Why Oracle can’t kill MySQL.

When Oracle agreed to acquire Sun there was some speculation that Oracle might try to kill MySQL. First this wouldn’t be a very prudent effort on Oracle’s part and second it’s not even possible. I think Monty has the best explanation from his comment on his blog:

The simple fact is one can’t own an open source project. One can control it by controlling the people which are leading and developing it. When a company doesn’t take good care of their employees and those employees start to leave the company and work on the project elsewhere, that company has lost control of the project.

The whole comment is worth reading. Monty does a good job of putting the Sun purchase into perspective with regards to MySQL and the developer community.

2 Comments

  1. K says:

    Personally I don’t care for Monty’s opinion, the impact of Sun taking over MySQL was a positive one, under Monty the MySQL release cycle was far to slow and missed/skipped/ignored a lot of useful features, and delivered the other bits far to slowly.

  2. AdamD says:

    People say that you cannot kill an opensource project, but a project is only alive if you have enthusiastic volunteers and direction/management that they trust.

    If the company that owns an opensource product slowly lets it go into disrepair, the contributors will often wander off to projects with more ‘life’ to them – more promising future / returns. And the project withers from attrition.

    And IMO, Monty sold whatever moral leadership that he had to SUN. I hold a certain mistrust of any of his statements about MySQL since he has something to gain from MySQL failing (more likely success for his new DB project). However, at the same time, I doubt that they will see the same success as MySQL. The DB market is more fragmented now. Oddly Oracle’s purchase of so many of the smaller players in the DB market may benefit their competition – similar to how culling trees in a forest gives rise to a new crop of saplings

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