Monty Widenius, MySQL Founder, Forecasts the MySQL Future

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 22, 2009

MySQL founder Monty Widenius, who left Sun Microsystems earlier this year, has an interesting blog post up on why he thinks Oracle is acquiring Sun. In it, he also considers several possible scenarios for MySQL going forward, including the possibility that Oracle might kill MySQL, which it has competed with. Monty's opinion on these matters is probably as informed as anyone's, and here are some thoughts on what he says.

Among the reasons that Monty sees for Oracle buying Sun, he notes that Oracle can bundle Sun's big hardware with its installations, and that Sun Tape Storage products are suited for efficient database backups. He also notes Sun's advanced work in cloud computing (which Sun was never really able to make money from), and its virtualization product, VirtualBox. Notably, Monty also mentions that Oracle's Linux platform offers no clear advantage over Red Hat's, and that Solaris would be a better platform for Oracle's customers. I definitely agree with that.

Monty also considers these three scenarios for what Oracle might do with MySQL, beginning with the most dire possibility: "1) They are going to kill MySQL (either directly or by not developing/supporting it fully); 2) MySQL will get sold of to another entity, either because Oracle doesn't want it or becasue of antitrust laws; or 3) They will embrace MySQL and open source and put their technical expertise on it to ensure that MySQL continues to be the most popular advanced open source database."

Many people are predicting that the MySQL team faces some significant shakeups under Oracle, and Monty notes that there already were turbulent relations under Sun:

"Sun's acquisition of MySQL did not go smoothly; most of the MySQL leaders (both commercial and project) have left Sun and the people who are left are sitting with their CV and ready to press send. Oracle, not having the best possible reputation in the open source space, will have a hard time keeping the remaining MySQL people in the company or even working on the MySQL project."

While Monty says he hopes that Oracle will put strong resources behind MySQL, he doesn't sound confident that it will. It's possible that he has a bit of bias in the matter, since his new company Monty Program Ab is focused on extending MySQL and on a branch of it, but overall his arguments sound logical, and I'm sure he stays in touch with the MySQL team closely. Meanwhile, according to The Register, at this week's MySQL Conference in Silicon Valley, people are taking the stage and assuring MySQL users that things will go smoothly going forward. It's hard to know for sure who to believe at this point.