Sign-Up to Save MySQL?

MySQL Oracle takeoverIt seems the Oracle — Sun — MySQL debate is far from over. Michael “Monty” Widenius, the original creator of the open source database, has been a particularly vocal opponent of MySQL falling into Oracle’s clutches. However, time is running out and the initially hesitant European Commission are likely to green-light the takeover following Oracle’s recent public commitment statements.

As a last-ditch effort to save the database, Widenius launched helpmysql.org on December 28, 2009. The website makes a passionate plea for MySQL and raises some interesting questions, e.g.

  • Why has Oracle been so insistent on acquiring MySQL as part of the Sun takeover? There would have been little regulator interest if the database had been passed to another organization.
  • If ownership of an open source product doesn’t matter, why does Oracle want to buy MySQL rather than forking it?
  • Would MySQL lose its teeth? Why would Oracle steer the database in ways that could affect its commercial market?

The website asks all concerned contributers, developers, distributors to sign a petition to ensure future innovation related to MySQL and safeguard the database as a major competitive force. You do not have long: the petition will be formally presented to regulators, other government bodies, parliaments and journalists on January 4, 2010 (although updates will be posted in the coming months).

According to the statistics at the time of writing, over 13,500 signatures have been received so far. Widenius’ blog reports that, of the answers received so far, just 0.7% of respondents stated they trust Oracle with MySQL. The remaining 99.3% have concerns and either want further commitments from Oracle or MySQL divested to a suitable third-party.

If you are worried about Oracle’s ownership of MySQL, sign the petition and have your say.

Will regulators be swayed by this petition? Should Oracle be permitted to own MySQL? Will the takeover harm database competition? Comments welcome…

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  • me!

    Save mysql!

  • http://www.ryvondesigns.com RyvonDesigns

    This could become an interesting discussion. Some feel MySQL will be fine. “Monty” already has a fork created MariaDB although it is not in as wide use and is not a feature-full. The sale of MySQL in 2008 placed him among the top 10 earners in Finland in 2008. Some developers suggest that they will switch to whatever DB becomes the most widely used among the hosting companies if Oracle does kill MySQL.

    This will certainly be interesting to see the outcomes.

    Pam
    Ryvon

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    Craig,
    Thanks for highlighting this topic again… The website Monty set up has a lot of interesting info in the FAQ section too that discusses some of Oracle’s motivations behind the acquisition that I hadn’t thought of and none of them particularly good for those of us who rely on the MySQL database.

    I signed the petition the other day because regardless of Oracle’s intent, I think it’s important for MySQL to remain out of the hands of one of the top 3 closed source database corps.

  • jacobian

    well when oracle bought sun microsystem I knew this would happen. they would acquire mysql too because mysql is the only think that stand in their way of selling business.

    there is no solution I think apart from giving petition :-)

    my_blog

  • JoshTime

    If you care about MySQL, please sign the petition.

    I just did.

  • http://www.daniliants.com ArtemD

    I personally wouldn’t miss MySQL if it was gone. There are better OpenSource alternatives available anyway.

  • jyotika

    I wanna do MySQL thanks for the information

  • Anonymous

    it’s = it is

  • http://www.mortier.ca/ Ryan Mortier

    @ArtemD

    [blockquote]I personally wouldn’t miss MySQL if it was gone. There are better OpenSource alternatives available anyway.[/blockquote]

    Care to list a few?

  • http://logicearth.wordpress.com logic_earth
  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    Care to list a few?

    I second that. PostgreSQL, Firebird, and SQLite all have their good points, but none come close to the popularity and widespread distribution of MySQL. Besides, what’s the harm in having a strong MySQL as an option?

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    That list only reinforces my concern… Only 5 of those in the list are licensed under the GPL and only one (SQLite) offers the same operating system support.

  • http://www.mortier.ca/ Ryan Mortier

    @logic_earth

    Thats a list of all RDMS.
    Which ones are Open Source and better than MySQL?

  • www.sumsera.com

    Interesting to see what Automattic (WordPress mother company) is going to do – they will have an ‘issue’ if MySQL wouldn’t be open anylonger – just like the plugin developers – plus a few hosting companies that host WordPress sites… And some bloggers…

    Other than that I believe Monty is playing a very ‘confusing’ role (to say it politely): he sells a free product (hardly any sales) for a whopping $1 Billion, 2 years ago. And now he cries wolf? For a fraction of his fortune he can develop MySQL2.0 – maybe he is not allowed to? But he can always support a new initiative? Instead he comes up with a petition site…

    I will sign, and send it to my clients etc. but I would like to see my questions answered anyway.

  • SpacePhoenix

    MySQL could always be developed as an open source RDMS basing it on whatever version is the last open source one.

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    @sumsera, I don’t believe Monty is ‘crying wolf’ all of a sudden. The sale of MySQL to SUN is a completely different ball of wax than a sale to Oracle. Oracle is perhaps the most aggressive proprietary large software company in existence if you look at their history. Love them or not, you have to be concerned about them getting their hands on the database that overwhelming powers the majority of the internet’s dynamic websites and frameworks. More on that is available at the website

    Also, Monty does have another OSS database project called MariaDB. More info on his Blog. I don’t think he could call it MySQL 2.0 as it would likely conflict with the MySQL trademark that SUN/Oracle holds.

    For those talking about forking the database and wondering about the issues, there’s more info at Monty’s Blog.

    Pretty good reading actually.

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    @USPatriot: Thanks for being consistent with the quality of your written contributions. I suppose you expect OPEC and the Big 3 to solve our dependency on oil for transport too.

  • ses

    Brilliant, put yet another spanner in the works delaying Oracle’s acquisition of Sun and therefore jeopardising all of Sun’s products including Java which is in my view much more important than MySQL.

    At the end of the day business decisions are all about compromise, sometimes you have to sacrifice certain things in order to save others. The more the buy-out of Sun by Oracle is delayed the more damage could potentially occur, to take it to an extreme Oracle may never actually complete the purchase of Sun and then the future is bleak for all Sun technologies.

  • http://brianswebdesign.com skunkbad

    I don’t think we have anything to worry about.

  • http://www.daniliants.com ArtemD

    @Ryan Mortier: I think PostgreSQL is great/better alternative to MySQL. It has good license, a lot of good features (some are more advance the their MySQL counterparts) and is very well supported across many different programming languages.

  • balaswamy vaddeman

    I do not understand the business much,why they(Oracle ) have acquired mysql and all those stuff but I want to see mysql as major open source database technology,because I love open source technologies ,let us hope the same.
    good luck monty.

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    PostgreSQL is great. So is MySQL. There’s no harm in having a choice.

    As Michael Widenius has pointed out, Oracle have been insistent on acquiring MySQL. They could have opted to buy Java, VirtualBox, OpenOffice and all Sun’s other technologies without MySQL – that would have pleased the regulators and led to a quick takeover. It’s possible MySQL is the main reason Oracle want Sun. If the deal is blocked because of database competition concerns it’ll be interesting to see whether they abandon Sun or change the terms of the deal.

    A little under 20,000 people have now signed the petition.

  • www.sumsera.com

    @ awasson: I tried to understand Monty’s ratio by reading his blog and I’m even more confused than before: yes, you can fork the current MySQL, but then you don’t have the developers community and as a building block for companies that use MySQL now in their closed apps? Why not? Fork/clone it today, rebrand it to yourSQL, inform the community and carry on as open source/GPL. Then let Oracle have MySQL (up to version Jan 5, 2010) and have them develop it further, source-close it or just wilt…

    I believe he is crying wolf as he made GOOD money out of it (rightfully so, good for him!), but now he wants to ‘save’ his baby? Didn’t his lawyers advise him? He should ask his money back! Either he should have included the terms that mySQL should stay open indefinitely (even if Sun were to be sold!) – resulting in probably less money for himself, or just accept the bounty and move on – as he does with mariaDB it seems, but which is then still not the same as MySQL (beats me, but no clear explanation on his blog). I personally believe this is his pet-project: getting exposure for ‘the cause’ (and himself), many meetings with politicians, rubbing shoulders – kinda like Bono and Geldoff – hitting it big and now seeking recognition within the ‘establishment’ by preaching how unfair this materialistic world is… Not very sincere or trustworthy…

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    @www.sumsera.com
    MySQL can be forked, but it’s likely to lead to confusion. It would take a long time for “yourSQL” to become established. Developers need platforms they can rely on in the long term: forking could kill MySQL.

    Monty is not concerned about Oracle buying Sun or MySQL ending up in someone else’s hands. But Oracle acquiring MySQL another matter. They are a commercial database provider and killing MySQL (by development starvation or market confusion) would be to their benefit.

    Would you trust Microsoft if they acquired OpenOffice? Would you trust Apple if they acquired Android? Would you trust Google if they acquired Firefox?

    The Oracle takeover probably won’t be all bad news, but it’s right for regulators to examine the plans and anyone should be able to express their concerns about the deal. Including Monty.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t see anyone arguing this as a good thing. As a developer that develops my own CMS and web apps using MySQL, there will be a lot of code that needs changing where I can’t simply upgrade a WordPress installation.

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    @ses:

    Brilliant, put yet another spanner in the works delaying Oracle’s acquisition of Sun and therefore jeopardising all of Sun’s products including Java which is in my view much more important than MySQL.

    Wouldn’t that be telling if Oracle decided to drop the SUN deal if they weren’t able to get MySQL. They would still get JAVA, the hardware business and the UNIX side. Why would they hold out or cancel the deal for MySQL?

    At the end of the day business decisions are all about compromise, sometimes you have to sacrifice certain things in order to save others. The more the buy-out of Sun by Oracle is delayed the more damage could potentially occur, to take it to an extreme Oracle may never actually complete the purchase of Sun and then the future is bleak for all Sun technologies.

    That sounds like a whole lot of old fashioned fear mongering going on. JAVA isn’t going anywhere and it could be argued that Oracle needs JAVA as much as anyone because their middleware is built in JAVA and they positioned the acquisition as being all about JAVA so they could own the middleware building blocks. Besides, if Oracle doesn’t acquire SUN then IBM will.

  • ses

    @awasson

    I can see where you’re coming from, but I still believe that in a relatively poor economical climate delaying such a deal is going to be damaging.

    Of course its true that Java is unlikely to be disappearing completely, but as a strong supporter of Java technologies I even see them taking a hit in terms of popularity (due to delayed development) as a bad thing.

    All it seems to come down to ultimately to me is a matter of how much you value MySQL, and what risk to it you assume Oracle buying it will have. To me it is obvious that Oracle would have a competitive advantage if the progress of MySQL was slowed, closed up or halted. But I also don’t place as much value in MySQL as it seems a lot of others here do, so I’d rather see the deal get pushed through sooner rather than later, particularly as the European Union are involved who based on previous behavior could delay it for much longer and I don’t trust anyway!

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    @ses

    Fair enough… I can see how from a JAVA developer’s point of view this it’s a bit like 2-bits holding up 5-bucks. I also see how the economy could be putting pressure on the situation but long term regulators (EU/DOJ) should guard against rash decisions without making sure that something as widely depended on doesn’t become extinct at the hands of a predatory business. From a purely business perspective, I wouldn’t blame Oracle for removing competition but once it’s gone, it’s gone.

  • Jeff

    No monopoly !
    We need open-source!
    We need MySQL!
    Oracle Go Away!!

  • ctx2002

    i do not undertand this “save mysql” petition.
    this is a normal business case, a company bought “Mysql”, so what?

    if your guys do not trust oracle, go for other Db.

    “If Oracle buys MySQL as part of Sun, database customers will pay the bill.” (from http://www.helpmysql.org/en/theissue/customerspaythebill)

    above statement just laughable, “pay the bill” :), lol, so where can i found a DB which customer not pay the bill.

    the “Monty” guy just want to save “Mysql” for his own interest.

    by the way, there are so many free DBs out there in market.

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    @ctx2002: There’s more to it than that but perhaps non techies don’t understand that changing databases isn’t as easy as flipping a switch.

    I would wager that MySQL is used in the majority of dynamic websites on the internet. I’m sure there are metrics somewhere that we can refer to to see what the approximate numbers are. All the same it’s going to run into the millions. There are also desktop and enterprise wide apps that use MySQL. According to the MySQL website over 100 million copies have been downloaded or distributed and that’s an easy number to believe considering that almost every apache host offers it and so do many windows hosts.

  • willthiswork

    @ctx2002

    i do not undertand this “save mysql” petition.
    this is a normal business case, a company bought “Mysql”, so what?

    Then please read this
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Community_competition_law
    which might help you “undertand”

    if your guys do not trust oracle, go for other Db.

    The day EU will say Oracle doesn’t need to take any action to grant MySQL users, I will switch to Postgres.
    In the meanwhile I claim my rights as a european citizen. Do you mind?

    the “Monty” guy just want to save “Mysql” for his own interest.

    What is his interest? He already got the money. Can you expand on this topic or it is just another bullshit?

    by the way, there are so many free DBs out there in market.

    until they make into mainstream and Oracle tries to buy them. And moreover what does this have to do with this topic?
    =============
    @ses

    But I also don’t place as much value in MySQL as it seems a lot of others here do

    I don’t agree with your point of view but I respect it. At least is not mis-informed or just a bunch of idiotic sentences.