As you certainly know, a couple of days ago Oracle announced its offer to buy Sun, the hardware company that's particularly well-known for Java. Here are a few links I found interesting (among the hundreds of articles and blog entries published over the last two days):

  • The first is an overall and in-depth analysis of all of the properties Oracle is buying and how they can fit within Oracle written by Michael Cote for RedMonk.
  • The second is Tim Anderson's blog entry focused on how open source failed to save Sun, at The end of Sun's bold open source experiment. Interesting perspective.
  • More specifically on MySQL, there is an an interview with Marten Mickos, MySQL's former chief, defending the operation and its outcome and titled Oracle won't kill MySql.
  • At the opposite end, the Linux community isn't at easy with Oracle, that's why Linux Magazine has an article titled Oracle Buys SUN; MySQL is Forked.

Beside all the discussions around the Java platform, which I don't use a lot, the other issue from the perspective of a developer is trying to figure out what will happen of MySQL. Having a low-entry database would probably help Oracles database business, as they can have different offerings for different users. However this approach might hamper MySQL, which aims to target big companies as well. Owning the best rock solid enterprise database and the best flexible web oriented scalable database some sense (no, I'm not claiming these are the base database systems, out there, but there is some marketing perception that this is the case).

If the open source community was so keen to MySQL, despite the not-so-clear / not-so-honest licensing scheme (it is not a mystery I don't like MySQL licensing policy, I blogged about this a few times), the Oracle acquisition might be a blow to this. One of the options is that fork will happen, but they'll be tied to the original (confused) license.

The other options is that open source developers will put their eyes into other open source databases, maybe those with less restrictive licences (Firebird come to mind, but I'm biased here). This might also be a good opportunity for other low-cost high-performance ISAM-oriented databases (I'm thinking of Advantage Database Server, again being biased) to promote themselves as a MySQL alternative in an area (LAMP development) that looked like there was no alternative to MySQL.

We'll have to give Oracle and Sun some time, and see what it comes out of this, but this is certainly the right time for change for open source proponents.