Oracle Cant Stifle Open-Source Databases

Opinion: The open-source database community is too resilient and diffuse for even Oracle to subvert, despite the sinister conspiracy theories swirling around the recent buyouts of Innobase and Sleepycat Software.

Oracle is out to stop the open-source movement. Specifically Oracle, is out to kill MySQL. This seems to be the mindset of the unseen, Slashdot-posting, no doubt Birkenstock-wearing group of open-source zealots concerning Oracles recent moves.

Actually, to be fair, when I spoke at the MySQL conference a few years ago, I didnt see a single pair of Birkenstocks.

In case youve missed it, Oracle late last year acquired Innobase, a tiny company that developed a transactional storage engine for the MySQL database.

Oracle also recently announced they had acquired Sleepycat Software, which like MySQL, supports a dual licensing strategy, but in support of Berkley DB.

To add fuel to the conspiracy theorists, Berkley DB also forms the basis for another storage engine that is an option for MySQL users requiring transactional support.

So Oracles plan is to destroy MySQL and the open-source database movement by eliminating the competitors ability to handle transactional workloads.

This move will keep MySQL marginalized at the fringes of corporate IT infrastructure doing things like massively cloned read-only chores, or so the logic goes.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read Lisa Vaas commentary on whether Oracle will use the Innobase buyout as a weapon.

This preserves Oracles proprietary place as the central database of record. This sounds plausible, doesnt it?

Im surprised the government hasnt launched a massive anti-trust investigation into this whole affair.

The flip side is that corporate users of MySQL do not seem to be all that upset or concerned about Oracles recent moves. No real surprise there, as MySQL has yet to take on anything approaching a mission critical status within the majority of Global 5000 corporate IT organizations.

More important is the fact that corporate users have different concerns. For them its all about stability, accountability and finally cost--usually in that order.

Certainly there are a great many smaller or not-for-profit organizations with very limited IT budgets that use MySQL or some other open source database out of necessity.

Not surprisingly, they are concerned that they will someday have to pay a licensing fee for something they have traditionally paid nothing for.

I would be the last one to fault a user for being skeptical of Oracles motives. Ive done too much work on Oracle licensing rules and their liberal use of the software audit as a sales tactic to not acknowledge that any healthy dose of skepticism towards Oracle is well deserved.

On the other hand, I have worked closely with Oracle over the past six years and as much as I hate to admit it (because its more fun to believe otherwise), they do not strike me as being an evil company.

Perhaps a bit stubborn at times and certainly guilty of drinking too much of their own marketing, Kool-Aid. But evil? I dont think so.

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