Oracle Applications Users Group Supports Acquisition of Sun

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-12-01

People continue to line up on both sides of the Oracle/Sun Microsystems-versus-European Commission dispute about the future of MySQL.

The Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), the world's largest knowledge base for Oracle applications users, said Dec. 1 that it has sent a letter to the European Commission supporting the acquisition of Sun, which owns the source code and steers the development community of MySQL, Oracle's largest open-source competitor.

The commission, which serves as the law enforcement body of the European Union, is due to make a decision Jan. 27, 2010, about whether to sanction the $7.4 billion acquisition, so Oracle can continue to do business in the 27 EU countries. Oracle does about 20 percent of its business in that market.

In the letter, OAUG President Raymond Payne wrote that Oracle's acquisition of Sun would simplify the integration process associated with merging several technologies, supporting all activities, from hardware to the operating system to middleware to the applications and the database. This would strongly benefit any company or organization working with Oracle-related products, Payne wrote.

 "Our international users group strongly believes Oracle consistently maintains and enhances the use of open standards and expects a continued commitment to these principles with regard to MySQL and other products in the Sun family," Payne wrote. "Oracle's commitment and continued contributions to the open source community have turned Open Source products into stable and viable solutions for enterprise businesses. Oracle's acquisition of Sun will be no exception to its usual sound acquisition process."

In contrast to the EC's current opinion, Payne wrote that the OAUG believes the transaction "will only increase competition and innovation. The OAUG also believes that no one benefits from further delay that unwarranted uncertainty may bring regarding the European Commission's decision on whether or not to allow the acquisition to occur."

Oracle is scheduled to argue its case Dec. 10 to EC commissioners that annexing Sun would not materially affect the world's enterprise parallel database market. The European-born MySQL database is an important component in running enterprise Websites.

On Nov. 11, the 20,000-member Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) sent their own letter to EC Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes making it clear they support the sale. Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos has come out in favor of the acquisition, saying that MySQL's open-source community will keep it an independent technology.

Others do not agree. In October, digital civil liberties organization Open Rights Group, Knowledge Ecology International, and free and open-source software activist Richard Stallman told the EC they are concerned about Oracle's possible squashing of competition in the database market.

Florian Mueller, an open-source activist and former MySQL business adviser who is lobbying for MySQL creator Michael (Monty) Widenius, has been a high-visibility opponent of the deal. He and Widenius believe that Oracle owning MySQL through its acquisition of Sun is a colossal conflict of interest, since Oracle would become the new owner of its biggest open-source competitor.

Oracle CEO and founder Larry Ellison doesn't see it this way at all, saying at the recent Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco that "MySQL in no way competes with our databases. It has its own market and following. The main competitor is Microsoft [SQL Server], and that's OK by us."

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