Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Dean Madison, Elizabeth White, Rene Buest, Stackify Blog

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. 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 bus...
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...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. 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 ov...