Now that the European Commission has approved the Oracle/Sun merger, while waiting Larry Ellison’s webcast about Oracle + Sun strategy update, I asked again Florian Mueller to share his opinion on Commission’s clearance of the deal.
Unless China or Russia still take a different decision than the EU, I really believe the biggest loser in all of this is the open source movement, which was easily divided by Oracle, which bought out a few people and in most cases benefitted from ideological bias that seemed reversely proportional to some people’s understanding of MySQL’s unique business model.
MySQL is not going to disappear but under Oracle’s control it will not be a competitive force. I doubt that any fork will ever become significant enough. Databases are products that are very much a matter of vendor support: you don’t just buy the product, you buy the vendor.
In that respect and for other reasons, PostgreSQL is not an alternative, is unlikely to be a serious threat to Oracle anytime soon and actually the only real hope for effective competition in the database market is now going to be Microsoft SQL Server, which obviously does have a vendor behind it that commercial customers can rely on.
Like I said, a major defeat for open source. The one person who has most impressed me in this is Richard Stallman because he took a very pragmatic perspective without sacrificing his values. There were some other open souce leaders who gave good input to the European Commission but didn’t speak out in public, at least not in their own name. But most people should really be much more careful about the false friends of open source such as IBM and Oracle.
Some open source activists are much too focused on whatever Microsoft’s CEO might have said years ago but the fact of the matter is that Oracle may now, unless China or Russia still stop them, become the first major IT company to buy an open source product just to get rid of a competitor.
I refrain from making comments here, and I’ll leave this for another post.