Open Source Going Strong Despite SCO Suits

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-04-16

Open Source Going Strong Despite SCO Suits

Open-source use is going strong, in spite of a spate of lawsuits brought by the SCO Group Inc. According to a new report from Forrester Research Inc., a full 60 percent of respondents said theyre currently using or plan to use open-source technology.

Forrester surveyed 140 large North American companies on their open-source plans and found that MySQL ABs open-source database was high on respondents project lists, with 52 percent of respondents reporting that theyre now using it or plan to use it.

Thats exactly what MySQL Co-founder Michael "Monty" Widenius is going after: namely, getting MySQL into more developers hands and into a greater geographical distribution, running more applications and on a wide array of devices such as PDAs, he told in an exclusive interview when he was in Orlando, Fla., for the MySQL user conference this week.

To read the full interview with MySQL co-founder and CTO Monty Widenius, click here.

Next page: Widenius outlines his goals for the company.

Widenius Goals

"One of the goals I have for MySQL is that it should be everywhere—geographically, in all kinds of devices and with all kinds of applications," he said. "This means that we must have a flexible design, and it should be easy to configure a MySQL server to work in a lot of different environments. The handheld is just one such environment.

"The challenge with a handheld is that the database should not take up a lot of memory, and it should be trivial to move data into and out from the handheld. Its a technical challenge to do this in a portable, efficient and easy-to-use way.

"I bought a little video/MP3 player that I took with me on the plane from Finland to Orlando, and even if its a very nice toy, I was missing an embedded relational database in it, as the device would then be so much easier to use—and thus more useful for me."

Experts say the momentum to adopt open-source databases is being fueled by commoditization of databases, as vendors such as MySQL offer low-cost, feature-lean versions of pricier databases.

In addition, the company this week released its MySQL Cluster database technology—a move that analysts say sends a clear message that the open-source database maker is intent on cracking the enterprise.

Next page: The commoditized market is bringing databases to the masses, Widenius says.

Evolving Database Market

"I think there is a sea change in the database market," Widenius told "Were serving a market that was really not being served previously. Theres a portion of the market that is commoditized, and thats what were focused on serving—bringing databases to the masses.

"The database market has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, and it continues to change," Widenius continued. "The days are over when most companies created their own, homegrown database solutions. Now, they are instead regarding databases as a commodity and buying, using them as such.

"Databases are also moving to new areas where they were not used before—home entertainment systems, PDAs, consumer devices, etc. The database market is also changing because databases are becoming less expensive and easier to use, which also helps to enlarge the user base."

Analysts think MySQLs dead-set on breaking into the enterprise. Click here to get their take on MySQL Cluster.

According to Forresters report, titled "Open Source Moves into the Mainstream," databases and data marts are not only popular as open-source products; theyre also the second-most-common workload to run on top of open-source platforms, with 47 percent of respondents claiming that theyre now running such a configuration.

Oracles brushing off the idea that tiny MySQL could be a threat. Click here for Oracles take via Ken Jacobs, Oracles vice president of product strategy.

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