Tuesday, 21 April 2009

What hasn't changed with MySQL

Jetlagged from transatlantic travel, I woke up in the middle of the Californian night thinking about what has changed since I arrived at the MySQL Conference in Santa Clara on Sunday evening. I was pondering all the questions MySQL users and Sun colleagues were asking at the event, and what the user base was thinking out loud on Twitter yesterday.

What has changed is obviously that Sun Microsystems and Oracle announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun.

What further changes we will see as a result of that is a different story. Evidently, I don't sit in with a crystal ball predicting what will happen next. Nor do I have insight into Oracle's plans for MySQL, once the deal is closed. Nor am I even in a position to comment upon the acquisition, so I won't do it.

However, what I do know and what I can say is what has not changed with MySQL:

  1. There still is a huge base of MySQL users out there. They have economic interests that are independent of whoever owns MySQL. The users in the MySQL community come in all flavors, ranging from casual users to those who intimately know the inner workings of MySQL and have contributed to the code base.

  2. There still is a huge talent pool of MySQL experts in Sun Microsystems, in Support, in Consulting, in Training, in Engineering, in other parts of Sun. They have a strong loyalty towards the MySQL users they have served over many years.

  3. MySQL is still licensed under the GPL. The GPL license used to form a safety net for the users not certain about whether MySQL AB would follow the spirit of Open Source. It continued to be so with Sun Microsystems. And the Open Source license continues to provide a safety net for its user base, regardless of the owner of MySQL.

  4. MySQL has founders, one in particular, who still haven't fallen off the face of the planet. Moreover, their passion for MySQL and its users continues.

  5. Sun Microsystems still is a separate legal entity, practising what's known as "business as usual". This is familiar to MySQLers from the time between Sun's acquisition of MySQL was announced mid-January 2008 to the closing at the end of February 2008. During the period between announcement and closing, we continue to behave as separate entities, even competing with each other.

  6. Part of Business as Usual is a number of product announcements at the MySQL Conference this week. I'm looking forward to these!

While I cannot and will not personally speculate about what happens next, nor about Oracle's intentions with MySQL, I think our users are looking to what the names most inimately associated with MySQL are saying -- even if they no longer work for Sun Microsystems:

  • First, MÃ¥rten Mickos, MySQL AB's former CEO and long-time SVP at Sun, has several positive comments in his Forbes interview "Why Oracle Won't Kill MySQL".

  • Second, Michael "Monty" Widenius, MySQL AB's co-founder, also finds many positive things to say in his blog statement "To be (free) or not to be (free)".

My humble suggestions: Keep using MySQL! Follow the announcements from the MySQL Conference this week! Keep helping each other within the MySQL community!



  1. Interesting collection of reflections on the reality of the current situation!

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