Some Thoughts on the Oracle Takeover of Sun

February 28, 2010

I am a pretty big fan of VirtualBox and use Mysql a lot, so I must admit the takeover of Sun by Oracle was a sad day for me. (Yeah I know in Internet Time it happened a long time ago, I have been busy :D)

When I was in school, my first database class used Oracle, but I really didn’t like the interface of it, nor did I like their restrictive enterprise business model, with the standard version being restrictive and less secure. So, having already been familiar with Mysql, I made a point to take the rest of my credits in classes that used Mysql.

Now that Oracle owns Mysql, which is one of the biggest competitors to their own for profit closed source Database, I can not help but think that this is going to have a major impact on Mysql’s Future.

I have not always been the biggest fan of Sun, mostly because I prefer C++ to Java, but with that said, I have done a lot of Java development and really like how easy it is to make a cross platform program that works in Linux, Windows, and Mac OSX. This kind of makes up for the performance issues and general Kindergarten feel of Java, which are the two main issues I have with it.

However, despite some of my trepidations about Java, I still had a great deal of respect for Sun and its products, because they were a tremendous asset to the Open Source Community. So, suffice it to say, that I was not just sad about loosing Mysql and VirtualBox to Oracle, but also at the end of Sun as a Company.

Now it is possible that Oracle will step up to the plate and continue to live up to the ideals that Sun did, but I can not help but think that as they now own the chief competitor to their for profit database, development for Mysql will be halted or at the very least cut back on so as to make the Oracle Enterprise Database the full version and the Mysql one the scaled back version.

I guess ultimately, this means that it is time for a Fork or to support one of the existing Forks, such as Drizzle or MariaDB. The latter, MariaDB is being developed with the support of Monty Widenius, who was the founder of Mysql and the lead developer of MariaDB.

I wish Sun could have made it through these tough times…

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6 Responses to “Some Thoughts on the Oracle Takeover of Sun”

  1. niq Says:

    Oracle is market leader in the enterprise. MySQL is market leader on the Web. That’s different markets, with little overlap. It’s not in Oracle’s interest to let a major asset like MySQL wither, and Oracle has identified it as a strategic asset.

    • junger95 Says:

      You are correct, that is poorly worded.

      I was trying to get at that since Mysql is closely related to their existing product, I can see how this might cause a conflict of interest and/or result in a Mysql Mysq+ sort of system. This makes me think supporting one of the forks might end up being the better choice, even though it isn’t necessarily a short term concern.

      With that said, developing for it is a big commitment…

      Hope the first day went well, I imagine it is a big change.

  2. Dan Stoica Says:

    Do you really understand what open source is all about. We have the sources for VirtualBox, MySQL, now most of (open)Solaris, etc, so I do not understand what/why are you complaining (about)?

    For personal use (non-comercial) all Oracle software is available on OTN without functional limitations. Install on your computer the enterprise version of the 11g server and learn it for free!

    “restrictive enterprise business model” !?!

    At school probably they indoctrinated you on business venturing and not taught you much on technology ;-)

    • junger95 Says:

      Of course. The only reason a fork is even an option is because Mysql is open, although the Maria Fork was around before Oracle bought out sun.

      I also am aware Oracle is basically free for non-commercial use and have even taken them up on this offer before, specifically when in school being “indoctrinated,” which to be fair is about as far from the truth as you could get :)

      I stand by the statement that it is a restrictive enterprise model. I don’t hate them for it and understand they are out to make money, but they offer a tiered product, with memory and CPU restrictions on each tier, as well as differences in performance and security across the different tiers. I would say that that it is a fairly restrictive enterprise business model, arguably better than how Microsoft Server Licensing works, but along similar lines.

      Again, I don’t hate them for this business model, but given their business model, I don’t think that they are the best home for Mysql…

      • Dan Stoica Says:

        If you are talking of commercial use of the db server you are right. They are smart and make a policy based on the use of it.

        I have worked on projects even for big corporations (banks) that where also smart and implemented, internally, parts of their infrastructure using MySQL and/or PostgreSQL. So it all depends on the openness to technical expertize and quality of the decision makers!

        If you are lucky to have a (general) manager that really has technical background and not only management “expertise” then you can save money and remain independent with your architecture!

        I still don’t understand you taking classes based on MySQL and not Oracle, but … You could have started to get used to PL/SQL, JSP (Java Stored Procedures), etc, and come up with a knowledge investment. In parallel you could have studied on your own the intricacies of Open Source DBs! If I may ask, what certifications/degrees do you hold?

        • junger95 Says:

          It is not often you find situations like that in a corporate setting. Like you say, a lot of it comes down to how knowledgeable the decision makers are.

          There are a lot of areas I would love to spend time learning, but there just isn’t enough time in the day. However I have found that most of the time, such as with things like PL/SQL, new Languages, and anything Java(including JSP,) it isn’t really all that difficult to pick it up when needed.

          Usually, it is more a matter of switching syntax a little bit, so its not like you have to relearn SQL or programming theory.


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