MySQL Founder Monty Widenius On What to Expect Next: Part 2

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 04, 2010

MySQL founder Monty Widenius, who left Sun Microsystems early last year, remained very  vocal throughout the long machinations leading up to Oracle's acquisition of Sun, even mounting a letter writing campaign.  With the Sun acquisition going forward, we reached out to Monty for an interview and he was kind enough to share his thoughts with us. In this second part of this two-part interview he adds to his thoughts on the Oracle acquisition of Sun, and more. You can find the first part of the interview here.

OStatic: What advice would you give the CTO of a startup that is making technology decisions?

If he is going to need commercial licenses for the database (for example to distribute his closed source application with MySQL), before considering MySQL he needs to do a contract with Sun/Oracle  that will secure the license prices for the future.

For in-house use or open source use, MySQL is still the most used open source database and will be a good choice for many years.  MySQL still has unique features, like stable well working replication, that makes it the best choice for web usage.

I would however recommend that the CTO take the precaution to ensure that this application works with more than one database to never get a database locking. (This is something that I have told CTOs since the beginning of MySQL).

In addition, he should consider putting some limited development source in the open source projects that he is using, for the benefit of all open source projects.  It's only through active participation in those projects that one uses that the projects can be kept truly free!

OStatic: If you are an alternative Open Source database, how will this affect your product?

There will certainly be a much higher than normal conversion rate away from MySQL than ever before, because of the uncertainty that Oracle will bring to the market (if Oracle doesn't adopt the recommendations I mentioned before). There are some people that decided on the database because of the license, and others decided based on feature set or market share.

If Oracle decides to close up MySQL, then the users that care about the license will have to consider a MySQL fork or another open source database and this is a golden opportunity for everyone.

For users that are depending on the MySQL features or users who use  a lot of programs that only work with MySQL, they are more likely to go with a commercial offering from Oracle or a MySQL fork, because switching databases completely would have too high costs involved. So everything depends on Oracle's next steps.