying MySQL, as this was announced last week. I've collected the links to a few interesting articles:

  • Official announcement: Sun is going to by MySQL AB (the company behind the popular open source database) for 1 billion dollars. In their own terms, Sun is buying the "M" in LAMP, the stack of technologies behind many web sites and web applications.
  • Sun shines on LAMP: The perspective of Zack Urlocker (MySQL product manager, formerly Delphi product manager, and a friend). He points out that Sun already has many open source products. Two quotes: "We're not going to forget about our users and partners" and "While some folks might see this move as a competitive move against Oracle, I don't think that's the case". See also Zack's personal blog.
  • Jonathan Swartz has a few interesting comments in his blog. He points out of the key assets Sun is buying is Falcon, which is nothing but the integration in MySQL of the ideas and the work of Jim Starkey, InterBase original author.
  • Alan Zeichick has a blog post raising a few doubts... "That might be cause for worry for advocates of the LAMP stack"
  • Tim O'Reilly has a very positive view of the deal: "This seems to me to be a great deal both for Sun and for MySQL"
  • Larry O'Brien is skeptical.

What does it mean for the rest of us in general, and for Delphi developers in particular? It is hard to tell. In my experience, there are more and more Delphi applications powered by MySQL, which is getting popular even outside of the web development realm. Mostly because it is free (if it is, but that's another story). Some more comments:

  • Considering Jim Starkey could have worked with the open source InterBase, had Borland managed this properly, I cannot help but thinking this was really a huge missed opportunity.
  • I was already a little skeptical of the M in LAMP, because of their far from clear licensing terms, now I'm even more skeptical.
  • Sun has many open source products, but its relationship with the open source community has been mixed, positive for some products and not-so-positive for others. The Java language and runtime is a typical example, but I remembers fights in the OpenOffice community as well...
  • I think this is another great opportunity for a truly open source and fully independent database like FireBird (and to a much lesser extend for InterBase)

There is a final, relevant note: Who said you cannot make money with open source?



MySQL under the Sun 

IMHO, the MySQL licenses are very clear.
You can use it for free with GPL applications (or 
other licenses MySQL approves), or with your own 
internal applications (that you don't distribute).
When you sell/distribute a closed source application, 
and your application needs MySQL to run, a commercial 
license is needed.
I know that - especially in some countries - some 
people like to think MySQL is free, even for their 
closed-source, commercial applications, and pretend 
to ignore the license and say "it's too complex, 
can't understand it..." <g>
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on January 22, 00:09

MySQL under the Sun 

 My doubts about MySQL are not only about licensing.. 
but from a technical point of view also. 
If you compare MySQL with PostgreSQL (that is REALLY 
open source, by the way) feature by feature the 
result is even embarassing for mysql. And with 
firebird is the same. PostgreSQL has only the 
advantage that is more widespread and the project for 
what I see is much more actively supported and 
Comment by Roberto Icardi on January 22, 23:53

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