MySQL founder calls for protests against Oracle takeover

The founder of the popular MySQL database is calling for people to protest against Oracle's attempted takeover of Silicon Valley based Sun Microsystems. Michael Widenius says that the European Commission must block the deal in order to secure the future of MySQL, which was purchased by Sun in 2008.

The open source database system, which powers millions of websites across the Internet, was sold to Sun in 2008 for $1 billion. However, when Sun recently got into financial difficulties they became the subject of a $7.4 billlion takeover by Oracle.

"I just don't buy it that Oracle will be a good home for MySQL," Widenius wrote on his blog. He added that MySQL is "used in many of the world's largest companies and they use it for an increasing number of purposes."

"This not only scares but actually hurts Oracle every day."

According to the Guardian
, European regulators are concerned as to whether the deal would give Oracle too much control over the lucrative database market. Competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, has said she intends to examine the situation "very carefully".

Widenius now believes people in Europe need to protest the takeover to their local representatives in order to prevent the take over which was approved in the US.

"I have spent the last 27 years creating and working on MySQL and I hope, together with my team of MySQL core developers, to work on it for many more years. With your support there is a good chance that the European Commission (from which Oracle needs approval) could prevent this from happening or demand Oracle to change the terms... Without your support it might not. The EC is our last big hope because the US government approved the deal."

The US justice department, who approved the merger last month, said that the deal is "unlikely to be anti-competitive" because MySQL is open source, meaning that anybody could create a "fork" or "spin-off" of MySQL outside of Oracle's control.

Despite this, Widenius still thinks Oracle would find a way to shut down MySQL and prevent it from competing with their own proprietary system.

"A fork is not enough to keep MySQL alive for all future, if Oracle - as the copyright holder - would at any point decide that they should kill MySQL."

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Hm... Maybe I'm missing something, but what say does the EU have in the merger of two US companies? It seems odd to me. Does the US have a say in what goes on in Europe? Something tells me they'd be in trouble if they tried to assert themselves like that...

In the massive anti-Micrsoft movement, Sun & Oracle were shoving more FUD about Microsoft than virtually any other company. To this day, many of the 'evil' Microsoft rumors comes from several Oracle CEO FUD keynotes that talked more about Microsoft than their own products.

Strangely, Oracle got a lot of support from the OSS and anti-Microsoft crowd, many of us in the industry were going, um, Microsoft looks like Elmo compared to Oracle and the crap they have pulled over the years.

So here we are, and Oracle is doing what they always do. They have a history of lockin, crap products with virtually stolen technologies. People being 'trained' just to run database software should have been the first clue that Oracle doesn't give a crap about anyone. Sadly people are invested in Oracle 'commands' and 'ways' to the point it has crippled their CIS/Database scope of the world. (MSSQL at the very least had protocol and SQL 'standards' that were not contrary to the rest of the industry.)

I wish people would have paid attention, and at least noticed that Oracle was putting more energy into taking down Microsoft than actually making good products or technology. This was a sickness beyond business and a sign of the thinking/direction at Oracle.

(One reason Oracle hated Microsoft was for MSSQL. MSSQL was a technology backend with a new model that the industry was moving to (as MYSQL and the whole Internet is based on), making it easy and possible to use any application to access MSSQL data and not be an Oracle guru just to enter records, as was the standard in the late 80s early 90s with Oracle built solutions.)

Anyway, for all the OSS and anti-Microsoft people that cheered on Oracle, sadly karama is happening.

This sounds like a good thing to me. As i do alot of Oracle and normal MYSQL, and i would love to see basically some Oracle specific commands make it's way into MYSQL etc.

I don't see why the deal should be blocked.
It would suck if Oracle killed MySQL even if it can be forked (losing brand recognition and corporate support), but there's still postgreSQL.

The whole notion that the deal should be blocked because of MySQL is ludicrous. I sympathies with the users and developers of MySQL. I use to be a user of MySQL, and actually my webpage still uses it as a backend. But the truth of the matter is Oracle won't have a monopoly by acquiring Sun. Larger deals that affected more people than this have gone through. I'm sure if Oracle can site other mergers/buyouts as precedence on the issue they will win out.

Only the EU would be dumb enough to do this.. that's right up there with making MS Included a ballot screen for the default browser because IE comes included with Windows and apparently Europeans are too stupid to know that IE != The Internet, or that there are other browsers out there...


Though I have to ask, what can the EU really do ? Oracle and Sun are both American Companies, I don't see how the EU could stop their merger.

Ryoken said,
Only the EU would be dumb enough to do this.. that's right up there with making MS Included a ballot screen for the default browser because IE comes included with Windows and apparently Europeans are too stupid to know that IE != The Internet, or that there are other browsers out there...


Though I have to ask, what can the EU really do ? Oracle and Sun are both American Companies, I don't see how the EU could stop their merger.


If they in anyway want to trade in Europe, they will be forced to accept whatever the EU's judgement is.

I see people are already following the "if you don't like it just cry to the EU until you get your way" method. It's pathetic but effective.

C_Guy said,
I see people are already following the "if you don't like it just cry to the EU until you get your way" method. It's pathetic but effective.

It is rather sad isn't it? Because the EU will see a company that has money and they'll either want some of that, or in some way hurt them. lol

If it's that important to you and you're passionate about it why sell it in the first place and then now you are whining. Or am I missing something here?

Well, I'm not 100% sure it is that simple.

The first problem will be rebranding the software. MySQL is a known IP. Others might branch the code, but it could go in multiple directions with less-well-known names.

I'm not sure what the deal with SUN is. When SUN bought MySQL they may have also bought the employees. Now Oracle is coming in, and they may make the employees who were working on MySQL agreements that say they can no longer work on MySQL even on their spare time because of the conflict of interest to what Oracle is. I might be way off here, I dunno. It would be similar to someone with insider info on MS SQL Server donating their free time to improve MySQL. As an employee you can't work on a competitors product, generally.

Shadrack said,
Well, I'm not 100% sure it is that simple.

The first problem will be rebranding the software. MySQL is a known IP. Others might branch the code, but it could go in multiple directions with less-well-known names.

I'm not sure what the deal with SUN is. When SUN bought MySQL they may have also bought the employees. Now Oracle is coming in, and they may make the employees who were working on MySQL agreements that say they can no longer work on MySQL even on their spare time because of the conflict of interest to what Oracle is. I might be way off here, I dunno. It would be similar to someone with insider info on MS SQL Server donating their free time to improve MySQL. As an employee you can't work on a competitors product, generally.



It is that simple. If he didn't want it to end up in this position he could have not sold it in the first place... Pretty simple...

You can't complain that your friend is selling your bike to the kid you don't like after you sold it to your friend. He owns it and he can do with it what he pleases.

ArKeYa said,
If it's that important to you and you're passionate about it why sell it in the first place and then now you are whining. Or am I missing something here?

He stayed on the project it seems. So he may have sold for the same reason some companies merge. He felt that the project could benefit from the financial investment a company like Sun could make. He likely couldn't make such an investment (It was rather substantial). So this sale may have made many things possible that otherwise wouldn't have been.

Oracle won't kill MySQL. More likely, they will evolve it to become a (free) mini-Oracle, that works with their Oracle tools, so that people will adopt it, and once they grow, basically become locked in to Oracle products and are forced to upgrade to the expensive and more powerful Oracle DBMS.

Microsoft does the same thing with SQL Express and SQL Server. This just puts Oracle on a more even footing with MS, as they didn't have anything free (or even cheap?) to compete with SQLEx.

I would bet there's actually more development on MySQL (at least short-term) as they work to do this. Expect MySQL to become much more compatible with Oracle.

y_notm said,
Microsoft does the same thing with SQL Express and SQL Server. This just puts Oracle on a more even footing with MS, as they didn't have anything free (or even cheap?) to compete with SQLEx.

Actually, Oracle has something very similar to SQL Express. It's called "Oracle Express"... Wonder where that name came from. It has the exact same limitations as SQL Express - 1CPU, 1Gb RAM, and 4Gb DB size.

I don't think that Oracle would even change the MySQL name.

If they even buy MySQL, we are most likely going to see something like "MySQL, An Oracle Compagny".

However, MySQL is THE DB. Any good publicist would tell you that you shouldn't even think changing this name.

Would you change Microsoft's name? Or Apple?

Joey H said,
Actually, Oracle has something very similar to SQL Express. It's called "Oracle Express"... Wonder where that name came from. It has the exact same limitations as SQL Express - 1CPU, 1Gb RAM, and 4Gb DB size.

I didn't know about Oracle Express... Then I would imagine they will kill off MySQL, as all it is is something competing with their product.

Miked. said,
I don't think that Oracle would even change the MySQL name.

If they even buy MySQL, we are most likely going to see something like "MySQL, An Oracle Compagny".

However, MySQL is THE DB. Any good publicist would tell you that you shouldn't even think changing this name.

Would you change Microsoft's name? Or Apple?

Who said anything about them changing the name? They'll likely transition those users into Oracle's database solutions, and then kill it off...

"I have spent the last 27 years creating and working on MySQL"

While I appreciate the work he has done, he sold it and made a nice profit I'm sure. That said, Oracle owning MySQL smells very bad and you just can not trust a big company where profits come before anything else.

I wouldn't say that you can't trust a big company just because they are a big company. I don't trust Oracle, but that has more to do with their management and philosophy than the fact that they're a big company...

"The US justice department, who approved the merger last month, said that the deal is "unlikely to be anti-competitive" because MySQL is open source, meaning that anybody could create a "fork" or "spin-off" of MySQL outside of Oracle's control."

That must be one of the stupidest things I have ever read. MySQL has the market share, the name, the image, (...). It's not because of being open source that someone will create another fork to magically gain all of that.

Frazell Thomas said,
I usually don't agree with them, but the US DOJ is right. If the community wants a alternative MySQL they can do just that... Fork it.

Agreed. But this new service would be starting from scratch as it wouldn't have the name recognition. That's trusting current MySQL users to search out and find your fork and start using your service. That in itself could kill a project this large...

Manmohanjit Singh said,
If MySQL is no more opensoruce, its a big problem for all :(

They can't close off the source given to them.

It is not the end of the world.

Eben Moglin has it right.

The GPL was designed specifically to ensure the permanent freedom of software, and the ability of everyone to improve and share their improvements to the program, no matter who acquires the copyrights to the code

Probably a futile effort. Oracle has been wanting this for a long time. And though it will take time, there's no question that Oracle will neglect MySQL and essentially kill it off.

boogerjones said,
Probably a futile effort. Oracle has been wanting this for a long time. And though it will take time, there's no question that Oracle will neglect MySQL and essentially kill it off.

They can neglect it. But the code is open and can be taken up by any interested party. Netscape became Phoenix and then Firefox because Netscape released their code.

MySQL can become NuSQL or whatever. The code cannot be killed. Only the name.

Maybe they need to add some new clause's to the GPL to prevent this kind of dastadly commercial maneuvering happening in the furture

... but at the end of the day the GPL will always ensure the that mysql is free software.... .. even if you have download from some dead archive and compile it yourself.

4. Commitment to enhance MySQL in the future under the GPL. Oracle shall continue to enhance MySQL and make subsequent versions of MySQL, including Version 6, available under the GPL. Oracle will not release any new, enhanced version of MySQL Enterprise Edition without contemporaneously releasing a new, also enhanced version of MySQL Community Edition licensed under the GPL. Oracle shall continue to make the source code of all versions of MySQL Community Edition publicly available at no charge.

6. ... During each of the next three years, Oracle will spend more on research and development (R&D) for the MySQL Global Business Unit than Sun spent in its most recent fiscal year (USD 24 million) preceding the closing of the transaction.

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Or...CL-1090000.html