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Oracle and MySQL -- Good Move or Bad Bet? 226

Posted by Cliff
from the when-open-source-and-commercial-software-collude dept.
sendai-X writes "With the recently announced purchase of Innobase, Oracle has shown it's intention to further support open source. This is key as open source enters the mainstream in business and in light of the success IBM has had with the Eclipse project, and Sun recently looking at purchasing PostgresSQL. What do Slashdot users think about this merger? Is it beneficial to the market and database users by having the largest database vendor openly support MySQL and provide an upgrade path to Oracle? Or is it just another cog in the Oracle machine in their attempt to dominate the enterprise IT market? Will this change the database market landscape? Will it help or hurt IBM and Microsoft?"
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Oracle and MySQL -- Good Move or Bad Bet?

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  • Purchase PostgreSQL? (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:04PM (#13822183) Homepage Journal
    ...Sun recently looking at purchasing PostgreSQL
     
    That would be a neat trick wouldn't it?
     
    They could buy a company that sells Postgres support or makes a version of Postgres that they sell, but they aren't going to be 'buying postgres'. This is may seem like nit picking but it is somewhat important. PostgreSQL is free software in every sense of the term and Sun is not going to buy it. They are not going to purchase control of it.
     
    I guess they could try and hire all the main developers or something. Though I think that'd be tough too. And I'm glad of that as Postgres is my favorite rdbms. I like that it is free and as far as I can tell is going to stay that way for as long as it exists.
    • by tcopeland (32225) * <{moc.dnalepoceelsamoht} {ta} {mot}> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:09PM (#13822234) Homepage
      > they could try and hire all the main developers or something

      Right on, yup, that's about the only way they could do that - by hiring Tom Lane or some of the other gurus. But they can't "buy PostgreSQL". There have been some interesting discussions on this on the pgsql-advocacy [postgresql.org] list recently as well.

      > And I'm glad of that as Postgres is my favorite rdbms.

      Same here! 3.5 million records [blogs.com] and cranking along; PostgreSQL is meeting RubyForge's needs very nicely.
    • Yes, I am sure if Sun really wanted to, it might be possible to purchase PostgreSQL, Inc. which hires a few of the core developers (including some of the core promoters), but this is hardly acquiring all rights to the RDBMS since the copyrights are decentralized like Linux.

      What Sun was talking about was packaging PostgreSQL and shipping it as a .pkg with Solaris. It is smart on their part really....
    • by jadavis (473492) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @08:03PM (#13822689)
      The Innobase purchase/ MySQL debacle is really an indictment of their business and development model.

      MySQL AB is at the epicenter of development of MySQL DB, and requires copyright transfers for any outside changes. Paid developers at one small company largely create and support the entire database. Some users get a sense of security that there is "one person to go to", and a single focused business behind it. In some ways this business model worked well... their marketing was very successful, and the database might be described as more "unified" than, for example, PostgreSQL, where things like FTS and replication are independently developed (which is actually good, but can confuse users who think that "it's not good enough to be included").

      However, the PostgreSQL development model has been working very effectively, not dependent on any one company. A short list of contributors includes the likes of Fujitsu, Sun, Affilias (manages all .org and .info), Software Research Associates (SRA), Red Hat, Aglio DB, EnterpriseDB (won LinuxWorld "Best Database Solution" last year, beating Oracle), Command Prompt (I probably left a lot out).

      When Great Bridge hired a bunch of the PostgreSQL developers, then got scared and pulled funding, the developers went back to the community. The community was the core to begin with, and development continued as always. Other companies came in to support it, and development has never been stronger. More importantly, the community has never been stronger.

      The reason MySQL DB users are concerned, even though the source is GPL, is because MySQL DB is heavily dependent on MySQL AB. If MySQL is forced out by Oracle, what's left aside from some source code? There are a lot of users who would rally and try to build a community. But building a community to support an RDBMS takes more than just a few good programmers. It takes years to build the kind of community that works like the PostgreSQL Global Development Group (PGDG). It takes programmers, organizers, advocates, managers, advocates, support channels, channels for accepting new developers (for instance, if a company wants to pay for a feature), decision makers, and arbitrators (to prevent too much forking). And it takes a lot of time to figure out who does what, and when they do it, and how to reconcile conflicts or scheduling difficulties, how to work as a team so that work is integrated properly and time is not wasted.

      If someone has a proposal for a feature, who do they ask so that it's heard? Will a reliable decision be made about whether/when to progress? Who should step up and program? Who will open the channels of communication between the programmer and any other programmers working in similar code areas? Who will enforce project "standards"? Who will devise the standards? Does it go in this release or wait 'til the next? When is feature freeze? Who determines what quality level constitutes a release? Should the patch be backported? If it breaks any compatibility, who will devise a proper release timeline to avoid hurting existing users too much?

      It really takes a long time to build those conventions and organize people into a functional development group. MySQL DB users can only hope that MySQL AB is still around for a while. If MySQL AB goes the way of Great Bridge, MySQL DB may be left in chaos. In the meantime, start forming a community that can operate outside of MySQL AB. The monolithic development/business model seems to be in question right now.
      • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.traversNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @08:18PM (#13822788) Homepage Journal

        MySQL AB is at the epicenter of development of MySQL DB, and requires copyright transfers for any outside changes. Paid developers at one small company largely create and support the entire database. Some users get a sense of security that there is "one person to go to", and a single focused business behind it. In some ways this business model worked well... their marketing was very successful, and the database might be described as more "unified" than, for example, PostgreSQL, where things like FTS and replication are independently developed (which is actually good, but can confuse users who think that "it's not good enough to be included").


        Among the technologies that MySQL licenses from third parties under commercial redistribution licenses:

        Berkeley DB (Sleepycat Software)
        InnoDB (Oracle, formerly Innobase)
        MaxDB (SAP AG)

        See the problem? MySQL itself is largely a langauge parser and a simple and technically inadequate storage engine (for anything where data integrity matters). In other words they don't own any of the foundations of their technologies.
        • Yes, that's the difficulty.

          MySQL can only go through so many "rebirths" (MyISAM, BDB, InnoDB, ____ ) before the users figure out that the only thing that's really "MySQL" is the language.

          And people don't make new database installations based on syntax.
        • by sco08y (615665) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:42PM (#13823325)
          MySQL itself is largely a langauge parser and a simple and technically inadequate storage engine (for anything where data integrity matters). In other words they don't own any of the foundations of their technologies.

          That kind of nuts and bolts nerd attitude is bad enough with mainstream programming (compilers will never be fast enough, shared objects will never be fast enough, virtual machines will never be fast enough...) but it's lethal to DBMS development.

          One of the fundamental principles of the relational model is that you separate your logical constructs from the physical implementation. If anything, using other people's storage software was one of the few things they got right! (Of course, the rest of the time they succumbed to the nuts and bolts nerds and talked about how high they could score on arbitrary benchmarks and how integrity was for sissies, &c &c.)

          A DBMS is a *system* and when you design such a system you need to step back from the details of implementation and work out a rigorous, mathematically grounded plan for how it is going to work.

          • One of the fundamental principles of the relational model is that you separate your logical constructs from the physical implementation. If anything, using other people's storage software was one of the few things they got right! (Of course, the rest of the time they succumbed to the nuts and bolts nerds and talked about how high they could score on arbitrary benchmarks and how integrity was for sissies, &c &c.)


            You have a point. But my point isn't that this is technically good or bad. The point is
        • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon.gmail@com> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @05:31AM (#13824951)
          MaxDB (SAP AG)

          This is most likely the primary reason that Oracle made their move. SAP actively supports MySQL development, and promotes it (and naturally MaxDB) for use by customers who don't need huge enterprise-scale databases. Oracle and SAP are in fierce competition, and Oracle will most likely do anything they can to get in the way.

      • What if Oracle looked at mysql and saw that there was a market for a smaller, free or cheap database server and said to themselves... "Hey let's buy innodb so that we get some of that money".

        Everybody is putting an evil spin on this but it could be as simple as hedging your bets.
    • PostgreSQL is free software in every sense of the term...

      But PostgreSQL is not Free Software in any sense of the term...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:08PM (#13822228)
    I love Larry Ellison. How can anyone doubt his true and pure intentions for Open Source? Has there ever been a more generous and loving man? Clearly this is a man who saw the potential to give back to humanity by reward the creators of innoDB, while simultaneously being able to give the resources to it that it richly deserves.

    Clearly his ultimate goal is to put Oracle technology into MySQL so that he can give it away for free. Now, you may say I'm a dreamer... but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join Larry and me. And world shall live as one.

    • Maybe Oracle will resort to dumpster diving [crime-scen...igator.net](pdf warning). to discover PostgreSQL, MySQL, and FirebirdSQL's super secret source code... ;-)
      • by einhverfr (238914)
        I guess I should give the relevant quote:

        " Oracle, the world's second largest software giant was recently the
        subject of much scrutiny. It was discovered that Oracle had hired a
        detective agency, Investigative Group International (IGI), to find out
        some dirt on its direct competitor, Microsoft. Essentially, it was
        alleged that offers were made to the janitorial staff from the office
        of Association for Competitive Technology (ACT). ACT is a trade group,
        which is known to be pro-Microsoft [11]. Oracle stated that
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:08PM (#13822229) Homepage Journal
    This puts a key part of MySQL under Oracle control; they could elect to kill InnoDB at some future point. I just don't see how this is a win for FOSS. To me, this isn't a likely danger, though. Oracle has recognized that the food chain has moved away from the database, and up to applications that rest atop it. This was what powered their aggressive drive to acquire PeopleSoft. (On the other hand, if they really believed their core product was declining in value, why would they make it so damn difficult to buy in the first place?) From that point of view, owning MySQL simply means they're not dependent on their own inflexible, expensive platform. Call it a very expensive hedging of bets.
    • by jadavis (473492) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:29PM (#13822413)
      they could elect to kill InnoDB at some future point. I just don't see how this is a win for FOSS. To me, this isn't a likely danger, though.

      I think it's very likely that Oracle does just that. Oracle wins on several fronts:

      (1) Set back a competitor by a lot, possibly completely knocking it out of some markets.
      (2) Cause more OSS FUD: "What will happen to your open source vendor? It could evaporate tomorrow. Stick with Oracle, who will be there for you."
      (3) Shift the market back toward the mentality of traditional relational databases, where there is a lot of emphasis on data integrity constraints, and expensive DBAs, and less emphasis on casual users.

      MySQL had the potential to cause them a lot of problems. Oracle found a way to stop that. If it was a predatory move against MySQL AB, everything was perfect, including the timing. Many companies were just waiting for the 5.0 release to try it out I'm sure, and the next thing they know Oracle has MySQL AB by the ____. It's too coincidental, and too perfect, there's no way it's a "merger".
      • by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsnNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:39PM (#13822503)
        Well, as I understand it, it's not that straight-forwards. InnoDB is licensed as a GPL program as well as under the proprietary license. They could fold the project, but then someone else could pick up the GPL code and fork it. This wouldn't be so good for MySQL's business model, as they wouldn't be able to sell a proprietary DB including InnoDB...though there's probably some complicated thing they could do. The proprietary fork would be just about guaranteed to be a lot more hassle than it has been. The GPL branch of the code, however, would be able to continue essentially unchanged...but perhaps without commercial support...so someone would need to put together a new team to develop the code, which would now be strictly GPL, as the basic copyrights would be owned by someone else, and the only rights to work on the code would be those ceded by the GPL. (Basically, this means that all descendent code would need to be GPL.)
        • by jadavis (473492) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @08:13PM (#13822758)
          The GPL branch of the code, however, would be able to continue essentially unchanged

          By who? Not by MySQL AB. It takes a long time to make a new community work effectively.

          MySQL AB is between a rock and a hard place, I think we can agree here. If Oracle cuts off InnoDB from commercial licensing, MySQL will stop developing/supporting it, it's only a matter of time. They simply can't have a GPL version that's better than their commercial version. Then, without transactions or RI, their "enterprise-ness" and usefulness will be called into question.

          So that leaves the community. But the community is too wrapped around MySQL AB to function on it's own just yet. That will take time.

          And that time is precisely what Oracle doesn't want MySQL to have. If the development of MySQL DB is set back by 12-18 months, that will surely be a victory for Oracle, who will secure a strong lead ahead of the most popular open source database. The wind will be stolen from the 5.0 release, and another few rounds of businessmen will make long-term commitments to Oracle (in the form of licenses and hardware).

          What is the downside to Oracle?
      • If it was a predatory move against MySQL AB, everything was perfect, including the timing. Many companies were just waiting for the 5.0 release to try it out I'm sure, and the next thing they know Oracle has MySQL AB by the ____

        As you say, this effectively silences the hype surrounding 5.0. It is a very savvy move by Oracle. (I know this is redundant, but it is worth emphasizing).

        Now, MySQL doesn't really compete with Oracle *yet.* However, it is likely to me that if Oracle causes MySQL to go belly up, i
        • Now, MySQL doesn't really compete with Oracle *yet.*

          Indirectly, they do. You could look at it like Oracle is nipping it in the bud, I suppose.

          Oracle certainly doesn't want a company running around to a bunch of people saying "Database" and "$495" in the same sentence.

          And they certainly don't want a lot of casual database users who shift the market away from Oracle's traditional database model of "data integrity, expensive DBAs, referential integrity, expensive DBAs, redundancy, and expensive DBAs", to MySQL
          • And they certainly don't want a lot of casual database users who shift the market away from Oracle's traditional database model of "data integrity, expensive DBAs, referential integrity, expensive DBAs, redundancy, and expensive DBAs", to MySQL's model of "throw your data here, and when you ask for it, we'll send it back to you".

            Provided you don't end up with date overflow errors (you aren't doing scientific apps where you need dates after 10000AD or before 10000BC, are you)? And a dozen or so "what you pu
            • In PostgreSQL, I get:

              => select '1000000-10-10 10:10:10'::timestamp;
              ERROR: timestamp out of range: "1000000-10-10 10:10:10"

              I'm a big PostgreSQL fan, but you're just being rediculous if you ask MySQL to accept arbitrarily large years. It should error out and be done.

              How many scientific applications require you to know what day of the week Oct 18, 20000000000000005 is?

              I think you're looking for the "float" datatype. And if you're not, you really should make your own type, because your needs are obviously v
              • How do I create a type in MySQL?

                MySQL freakes out at years with > 4 digits. PostgreSQL is a bit better, but for really large years, you may need to create your own type. This is fairly simple in PostgreSQL but hardly feasible in MySQL.
                • I agree with you in general, but your example is just not working for me. Typically, you would use a "float" datatype for an extremely large year, not a timestamp/date. MySQL has a float datatype.

                  But in general, I agree that type extensibility is a vital component of an RDBMS.
    • Here is the thing. InnoDB is licensed under the GPL, so aside from funding/expertise issues I fail to see how this is so bad for FOSS.

      However, the fact is MySQL depends on non-Free relicensing from Oracle now, so they are now very vulnerable at the moment.
      • Because if MySql AB (the enteprise) closes doors, so goes developers funded by them, their sites, etc. Someone pays the bills now.
        • When Great Birdge closed its doors did that kill PostgreSQL?

          If MySQL AB closes its doors, the only clear users are the developers of non-Free MySQL-based apps.

          I actually see a number of possibilities for what could happen after....

          1) Oracle buys MySQL and uses it as a low-end offering, and improves their upgrade path from MySQL to Oracle. I think this is quite likely.

          2) MySQl truly fizzles. I think this is least likely.

          3) The core developers are picked up by other FOSS-friendly companies offering MySQL
    • I too would see this as a wedge Oracle can drive into the MySQL people to try to make them comply with Oracle's wishes (like maybe making MySQL read Oracle DBs or some such). InnoDB probably should have waited until after negotiations with MySQL were over before selling out to Oracle as then Oracle would have had to wait until the end of the new contract before attempting anything. Now though, Oracle has a pretty good way to strangle MySQL or at least make it a major inconvience for MySQL. Time will tell
      • that they would at least ask for help

        They are a commercial company. It only makes sense for people to donate to the cause itself, that is, the actual development of the MySQL DB product; not the shareholders behind a company that is associated with the cause. How would you feel if you donated some money, and then the investors liquidated or changed the business model? Your charity just went to some suits.

        I am willing to skip a meal

        It isn't a hunger strike, dude. At least make enough use of the bounties of m
        • I'm afraid you are too late! :-) I only eat once per day usually. Sometimes twice, but that's just me and yes, I would just fast for that day probably. You are right though that they are a commercial company. This does not, though, mean that they have stockholders. Some companies are privately owned and those do not have stockholders other than the owners themselves.

          As for my eating habits - my wife has tried to change me in that regard but I'm not a breakfast person and would rather just drink some wa
    • I disagree 100%. I say that Larry Ellison, like a certain McNealy that I've heard of, is getting scared. Programming used to be done by professionals that cared about quality, skill, and experience. Programming used to be a real science. To be a scientist, you had to have the best tools. Real work is STILL always done on Sun and Oracle.

      What they (Larry and Scott) are seeing is hype. There's tons and tons of hype about PC's replacing big iron, etc, etc, etc. Even mid-level servers are often just a PC
  • As far as I know (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbellis (142590) <jonathan@ca[ ]ge ... m ['rna' in gap]> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:09PM (#13822233) Homepage
    Nobody outside of Oracle has any idea what their plans are for Inno. Pretty hard to call it a good/bad bet, given this.
    • by mackertm (515083) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:37PM (#13822487)
      Please stop being reasonable. This is Slashdot, we'd rather see some wild speculation.

      Thank you.
    • > Nobody outside of Oracle has any idea what their plans are for Inno. Pretty hard to call it a good/bad bet, given this.

      Right, after all Larry Ellison & Oracle might have bought Innodb in order to both:
      1. improve a competitor's product (mysql)
      2. slash their own throats by cutting their primary revenue stream from the oracle database

      Could be.
      Wouldn't be impossible.
      You never know.
      Better just wait and see.
      Cross our fingers and hope.

      and the fact that in one fell swoop they
  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... Hl.com minus cat> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:09PM (#13822239) Homepage Journal
    Everytime something gets out of our control we get scared. InnoBase is no exception.

    I think that the only people who can answer if the move was good or bad, are the MySQL developers. I'd suggest Slashdot to have an interview with them so they can dissipate our fears.
    • I think that the only people who can answer if the move was good or bad, are the MySQL developers.

      When a big company buys a little company the people in the little company (even the suits, let alonw the developers) normally don't have anything to say about how their stuff is used once it's acquired. If it's going to be bad for their stuff they typically find out only when it goes bad - by finding themselves transferred to something else or laid off.

      An interview might let us know if it's ALREADY gone bad.
      • I agree that the only way this move makes sense is if oracle has an upgrade path in mind.

        I'm working for a company that is profitable but uses free-MySQL because there wasn't much money 10 years ago as a start-up. Now we can afford to go to oracle and it might make sense to do it. I'm sure there's lots of companies like mine. If MySQL goes under, we have the cash, we probably won't go with Postgres. Plus let's face it guys, experience with Oracle gets you better jobs then experience with MySQL so I would ha
    • I think it's more like people get scared when something gets *under* [the] control [of a large company].
  • by FatSean (18753)
    They would be better off dumb-grading their heavy-duty wares for the low-end user, rather than manage two code bases...two support structures, two...two....two....

    Oracle IS database...so it seems silly to get another completely unrelated code-tree to deal with. They should have acquired some sort of application server to sell paired with their DB like IBM does with WebSphere and DB2.
    • Something like Oracle Application Server [oracle.com] maybe?
    • Oracle already has their own app server which is mighty slick so yeah, I have no idea why they would want to aquire something in the realm of InnoDB. The decision makes no sense at this point but I'm sure time will tell.
    • They would be better off dumb-grading their heavy-duty wares for the low-end user

      Or, as a company that has a Linux version and recognizes that bringing out a complete DBMS for small applications can be overkill, it might be smart to have a smaller product that breaks a shop into PL/SQL and makes it easy to upgrade to Oracle. Plus the added bonuses of being an open source product... I think that might be what they call a strategic purchase.

      They should have acquired some sort of application server to s
    • They would be better off dumb-grading their heavy-duty wares for the low-end user, rather than manage two code bases...two support structures, two...two....two....

      Who said anything about supporting or maintaining InnoDB?

      There are two reasons I could see for acquiring Innobase. The first is to basically hire the staff of the company and fold them into Oracle's main product development.

      The second is simply to damage MySQL AB.

      These are not mutually exclusive. MySQL users should be afraid. Very afraid.
      • I agree.

        Several times in the last couple of years, Oracle has tried to change our license and squeeze an extra $30K out of us.

        Each time we said that such an act may make us seriously consider MySQL. Personally, I don't think MySql is there yet, but as a bargaining chip, it works well enough. Oracle backed off.

        • Several times in the last couple of years, Oracle has tried to change our license and squeeze an extra $30K out of us.

          Each time we said that such an act may make us seriously consider MySQL. Personally, I don't think MySql is there yet, but as a bargaining chip, it works well enough. Oracle backed off.


          Mention PostgreSQL some time ;-)
  • by robbyjo (315601) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:14PM (#13822278) Homepage

    Well... Is it possible that Oracle "bought" Innobase is to "kill" MySQL (the company)? Look at this: MySQL allied with SCO, which is to me like a poisoning tactic. If there were legal battles, Oracle would likely win. When this is the case, SCO/MySQL alliance roll out. If they lost, Oracle will develop InnoDB using GPL license only, forcing SCO/MySQL to roll out in either case. When MySQL the company is over, Oracle abandon InnoDB with one less (albeit lesser) competitor.

    Though you might argue that someone in the future will pick up MySQL code, I'd say that it's less likely. It's far easier to switch to other alternatives such as PostgreSQL.

    • Maybe Oracle is attempting to damage MySQL AB the company by controlling key technologies that MySQL AB needs broad license to redistribute commercially. Once MySQL gets into financial trouble, maybe they will buy them at pennies on the dollar.
    • Seems pretty straightforward to me, really. Oracle's core business is selling their RDBMS. Their primary selling point against MySQL is that MySQL is a "toy" database because it's not ACID-compliant [wikipedia.org] (among other things). MySQL AB has wasted a lot of breath over the years arguing that ACID-compliance is not as important as speed. To low end customers, that might make sense. To customers whose businesses depend on data integrity -- i.e., the BIG customers -- it doesn't.

      Innobase makes a product that tak

  • ...they've certainly helped me with the PMD JDeveloper extension a couple of times.

    Most recently, I was trying to get the "update center" functionality working this past weekend and I got emails from several Oracle guys [blogs.com] with fixes for various problems. It's pretty nice to get help right from the core guys...
  • Definitely a cog. Oracle is too much database for most companies anyways, that aside. Oracle really is betting against MySQL not getting good enough to compete at their level. If there is one thing you can learn from OSS history is that it will eventually catch up to commercial and put out a good product. It just takes time. Unless Oracle has a big trick up its sleeve, its relational database hasn't gotten much more impressive over the years. Maybe they are going to introduce a new architecture? In any
    • Unless Oracle has a big trick up its sleeve, its relational database hasn't gotten much more impressive over the years.

      I disagree. Oracle 8i to Oracle 9i to Oracle 10g. I think there were great advances. Not just in the database either. OCFS is an open sourced cluster filesystem created by Oracle.

      As for my notes on the Oracle MySQL subject.

      This was clearly a step towards protecting their (Oracle) business. They can (and probably will) strong arm MySQL in one way or another. How that effects MySQL depend
  • Let's say that they change the license for Innobase, what can MySQL do now except fork the codebase and work hard at trying to play catch up? I can't think of anything at this point and the very reason that MySQL is in this position is precisely because they relied on another company to do a lot of their R&D for them.

    Granted, I did a benchmark with the application my group is developing using MySQL and PostgreSQL and MySQL was much faster. MySQL has certainly done a good job for what they intended MySQL
    • by kpharmer (452893) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:51PM (#13822596)
      This surely isn't a very complicated thing for people to work out - just follow the Very Simple Oracle/Innodb FAQ:

      1. Does Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO) do things for the good of the industry or little guys?
              Answer: *Never*

      2. Is there any opportunity for the Oracle DB to reuse IP within Innodb
              Answer: Almost certainly not

      3. Is there a trivial upgrade path from Innodb/Mysql to Oracle
              Answer: No

      4. Ok, with that out of the way - what possible reason would oracle have to acquire Innodb?
              Answer: obviously to cripple an opponent by robbing it of critical infrastructure - through licensing changes

      5. How will this benefit OSS Customers?
              Answer: not in any way imaginable

      It's like this: Oracle is seeing customers moving to mysql for the small stuff. But they make money on the small stuff too - and even if oracle is superior to mysql in 7 ways out of 10, they're loosing cash to mysql. This move completely kills all mysql momentum in the market place:
          - Mysql now has to dedicate resources to finding an innodb replacement. Good luck - there are no commodity persistant layers that support transactions like Innodb.
          - Oracle can renew the license agreement at a much higher price, thereby winning short-term revenue at MySQL's expense!
          - MySQL was talking about a big-enterprise role just down the road (before they got wind of this buy out and started acting meek a couple of weeks ago). Much of what they're missing is really functionality that should go into Innodb - Heikki Tuuri (innodb creator) has often stated that "partitioning for all table types will probably be available in 2006 or 2007". If Innodb built that they could start capturing a big chunk of the oracle revenue. This threat is now dead - with the only other strong competitors DB2 and SQL Server.
          - In spite of being GPL, good luck on finding another crew of programmers that specialize in relational database engines to this product up. The few that exist in the open source world seem to all work at postgresql.

      So yeah, Larry has MySQL by the balls right now. MySQL AB was probably looking forward to a big GA announcement for v5 next month - but there is no good publicity for MySQL in the foreseeable future now.
    • If you "did a benchmark with the application my group is developing using MySQL and PostgreSQL and MySQL was much faster" recently, you did it wrong. PostgreSQL passed MySQL long ago, if you compare them apples-to-apples. To choose one over the other based on speed is usually a mistake.

      Choose based on administration complexity for a minimal setup, if you like (favoring MySQL), or on license restrictions (favoring PostgreSQL), or on features (PostgreSQL, for now), or on development community size (MySQL)

      • Re:MySQL speed (Score:3, Interesting)

        by adturner (6453)
        He did it wrong? How would you know? You have zero information. We all should know by now that performance testing, especially when it comes to databases is very dependant on data, queries, hardware and various other variables which make generic tests (like TPC or any other published benchmark) pretty much worthless for understanding how a particular database will perform for anything but that specifc configuration.

        I personally don't doubt that ShatteredDreams' found MySQL/InnoDB faster then PostgreSQL.
    • of non-Free licensing requirements....

      MySQL cannot continue reselling licenses to MySQL w/InnoDB without an agreement from Oracle (at least without risking a lawsuit which gets into the sticky issue of whether MySQL as a work is derivative of InnoDB). This is not like SCO suing IBM. It is like IBM suing SCO, except that MySQL might have a bit more of a case than SCO simply because derivation is not so clear cut (IANAL though).

      But it gets worse....

      MySQL does not own the copyrights to any transaction-safe table type. Not BDB, not InnoDB, not MaxDB.
    • Granted, I did a benchmark with the application my group is developing using MySQL and PostgreSQL and MySQL was much faster.

      Care to show us your benchmark, or at least what type of query MySQL is faster at? *Everything* (simple queries, table-scans, index-scans, simple joins, complex joins, multiple self-joins for hierarchical queries, etc) I tried suggested that PostgreSQL is faster or as fast, *except* for connection startup time (as Postgres spawns a process per connection), which is typically handled

  • It's as easy case to make, to upsell someone with expanding needs from MySQL to Oracle. It makes sense the Oracle would want to bind more of those users to Oracle as an upgrade path.

    It's much less easy to make the case for someone to "upgrade" from PostgreSQL to Oracle. PostgreSQL would cannibalize a small-but-significant portion of Oracle's more expensive sales, once the Oracle brand name was attached to it.
  • by jadavis (473492) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:17PM (#13822302)
    Oracle may have purchased MySQL to prevent them from lowering the expected price of database software. If managers start to hear about MySQL costing $495 (or whatever), then they may expect a generally lower price for Oracle.

    Also, the type of database practices common among MySQL users, like pushing work into the application, aren't on a trajectory toward Oracle.
  • by KrackHouse (628313) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:17PM (#13822305) Homepage
    If Oracle decided to support MySQL it'd be hastening its own demise - Microsoft is avoiding the OpenDocument standard for similar reasons. Aside from acknowledging the capabilities of the competition Oracle would potentially turn MySQL's quirks into a defacto standard which could possibly turn into a real standard. If open source or at least open standards are inevitable as the software industry matures it seem like these big mega-corps that live off of proprietary software licensing will simply turn into coagulations of smart people without revenue worried about outsourcing. Maybe they'll fracture into smaller consulting firms, small is the new big, etc. and become part of the new which will be good for any business that needs a database, which is most of 'em. [unbeknownst.net]
    • Here's that last part

      Maybe they'll fracture into smaller consulting firms, small is the new big, etc. and become part of the new longtail of innovation [unbeknownst.net] which will be good for any business that needs a database, which is most of 'em.
    • Oracle embraces open standards... Sure, they may not be compliant in some areas but they are at least trying. Look at their new fusion architecture.. they are even going to certify websphere on it.

      I'll admit it, I love Oracle.. They are the only database vendor out there making real advances.. Everyone else, DB2, SQL Server, etc are playing catch up. I'll be the first to admit they are not perfect... At times i'm as frustrated as anyone else..

      Article on open standards.. [oracle.com]

  • by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:17PM (#13822306) Journal
    Will it help or hurt IBM and Microsoft?

    Yes.

  • Ha! let them (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Richthofen80 (412488)
    What a joke. Its Oracle's own demise if they buy MySQL.

    The problem is that there are two MySQLs. There's 4.1 and lower, which doesn't really support the ANSI SQL standard. You know, wonderful little peeves like 'CROSS JOIN' requires an 'ON' directive because MySQL treats it like an 'INNER JOIN'. Or maybe you want to nest selects that refer to the same table, in a delete statement? Ha. Fat chance.

    And then there's MySQL 5.0, which supports all of the garbage in MySQL 4.1 plus a bunch of flags that let you aut
    • "MySQL is prolific, I'll give it that. But its created a cadre of developers who don't know why 'INNER JOIN' is better than just 'select table1,table2', or that string parsing should be done on the application level, not the DB level."

      Should they have to? Most DBMS installations today are used for small-medium websites, not for huge business databases.

      Not every nail needs a sledgehammer. That's why the media player I wrote years ago used SQLite. That's why my website runs MySQL.
    • Good point, because cross join is so useful it is used so often in applications.
  • by Hasufin_Heltain (519982) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:23PM (#13822361)
    Hmm sorry. But you know what? I don't believe much in big corporate mergers anymore. Especially after the AT&T & Cingular Wireless debacle. Oh god. Save me from the cell phone companies. Do it the old fashioned way...... build the best product.. and beat the customers away from them. So.. do they do that? No. They just buy their competitors. Sounds like they deserve to do that if they can afford it.. but well you know what? That's just one less database they have to compete with. Blah on that.
  • Would you trust Larry Ellison??
    • Anybody with any brains will not trust few at the top. McNeally, Gates, Jobs, Ellison, etc. are well known for their ruthless attitudes. While I knock Gates for how he screws over all his partners, the truth is, that they all have done that.
  • Is it just me or doesn't the situation smell too much of an attempt to control errosion of Oracle's highly profitable data industry. I know this is overly cynical, but If I could take control of a very popular substitute program that's been nipping at my heals I'd do so to ensure they wouldn't further errode my bottom line. I mean, why offer competitive prices when you can get away with exuberant licensing fees. Its a bonus if I can make the deal look good by "supporting" a community in the process. A Win W
  • by AstroDrabb (534369) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @08:08PM (#13822735)
    Most users do not need to worry about any upgrade path to Oracle. Oracle cannot take away MySQL. MySQL is GPLed and we will always have the code.

    Oracle may be looking to get enterprise clients to switch from MySQL to Oracle. IMO, I wish them the best. However, Oracle would be dumb (as would MS, IBM) to think that they could switch a small to medium site to an expensive DB server costing $1,000's per processor. The (non-)enterprise versions of Oracle and MS SQL Server are not expensive from a medium-large to large company perspective. However, try to get a small to medium sized company to dish out $5,000+ for a DB server and see how fast they look for other options.

    MS is coming out with another "watered-down" version of MS SQL Server for their 2005 version. I wonder how many concurrent users can connect or what the limitations are. I am sure MS won't allow any old company to just use a watered-down SQL server free of charge. If that is the case, I would just write a connection manager to always use only the max limit of connections and save our company a crap load of cash.

    IMO, there is always going to be a nice market for the OSS DB's such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. The price is hard to beat and the features/speed for both is great. IME, the only reason to really use one of the paid-for databases is for some very expensive financial type applications where you want the support/reputation. Otherwise, MySQL/PostgreSQL does the same for less. Now if I could only find a way to convince the PHB's at the fortune 500 where I work of that fact.

    • If that is the case, I would just write a connection manager to always use only the max limit of connections and save our company a crap load of cash.

      Ahh, but that's where they nail you with the license. As I recall from a heated conversation with an MS licensing representative: for SQL server, if the DB services are exposed to the public internet at large, no matter what the means of indirection (web servers, app servers, your own connection manager, etc.) you are required to pay per-CPU licensing fees.

  • I still tend to think that Oracle will be killed by Open Source before Microsoft is. Much of Oracle's revenue stream and prestige depends on the sale of their database server and their financial packages. Those all tend to be high ticket products. Linux could kill Unix because Unix implementations tended to be high end products. Now, Oracle may be able to slow things down a bit by messing with MySQL-still long term _someone_ will produce an open source database that is faster and more reliable than Oracle--
  • They've been talking about buying other companies [theregister.co.uk] like Unify [unify.com] for a while anyway.

    The reason this didn't go through, as far as I can tell from the trenches, is because Sun suffers from the "not invented here" syndrome.

  • by Vryl (31994) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:58PM (#13823400) Journal
    Larry knows what is going down.

    Linux has commodotised the OS. MySQL and perhaps PostGRES are commodotising the Database.

    All the money is upstream. Larry's customers are asking him why should they use Oracle, when MySQL et al does what they want. Larry want to sell them his other mojo, and that is where the money is. Why support the database when a bunch of other people will do it for you.

    I would not be surprised to see Oracle tech ending up in MySQL, as a gift from Larry.

    I too have counted, counted, weighed and measured.
  • One theory is that Oracle is afraid of PostgreSQL because its SQL syntax is similar enough to Oracle to make a migration path from Oracle to OSS. If Oracle can prop up MySQL, then it will take market share away from Postgre. MySQL users are less likely to port to Oracle because the syntax is too different. Thus, it is an OSS solution that will not affect sales nearly as much as Postgre can.

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