MySQL is now really an Oracle product, price included. In fact the company announced cutting the lower-level license and support plans, basically raising the minimum price 4 times at 2,000 USD per server. Not cheap for a database most people think it is free, while it is free only for open source projects (OK, the story is more complex but I blogged and debated this already a few times, don't want to get back to it: In short, if you write and distribute a vertical client/server Delphi application against this database it is likely that you or your customers will have to pay for the MySQL license). 

Not only this announce is bad because of the extra money many MySQL users will have to pay, but also because it shows a clear signal Oracle wants to kill the cheap competition... and you never know what's next. Perception is important, and the effect of this move is quite bad. By the way, they also removed the transactional engine from the free "community" offering for open source projects [well, seems I was misled on this by an article I read]. I just migrated my Delphi open source accounting package (the Italian GO) to it, will probably have to revert back...

Read for example the long blog post " The Decline of MySQL ". I know my longtime friend Zack Urlocker (and MySQL product manager) will disagree, but I guess things are not looking at the best in the long run, while in the short run the company is likely to raise some money.

Now, this could be a very good opportunity for all of the other open source database servers (and also some of paid ones!), particularly the most popular ones like Firebird and PostgreSQL. I'm particularly fond of Firebird (the InterBase offspring) and use it in many projects and did a lot of consulting to Delphi developers using it. Can this be the rise of Firebird? MySQL with its huge popularity has certainly obscured it, so it could be a good time to act.

Which means promoting Firebird more and making sure it works at best with one of the environments that has pushed it a lot, that is, Delphi. If Delphi now has an official Firebird driver for dbExpress, that is not enough and more could be done in terms of interoperability, cross-breeding, and cross-promotion. Owning InterBase, I can understand Embarcadero is quiet on this, but at times it seems to me that the Firebird community forgets how many Delphi developers use their database and like it a lot!

PS. Meanwhile the Firebird Conference 2010 is under way in Bremen, Germany. Too bad I could not make it.