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Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:04 AM EDT

I had an opportunity to do an email interview with MySQL AB's CEO Marten Mickos this afternoon, and I learned some interesting things. I tried to ask the questions I thought you would want someone to ask, based on reading your comments and email. What stood out to me in his answers was the following:
  • no money went to SCO from MySQL, so MySQL is not supporting SCO financially
  • it was SCO seeking out the partnership, not the other way around
  • MySQL had stopped supporting SCO in 2004
  • MySQL did not put out the press release about the partnership. Mickos did provide a quotation for the press release however. Here's the press release in question, taken from MySQL's web site.

While Mickos portrays the deal as perhaps indicating SCO is softening toward Open Source, this is by no means the first time SCO has introduced FOSS applications, including GPLd applications, into its products. They didn't alter course as a result. Perhaps you recall the incident with Fyodor in 2004. And if you look at the ingredients of their latest offering, you find FOSS holding the SCO globe on its shoulders, a fact the media has taken note of. So Marten's optimistic interpretation that SCO approaching them means they possibly are softening on the GPL issue, or may in the future, is, in my view, precisely that, optimistic, at best. Of course, if SCO would like to surprise us by apologizing to Linus and the Linux community and promise to change its ways from this day forward, that would alter my opinion, but I'm not holding my breath. I think it's more likely SCO wanted MySQL to resume support, for their own business survival.

The partnership, according to eWeek, involves the commercial version of MySQL, not the GPL community one:

Although SCO Group Inc. is known for its IP (intellectual property) battles with IBM and Linux-related companies, the company has long used open-source programs in its operating systems.

OpenServer 6 already includes the Apache Web server, the Apache Tomcat JSP (Java Server Pages) server, the PostgreSQL DBMS and the MySQL Community Edition.

Since OpenServer 6 already supports the open-source version of MySQL, supporting the commercial version of MySQL should be a trivial technical operation.

In what way, then, would SCO partnering with MySQL mean they are softening toward the GPL? I asked Marten about that, and here's his answer: "It is a 'commercial' product in the same sense as Red Hat Network is. So it *is* based on GPL, but the subscription service is commercial."

I went to read a MySQL AB "Dispelling the Myths" page, and here is what they say about that issue:

MySQL Myth #6: “MySQL isn’t open source any more”

The truth: MySQL AB remains fully committed to open source. and is an active member of the open source community.

Because MySQL offers a dual-licensing model, some have claimed that MySQL isn’t truly open source. Such a claim is simply false as MySQL AB continues to fully make available its database server and ancillary components (connectors, GUI tools, etc.) in GPL form. Non-GPL open source projects that wish to link with MySQL client code can also do so, utilizing the MySQL FLOSS Licensing Exception ( For those wishing to embed MySQL within a closed source application distributed in the market, non-GPL (commercial) licenses are also available.

MySQL is an active member of the open source community and a leader in the fight against software patents (see External contributions from the open source community to MySQL are most welcome. Note that for the dual licensing business model to work, assignment of copyright is required if the submission is larger than a small bug-fix.

That isn't precisely what Red Hat does, as I understand it. As far as I can see, Red Hat Network is under the GPL, although the services are provided under a EULA.

One thing I think you'll agree: he answered all my questions honestly. Honesty is always refreshing, and he knew going in, because I was honest too, that I don't share his views in all particulars. With that introduction, here is the interview with Marten Mickos, so you can reach your own conclusions.


Groklaw: Some were offended by your public comments about your partnership with SCO. Were your comments inaccurately reported?

Mickos: Those are not my exact words but the thinking is correctly reported:

- we do want to serve all possible end-customers in the world

- we do think that by having an active dialogue you can accomplish more than by refusing contact

- we do think that the fact that SCO actively sought partnership with us might be a sign that they are ready to accept and embrace open source as a great thing

Groklaw: There has reportedly been VC money to MySQL recently. Where is the money from and did it influence your decision? Some wonder if Microsoft is at it again, funneling help to SCO via back doors, as they did in the PIPE money from BayStar.

Mickos: We brought in VC money last time in May 2003 - from Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures. No MSFT money then and no MSFT money now. [PJ: Here's the press release about the funding.]

Our VCs did not influence our decision to strike a deal with SCO.

Groklaw: You portray this as a business decision, but since SCO has very little business and it continues to decline, some are skeptical. What benefit is there to MySQL from this deal?

Mickos: I cannot disclose the details of the deal. I can tell you that the deal produces revenue to us.

And what do we do with revenue? We hire developers who produce GPL code. I don't want to sound hypocritical, but every penny that comes in the door contributes to our ability to produce more free and open source software.

Groklaw: I don't think anyone feels at all bothered by you supporting their customers. Most in the community believe in that, as do I. But why put out a press release with them about a partnership? It gave the appearance of supporting them as a company. Why does supporting customers require a partnership?

Mickos: We do not know the SCO customers directly, so SCO is our channel to the customers. It was (and is) in our interest to make those customers aware of the fact that they can now get MySQL on SCO with full support.

Database customers typically want to be assured that the channel (SCO in this case) is authorised and equipped to serve the customers. That's why we think "partnership" is a relevant term. DELL, HP, and Novell are also partners in this regard.

The actual press release was issued by SCO so the precise wording came from them. We did not issue a press release. [PJ: I followed up with a followup question, which elicited the information that Mickos did send them the quotation you find in the press release, so it wasn't the case that SCO issued the release without MySQL participation.]

Groklaw: Do you really believe that a partnership with you can alter SCO's course or way of thinking?

Mickos: Call me an optimist, but I do. I personally happen to disagree with SCO's action in relation to the lawsuits (such as initiating them in the first place).

But I also know that many of the people working for SCO are good people with good intentions. If I can help them build a real business that brings them even closer to their customers, then I believe that the mere presence of all that day-to-day business may influence the way they think about things. And even if our influence is only minimal, it is more than zero.

But note, also, that we don't specifically see it as our mandate to try to influence SCO through the partnership. If they ask for our viewpoints, we give them. And we did the deal primarily for business reasons, not because we would think we should or could influence them. So the influencing part is an add-on thing.

Make sense?

Groklaw: What is MySQL's position on the SCO litigation strategy, its attacks on Linux and Linus personally?

Mickos: As a company, we do not have a position on other companies' strategies. Our mandate as a company is to serve customers and thereby bring wealth to our owners, and that's it.

But in our conduct with other companies and organisations we do try to convey our philosophy and our corporate values. We think that by doing this, others will know what to expect from us. And if someone says or thinks "I like your style and I will adopt some of it" then we think that on a human scale we have accomplished even more.

If you are interested in our values, here is how I describe them:

- Care
- Performance
- Integrity
- Simplicity
- Freedom

The following text is from an internal pamphlet I am working on:


This value is the “we” thinking of our organisation – the spirit of MySQL, without which we would have no dreams and no joy.

First and foremost we care about each other – about the MySQL employees. This is not because we would be self-centric. It is because we think this is the best way to be able to serve customers and shareholders. If our employees are taken well care of and are given demanding challenges and expected to live up to them, everyone will benefit. “Care” does not mean pampering. It means offering a stimulating work environment where members of the team can together develop, thrive and reach self-actualisation. It is about providing positive feedback and about celebrating success. When that happens, all the rest is easy!


The performance value has its roots in the thinking of our founders. Monty and David from the start had an absolute devotion to creating the fastest possible software. They architected MySQL to have high performance - and that's what MySQL to a large extent is famous for. But it was not only performance in the sense of throughput in the database. It was also performance in the sense of low latency, and in the sense of powerful commands that saved the developer's or user's time. For instance, establishing and cutting a connection to the database server is very fast. And it is also performance in the sense of getting the work done in a timely fashion.


Integrity is something the world would need more of. If every human being had uncompromised integrity, we might perhaps have the same amount of conflict in the world, but we would have much less of cruelty, disappointment, resentment and bitterness.


The simplicity value is perhaps the least obvious one. Why is it important to strive for simplicity? Aren't there situations where complexity is needed and justified? For us, the answer is no. We have chosen a business model and an operational model in which we take complex issues and package them simplistically.

We relentlessly look for simplicity, but not just any simplicity. We seek the “simplicity on the far side of complexity”. This is the clarity you reach when you have thoroughly studied and understood the complex issue at hand. When that happens, you can create an abstraction layer which for your users and customers is simple although it is built on top of a complex issue. Or to borrow Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “Perfection is reached not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.”


Last but not least, the word freedom guides all actions we take. We are proponents of the freedom of software (as defined by the Free Software Foundation), and we are proponents of free markets and free competition in global markets.

On another plane, we have a desire to have freedom of thought and freedom of mind. We ask ourselves Why? and we ask Why Not? There are many wheels that already have been invented, and there is no use in reinventing them. But many other wheels are either outdated or have not been invented yet. This is where freedom of mind is useful. It allows us to find new solutions to problems old and new, and it allows us to build new types of technology and new types of business. It is the notion of focusing on opportunities rather than problems. This is what sets us apart from all our competitors.

Groklaw: Did you consider the feelings of the FOSS community, that supporting SCO financially enables them to persist in their course?

Mickos: Yes, we definitely considered the feelings of the FOSS community. We had a fairly long internal discussion. We also have a principle that our role is to "serve" more than to "please". We anticipated that some would be upset by this, but we were convinced that we were doing the right thing (serving) and that some day, and seen in a broader context, most people would respect our decision.

Note that we are NOT supporting SCO financially.

Groklaw: Since freedom is one of your core values, do you recognize that SCO's litigation strategy, had it been successful, would have reduced all FOSS users' freedoms? They are, after all, attacking not just Linux but the Open Source development method and the GPL. And if you do recognize that, why does it make sense to help them in any way, until the struggle is over?

Martens: Here is my logic.

FOSS is a high priority, but law and order even higher. So if SCO would win in court, then I would respect the court's ruling.

Groklaw: Your answer indicates you give credence to their claims. Is that correct?

Mickos: I don't give credence to their claims, but in the unlikely event a court of law would judge in their favour, I would have to respect that, wouldn't I?

Groklaw: My question had more to do with the question some ask, whether it is moral to help them fund the fight or help their image in any way, which also helps them fund the litigation.

Mickos: We are not funding their fight.

If we help their image, then I am flattered.

If you are implying that helping their image will influence the courts, then it may indicate that you don't really respect the objectivity of the courts, or? NOTE: I don't want to sound offensive and I am not accusing you of anything. I just try to demonstrate that I believe that we must see "image" as having no influence on the legal proceedings. And if that is so, then helping their image is not a bad thing to do. But then I also believe that you can't really help someone's image unless there is something good in it from the start.

Groklaw: I gather from your answer to another question that you are not paying them; they are paying you instead.

Mickos: Right.


Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos | 345 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:14 AM EDT
Talk about eating your hat. How'd it taste PJ? I'm sure this will get deleted
like my last few posts but it seems to me the bias and venom has lost it's
veneer of journalism.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Correktions Hear
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:14 AM EDT
As needed

--Bill P, not a lawyer. Question the answers, especially if I give some.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT links and stuff
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:16 AM EDT
Clickable links: <a href="">Like this</a>

--Bill P, not a lawyer. Question the answers, especially if I give some.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: dmarker on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:25 AM EDT

It seems to me that tSCOg are seeking to soften their image in the marketplace
by 'buying' cosiness with MySQL.

For MySQL once tSCOg made the approach, the dilema must have been will we been
seen as selling our soul and if so can we get away with it.

I think the noise level must be very unnerving for MySQL and IMHO rightly so.

Doug Marker

[ Reply to This | # ]

OpenServer 6 and database support
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:33 AM EDT
The keep this in perspective, SCO is losing support for it's products from partners. Take a look at and count the number of partners from previous OS versions versus OpenServer 6. How about searching for an enterprise database?

IBM is supporting db2 on linux. Oracle is touting their db on linux as well. Neither is supporting openserver 6. SCO dug their own grave, mysql isn't going to save them. SCO's support for open source applications is desperation. Linux is on the way up while SCO's products continue their death spiral.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Tricky Balance
Authored by: Weeble on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 01:39 AM EDT

I'm starting this as another thread rather than as a reply to the troll, since I have the suspicion that that thread is going to get nuked.

I'm not sure MySQL AB could have made a decision that wouldn't be criticized;

1) By not partnering with SCOG, it hurts users of SCO products who may be "locked in" via practical considerations who started with SCO products when they were being sold by the Santa Cruz Operation. And those folks are at least relatively innocent, IMHO.

2) By partnering with SCOG, it does add some credibility to their platform, meaning that some existing customers may choose to buy SCO OpenServer 6 rather than migrate to something else like Linux (though I doubt that it would be a "tipper" for migrating TO OpenServer). And in such a case, SCOG would get some $$ out of the deal, meaning that MySQL AB *is* indirectly funding SCOG by giving them business opportunities.

A question for those who keep up with SCOG financials; are profits from their Unix business REALLY slowing their steady slide to oblivion, considering the expenses of their litigation business (I know about the capped legal fees--I'm thinking of other expenses they have)? Will the profits keep SCOG alive even one extra month? Maybe two? Even that possibility is presuming that Novell's motions are denied and Novell doesn't eat their entire cash supply in one bite--putting them out of business instantly.

As a matter of principle, maybe MySQL AB should have refused to partner with SCOG. But as a practical matter, is it really going to make a difference in staving off SCOG's inevitable crashing, burning and implosion into a caldera? :)

I'm not trying to justify their decision; rather I'm wondering whether we may have bigger fish to fry.

You Never Know What You're Going to Learn--or Learn About--on Groklaw!
(NOTE: Click the "Weeble" link for Copying Permissions and Contact Info.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

much needed perspectives
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 01:44 AM EDT
Thank you for following through on the story and provide some answers to many
much debated questions.

I don't think this vindicates MySQL as some GPL champion, but certainly shows
many of the more rabid comments in the last MySQL to be exactly that, rabid

[ Reply to This | # ]

Hey, Marten Micklos did what Jonathan Schwartz didn't.
Authored by: Mecha on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 02:26 AM EDT
He answered questions. He answered important questions and shed some light on

We knew, but now we have more proof that SCO knows it is going to lose these
lawsuits (all of them). We also know that their reputation has been seriously
(and fatally) harmed by their actions. They look more like they are trying to
hold on to what ever they can. I must say I like their plan over the Microsoft
plan to hold on. Perhaps it is because, to SCO it is a very real possibility
and they see it. Where as Microsoft doesn't see it, or they think that they can
fight against the wind.

So, it looks to me that SCO is now doing damage control. However it is too
little too late.


I am not clever enough to write a good signature. So this will have to do.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 02:37 AM EDT
Santa Cruz/SCOG has been distributing Open Source and GPL software for many
years, and still is.

These MySQL are for OpenServer 5:

File: mysql-3.21.26-VOLS.tar 3892 KB 06/02/2001 12:00:00 AM
File: MySQL-4.0.18-VOLS.cpio 10002 KB 08/18/2004 12:00:00 AM
Directory: MySQL-4.1.10-VOLS.cpio 03/17/2005 12:00:00 AM

These for Unixware 7:

File: MyODBC-2.50.39.pkg 217 KB 05/06/2002 12:00:00 AM
File: MySQL-4.1.9.pkg 29578 KB 02/28/2005 12:00:00 AM
File: mysql-3.22.14b-gamma.pkg 6622 KB 06/02/2001 12:00:00 AM
File: mysql-3.22.30.pkg 5016 KB 06/02/2001 12:00:00 AM
File: mysql-3.23.49.pkg 8104 KB 06/02/2002 12:00:00 AM

They included full CDs of this software with distributions or separately as well
as having it downloadable.

The agreement is for a version for OpenServer 6 which, it seems, SCOG no longer
has the capability of doing. They had done the earlier versions. Also, it
seems, it is for a commercial version and not just the GPL version.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 02:48 AM EDT
I hope sco pays more to mysql than sco's customers pay to sco (for mysql's
In other words, i hope this support won't deter them from migrating away as soon
as possible.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 03:28 AM EDT
What I am going to say may or may not be off-topic:

It is a given that the strength of the Microsoft monopoly is such that no
business organization would take a risk of buying no-name, proprietary products
from no-name proprietary vendors when the alternative is to buy from Microsoft
and pass on the costs of doing business with Microsoft to the consumers.

I very strongly doubt that any entrepreneurial competitor of Microsoft could
possibly compete with Microsoft without an effective Open Source strategy.
Because the Open Source strategy enables the entrepreneurial competitor to put
its products into as many hands as possible especially those of those users who
are likely to stress test the product to its breaking point. And it is this
constant user and developer feedback that leads to a constantly, quickly
improving, strongly performing, credible product that HAS A TRACK RECORD and can
compete with Microsoft's counterpart products!

Commercial companies such as MySQL AB should be reminded that the GPL version of
their product is literally how they advertise, performance test and market test
their product. And that treating the Open Source version of their product as a
neglectable stepchild of their commercial product is a form of suicide. And so
is disrespecting and alienating the Open Source community whose user and
developer feedback is critical to strengthening the credibility of their
commercial product.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Making a difference with SCO: I don't see it happening
Authored by: IRJustman on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 03:35 AM EDT
Thank you, Marten Mickos, for your perspective and your honesty on the

I do appreciate the sentiment in that SCO users who're presently stuck with this
system need all the help they can get until they can migrate to something a bit
less antiquated.

However, with regard to effecting a change of heart in SCO's executive staff, I
do not see that happening. While I share your wish that SCO can be changed, I
do not share your optimism. SCO is beyond help.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: muswell100 on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 04:12 AM EDT
It appears that Marten Mickos is trying to put a pragmatic slant on the decision
to lie down with SCO (we're getting paid to do it) while simultaneously trying
to make it also appear an idealistic attempt to turn SCO from the 'dark side'.
Somehow, the combination doesn't work for me, unless MySQL are taking a very,
very short-term view of their business. How is aligning yourself with the pariah
of the IT world - with a dwindling customer base, to boot - good for business,
even if you do get a handout for doing it? And what businessman would be naive
enough to think that they could change the mindset of a company which has (so
far, unsuccessfully) adopted litigation as it's prime source of potential

Call me a cynic, but I also tend to become very suspicous when a representative
from any company starts quoting heavily from the marketing literature when asked
difficult questions ('CARE...PERFORMANCE...INTEGRITY..etc'). It's a sure sign
that they're retreating to the comfort of corporate mantra chanting - a way of
avoiding making an honest answer. I see this a lot when I get software suppliers
trying to sell me something they can see I'm not really interested in buying.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thank you for telling us Marten.
Authored by: waltish on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 04:13 AM EDT
If MYSQL's supporting of SCO customers can help them migrate to other platforms,
It can only be a good thing.

I admit it does take some guts to do what you believe is right
when you know that you will cop some flack for doing so.

I have softened my view.


" You can fool some of the people all of the Time
And all of the people some of the time
But you cant fool All of the people All of the Time."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Introduction to OSS
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 04:48 AM EDT
If taking this track introduces more of SCO's customers to OSS then perhaps this
is "a good thing". The question SCO customers should be asking
themselves is "If I can use an open source database, webserver, and
scripting system, why am I paying for the operating system?"

If the answer is "Because of the direct support" then perhaps they
need to take a fresh look at the support options available from major companies.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 05:04 AM EDT
It's a relatively obvious thing, but I'd say that the MySQL partnership, from a SCOX perspective, is a necessary component of any web-based strategy. Having a partnership ensures that, for those customers who need it, MySQL will be directly supported if one buys into a SCOX solution. Consider that a big chunk of the web runs on LAMP -- SCOX is simply ensuring that SAMP is a possibility for those who choose SCOX as the base over Linux.

Now, consider also that SCOX is effectively chasing Linux. At this point, Linux is their R&D. That means they've already lost, and they're just scrambling to hold on to stuff.

And, speaking from experience (having ridden three companies through their descent), it's contracts like these which get stiffed first when money gets tight. And management at SCOX likely knows that, and they're probably planning on that. At this point, it's more of a "Let's issue a press release that looks good to help keep the stock price up long enough for key investors to unload" strategy. It's possible that's not what they're thinking, but I've seen similar management teams (not so litigation happy, but just as stuck with nothing but bad choices) take that route before.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 05:31 AM EDT
While Mr. Mickos certainly spends a lot of time talking about trying to
influence SCOX's behaviour, he always mentions (in an off-hand sort of way)
that changing SCOX's behaviour was never the real point of the exercise; in
each and every interview, he states that the point of the exercise was
"business reasons." It has been my experience that "business
reasons" is executive-speak for "cash".

Now, there's nothing wrong with cash. I like cash. Some of my best friends are
cash. I can fully understand the occasional need to earn a quick buck. (I do
question the wisdom of taking the cash from someone who has written to Congress
stating that one's business model is unconstitutional, but hey, if MySQL AB
really needed a quick buck, then they really needed a quick buck, and I'm not
going to criticise their entirely legal method of getting it)

I just wish he'd come right out and say it, though, instead of spending
paragraphs spinning tales of how he hopes to make SCOX see the error of their
ways, and then telling us that we shouldn't get our hopes up because he's not
actually trying to do that.

MySQL AB wanted/needed cash, Mr. Mickos. Just say it, and stop embarassing
yourself. :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

With respect, you ignored the elephant in the room
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 06:52 AM EDT
The question I'd like answered is:

Given that SCO's current strategy is to sue its ex-customers and ex-partners,
how long do you think it will be before their lawyers turn on you?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thank You Marten
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 07:40 AM EDT
Thanks for giving the interview and also for responding to these comments.

As you can see, there are some people here that want to shred your hide and rub
salt in underneath. It doesn't matter what you say: you're damned if you do and
damned if you don't. I just hope it doesn't hurt too much. A lesser being
wouldn't be here responding to this stuff.

I think the above post, "A Tricky Balance" says it all.

Should one hear an accusation, first look to see how it might be levelled at the

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why did SCOG need MySQL?
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 07:45 AM EDT
Since SCOG was already shipping the GPL MySQL why did SCOG need a Commercial

It seems the obvious answer is they they built their ME Inc(.) product using a
database and needed a way to keep the whole thing closed. A MySQL Commercial
License is an obvious way to do that.

What other database could they get which allowed it or would deal with SCOG?

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 08:22 AM EDT
While MySQL AB is definately no virgin (there has been a serious GPL issue with
FSF but solved through negotiation), I don't feel all that comfortable with the
current flaming and bashing.

Many of you seem to have a problem with their business model, though I
personally don't get it. As I see things, revenue for MySQL AB is obtained
through 2 different channels:
- services: you get guaranteed corporate-style support for a fully tested
product. Anyone care to show me HOW RHEL relates to FedoraCore on *better* terms
for the F/OSS community than this?
- licenses: when Trolltech releashed the QTlibs under a dual license along the
lines of "GPL for the community, paid-for for he who wants to make money
out of it" almost everybody applauded and the GNOME vs. KDE
"jihad" was limited to the technical merits (and therefore acquired
the "emacs vs. vi" status of perpetual geek flamewars). How is that
different to what MySQL AB tries to do? Call them capitalists trying to make a
profit, but it *IS* a capitalist society and people try to make money (wether it
should or not is outside the scope of groklaw I believe - so please restrain
yourselves from rendering this thread a political battlefield).

Now, neither I am pleased with the SCOundrel partnership, but you have to keep a
perspective. For example, most of us are absolutely contrary to software
patents, yet our "beloved" IBM is one of the worst patent monsters
around. Answering that they are not using them against us is no proper
assurance: nobody ever launched an H-bomb either but what good was that? The
point is, a community can hardly ever agree with a corporation on *all* choices
and business movements, the latter having one principal motive of existance:

On a sidenote, why are you people so anxious to see SCO bankrupt? I realise it
has a certain "vindication" value, but I think it would be better for
us to see them last long enough to get crashed at the courts.


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SCO is paying them
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 09:19 AM EDT
So that's less money for the lawsuit, may there be many more of these

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Oh Such Happy Days!
Authored by: dougp25 on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 10:17 AM EDT
First, I am a huge believer in Linux and MySQL. In 20 years of DBA'ing, I have
never used a faster, more lightweight, and more feature rich product (for the
price) than MySQL. And the learning curve is pretty tiny.

That being the case, can we all forgive MySQL now, now that PJ has interviewed
them and they basically said excatly what he said anyway? I mean the
hand-wringing, and the hang them from the fence of the first story was totally
ridiculous. So now that PJ has confirmed to all the folks who seem incapable of
forming thier own opinions, we can now say that MySQl is still a great company!

Now we have to attack the power company out there in Utah, who just cut a deal
with SCO (and most other biz's) to give them power at reduced rates. Don't they
know that by letting SCO keep more money they are allowing SCO more time and
resources to kill Linux? Let's get started on this ridiculous story too.

Some of the people on groklaw are getting just as rabid and ridiculous as SCO's
people. When groklaw first started, it was calm, we were above the fray, always
willing to believe the best *UNTIL* we were able to prove the worst. Now we've
become a reality show, always believe the WORST even after the BEST has been

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Marten Mickos gets it wrong.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 10:43 AM EDT
"If you are implying that helping their image will influence the courts,
then it may indicate that you don't really respect the objectivity of the
courts, or? NOTE: I don't want to sound offensive and I am not accusing you of
anything." (Condescending or what? I was going to be more diplomatic but
this guy really needs a clue or two.)

The PR thing has nothing to do with what happens in court. The PR thing has
something to do with SCO's ability to sell software. It also has a lot to do
with creating credibility so SCO can spread FUD. Of course, all of the above is
a lost cause by now.

Mischaracterizing an issue is a sleazy rhetorical trick.* If we're being
charitable, we might conclude that Mickos missed the point. In either case, his
cluelessness has been duly noted.

*Trying to pull a sleazy rhetorical trick on Groklaw ... priceless

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Dealing with sinners
Authored by: joef on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 10:53 AM EDT
The discussion of the SCOG - MySQL AB "partnership" is yet another
example of what happens when a party, for whatever reason (MySQL AB) deals with
another party perceived by the community to be a sinner (SCOG).

This is a religious/ethical question, and there are many possible answers out
there,to wit: Do we stone the sinner? Do we shun the sinner? Do we accept the
sinner's money and use it for our good works? Do we try to save the sinner? Do
we provide medical treatment to the sinner? Do we try to reform the sinner? Do
we give any consideration to those dependent upon the sinner?

Different cultures and religions have different answers to this question. They
range across the spectrum, from "Nuke Thine Enemy" to "Forgive
Them For They Know Not What They Do." Perhaps your answers tell more about
you than about the situation itself.

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PJ... why did you nuke my post?
Authored by: pfusco on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT

only the soul matters in the end

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Gulplaw Flames MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 11:24 AM EDT

This report just in from Rotters:

During an unprecedented day of heated internet activity, the world-famous Gulplaw blog commandeered nearly all internet resources today, worldwide. E-businesses around the globe ground to a halt, as the world looked on in amazement. Administrators at several anti-virus monitoring stations at first thought this was another outbreak, but soon realised the traffic was just to and from Gulplaw. One commented: "This is remarkable, it's like the whole internet just got diverted".

The centre of this e-controversy seems to be one Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL AB, who is being questioned, cursed, scrutinised, abused, cross-examined, bashed and ridiculed by what seems like the entire Gulplaw community. Never before have such heated discussions been seen on this blog.

The Gulplaw web servers couldn't withstand the record levels of damnation and faltered under the strain. Gulplaw posters were seen to complain: "ohmygosh, it's soooooooo sloooooow, can't we increase the bandwidth?" The Gulplaw adminstrators were too busy investigating the problem to be available for comment. One poster claimed: "It's just the load - we can't flame Marten fast enough - imagine what it would be like if this were Darl?"

Rumour has it that as punishment for his recently announced partnership with the Antichrist's Satanic Crucifixion Organisation, the nemsis of all things Gulplaw, Marten is chained to a high-power computer system with cable internet connection, running OpenSewer 6. His eyelids are believed to be fastened with duct tape, so he cannot avert his gaze from the screen. Gagged, with hands tied so he can't defend himself, it is alleged he will remain in purgatory for the forseeable future, if not eternity, to be flamed continually by Gulplaw posters. JP, the creator of Gulplaw, could neither confirm nor deny this allegation when questioned by email earlier today. Marten has been missing since Tuesday evening, whereabouts unknown...


Should one hear an accusation, first look to see how it might be levelled at the accuser.

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  • good one - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:08 PM EDT
  • So good.... - Authored by: tiger99 on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 07:36 PM EDT
Image and legal proceedings
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 11:35 AM EDT
I just read through (okay, skimmed) the comments and didn't see anyone mentioning this; so, I'll take a stab at it:

First, it is commendable for Mr. Mickos to stick his neck out and agree to the interview in the first place. Second, the fact that he is apparently here, commenting, further explaining his PoV, is even *more* commendable. For all the flack you may get, you at least receive kudos from me just for those two acts, regardless of any other opinions I may express. Now, as to image and how helping their image does in fact help them in the courtroom: by improving their image, you bolster the appearance of the validity of their claims and provide them with fodder for use in claims (I wouldn't be surprised to see mention of the agreement with MySQL AB in a pleading or an attachment to one at some point in the future) while adding momentum (as you said yourself, even if the impact is negligible, it's more than zero, right?) to their attempts to get additional companies to buy into their SCOSource licensing scam.

And the more companies they can get to buy into their little scheme, the more weight it provides to their legal claims as a de facto precedent. More evidence can be brought forth in a court about company X, Y, and Z who signed agreements and why would they do that if it was all just a big scam and illegal and illegitimate?

No, I wouldn't expect it to make much, if any, difference to a knowledgeable judge. But the image you bolster can be very effectively manipulated in front of a jury of ordinary people. We've known for some time SCOX sees a jury trial as a sort of Plan C (settlement or indefinite delay being plans A and B) precisely because juries are more malleable than judges.

And I would expect Mr. Mickos to know this and understand it and perhaps realize why people are bothered by the image boost any positive PR provides SCOX. Playing dumb and saying, oh, gee, it won't help their chances in court is just rationalizing.

Then again, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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OK Mr Mickos. I'll buy that... and whatch what happens next.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 11:37 AM EDT
What he is saying (as far as I can tell).

"The legal system is grinding on and SCO will succeed of fail (probably

Meantime there are a lot of MySQL users locked in to using SCO products through
systems that currently do not run on Linux and it is unfair on the customer not
to cooperate (on technical matters) with SCO to ensure that MySQL is robust
enough for their needs."

As a MySQL user makes me feel more comfortable to know that this company is
looking out for it customers rather than pandering to the masses.

I'll keep an eye on how things develop.

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I do not understand all the fuss
Authored by: NemesisNL on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 11:44 AM EDT
Many OSS products are distributed with open server. They never revoked the
liscence for SCO. Now a company that is in my view always very clear about
their buisiness model is getting flack for doing buisiness with SCO. They should
say no where OSS doesn't even say no?

Making money is not a great evil. When MySQL does it everyone seems to suspect
the worst. I enjoy working with the GPL database and I think MySQL have found a
clever and respectable way of combining buisiness with open source. I wish them
a lot of succes.

Do I think it's a wise decision taking buisiness from SCO. Well..... as long as
they made sure the payment was in cash and not in stock ....Yes ;-)

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Business 101
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 11:59 AM EDT
This is a smart business decision.

SCO still have a large customer base that will be left with
no support,when (SCO has left the building) MYSQL know this.
They also know they will take a short term hit from the
community for thier actions.

But by partnering with SCOG they get access to these customers that they would
not otherwise have. Once SCOG is gone they step in and offer thier own support.
Makes $cents to me


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How does this work ???
Authored by: DMF on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:19 PM EDT
"For those wishing to embed MySQL within a closed source application
distributed in the market, non-GPL (commercial) licenses are also

Huh? The basic tenet of the GPL is that the GPL always applies downstream. So
how can MySQL AB issue non-GPL licenses?

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My $0.02 - Thanks Marten
Authored by: jtiner on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:24 PM EDT
I use and enjoy MySQL products. They are great. I even build websites for
businesses that are only hosted on providers that use a licensed version of
MySQL so that I can funnel some financial support to them.

I must admit that when this "situation" started, I was beginning to
get a little hesitant about supporting them, but since you have done something
that few CEO's would do (namely answer questions posed to you by Groklaw) I feel
that it is a good decision to keep supporting your company.

I am sure that some will not feel that way. I do not agree with everything you
say, but then I never fully agreed with any CEO, not even the ones for which I
worked. I now run my my own business and, for the first time, agree with
everything the boss says. I guess that what I'm trying to say to those that want
to denegrate MySQL for this is that if this is so hurtful to you, start your own
database server project.

I believe that Marten's answers went a long way toward explaining MySQL's
position and that makes me feel better about them as a company. I will continue
to support them as long as the code meets my needs.

By the way, I used to work for a Fortune 100 company based in Texas that paid me
a lot to do things that I thought was stupid. It just got to where I couldn't
take it any longer and I quit to start my own business based on the concept that
I can help small businesses compete more effectively with the big guys through
use of open source technology. I don't make anywhere near the money I used to,
but I enjoy my job a lot more. This enjoyment is, in a small way, because of
projects and companies like MySQL. I want to thank Marten for that as well.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:35 PM EDT

There is a subtle but major point about the GPL that is not mentioned. The GPL does NOT allow proprietary use of linked libraries. That is the puropse of the LGPL, which DOES allow proprietary use of libraries. And part of being "free/libre" is the ability to use something in a proprietary project.

For example, the GNU C library code (glibc) is LGPL, not GPL. If it were GPL, no one could use GNU/Linux for proprietary projects and Linux would not be embraced by the major players who do so today.

To use MySQL for anything non-trivial (e.g. with PHP) you need to link to its libraries. MySQL AB is using the GPL/LGPL distinction in order to charge fees to commercial users. I personally have no quarrel with this, but the point is often overlooked when discussing how "free" or "open source" a piece of software is.

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  • GPL and LGPL - Authored by: Wol on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 04:15 PM EDT
Who Pays? Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:40 PM EDT
Let me see if I understand this. SCOG is paying MySQL so MySQL can continue
contributing to GPL.

SCOG is doing this because they are desperate.

I am not convinced this is really a bad thing.

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Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: imjustabigcat on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 12:48 PM EDT
While Mickos is being cagey about the details, I'd be willing to bet that this
is more a case of SCO being _required_ to pay to have mySQL maintained on their
new platform.

SCO is merely attempting to inflate the importance of the deal and generate some
positive P.R.; in short, making lemonade out of a lemon. Note that this is
exactly what they did with CA and the press releases that made it sound like CA
had purchased SCOSource licenses. Like CA, mySQL is probably starting to
discover just what a headache any relationship with SCO can be.

I'd also be willing to bet that SCO asked for -- and got -- a clause in the
contract saying that mySQL isn't allowed to discuss the terms of the deal. SCO
probably won't abide by their side of the agreement (wait for the next round of
public statements from Darl) if the past is any indication.

The bottom line, as usual, is that ANY information released by SCO is spun so
hard in the blender that it comes out as puree, and the contents have been
adulterated before being served to the guests.

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Friends dont let friends drive SCO
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 01:28 PM EDT
IMHO Mysql did the right thing, even if they cant truely explain why it is the
right thing to do. Refusing to sell products to people you dont like would be
something that a company in redmond would do. Mysql is trying to be the bigger
person and not let personal feelings get in the way of business, that shows alot
of character and lets the world know that they would not let personal politics
get in the way of supporting customers.

Dont get me wrong, it would have been very satifying to see Mysql reject SCO's
request. But when it comes to customer service you have to respect a company
that doesnt play politics when they are selling a service or product.

Ignore the CEO's ramblings, he has been trained in the fine art of 'CEO speak',
his job is to shake hands and agree with everybody without committing to
anything, just like a politician.

And in the end having SCO customers using mysql as a database will only make it
easier for them to move to linux. Starting as soon as they change the host the
database server is running on.

There is nothing more important than helping SCO customers to migrate to linux.
Mysql is doing what they can to make it easier for that to happen.

If you know a company on SCO, why not help them get off of SCO??

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Changing Opinion about SCO
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 02:05 PM EDT
"Of course, if SCO would like to surprise us by apologizing to Linus and
the Linux community and promise to change its ways from this day forward, that
would alter my opinion. . . ."

I think I'd wait for SCO to act in accordance with such a promise before I'd
change my opinion.


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Mickos comes across as slick salesman
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 02:05 PM EDT

Mickos is undoubtedly a clever man. But he comes across as just a slick salesman in this interview. Plenty of high-sounding BS here.

Clever though he undoubtedly is, I still think he doesn't get it. Associating with SCO, in any way, shape or form, is a bit like stroking a skunk. You can mean well, be full of benevolence and high principles, etc, but people are still going to say you stink. If it was "just a business decision", then it was a pretty dumb one.

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Oh dear.
Authored by: RPN on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 04:16 PM EDT
Quote from a past post of mine that bears repeating.

'I have over the years visited, even subscribed to many forums and I have to say
I've left a fairly large number of them quickly because there was to much
'leaping before looking & thinking' which really spoiled the experience.
This is by far and away the forum I have stayed longest with and the manner in
which people conduct themselves on it is a big part of the reason why. The
postings for this article and a few others stray a bit from my comfort level in
many cases.'

In this instance I would add I get troubled when people descend to the
'religious zealot' level. Life is never that simple or certain. I am not the
greatest grammarian around either but some of the 'literacy' involved is almost

Thanks Marten for being willing to answer PJ's questions and posting responces
to individual comments made. Thanks too PJ for giving him the opportunity and
reporting it fully.

Personally I'm inclined to think it is a bit of a 'storm in a teacup' and I've
been there enough to know it can be impossible sometimes to say the right thing.
'Damned if you do, damned if you don't' is a huge PR problem however good ones
intentions. But it's an issue flagged to keep an eye on too. My usage of MySQL
is at present as the default backend of a couple of applications and I have no
intention of changing.


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Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: Nick_UK on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 06:21 PM EDT
I been thinking about this all day.

I think it shows that in business, there is no such thing
as 'ethical' practice. Business and politics go so much
hand in hand now-a-days on the same type decisions they
are unseperatable.

Could it mean that some OSS (Mysql) really do have to
shake the hand of the devil to exist 'as it does now' for
the future?

I know for sure in a similar position I would rather face
the uncertain future than deal with a Company like SCO.

The Mysql people have gone down a lot of points in my
estimation of them.


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Why do business with SCO at all?
Authored by: Carla Schroder on Wednesday, October 12 2005 @ 09:25 PM EDT
That's the important question that really didn't get
answered. Of all the companies in the world to partner
with, why pick the one that is loathed and on the brink of

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This interview changes nothing
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 13 2005 @ 03:31 AM EDT
MySQL got in bed with SCOG.
They have the partnership press release on the MySQL webpage.

End of story, end of business with me.
Done and done.

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Groklaw Interviews MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos
Authored by: kinrite on Thursday, October 13 2005 @ 04:03 AM EDT
It seems that MySQL were of concern to some way back. Link

"Truth is like can not be created, nor destroyed"

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Facing the Music
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 13 2005 @ 01:24 PM EDT
I would be very hesitant to agree to an interview with someone who had expressed strong disagreement with a decision I had made. One must give credit where it is due.

Also the following should be of interest.
"The strength of the MySQL Community has always been a key reason for the success of MySQL as a product. "

"However, as MySQL AB has continued to grow we want to make sure that we increase our investment in the Community and stay true to the overall open source philosophy. (And if we don't always get it right, you can let us know.) "

"So to that end, Kaj Arno, who has been with the company for many years, is now formally going to take on the role as VP of Community. " "In the coming months, we will be expanding our budget, headcount and focus on Community."

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