Monday, May 19, 2008

Will OSS such as MySQL still be free?

MySQL AB provides one of the largest open source software (OSS) in the form of a database manager. Those who are interested in OSS licensing and business model would have found an interesting case study, since MySQL comes in an OSS and closed source version. MySQL business is estimated to be USD$15 Billion and is based in USA and Sweden. Among servers using MySQL are Faceboox, Google, Nokia, YouTube, and China Mobile.

On 26th Feb 08, Sun Microsystems acquired MySQL AB for USD$1 Billion. Sun Microsystems gave the world and kept for itself Star Office. Will this model be the same for MySQL? Going to Sun's website, MySQL can now be seen as one of its enterprise solution product. At MySQL, the logo of Sun can be seen in its banner (merged with MySQL logo).

Some question come to mind after reading all this news and Monty Widenius presentation.

  1. Will the developers of MySQL around the world continue with the main stream development?
  2. Will Sun create closed source extensions, like it does for the other Sun products?
  3. Will there be more value for the community in the acquisition?
  4. Can MySQL start accepting more outside contribution instead of relying on MySQL AB developers? Currently it is very limited on how users can contribute to the code base.
I guess we have to start looking at Postgres database server in case things turn for the worst in MySQL / Sun deal. However, it should reflect what can happen in the Yahoo! / Microsoft deal where this time it is NOT an OSS based business taking over.

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