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Ex-JBoss chief attacks Monty's 'dangerous' MySQL crusade

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Former JBoss chief Marc Fleury has weighed in on MySQL co-founder Monty Widenius' campaign to stop Oracle's ownership of the open-source database.

Fleury has reprimanded Widenius publicly in his blog, calling the MySQL "situation" a "disgrace" that's hurting Sun and could damage the future of open source software.

Fleury presided over the sale of JBoss, home to the successful and disruptive application server, to Red Hat in 2006 for $350m following a flirtation with Oracle.

He's written this week that Widenius' actions are "making OSS acquisitions look very dangerous and dicey."

It seems that the issue for Fleury is simple: MySQL was sold to Sun, so MySQL's founders and former owners have no say in what happens next. MySQL was bought by Sun in 2008 for $1bn.

"I got to say that the boys at MySQL have made a huge hash of things. After selling $1B to Sun, they want their cake and eat it too. So they leave, fork and otherwise raise a huge stink," Fleury blogged.

"Of course, Monty is free to fork MySQL and rename it. If he is unhappy he should. But boy! Doing a public campaign trying to block the acquisition, will only add to the public fire of EU scrutiny, possibly shutting down the acquisition and will only hurt Sun and Sun employees."

Widenius' protest has seen him lobby the European Union to investigate Oracle's proposed ownership of MySQL. He's also launched a Save MySQL web site that has attracted support from more than 15,000 people.

However, it seems that Fleury believes the protest is wrong and might deter those considering the acquisition and integration of other open source companies into their businesses, in case their deals might be similarly disputed by people such as the technology founders or project stakeholders.

He has a point: many in the US don't see problems for MySQL under Oracle and as a result don't understand why the EU is looking into the purchase after it was cleared by their country's own regulatory authorities.

To Fleury's point that the MySQL protest may deter others from buying and integrating open source companies into their companies in the future, Red Hat took a gamble on buying JBoss - a loss-making operation with no proven business model. It's now making a "ton of money" - more than $100m a year - after three years of false starts and fumbles since Red Hat's purchase, he said.

Fleury's "you-made-your-bed-now-lie-in-it" argument is one that his former colleagues have used to hammer Widenius' and his campaign.

Last October, former JBoss chief technology officer and co–general manager of Red Hat's JBoss division Sacha Labourey upbraided those protesting Oracle's potential ownership of MySQL, saying the problem of ownership would not be an issue had the team not years back decided to put MySQL under a dual license: GPL and commercial. A purely GPL license would not confer things like intellectual-property rights to a single company. ®

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