Oracle Is Becoming Too Powerful After Open Source Shopping Spree

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.





Yes, you are right.

I don't really care about JBoss, since I do not do Java, and there are other equally good products out there.

Choking MySQL to death by buying Inno, and possibly soon, BDB, is scary.

One can argue that PostgreSQL is better, but MySQL has less of a barrier to entry, is more lightweight and is more widespread.
Khalid Baheyeldin


I am working as an Engineer for a small-size ISV that uses both JBoss and MySQL extensively.

Hearing the News about Oracles shopping spree, my primary concern is JBoss: While there are several free and OpenSource databases available, there would to my best knowledge be only one remaining free application server: the Apache Geronimo Project which is not yet mature, I even believe they are still beta. Everyone else is controlled by one of the major vendors: Sun's JAS, Oracle AS, Bea, IBM, ...

So this field might soon be wholly commercial which would mean pretty dark times for a small company like ours.