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Oracle guru speaks peace, MySQL old-guard cautious

Closed-source kid gloves applied

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Dr DBA, a top technology guru at Oracle, has appeared at MySQL's annual conference to sooth concerns over the open-source database's future under Oracle.

Ken Jacbos, vice president of product strategy in Oracle's server technologies division, was brought on stage to highlight the history of fraternal collaboration between Oracle and MySQL.

Which was timely, considering that this week Oracle agreed a $5.6bn deal to acquire Sun Microsystems, which last year bought MySQL for $1bn. And many people are suspicious of Oracle's intentions towards the database it will soon own.

But Jacbos's message was clear: MySQL is safe under Oracle, so don't wobble and turn to Postgres or stop building the open-source database.

Elsewhere, two prominent ex-MySQL execs have expressed their concern over MySQL's development and pointed out how the closed-source database giant could fumble the ownership of MySQL.

MySQL founder Monty Widenius has warned of the possible damage to development should the remaining MySQL talent finally decide to abandon the operation, or - as typically happens with Oracle - get cut if they are not considered essential.

Not the best possible reputation

Widenius - who left Sun in February - blogged: "Oracle, not having the best possible reputation in the Open Source space, will have a hard time keeping the remaining MySQL people in the company or even working on the MySQL project. Oracle will also have a hard time to ensure to the MySQL customers, community and users that it will keep MySQL 'free and available for all'."

Widenius pointed to how MySQL commercial and project leaders had left Sun following that acquisition.

"The biggest threat to MySQL future is not Oracle per se, but that the MySQL talent at Sun will spread like the wind and go to a lot of different companies which will set the MySQL development and support back years," he said.

He said the Monty Program Ab that he's been working on could play a "significant role". It could become analogous to Red Hat's Fedora, he said. "With Oracle now owning MySQL, I think that the need for an independent true Open Source entity for MySQL is even bigger than ever before."

Mickos, who stepped down as head of Sun's database group before the Oracle deal was announced, warned that merging MySQL with Oracle's main database group will result in turf wars. This risked losing the philosophy of MySQL and its edge in the market.

Another risk to MySQL would be simply giving it away for free, he noted. "But my belief is that Oracle's executives understand this," he wrote.

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Next page: MySQL 5.4 tweaks

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