Since the news broke about Oracle trying to purchase Sun I have seen more than one article or opinion piece about how this is the end of the world. To which I would say, absolute rubbish.
The panic itself centers around MySQL, purchased by Sun recently and I have seen articles claiming that the purchase of Sun by Oracle will kill blogs, many websites and even the internet itself (through some mysterious process). Couldn't possibly be more wrong. Here's why.
The deal isn't done yet
Before any guesses can be made about what might happen to Sun in general and MySQL in particular it's probably important to wait until this deal actually closes. The current economic climate makes it more difficult than usual to consummate large transactions such as this and let's not forget it was only a few weeks ago that IBM made an offer on Sun in a deal that then fell apart.
Credit difficulties could scupper this deal yet, never minding either or both parties getting cold feet. It's not outside the realm of possibility that upon closer examination of Sun's books Oracle decides against this deal or lowers the price, ala IBM and the deal breaks on that. I'm not saying that this deal won't complete, it may well, but it's more than a little presumptious to make dire claims about it until it does.
Oracle doesn't want to kill MySQL
One of the common assumptions made by those panicking is that Oracle wants to "kill" MySQL. In some conspiratorial theories this is one of the reasons that Oracle is buying Sun. Again this is so much nonsense.
For starters Oracle isn't going to buy Sun for 7.5 billion dollars to turn around and destroy 1 billion of their new asset which is what Sun paid for MySQL not that long ago. It would be an incredibly stupid business decision. Second, MySQL isn't competing with Oracle anyway. More on this later but the idea that MySQL is truly an competitor to full enterprise databases is, and always has been, a myth.
The bottom line on this point is that anyone claiming that Oracle is buying Sun to kill MySQL is making two really bad assumptions. One that Oracle is willing to destroy 1 billion worth of assets and two that they see MySQL as a competitor, neither of which are very sensible.
Even the worst case scenario is not that bad
So let's for a moment put aside all the above and assume Oracle does buy Sun and then does actively seek to sink MySQL. Perhaps they stop development. Or put forward a date in which there will no longer be support offered. Is this really the end of the world?
For one thing existing deployments are not really going to be affected by such decisions, at least in the short-term. So the idea that this will "kill" existing blogs, for example, is just so much poppycock. Such a decision would affect future development for sure but purposefully confusing future development and existing solutions is pure FUD.
In some ways the long-term death of MySQL wouldn't really be such a bad thing. There are plenty of other, real enterprise, databases out there, including other open-source and free ones like postgreSQL.
Look, there is no doubt that MySQL did fill in an important role in the open-source market but that doesn't mean that it is the open-source market. And to be honest there are too many people, in my view, who see MySQL as something more than it is or was and think it's the solution to all life's problems. Or at least database problems. And despite the myths it never ever was.
All in all, if this deal goes through there may well be some changes. But to make outlandish claims based on three ifs and a maybe with some dark conspiracies thrown in is uncalled for and way off-base.
|© 2008 Max Stocker|