SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Zakia Bouachraoui, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Release Management , Recurring Revenue

@CloudExpo: Article

Oracle+MySQL Opponents Take to the Barricades

Monty Widenius thinks that Oracle shouldn’t have his baby

MySQL Journal on Ulitzer

Monty Widenius, the creator of the MySQL open source database – which is apparently all that stands between Oracle and its acquisition of Sun – thinks that Oracle shouldn’t have his baby and that the European Commission – whose investigation into MySQL has put the Oracle-Sun merger in limbo – should force Oracle to spit it out to another company.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a guy with a collector’s temperament not given to letting things that belong to him go, has said he wants to keep MySQL and has claimed to be watching Sun’s revenue plunge by $100 million a month while he waits for the EC to finish its probe, a exercise that could take well into January.

MySQL isn’t supposed to be why Larry shocked everybody and offered $7.4 billion for poor down-on-its-heels Sun back on April 20. Sticking it to IBM was probably something he relished and with Java, Solaris and Sun servers Oracle can take a run at turning into an enterprise version of Apple. Larry always did have a lot of regard for Apple.

But Oracle also had a certain yen to own MySQL and before Sun up and spent a billion dollars buying the joint, Oracle made a pass at buying it for itself. Maybe it did mean to roll over on it and smother it as some people say but – and we have this on very good authority – Monty was all for selling out to Oracle so it’s kind of odd now that he’s trying to foment resistance to the idea of Oracle and MySQL being together at last.

Monty says the European Commission is “absolutely right to be concerned” about Oracle getting its hands on MySQL and has taken it into his head that Oracle should commit to selling MySQL to a “suitable third party” to resolve the imagined antitrust impasse and potential conflict of interest (http://monty-says.blogspot.com).

If nothing else Larry is doubtlessly committed to the idea of keeping MySQL out of third party’s hands, especially since those hands might in all likelihood belong to, oh, say, Red Hat, VMware or Google.

To raise the hue and cry and lobby the EC to stop Oracle from getting MySQL Monty has tied up with one of the best rabble-rousers in Europe, Florian Mueller, late of the campaign to stop software patents in the EU.

According to Mueller, “Every day that passes without Oracle excluding MySQL from the deal is further evidence that Oracle just wants to get rid of its open source challenger and that the EU’s investigation is needed to safeguard innovation and customer choice. This is highly critical because the entire knowledge-based economy is built on databases.”

Mueller helped Monty prepare to testify before the EC on the anti-competitive impact of Oracle owning MySQL back in August and has apparently been poking a stick in the ribs of regulators in Russia, China, South Korea, South Africa, Switzerland and maybe Canada to get them to sit up and pay attention.

He’s also gotten easily provoked consumer advocate Ralph Nader and Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman up in arms.

Stallman, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a social justice organization founded by Nader, and a UK-based thing called the Open Rights Group (ORG) sent an open letter to EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes Tuesday arguing against the Oracle-MySQL combine and claiming that forking, which was previously Monty’s fallback position, isn’t a viable option to ensure competition in the marketplace, contrary to what defenders of the proposed takeover claim.

The letter claims that “Oracle seeks to acquire MySQL to prevent further erosion of its share of the market for database software licenses and services, and to protect the high prices now charged for its proprietary database software licenses and services.

“If Oracle is allowed to acquire MySQL, it says, “it will predictably limit the development of the functionality and performance of the MySQL software platform, leading to profound harm to those who use MySQL software to power applications.”

The letter lays out their objections in detail:

“Defenders of the Oracle acquisition of its competitor naively say Oracle cannot harm MySQL, because a free version of the software is available to anyone under GNU GPL version 2.0, and if Oracle is not a good host for the GPL version of the code, future development will be taken up by other businesses and individual programmers, who could freely and easily ‘fork’ the GPL’d code into a new platform. This defense fails for the reasons that follow.

“MySQL uses the parallel licensing approach to generate revenue to continue the FLOSS development of the software. If Oracle acquired MySQL, it would then be the only entity able to release the code other than under the GPL. Oracle would not be obligated to diligently sell or reasonably price the MySQL commercial licenses. More importantly, Oracle is under no obligation to use the revenues from these licenses to advance MySQL. In making decisions in these matters, Oracle is facing an obvious conflict of interest – the continued development of a powerful, feature-rich free alternative to its core product.

“As only the original rights holder can sell commercial licenses, no new forked version of the code will have the ability to practice the parallel licensing approach, and will not easily generate the resources to support continued development of the MySQL platform.

“The acquisition of MySQL by Oracle will be a major setback to the development of a FLOSS database platform, potentially alienating and dispersing MySQL's core community of developers. It could take several years before another database platform could rival the progress and opportunities now available to MySQL, because it will take time before any of them attract and cultivate a large enough team of developers and achieve a similar customer base.

“Yet another way in which Oracle will have the ability to determine the forking of MySQL relates to the evolution of the GNU GPL license. GPL version 2.0 (GPLv2) and GPL version 3.0 (GPLv3) are different licenses and each requires that any modified program carry the same license as the original. There are fundamental and unavoidable legal obstacles to combining code from programs licensed under the different GPL versions. Today MySQL is only available to the public under GPLv2.

“Many other FLOSS software projects are expected to move to GPLv3, often automatically due to the common use of the "any later version" clause. Because the current MySQL license lacks that clause, it will remain GPLv2 only and it will not be possible to combine its code with the code of many GPLv3-covered projects in the future. Given that forking of the MySQL code base will be particularly dependent on FLOSS community contributions - more so than on in-company development - the lack of a more flexible license for MySQL will present considerable barriers to a new forked development path for MySQL.

“We note that Oracle has been conspicuously silent about its plans for MySQL since the announcement of the Sun acquisition, until very recently. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, in the first public statement on the subject, insisted that Oracle will not spin-off MySQL after the merger and also made the outlandish claim that Oracle's product was not in competition with MySQL. While some merger defenders have suggested that the MySQL acquisition will bolster Oracle's position with respect to competition from Microsoft's SQL Server, it is naturally more likely that Oracle will prioritize protecting its core product, the Oracle proprietary database, from further erosion of market share and the shrinking of licensing fees, and this will most efficiently be accomplished by curbing the growth and improvement of the free version of MySQL.” See http://keionline.org/ec-mysql.

Mueller, by the way, who was a MySQL shareholder and so should have made out when Sun bought it, claims that “letting Oracle have MySQL is worse than putting the fox in charge of the henhouse because the hens are no threat to the fox while MySQL makes Oracle lose customers and forces it to grant discounts to customers threatening to defect.”

Ironically Mueller came by his MySQL stock because he was a strategy advisor of MySQL’s ex-CEO Marten Mickos. Mueller and Mickos now find themselves on opposite sides of the fence.

Mickos, an advocate of the fork-as-a-last-resort approach to the problem, recently wrote his own open letter to Kroes urging the EC to rubberstamp Oracle’s acquisition of Sun and MySQL with all possible haste claiming that further delay will blunt MySQL’s competitive edge and discourage venture capitalists from funding open source companies.

He was in Brussels last week testifying on behalf of the acquisition. He says he has no commercial or financial interests in MySQL, Sun or Oracle.

There are rumors of an EC deadline this week to decide whether to torture Sun and Oracle some more and keep the investigation going. Mueller, meantime, means to take his campaign to the press on both sides of the pond.

In August, he wrote a position paper that Monty Program Ab, Monty’s new company in Finland working on MariaDB, the Maria database storage engine and other MySQL-related technologies, provided to the EC. The latest version is at (ftp://ftp.askmonty.org/secret/COMP_M.5529_Req_to_protect_disruptive_inno...).

Oracle was clearly wrong not to anticipate problems with the EC and at least get the review process started sooner.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
Kubernetes as a Container Platform is becoming a de facto for every enterprise. In my interactions with enterprises adopting container platform, I come across common questions: - How does application security work on this platform? What all do I need to secure? - How do I implement security in pipelines? - What about vulnerabilities discovered at a later point in time? - What are newer technologies like Istio Service Mesh bring to table?In this session, I will be addressing these commonly asked ...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
Blockchain has shifted from hype to reality across many industries including Financial Services, Supply Chain, Retail, Healthcare and Government. While traditional tech and crypto organizations are generally male dominated, women have embraced blockchain technology from its inception. This is no more evident than at companies where women occupy many of the blockchain roles and leadership positions. Join this panel to hear three women in blockchain share their experience and their POV on the futu...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that pro...
DSR is a supplier of project management, consultancy services and IT solutions that increase effectiveness of a company's operations in the production sector. The company combines in-depth knowledge of international companies with expert knowledge utilising IT tools that support manufacturing and distribution processes. DSR ensures optimization and integration of internal processes which is necessary for companies to grow rapidly. The rapid growth is possible thanks, to specialized services an...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Docker and Kubernetes are key elements of modern cloud native deployment automations. After building your microservices, common practice is to create docker images and create YAML files to automate the deployment with Docker and Kubernetes. Writing these YAMLs, Dockerfile descriptors are really painful and error prone.Ballerina is a new cloud-native programing language which understands the architecture around it - the compiler is environment aware of microservices directly deployable into infra...