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Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal - Updated 3Xs
Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 05:49 PM EDT

Monty Widenius has posted a press release, urging Oracle to sell MySQL to a third party, and there is a link to the materials that he and Florian Mueller, who is working with him, provided to the EU Commission, which appears to have influenced it to delay approval. I've been reading all I can find on this topic, and I'd like to tell you why I think the community should support the Oracle deal. The most important reason is that opponents are trashing the GPL [PDF] and calling it a source of "infection" in their FUD submission to the EU Commission.

From the last page:
The "copyleft/infection" principle of the GPL license represents a particular obstacle not only to revenue generation by the fork vendor but also to the overall adoption and market penetration of MySQL, MySQL forks and MySQL storage engines.
Now, that's from the version 1.1, dated October 11, that they posted today. But that isn't the only submission they have made. They suggested to the EU Commission in a questionnaire submitted by an August 13th deadline that the license on MySQL be changed to the Apache License. It was sent to me, along with others in the press, to educate us on the issues. Indeed, I found it very educational. Even in the submission made public today, you'll notice on page 21 they mention the BSD and the Apache licenses, after trashing the GPL:
Under such open source licenses as the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license and the Apache license, proprietary derivatives are legal. The only obligation might be attribution.
In contrast, on page 20, they state that the GPL "effectively prevents this from being a commercial opportunity". So the bottom line to me is this: some folks want to make money from MySQL, either by allowing proprietary changes to it or by killing it off. I sincerely hope that the EU Commission looks a bit deeper than this submission's arguments. And I hope they notice that there is a Microsoft shadow in this picture. Let me now try to provide you with more insight by telling you the rest of what I've learned.

In Richard Stallman's letter, which mirrors very closely the arguments made in the August submission, leading me to suspect that he also received a copy of it, there is this:

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.
"A more flexible license"? Like what? How about GPLv3, if you want to start tinkering with the license? And on what legal basis would anyone have authority to change the license, other than the copyright holder? Are you seriously suggesting that a regulatory body decide the license instead of the copyright owner? What a reckless idea.

Now, let's look at the Monty Says materials. From the press release:

Michael 'Monty' Widenius, the creator of open source database MySQL and founder of the namesake company later acquired by Sun, today suggested Oracle should resolve antitrust concerns over its US$7.4 billion acquisition of Sun by committing to sell MySQL to a suitable third party. The proposed takeover has not yet been consummated because it is being investigated in depth by the European Commission as well as competition authorities in several other jurisdictions.

Widenius, who posted this press release to his blog, believes the EU's antitrust regulator is "absolutely right to be concerned" and called on Oracle "to be constructive and commit to sell MySQL to a suitable third party, enabling an instant solution instead of letting Sun suffer much longer."...

In order to support the regulators' work on the case, Widenius' new company, Monty Program Ab, works closely with Florian Mueller, a MySQL and EU affairs expert....

In August, Mueller authored a position paper that Monty Program provided to the EC along with several other submissions. The latest version of the document was published today on the Internet.

It must, however, be pointed out that also on Monty's blog is his acceptance of the role as advisor to Microsoft's new Codeplex Foundation and on his blog he tells why he thinks it's swell. Microsoft opposes the Oracle-Sun deal, I might add. His reasons include:
  • Microsoft is already contributing quite a lot of Open Source code into many projects, including the Linux kernel.

  • Being a big public company with a lot of lawyers creates a lot of bureaucracy and it becomes very hard for a developer in the company to participate in an Open Source project because of the many different contributor agreements / licenses / project policies that exits. (I can easily relate to this after seeing how hard it was to do release something as Open Source even at Sun).
I suspect many other software companies have similar issues.

Personally, I believe it was in order to solve the above that Microsoft created the CodePlex Foundation. By having a single independent entity, verified and approved by the Microsoft lawyers, to which to donate code, the whole process of being involved with Open Source projects becomes so much easier for Microsoft developers. CodePlex allows Microsoft developers to more easily participate in Open Source projects, without a lot of red tape. There are many developers at Microsoft that are very pro Open Source, and would like to participate more than they are able to at present. Note that since CodePlex supports all relevant Open Source licenses, there is nothing hindering contributions to CodePlex to find its way into projects elsewhere in the FOSS ecosystem from there.

But why should Microsoft be trusted to have good intentions with the CodePlex Foundation? Simply, I believe that it's in Microsoft's direct interest that the CodePlex foundations becomes a success. Of course, we all know that Microsoft will primarily ensure that the Open Source projects in which they participate will run better on Windows and with Microsoft products. But this doesn't change the fact that this is a still a great thing for Open Source software.

Of course, people will continue to worry about Microsoft's intents and maybe that is understandable. In my experience, Microsoft as a big company seems to be a "company divided," with some segments appearing to understand and embrace Open Source, and others acting against these understandings. (In fact, this is another thing I can relate to from my personal history.) But now we have an opportunity to see Microsoft at their best as regards Open Source and Free Software, and even help them out in the effort. This is, indeed, an unusual opportunity.

Clearly developers and users of software, be it Open Source or proprietary, benefit from Microsoft's benevolence toward and understanding of the Open Source ecosystem.

Is he kidding? Naive? Misinformed? Or something else? Well, maybe developers like Monty will benefit from Microsoft's benevolence, but I doubt I ever will. And Microsoft contributed to the kernel because it had to. The GPL forced it to.

As for Florian, he's the guy who delayed adoption of Linux by Munich by pulling a PR stunt and then bragged about it, if you recall:

In the book, No Lobbyists As Such, published on Tuesday, Mueller tells the story of how anti-patent campaigners successfully fought against the software patent directive, which was eventually rejected by the European Parliament in July 2005.

Anti-patent campaigners initially struggled to attract much press attention around the software patent directive, so decided to take drastic action, according to Mueller.

"If the media hadn't reported much on what had happened so far with respect to software patents, then we had to make something happen that they would report on. We had to provoke a real crisis. Right away," he claims.

Mueller, along with a few others, came up with the idea of the Green Party drafting written questions to the mayor of Munich, to ask about software patents and their impact on the Munich's Linux migration project, known as LiMux.

Mueller helped the Green Party draft the questions, which were then put to the mayor of Munich at the end of July. A few days later, Mueller was made aware of an email sent to the LiMux project mailing list by Wilhelm Hoegner, the head of the data processing office at the City of Munich. This email said that due to the questions tabled by the Green party the project has been put on ice.

Mueller publicised this email, which resulted in a lot of press attention, including coverage in mainstream publications, such as Der Spiegel, a German weekly news magazine.

Various members of the free and open source community who were aware of this stunt reportedly criticised Mueller, saying that he had endangered a major implementation of Linux and had raised concerns among customers that using open source software was risky.

But Mueller had no regrets about his actions. "I understood the concerns that others had, but to me it was obvious that open source would suffer more from the legalisation of software patents than from the LiMux fallout. It seemed better to draw attention to the issue while it could still be fixed than to remain silent and face the consequences later," he states in the book.

The end justifies the means kind of guy? I don't trust anyone who would pull a stunt like that. I hope the EU Commission knows that neither Monty nor Florian represents the community as a whole. They definitely don't represent me.

And I have a question for Monty and Florian: who do you have in mind to buy MySQL? Anyone? Nobody? Patent trolls? Who? Microsoft? This latest tips me to believing that, rms notwithstanding, Carlo Piana is right: the community should support Oracle's bid. He is now Oracle's co-counsel and explains his reasons on that page. I urge you to read it. In fact, thanks to the CC license, I can put a relevant chunk here:

In my previous blog entry I have briefly discussed that I intended to take actions to help the Sun/Oracle merger to be cleared by the EC Antitrust authorities. Indeed I have offered my dispassionate help as a Free Software and digital liberties advocate to the legal team assisting Oracle. They have gladly accepted my offer to help. It was discussed if I could also take the position of co-counsel to Oracle in the procedure, and so was decided.

This could be perhaps a surprise to casual readers. I take the opportunity to clarify what my motives are. It could be regarded as odd that I feel like I have to justify why I am accepting instructions that some of my colleagues would simply kill for. The point is that – unlike many – I am not a hired gun for whomever can afford to pay me. And I am quite fond of saying that I am in a position to refuse cases that are against my beliefs as a Free Software advocate.

Competition problems? Look at the alternatives!

Sun is a company that has lately been known for its huge contributions to Free Software. Indeed one could go as far as saying that amongst the big corporations Sun has been the most friendly to the community in terms of code released under Free Software licenses and general support. After cashing in perhaps too quickly a settlement on the same antitrust case against Microsoft that it had initiated in the first place (the one I have been deeply involved during the last five years), Sun has gained again good recognition and trust from the Community.

Sun has four important projects to Free Software and to a healthier and competitive environment in the software market. I am speaking about Openoffice.org, Java, Open Solaris, MySQL.

Sun is also financially bleeding, and its share price has been considerably dropping over the years. This, combined with its huge and easily cashable assets, made it a too obvious target for a takeover. The candidate for it are quite limited. Friendly takeovers could be made by IBM – who reportedly was involved in acquisition talks – and Oracle. Hostile takeovers could be made by Microsoft (subject to huge competition problems in most of the concerned markets) and by investment funds. The latter option is the one that frightens me most.

Sun has a huge patent portfolio too. Some of its patents have been pledged for instance to OASIS not to be asserted against any implementation of ODF. An investment fund would have no incentive to keep the company as a whole and, absent an overall industrial plan, the easiest cash-in move would be that of arranging an auction, one similar to that where luckily (the uninvited) OIN was able to recover the patents (dumped off by Microsoft) from the highest bidder. In other words, Sun or parts of it would become a litigation company, a pain similar to what SCO has been lately, but multiplied n-times.

We don't need to offer patent trolls any patents that are deeply embedded in core Free Software projects. We should remove the software patents from the equation, and we would be better off, but the threat is out there and ignoring it would do no good. Patent trolls, or technology investment companies – as they sometimes define themselves – could simply act on their own accord with the aim to force market players to pay through the nose or – much, much worse – could be a useful instrument to seed more FUD and to raise hurdles to the success of Free Software projects. To the best of my knowledge, Oracle is not asserting its patents against Free Software projects. But others could.

I think there is more than one reason to avoid all of that!

What is the sticking point in the investigation?

It's MySQL.

The Swedish database company has been acquired by Sun last year for a sum short of one billion euro. Not bad for a company whose best yearly turnover hardly reaches 50 million euros. MySQL and Oracle are databases. This is more or less where the similarity ends. Their products are significantly dissimilar from each other because they are at the opposite ends of the market. I happened to speak with people at Ingres recently, and they confirmed that, notwithstanding that they are also Free Software vendors with a business model similar to that of MySQL, they regard themelves as competing with Oracle and PostgreSQL, rather than with MySQL. but I don't want to argue that here. Complainants have sought to present a different view. The Commission decided that this point shall be further investigated and that's it.

MySQL is a very successful project in terms of deployment. I myself have no less than three MySQL instances in place and you are reading this blog from a LAMP installation – where "M" stands for "MySQL". It is very important that the project remains Free Software (it is licensed under a slightly modified GNU GPL V.2 on a dual licensing scheme) and a lively one. Yet I fail to see how a disbanded and broken-up Sun would do a better job at it than a company like Oracle.

Here we see the force and how dramatically Free Software departs from the proprietary setting. A product is very likely to survive despite the fortunes – or even against the will – of its founding company, because everybody is invited to take over or to fork. Forks are less frequent than one can think only because the simple threat of forking works in the direction of finding consensus among leading developers. Linux has never been forked. Samba has been forked (into Samba-TNG), but there is a constructive exchange between the two projects. Mambo has been forked into Joomla, and Joomla seems to be more successful than Mambo. More or less the same happened to Xfree86. When the developers changed the licensing, a new project suddenly was born – X.org – and in six months it has swept away Xfree86 from the entirety of the GNU/Linux distributions out there.

Nothing substantially prevents the success of forks, apart from the success of the original product. We could say that the licensing reduces the barriers to entry in the market for that individual product, allowing third parties not only to take it as it is distributed by the project leaders, but to depart from it and make it – or parts of it – even an entirely different project. This is a terrific democracy-enforcer. The lack of democracy issue in the MySQL project has been latent for quite a long time, this is why a fork has already happened, into MariaDB, and if things get worse in the core development team of MySQL, it is easy to predict that the fork will have better chances to replace it – as it is drop-in replacement to the forked project. Nature abhors a vacuum.

If Oracle were hypothetically to bend the project away from competition in the high end or simply make it a stale project, it is clear to me that the declining fortunes of the original work would leave room (and disgruntled developers) to further the success of the fork(s).

Another misconception is that a Free Software project cannot succeed without a strong corporation as its proponent. All the evidence is to the opposite. Openoffice.org lives out a very lively and diverse community: while it has roots deep into Sun, many corporate users (including IBM) heavily contribute to its development. Linux prospers thanks to a wide community where no single company is relevant, leave alone dominant. Gnome and KDE the same. Again this is the strength of Free Software, that it permits many different development models, including the "bazaar".

Dual license is a moot problem

If I understand the point correctly, the objections on what I have just said is that – because MySQL is a dual-licensed product – a fork only relying on the GNU GPL licensing of the code would miss the revenues and investments coming from the proprietary licensing, which is out of reach of the fork.

This is absolutely frivolous, and it reflects a misconception of how the forces in the Free Software space work. It is not that a successful dual licensing enables a successful Free Software project, it is a successful Free Software project that permits to a dual licensing strategy to survive. The idea behind a dual licensing scheme is twofold. First you spread around a software application that becomes widely adopted, distributed, and where developers hurry up to develop for. And you offer it under the most restrictive copyleft license. Second, you offer a separate deal to all those who want to use the code but they are not willing to embed it into their products because they would be derivatives of the GPL'ed product, thus GPL themselves.

While dual licensing is often portrayed as the only successful business model for Free Software, this assertion is consistently disproved. And interestingly, this assertion comes from proprietary-intense (or proprietary-only) software makers. Its underlying assumption is that one can only make money out of selling licenses. So if somebody makes money out of Free Software, they must be offering proprietary licenses too. This misunderstanding results in frequent incorrect statements, such as – this is absolutely the most widespread myth – that Red Hat sells "commercial licenses" of its operating system.

This is the problem with Free Software: it changes any common-sense reference, it requires a change in the mindset. 2+2 = +∞ !

Dual licensing is hardly a viable model per se. MySQL Ab's revenues are pitiful in comparison with the market adoption of its project, and a considerable part of its turnover comes from other sources than licensing. MySQL is so good that it can be used via a lot of interoperability tools and via network without suffering big loss of performances, therefore the incentives to use a proprietary version come from the licensing issues of the very limited cases when a derivative product is to be distributed on proprietary terms. A proprietary standalone version of MySQL has no appeal compared to the Free Software licensed one. But in general, I know of very few cases of companies keeping a healthy dual licensed scheme (the only one I know for sure is Funambol). Dual licensing is very complicated to maintain, it requires copyright assignment, and this assignment is very hard to obtain from developers (this is at least my experience in drafting assignment agreements for clients).

Dual licensing is irrelevant in the success of the variety of Free Software business propositions, its fortunes will decline even more, and it can be seen at best as an interim setting to legal migrations from proprietary to Free Software.

Guess who's complaining

Oddly enough, the main complainants are two companies whose interest collide against the persistence of a competitive pressure coming from Sun. This is entirely appropriate, of course. Only, one could question how true the grounds are to complain of at least one of them, the one which competes directly with MySQL. It bugs me that they now portray themselves as advocates for the success of MySQL. They are quite likely afraid that the Sun acquisition will reinvigorate MySQL to compete with them for instance in the SME's space, which is not Oracle’s strength. Another reason for them to fight against the Oracle/Sun merger is the resulting increased competitive pressure in the high-end part of the IT market. Especially that of large database installations for the cloud, a sector where it is no mystery Microsoft is trying to find a new expansion area, and which could be a very good sector where Oracle + Sun Solaris + Java could set the goalpost, while establishing a platform-diversity, under-the-hood interoperable ecosystem, with Oracle and Google and IBM on the upper hand, as well as benefiting the overall industry with huge Free Software spillovers.

The bitter end

Persistent delay as to the final clearance is sucking the breath from Sun, and rumors of people leaving are spreading. This cannot last. Continuing uncertainty damages Sun's developement teams. I have the pleasure to know a number of executives in Sun and – if perhaps they are not delighted by the prospect acquisition – they realize that it must be passed through as soon as possible, or the company will die. And with it, some of the good development teams that have considerably contributed to the success of Free Software.

It is time to take sides, and I know perfectly well where to stand.

Me too. I stand with Carlo and Oracle on this one. Because something smells very, very wrong in this picture.

Update: I see Matt Asay has jumped on board the antiGPL FUD too. Folks, there is no difference between Sun owning MySQL and Oracle, as far as forking rights. Duh. What is this? An elaborate Microsoft production by proxy?

Update 2: Kirk Wylie has some interesting information on Monty and Oracle:

First of all, let's get the obvious out of the way: Oracle bought BerkeleyDB, and continued to enhance it; Oracle bought InnoDB, and continued to enhance it. At no point did they crush them to drive Oracle database revenues, or change the licenses, or stop forward momentum. So when you look at the actual track record of the company, they're in the clear.

But they might do, because they're an evil, scary corporation that MySQL turned down once before (from the Stallman piece):

Oracle made an earlier effort to buy MySQL in 2006, but the management rejected Oracle's offer, in part because Oracle would not disclose its plan for MySQL, and some members of the MySQL management team were concerned that Oracle was only acquiring MySQL to curb its advances in the marketplace.
I know a number of people involved with MySQL when it was an independent organization. While there were people who worried about that fact, senior management wasn't. More importantly, Monty was willing to sell MySQL to Oracle in 2006 for the right price. The use of the words "in part" there are telling, because the primary consideration that MySQL's senior management had wasn't some happy-clappy love for the Libre Software Movement, it was money.

I'm sorry, but I fail to see what's changed in between 2006 and 2009 except that Monty is a whole heck of a lot richer. Why in 2005 and 2006 were offers ultimately rejected from Oracle based primarily on money, but now Oracle is an evil corporation that can't be trusted with MySQL? Larry's the same guy he was then, Oracle has bought BEA but they don't compete in any way with MySQL, it's the same company. Why would Monty trust Oracle back in 2006 but not now?

Get the picture? He makes a list of who would have the money to buy MySQL. Guess who is number one on the list? Microsoft.

Update 3: For completeness, here is former MySQL CEO Mårten Mickos' letter to the EU Commission, in support of Oracle. By all means read the entire letter, but note in particular the reasons that motivated him to write:

The impetus to write this letter comes from my concern with the talented teams of the MySQL business unit and of Sun Microsystems in general. I am also troubled by certain factual distortions about a subject matter that I am intimately familiar with: MySQL and its business model. Open-source business models are complicated and quite different, and it took many years to fully understand and shape the one of MySQL....

In this discussion, the term "MySQL" refers to two things. On the one hand, there is the huge phenomenon MySQL--an estimated 12 million active installations under a free and open-source software license, millions, if not tens of millions, of skilled users and developers, and tens of thousands of corporations who use MySQL one way or the other.

On the other hand, there is the business of MySQL, which is growing rapidly, thus rewarding the owners of the assets (currently Sun Microsystems).

Those two meanings of the term "MySQL" stand in a close mutually beneficial interaction with each other. But most importantly, this interaction is voluntary and cannot be directly controlled by the vendor.

What I mean is that the vast and free installed base of MySQL is using it of their own free choice, unencumbered by the vendor and under no obligation or restraint. That is the nature of open source. And conversely, the MySQL business is supporting the free installed base of MySQL (by improving the product) voluntarily and in the hope of deriving benefit from the installed base.

This is the paradox of an open-source business, and it took me a long time to truly understand how powerful a force it is. It is unlike any traditional business. The key point is that both the users and the vendors of open source are engaged in a powerful free-market dynamic that cannot be contained by any single entity.

That would include Oracle. Incidentally, Groklaw uses MySQL, the Free version, so I am very, very interested in what happens to it.

  


Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal - Updated 3Xs | 246 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:06 PM EDT
To help PJ fix things.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT Here
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:08 PM EDT
Make them off-topic with clear titles and clickies. Instructions of how to make
clickies are in the red text below the comment box when you edit your comment.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Newspicks here
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:10 PM EDT
Please put the news pick title in your comment title so we know what you mean.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A MySQL Question.
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:19 PM EDT
Does Sun own all of the MySQL code?

That is have all copyrights on code been transferred to Sun, or is it like the
Linux kernel where individual authors retain ownership?

I assumed because it is dual licenses that all copyrights have been transferred,
but they could merely be licensed to Sun.

---
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 | # ]

Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:19 PM EDT
I don't know what to make of RMS's statement on this one.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:28 PM EDT
What about ...?

“Kroes expressed her disappointment that Oracle failed to produce, despite
repeated requests, either hard evidence that there were no competition problems
or a proposal for a remedy to the competition concerns identified by the
commission,” Jonathan Todd, Kroes spokesman said in an interview today in
Brussels. “Kroes reiterated to Catz the commission’s willingness to move quickly
towards a decision but underlined that a rapid solution lies in Oracle’s
hands.”

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:37 PM EDT
My principal concern is that Oracle has an interest in limiting the future
development of MySQL to make sure it never encroaches on Oracle proprietary
database markets. I know the markets are different today. Oracle interest is to
make sure it remains that way. And who knows how the computing landscape will
evolve and how Oracle will see itself in the future.

But I agree that the survival of Sun is important. We don't want to kill Java
and OpenOffice.org because we are unhappy with what happens with MySQL. If the
choice is between letting MySQL in the hands of Oracle and breaking the deal, I
think letting the deal happen is the better alternative.

I would be happy if the EC accepts the merger conditional to selling MySQL or
spinning it off into an independent company that controls it development road
map. Either option would resolve all issues. On the other hand it may make
Oracle unhappy and break the deal. I hope Oracle sees value in this acquisition
other than owning MySQL.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Some conjecture
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:40 PM EDT
With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle becomes a hardware+software company, like
IBM and like Apple. Oracle will have access to two operating systems (Linux and
Solaris) at least two databases (Oracle and Mysql) as well as all the open
source productivity software (Open Office, etc.).

If Oracle can pull all the pieces together into a good operating entity they
will have many of the best aspects of both IBM and Apple in their repository.
They could quickly become one of the largest computer manufacturers with
products ranging from very inexpensive desktops with open source stacks, to
mainframe like servers with proprietary stacks, as well as everything in
between.

I can understand that some other software and/or hardware companies will be
looking at this with some concern. Anything they can do to prevent or slow the
development of this newly formed and powerful competitor must seem worth it to
them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:47 PM EDT

I agree, PJ. I think _if_ there are anti-competitive concerns that should be
looked at, I would be more worried about the identity management stack. Sun and
Oracle a major competitors and Sun is one of the few companies to have a cutting
edge and open standards based solution to go head to head with Oracle.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle should GPLv3 both OpenSolaris and MySQL - Beat both Microsoft and Red Hat by doing this.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:57 PM EDT
Oracle could win big by turning OpenSolaris and MySQL into GPLv3 projects.

Red Hat would be stuck with GPLv2 Linux. Both Red Hat and Oracle do support for
LINUX (RH Linux), and in order for OpenSolaris to beat Linux it needs a license
that is better than LINUX (GPLv3 for example).

MySQL also could have the same GPLv3 license and Oracle would in effect
eliminate interest in many other database products out there (and with the
developers at Oracle for MySQL, some anyway, then many who need support for
MySQL would turn to Oracle to get it.

GPLv3 would be a huge marketing coup for Oracle and then add on to it with all
the other products (that they could keep licensed with other licenses, such as
SUN bought the Tarantella stuff, and SUN has a lot of other stuff... and SUN
also has rights to use Microsoft tech via past arangements with MS that Oracle
can use too.

Microsoft's biggest fear would be OpenSolaris and MySQL as GPLv3 products.

MaYBE THAT IS WHY MICROSOFT IS GOING TO EU WITH THEIR "FEARS" ABOUT
ORACLE? They fear that Larry might just be thinking of this? Hey, the OS
that Oracle uses now is GPLv2, so moving another inhouse OS to GPLv3 is not
going to change things for Oracle much.

If Larry wanted to stick it to MS and get all of OpenSouce loving Oracle, then a
GPLv3 move with both OpenSolaris and MySQL would make him a FOSS GOD.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The REAL anti-competitive concerns
Authored by: contrarian on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 07:13 PM EDT

Great piece, Pamela. Do we know if Stallman actually participated in editing this document? It smells like it was orchestrated by Monty's agitator guy and written by a politically-motivated author. I'd love to hear Stallman's own words on the issue, especially after he's read Piana's article.

I think the real competitive concern has to be the use of the EU's mechanism to ensure fair competition by a rich entrepreneur with an interest in disrupting a competitor in an otherwise monopoly-free market (see this for data). The fact he's hired an ad-hominem-prone right-wing Machiavellian to enact the disruption just highlights the issue, in my view.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Whois: Monty Widenius
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 07:57 PM EDT

I hope you realize that Monty Widenius (the guy "trashing the GPL" is the main author of MySQL, and was involved in putting it under the GPL in the first place. His concern isn't with the GPL per se, but with possibilities Oracle has to kill MySQL as a way of pushing everybody to Oracle's more expensive offerings.

Thing is, development of MySQL has been paid for via dual licensing. Whether you like this or not, it's the case. MySQL AB dual licensed when Monty worked there and all was good. Sun dual licensed when Monty worked there (and after Monty left) and all was good. If Oracle decides to let MySQL die on the vine, anybody can develop MySQL, but without the option of dual licensing they may have difficulty funding that development. If this deal goes through we may end up with a dead MySQL.

Monty wants some assurance that won't happen. His strategy is to have MySQL relicensed under something like the BSD so that people outside of Oracle have the option of funding open source development via dual licensing. Whether that's a good idea is a separate question from whether Monty kisses the GPL sufficiently.

However, there is a lesson here for anybody who desires to learn it with regards to losing control of a project (cf. Bruce Perens and BusyBox)

[ Reply to This | # ]

What's wrong with Florian?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 08:10 PM EDT
PJ,

I remember Florian as one of most important activists against S/W patents in the EU, definitely the most efficient one. You may call the Munich affair a stunt but this did not only bring the whole problem to the media but also to the attention of many politicians in Germany. From then on the EU Council of Ministers had to take a much more dirty road (comparable to Microsoft's ISO manipulation) to pursue its goals. I tend to say that it was Florian's campaign that brought the patent issue before a broader audience and sharpened the view of the mainstream media (especially Der Spiegel). Suddenly the EU Commission and the Council of Ministers found themselves under public scrutinity. The European Parliament voted against the planned laws and later protested against further attempts to circumvent this vote.

I led a small person software company in Germany back then, sending letters to the members of the German and European Parliaments several times, talking to members of the EU parliament's commision for legal affairs. I was very happy to see Florian's (and other's) activities giving relief (maybe only temporarily). I did not have the impression that Munich was a fabricated push. It seemed to be very logical that Munich officials would consider how all this could affect their project.

I do not see why Florian's current attitude with regards to MySQL should make you re-evaluate his former activities. "The end justifies the means kind of guy" is too harsh a word in my ears. With the new information from you about Munich I would rather call his action a proportionate strategic move. Looking at the outcome (no enforcable S/W patents in the EU and the LiMux project continuing) I do not understand your criticism. He did not play unfair against politicians who definitely did or were complete ignorants.

Being German I feel I must be very careful showing patriotism. In this case I feel it is justified. The anti-patent campaign was our political fight, and we gained significant terrain. Please do not cheer about the less complicated patent situation in the EU and blame the activists who made this possible. From a European point of view there is an ongoing buyout of European FLOSS companies by US companies (e.g. Star Division or MySQL). While this often increased the visibility of the products, they are more directly threatened by the US patent system now.

Ceterum censeo MySQL should not be in the hands of the company that is most directly affected by MySQL's success. I have yet to see convincing suggestions how to prevent Oracle from crushing MySQL (and other SUN FLOSS products).

All the best,

Joachim

PS: I do not know Florian, and he does not know me.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 08:11 PM EDT
[I]s it the track record of stopping development in things like InnoDB and BerkeleyDB, .. . oh hang on, ... those have flourished under Oracle.

Although Oracle releases code under open source licenses, it does not do anything else that open source projects do. Finding out the roadmap for InnoDB or Berkeley DB is an exercise in frustration. I can't find the bug trackers or mailing lists for any of Oracle's projects. They used to drive MySQL developers crazy by doing underdocumented InnoDB code dumps at random times and expecting MySQL to pick up the pieces.

Only a Sun engineer would believe that Oracle's open source strategy is anything to emulate. It's a lot like how Sun has operated OpenSolaris or Open JDK.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sad thing is that Oracle already IS a huge FOSS supporter
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 08:18 PM EDT
Regardless of what anyone says, Oracle is a major contributor to FOSS.

Studies have shown they directly provided 6-10% of the Linux kernel patches and
s/w (under appropriate license).

They have at least one Linux kernel maintainer on staff. They have released
FOSS several file systems.

They continue to grow several FOSS databases and support infrastructure
(SleepyCat and InnoDB).

They provided the complete initial source for the Apache Trinidad project
(formerly Oracle ADF) and continue to expand and support that.

And the list goes on.

Oracle is not quite as evil as people seem to think. I'd really like to
understand where the FUD is coming from. IOW, I'd like to be able to follow the
money.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal
Authored by: grouch on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 08:20 PM EDT
Microsoft is against Oracle acquiring Sun. Since Microsoft has always been anticompetitive (and anticonsumer), this is sufficient reason for everyone except Microsoft, and possibly Sun, to support Oracle's acquisition of Sun.

Beyond that, PJ and Carlo Piana already give strong reasons for support. The GPL will continue to protect the users of MySQL, just as it has under Sun's stewardship.

OT: Is there a pattern developing regarding people retiring from influential positions? Kroes seems to want to go out with some really soft pitches to Microsoft. McConnell went out with a plum tossed to SCOG. Anyone have any other data points?

---
-- grouch

GNU/Linux obeys you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

If Microsoft thinks it's ok to rewrite licenses
Authored by: kawabago on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 08:21 PM EDT
If Microsoft thinks it's ok to change someone else's license, why are they going
after pirates of their software? The pirates are just giving it a more
attractive license, it's not like they're stealing it!

[ Reply to This | # ]

I agree
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 08:36 PM EDT
and I'm very pleased to see you take this position, PJ.

Although I usually find your thinking clear-headed and useful, there were a few
times in the past when it seemed to me that you drank a bit too deeply of RMS's
kool-aid, so I'm happy to see that your thoughts on this are refreshingly
independent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Commitment to develop
Authored by: LocoYokel on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 09:01 PM EDT
Could they offer a written, binding commitment (on them and anyone they may
transfer MySQL to during the time period) to continue development and support of
MySQL under both the GPL (either 2 or 3, their choice) and commercial licenses
currently used? Say for 10 to 15 years?

Would that be long enough to see any potential replacements mature?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Some thoughts on Stallman's letter
Authored by: dyfet on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 10:12 PM EDT
I noticed a NUMBER of people have taken up stating the very same anti-gpl
"talking points" all at once...hmm. But beyond that question, I think
most people have misunderstood what I think Stallman was getting at.

What I read in this letter is that Stallman is saying that the copyright holder
of MySQL has unique and unequal benefits specifically because they choose to
dual-license the code with a disjunctive proprietary license, and because the
community had allowed them to do so. These benefits of course cannot be conveyed
to a pure GPL fork.

The problem, as I see it, was the use of dual disjunctive licensing with a
proprietary license, the requirement for copyright assignment to said entity,
and it's toleration under the assumption that the entity holding copyright over
other's contributed work would never do evil, so to speak. While I fully
understand this business model, it is one I choose specifically to reject years
back for OST, as it seemed dishonest at best and potentially directly harmful to
cohesive community participation at worst.

Indeed another consideration of the GPL is that it's strength and weakness is in
copyright law. While the idea of a pure GPL fork is fine in principle, what
happens if the copyright holder of record makes it clear they will not pursue
copyright violations? Of course, in most forks, this issue was never
considered, because presumably the fork holding copyright does not wish to
destroy the project, just normally has a different direction. But what if a
copyright holder of a forked project did wish to effectively destroy it, at
least as a "community project". Refusing to enforce the license is
one potential way to do so if the fork has no copyright interest. A kind of
scorched earth policy.

That being said, I have to agree that overall Oracle seems not likely to be much
different as a MySQL copyright holder than Sun would be from the perspective of
having a fork, or at least not likely to go for a scorched earth policy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What's wrong with the GPLv3?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 12:47 AM EDT
"A more flexible license"? Like what? How about GPLv3, if you want to start tinkering with the license? And on what legal basis would anyone have authority to change the license, other than the copyright holder? Are you seriously suggesting that a regulatory body decide the license instead of the copyright owner? What a reckless idea.
But Sun is the copyright holder (joint with the contributor). The legal basis to change the licensing would have been granted to Sun by way of the singing their SCA (pdf) which permits them to "exercise all rights that a copyright holder has". This would include Sun either selling their copyright interests (non-exclusively) or re-licensing the work.

I should think a regulatory body which can decide to make a buyout conditional upon selling off particular holdings would have equal authority to propose a licensing change as an alternative.

While I am not opposed to Oracle's purchase taking place, I would consider a re-licensing of MySQL under either GPLv3 or GPLv2+ to be of great benefit to the Free Software community.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Microsoft a possible buyer for MySQL ? A couple of RED FLAGs -
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 02:02 AM EDT
1) Microsoft already has three (3) database products - Access, Visual FoxPro
(though they may be end-of-lifing it), and SQL Server. Any attempt by them to
buy MySQL would have the trust-busters chasing them with a Ma Deuce or Bofors.

2) They have a history of mangling software that they acquire. I know this from
experience relating to FoxPro as I was an xBase developer using various versions
of the Fox Software family. The Windows version of FoxPro 2.6 cut out several
features that were highly useful. Those features didn't reappear until VFP5.

Also, their connection(s) to the protesters is(are) very risky on their part
because it could trigger anti-trust sanctions on them.

NB - Ma Deuce = .50 in. machine gun; Bofors = 20mm or 40mm AA cannon.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: Ian Al on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 05:12 AM EDT
Kroes expressed her disappointment that Oracle failed to produce, despite repeated requests, either hard evidence that there were no competition problems or a proposal for a remedy to the competition concerns identified by the commission,” Jonathan Todd, Kroes spokesman said in an interview today in Brussels. “Kroes reiterated to Catz the commission’s willingness to move quickly towards a decision but underlined that a rapid solution lies in Oracle’s hands.
Oracle can sort this out very quickly. They have already confirmed that they will not change the licence arrangements for MySQL. All they need to do is state that MySQL serves a market that they don't yet cover. They can use an alternative business model to their enterprise db, Oracle db, by continuing with support of the GPL and the community and selling support services for MySQL running on Linux and Solaris on both commodity hardware and Sun's own hardware. They already provide a partial service of this sort with their own open source Linux distribution for use with Oracle database under a proprietary licence.

Oracle would start with no more than 50% of this market segment in Europe and would not be a technical monopoly. The commission should not stand in the way of Oracle competing with high service levels, product quality and product support to grow their share of this market even if they reached a monopoly position. Even if MySQL achieved a monopoly among users it would not be Oracle's monopoly. They would continue to have competition because the product would be freely available to users who did not want Oracle support. Third party support companies can continue to thrive by supporting the same software. Competition is enforced in Europe to make sure the best products gain market share. They should not make an exception in Oracle's case. Oracle would not abuse any monopoly situation in this market gained by selling the best product as demonstrated by the existing Oracle database business.

What I mean to say is I'm with PJ.

---
Regards
Ian Al

Linux: Viri can't hear you in free space.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle's track record of contributing
Authored by: IMANAL_TOO on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 05:25 AM EDT
Here are some figures on Oracle's track record of contributing to the Linux kernel, as analyzed by the Linux Foundation :

Here are the changes of all time.

Company_Name/Number_of_Changes/Percent_of_Total
N one/26,644/18.2%
Red Hat/17,981/12.3%
Unknown/11,164/7.6%
IBM/11,151/7.6%
Novell/11,046/7 .6%
Intel/7,782/5.3%
Consultant/3,657/2.5%
Oracle/3,513/2.4%
Lin uxFoundation/2,345/1.6%
SGI/2,317/1.6%
Here are the changes from 2.6.24 an onwards.

Company_Name/Number_of_Changes/Percent_of_Total
None/13.850/21.1%
RedHat/7.897/12.0%
IBM/4.150/6.3%
Novell/4.021/6 .1%
Intel/3.923/6.0%
Unknown/2.765/4.2%
Oracle/2.003/3.1%
Consul tant/1.480/2.3%
Parallels/1.142/1.7%
Fujitsu/1.007/1.5%

So, even on an all time basis, Oracle is there. And, they climbed the ladder since 2.6.24, from 8th to a 7th place.

In my view, that is demonstrated commitment.

And, the acquisition of SUN can only be good for kernel, as SUN climbed from 30th place in all time to a 16th place since 2.6.24.

HP climbs from 18th to 17 and Nokia from 25th to 22nd, and AMD from 29th to 21st.

Other companies using Linux, such as Google, even drops from 20th place in all time, to a 24th rank since 2.6.24. Where is the commitment of Google?

I have no near term reasons to believe Oracle will change their path. On the other hand, they have contributed more GPL software than many other, more vociferous bodies. What is it Torvalds used to say? "Talk is cheap, show me the code." Oracle has shown the code!



---
______
IMANAL


.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A very unfortunate document
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 06:54 AM EDT

From the KEI/rms document:

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.


I find it a grave oversight by rms that he would let a statement like
this stand in a document that bears his signature.

Some other remarks:

The main argument of the KEI/rms document seems to me to be ...
time -- time for FLOSS to come up with something that could compare
to what MySQL is today. That's not a very strong point.

Then it seems to me that the different signatories to the KEI/rms document
may have had diverse and different motives for drafting it. At best, rms
himself seems to want to make a case for GPLv3, but seems unsufficiently
aware that he 's doing so by trashing the GPLv2, and that others
(bringing motives of their own) will jump to this in their bid to trash the
GPLperiod.

No, the KEI/rms document is a very unfortunate document in my view,
one that could well bear some additional exegesis by at least rms.
And if that were true, it would be doubly unfortunate.

bjd


[ Reply to This | # ]

The GPL is supposed to be "infectious"
Authored by: peope on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 06:55 AM EDT
One of the goals of the GPL license was/is to make good software the others
would be inclined to use.

The terms of the GPL makes it impossible to link to the licensed without itself
putting it under GPL or freer license.

RMS wants people to be forced to switch to open software.

However
Which closed software permits as much to others as much as the GPL does?

GPL is not BSD. It is not intended as BSD. BSD is more free in a sense.

However you might as well scrap the BSD license in favor for public domain if
you are so inclined.

I would like to see revised copyright and consumer laws.
However as long as copyright and consumer laws are as they are GPL is a good
alternative to "fight" the current system.

There are lots of good software under GPL that you would like to use.

There is lots of good software that you cannot use because of their licensing
terms.

Writing good GPL software lets people make a choice whether to use that software
or pay for libraries.

Either you choose open source or you choose not to open source. The choice is
free to anybody bar the requirements.

GPL is supposed to persuade people to make the choice of open source for the
benefit of everyone. And it is doing a good job at it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Monty quote - oxymoron alert!
Authored by: msfisher on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 08:38 AM EDT
I'm surprised no one has commented on the obvious oxymorons in PJ's quote from
Monty:

"...a single independent entity, verified and approved by the Microsoft
lawyers..."

Independent means NOT DEPENDENT ON ANYONE. That includes verification and
approval by lawyers from a deeply concerned party. What part of "verified
and approved" makes this "independent"?!?!

"...being involved with Open Source projects becomes so much easier for
Microsoft developers..."

What about OTHER developers?

"...without a lot of red tape..."

Red Tape = verification and approval by lawyers.

"...why should Microsoft be trusted to have good intentions with the
CodePlex Foundation? Simply, I believe that it's in Microsoft's direct interest
that the CodePlex foundations becomes a success..."

This is exactly why Microsoft SHOULD NOT be trusted. If Codeplex is a success,
Microsoft benefits from free code which it can, at the very least, learn from
and write around.

I'm sorry, Monty, but MS has no "best" and no benevolence toward Open
Source. It is not a company divided, but one which has whole PR teams to make
it look exactly the way it wants to -- including looking friendly to FOSS and
divided.

And as for the value of MySQL and any licenses which it carries, Sun bought it
for a remarkable amount of money, so it is clearly a valuable piece of property
AS IS. I don't know if Oracle will realize this and not mess with a good thing,
but I'm certain that almost any other purchaser -- including MS -- will not, and
MySQL, its developers and users will all suffer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

attribute to malice or incompetence? Synchronicity? Coincidence?
Authored by: reiisi on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 09:11 AM EDT
A couple of days ago, I was wondering whether Microsoft might not have
deliberately sabotaged Sidekick, not to kill off Sidekick, but to give them an
excuse to launch into their classic "See, the other guys are so hard to
keep
running write that even we have problems." act.

To generate FUD against a classic IP-is-proprietary company gone AWOL and
try to set up a knockout blow.

Ergo, deepsix Sun for good, and drown as many FLOSS projects in its wake as
possible.

On topic, MySQL was an oversell. Don't know why Sun bought it. Alternatives
exist which can co-exist peacefully in any particular part of the FLOSS
ecosystem. We can risk letting it go.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Manufacturing a crisis
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 10:43 AM EDT
I can believe that MySQL has depended on commercial licensing fees, and that it would have been difficult to rely exclusively on support revenues, but it doesn't require going to Apache or BSD to level the playing field.

Red Hat succeeds in part because, although the GPL prevents proprietary extensions to the kernel, the LGPL allows proprietary code to bind to libc and make use of the services the kernel offers, at an appropriate arms length. MySQL's client libraries don't offer the same option. They are full GPL, so absent a dual license option distributed proprietary code is barred not only from extending MySQL, but also from using it unmodified.

Relaxing this arrangement so that an unmodified MySQL can be combined with a proprietary application is all that is needed to enable a Red Hat like opportunity here too.

[ Reply to This | # ]

These all seem to miss the Real Problems
Authored by: Marc Mengel on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 11:20 AM EDT
The real problems stem from Oracle's historical behavior when buying new technologies. What they consistently do is:
  • Buy technology company
  • Start selling new tech as "Oracle Some Random Thing (SRT)"
  • Lay off people from technology company
  • Support new tech very badly
  • End of Life tech product just after...
  • buying another, similar tech company, and pushing their new technology as a replacement for the previous one
  • repeat
Given this history (or at least my possibly warped interpretation of it), one becomes really worried about the future of both Solaris and MySql. MySql has the option of forking the project and surviving, Solaris does not.

So my prediction is that in 5 years, MySql will be running as a separate, forked project, and a few of Solaris's features which help Oracle run better will be merged into Linux, and both MySql and Solaris will be End of Lifed (Oh that's right, put on "Sustaining Support") as Oracle products.

This prediction is of course based on my perception of Oracle's behavior, which is admittedly cynical.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasons NOT to accept oracle as goody too shoes
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 11:43 AM EDT
YOU dont realize that in secret they with dozens of other companies are working
and have worked on tons of Digitial rights management software and technology ,
in very very secret ways and using a front company to hide it all. Sorry ive
seen the proof and im not buying into oracle being anyhting but a sneaky lil
evil corporation trying to screw you of all you cash and control all that
we/YOU/I do.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Letter from Marten Mickos to Neelie Kroes
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 12:23 PM EDT
Mickos letter to EU: Approve Oracle-Sun deal

[ Reply to This | # ]

For the moment I'm relaxed about the Oracle deal
Authored by: billyskank on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 01:53 PM EDT
I think Oracle understands open source well enough, and it's no secret that
they're big fans of Java. I reserve the right to change my opinion of them later
should they do something we don't like, of course, but so far I'm not concerned
about them.

---
It's not the software that's free; it's you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

My take on this.
Authored by: Brian S. on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 01:53 PM EDT
What Larry Ellison wants to buy is Sun.

Sun were never a competitor to Oracle. They are NOT a software company, they're a hardware company whose machinery best runs on Solaris but can also run Linux.

I date from a time of tennis court sized computer rooms running Oracle on an IBM mainframe.

The latest from Larry Ellison:

Monday, October 12, 2009 01:04

Larry Ellison endorses SPARC, criticizes IBM's Power architecture

"We took on 76 IBM [Power-based] racks with just 9 racks of SPARC-Solaris gear. We achieved 25 percent more throughput, along with a 16X better response time," said Ellison. Their [racks] consumed 6X more energy, so now we know why IBM's chip is called 'Power.' It is not very green. In the immortal words of Sarah Palin, 'drill baby, drill.'"....

TG Daily

It's obvious what he's doing. He no longer needs IBM for most of the big installations where Oracle really make their money.

Solaris is safe and for the first time, Larry will have his own OS. You can bet he'll tune Oracle, Solaris, Linux and Sparc to give him an advantage over IBM.

BUT this is at the top end.

You come down through the middle and into the small stuff and somewhere along the way a Sun Server running Linux and MySQL will make sure that Larry has a position in there too. He's got to sell hardware now - lots of it! - for that division to make a profit.

And he'll have Star Office/Open Office to take on IBM Symphony and Microsoft Office.

From 2006:

Courtesy of InformationWeek

Charles Babcock

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is determined to shape Linux's future, and he's not waiting for someone to ask his opinion. In a sign of the central role of Linux in Oracle's future, Ellison said this week that Oracle will strip the Red Hat trademarks and symbols out of Red Hat Linux and market that version as the best Linux on which to run the Oracle database. And it will back it with low-cost support. There was wide speculation that Oracle might issue its own Linux distribution.....

SchoolCIO

It's taken him a while to work it all out.

But Linux, MySQL and Open Office aren't a threat to Oracle's bread and butter, they're an asset to Oracle's new hardware division.

HP may have dropped out of the running at the top end but ISTM that Larry Ellison is intent on taking on IBM.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Cut Costs with Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 02:46 PM EDT
is the title on an invited spam from Sun (I use VirtualBox).
I am invited to download the White Paper and learn how to

---
Cut Costs - Not Supportability
Get the White Paper – Open Source in the Enterprise: Fulfilling the Promise –
and read about:

• The new economics of open source
• What open source is all about
• Why open source is more than
‘Enterprise Ready’
• How to get started
• Major open-source projects and products
---

does all this still hold after sale to Oracle...?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mårten Mickos is wrong, the community is encumbered by the vendor
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 23 2009 @ 12:17 AM EDT
Mikos wrote: "What I mean is that the vast and free installed base of MySQL
is using it of their own free choice, unencumbered by the vendor and under no
obligation or restraint."

I've pointed this out before; he's dead wrong. The MySQL documentation belongs
to Sun and is not open source. A database without documentation useless, and
recreating the documentation would be a legal and technical nightmare. MySQL
users are almost entirely dependent upon the MySQL vendor.


Having said this I don't see it's impact on PJ's argument. But she does quote
Mikos without comment on this point and it's a point well worth keeping in
mind.

Karl O. Pinc <kop@meme.com>

[ Reply to This | # ]

My vote: Oracle should divest MySQL
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, October 24 2009 @ 07:44 PM EDT
MySQL is a viable competitor which will keep prices for databases reasonable.
In the interest of anti-trust / anti-monopoly, Oracle should divest MySQL. The
best way would be to spin it off as a public company, and the second best way
would be to sell it to a company with an interest in competing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Florin's "PR stunt"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 12:45 PM EDT
So do you really prepose the the city should have deployed an aricatecture
without understanding the potenal legal risks involved? Quite honestly, this
happining up-front shows an open honesty, and a willingness to not turn a
blind-eye to potental problems.

That is in addition to his stated reason, which I take at face value.

Oninoshiko

[ Reply to This | # ]

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