Go Monty! Go Monty!
I dont think theres anyone from Sun oldskool (management not included) that want to see you fail. You go, girl!
The co-founder of MySQL has submitted an appeal against the European competition watchdog’s decision to clear Oracle’s takeover of Sun Microsystems earlier this year. Michael ‘Monty’ Widenius, who sold his chunk of the MySQL database to Sun Microsystems in 2008 for $1bn, told various news outlets including The Register on …
"Michael ‘Monty’ Widenius, who sold his chunk of the MySQL database to Sun Microsystems in 2008 for $1bn"
No. no. no. no. NO!
The *investor group* behind MySQL sold *the entire thing* for $1bn. Monty undoubtedly had his say in this, but he did not hold the controlling vote (which is not to say that I think he disagreed with the decision, but he certainly didn't make the bn).
Monty's position is that having Oracle own MySQL removes a competitor from Oracle, because he believes that Oracle RDBMS was a competitor to MySQL. This is very wooly thinking.
Oracle's potential customers may well have stated that they could use MySQL as their RDBMS as a negotiating stance to Oracle. This was either an empty threat that Oracle could ignore, or a statement of fact that they intended to save a lot of money. But in no case was MySQL ever a credible alternative to Oracle. Other than the comparison on costs, it is like comparing Apples and Oranges.
MySQL's main competitor was Postgresql - that is, another FOSS RDBMS.
Monty should remember that he sold MySQL to Sun for rather a lot of money. He sold the company, the code, the patents (yes, MySQL is patented), the Intellectual Property - the whole shabang. He then got a job with Sun. Nice work. He left Sun in a tiff because Sun management released V5.1 before Monty was ready - well, Monty, they bought the right to do this when you accepted that nice fat cheque.
Now Oracle have bought Sun, and they too have the right to do what they want. The purchased has been opposed, has done due diligence, been investigated and agreed. Game over.
The point of the story? If you want to keep control of your baby, then keep control. If you want to get rich, then sell it off. But you can't do both. Well, not often and not in this case.
All that is happening now is that developers will start ditching MySQL because of the FUD being thrown around and move to Postgresql or Derby. Oracle will realise that the customer base is diminishing, close down MySQL development altogether, and just go to the current customers with an offer to buy in to Oracle - and increase their sales. Nice one Monty.
In the mean time, it puts anyone else who wants to develop FOSS, build up a credible user base but with no revenue, and who then wants to sell the company on in a bit of a pickle - the buyers will start wondering if developers are "going to do a Monty on us" a little later.
So this is worse than Monty wanting to have his cake and eat it; he wants to do that but also stop anyone else having a cake for themselves.
I thought that meant 'Selling me an RDBMS that doesn't have standard RDBMS features like transactions and referential integrity checks'. Monty's stubborness in saying that transactions were not needed at all in an RDBMS, that foreign keys were for lazy developers and other kinds of crap.
When I found out that BDB and InnoDB didn't have support for the BACKUP command, I simply said 'Fuck it. I'm going back to PostgreSQL.' Also, I'd like to note that InnoDB was also bought by Oracle, so they could've simply shut down InnoDB if they had wanted to kill MySQL, long before Sun acquired MySQL.
I'd rather like to see PostgreSQL replacing MySQL, as it is a more mature RDBMS, and one that is light years ahead from MySQL. Also, it would be good for a true FOSS DBMS to take over, and squash the weird mutants out there like NoSQL or the MUMPS-based hellspawn called Caché.
It was Marten Mickos who sold. He was the one who added proprietary MySQL Enterprise, and now he does the same with Eucalyptus and preaches how open source shouldn't shouldn't be open. He came into company just to make quick cash. Monty couldn't do anything about that, but since Sun (which don't have competing database) was in question, he was not against.
However, Monty was right that Oracle never should be allowed to own it's most prospective competitor. Oracle is database market leader. MySQL is database. So they are competing, simple as that. Now, it is true that Oracle DB installation can't be replaced with MySQL, but which database can replace it? None. It's called lock-in. Also, it is true that MySQL can't do what Oracle DB can. But Oracle now with MySQL controls to much.
Imagine what would be now, if Sun somehow by any chance bought Linux in 1998, before it hurt Solaris. For example if they bought Red Hat before it's IPO. But that is not quite good comparison because Linux had many other distros. Now problem with MySQL is that is completely controlled by one company. MySQL had aspirations to go high as Oracle, it just didn't go there yet. Now Oracle just bought future Oracle killer and saved itselft from Sun's fate. They will now just use MySQL as up-sell and won't develop it as Oracle competitor. It will take years until another Open source DB get so god position that MySQL had. Until then, with this rate of acquisitions, Oracle might own entire industry and competing with them in enterprise space could be just as hard as competing with MS on desktop.
your redhat comparision fails -- you realised it fails but you did not explain why.
Two words. Copyright assignment.
It's not the decision to sell that caused all this. It's the decision to have mandatory copyright assignment. Which allowed them to change the *client* libraries from LGPL to GPL for instance.
Tell me how that helps FOSS in any way, forcing the MySQL client libraries to be GPL? That was pure greed.
Now it's biting them, and they're running around crying about it...
I didn't explain why because I think it's obvious. Like you said, it is copyright assignment and greed. You are right about that and I fully agree. It is bad for open source project to have copyrights owned by one company. MySQL was in fact library, and should have been licensed under LGPL or at least copyright assigned to a consortium which would then delegate right to dual-licensing bussines practice to those companies who contribute most.
But you are wrong in assuming that Monty wants to own MySQL, just like you are wrong that he is one who sold it. Monty just sees the writing on the wall, Oracle is going to enterpsie market if they don't get somehow stopped, and MySQL is going to be used as entry to every enterprise. The fact that MySQL AB was greedy will not make it right for Oracle to own a competitor. Oracle is going to be even more greedy.
As for "they need to own postgres"... they don't need now. They will just develop MySQL enough to be better than Postgres but not enough to budge Oracle DB. They have resources for that, unfortunately.
IMHO he attempted the "sell it for 1bn, buy it back for 100M" game that worked for others, hoping an antitrust ruling would have depreciated MySQL enough for Oracle to regain control of it at a fraction of the price it was paid. But it turned out its execution plan was wrong.
"Due to selling MySQL to Sun, Widenius earned about 16.6 million € in capital gains in 2008 (16.8 million € total income), making the top 10 of highest earners in Finland that year"
Widenius didn't own entire MySQL, so he got only small piece of the pie. Stating that Monty wants to own MySQL is nonsense.
On the one hand, Monty is like a parent who's watching his only son getting hooked on crack or heroin. So its his *legacy* which is in danger.
On the other... Monty must have come to the realization that you can't just fork the distro and expect the community to follow. Monty has learned a harsh lesson in that unless your Open Source solution can obtain enough critical mass, then you will fail. Its a harsh lesson and one that really hurts because it means that MySQL was a one in a million shot and he's going to be hard pressed to strike it rich on his next venture too.
A beer because I hate to see a grown man crying over spilled milk.
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