Oracle Corporation has been on a shopping spree.
In 18 months they are spending $18 billion, including many open source companies.
First, it was InnoBase, the company that makes the InnoDB for the MySQL database. Then rumor has it that SleepyCat will follow, which makes the Berkley Database Base. Following that is Zend, maker of the PHP accelerator, and the PHP development environment, Zend Studio. Finally, it is JBoss, a Java application server.
The first two worry me the most. Although the source code of both products is available, the proprietary license for each allows MySQL AB, the company that makes MySQL, to offer non-free versions with suitable licensing for clients who need it.
MySQL AB's revenue relies on these non-free licensed products. By strangling MySQL AB's revenue stream, Oracle can choke that company to death.
MySQL AB is partially to blame in all this. They should have bought InnoBase a long time ago. Or they could have bought SleepCat to secure BDB as an alternative after Oracle grabbed InnoBase.
MySQL, InnoDB and BDB would remain free because of the free licenses they are already available under. However, the talent that works on them will now be controlled by one competing large corporation with an egotistic person at the helm.
A remote possibility is that Oracle could become an Open Source supporter, like IBM has been for several years. I doubt this is the case though.
We will have to wait and see how things turn out ...
Update Feb 15, 2006: Oracle did indeed buy SleepyCat for undisclosed sum. MySQL AB will probably get choked and die.
- Business Week: Oracle's Open-Source Shopping Spree.
- The Register: Oracle in talks to consume three Open Source darlings.