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Sign-Up to Save MySQL?

By Craig Buckler

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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…

Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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