Monty Going Full Out Against MySQL Acquisition

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 14, 2009

The European Union held its meetings on Oracle's acquisition of Sun last week, and the decision should be forthcoming by January 19th. In the meantime, MySQL creator Monty Widenius is calling for a letter-writing campaign to "help save MySQL from Oracle's clutches. At the same time, Oracle has been moved to put up a list of commitments regarding MySQL should the company be successful in acquiring Sun.

According to Widenius, Oracle's promise to put money into MySQL development "is not proof that anything useful will ever be delivered" or that MySQL will remain competitive. Widenius also argues that "a fork is not enough" to keep MySQL healthy without cooperation from Oracle as the primary copyright holder.

Widenius says that Oracle "broke the rules" in mobilizing customers to respond to the European Commission (EC), and is asking the MySQL and FOSS community to respond to the EC by December 19th. In fairness, Widenius does provide the community with boilerplate for opposing the acquisition, requesting further assurances from Oracle, or approving of the acquisition.

Though Widenius says he doesn't feel a fork is sufficient to protect MySQL, he's sponsoring MariaDB, a fork of MySQL. The goal of MariaDB is to "be kept up to date with the latest MySQL release fromthe same branch."

Meanwhile, Oracle's 10 commitments to customers, developers, and users of MySQL seems to have resonated with the EC. The EC put out a statement saying that it "welcomes" Oracle's announcement and says it is "an important new element to be taken into account in the ongoing proceedings." In particular, the EC approves of Oracle's commitment to provide a 5-year period of copyright non-assertion and extension for existing customers/licensees.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a longtime FOSS advocate, and currently works for Novell as the community manager for openSUSE. Prior to joining Novell, Brockmeier worked as a technology journalist covering the open source beat for a number of publications, including Linux Magazine, Linux Weekly News,,, IBM developerWorks, and many others.