viernes, enero 01, 2010

Campaña para mantener MySql vivo

Durante diciembre, Michael Widenius, creador o iniciador de MySql, ha lanzado una campaña con el propósito de rescatar la base de datos, que de ser sostenida por Sun, luego de la compra de ésta empresa por Oracle, ha pasado a una situación incómoda. El doce de diciembre, Widenius decía:
Oracle claims that it would take good care of MySQL but let's face the facts: Unlike ten years ago, when MySQL was mostly just used for the web, it has become very functional, scalable and credible. Now it's used in many of the world's largest companies and they use it for an increasing number of purposes. This not only scares but actually hurts Oracle every day. Oracle have to lower prices all the time to compete with MySQL when companies start new projects. Some companies even migrate existing projects from Oracle to MySQL to save money. Of course Oracle has a lot more features, but MySQL can already do a lot of things for which Oracle is often used and helps people save a lot of money. Over time MySQL can do to Oracle what the originally belittled Linux did to commercial Unix (roughly speaking).

So I just don't buy it that Oracle will be a good home for MySQL. A weak MySQL is worth about one billion dollars per year to Oracle, maybe more. A strong MySQL could never generate enough income for Oracle that they would want to cannibalize their real cash cow. I don't think any company has ever done anything like that. That's why the EC is skeptic and formalized its objections about a month ago.

Richard Stallman agrees that it's very important which company owns MySQL, that Oracle should not be allowed to buy it under present terms and that it can't just be taken care of by a community of volunteers.

Oracle has NOT promised (as far as I know and certainly not in a legally binding manner):

- To keep (all of) MySQL under an open source license.
- Not to add closed source parts, modules or required tools.
- To keep the code for MySQL enterprise edition and MySQL community edition the same.
- To not raise MySQL license or MySQL support prices.
- To release new MySQL versions in a regular and timely manner. (*)
- To continue with dual licensing and always provide affordable commercial licenses to MySQL to those who needs them (to storage vendors and application vendors) or provide MySQL under a more permissive license
- To develop MySQL as an Open Source project
- To actively work with the community
- Apply submitted patches in a timely manner
- To not discriminate patches that make MySQL compete more with Oracles other products
- To ensure that MySQL is improved also in manners that make it compete even more with Oracles' main offering.

From looking at how Oracle handled the InnoDB acquisition, I don't have high hopes that Oracle will do the above right if not required to do so:

For InnoDB:
- Bug fixes were done (but this was done under a contractual obligation)
- New features, like compression that was announced before acquisition, took 3 years to implement
- No time tables or insight into development
- The community where not allowed to participate in development
- Patches from users (like Google) that would have increased performance was not implemented/released until after Oracle announced it was acquiring Sun.
- Oracle started working on InnoDB+, a better 'closed source' version of InnoDB
- In the end Sun had to fork InnoDB, just to be able to improve performance.

It's true that development did continue, but this was more to be able to continue using InnoDB as a pressure on MySQL Ab.

Note that Oracle's development on the Linux kernel is not comparable with MySQL, because:
- Oracle is using Linux as the main platform for their primary database product (and thus a better Linux makes Oracles platform better)
- The GPL code in the kernel is not affecting what is running on top on it (because of an exception in Linux).

Because we don't have access to a database of MySQL customers and users the only way we can get the word out is to use the MySQL and Open Source community. I would never have resorted to this if Oracle had not broken the established rules in anticompetitive merger cases and try to influence the EC by actively mobilising the customers after the statement of objection was issued.

It's very critical to act upon this AS SOON AS POSSIBLE as EC, depending on what Oracle is doing, needs to make a decision around 2010-01-05. Because of the strict deadline, every email counts!
Debe recordarse que previamente Widenius y sus socios habían vendido su compañia y la base de datos a Sun, que se comprometía a mantener sus características. Si ya entonces la existencia de MySql dependía de que el modelo de negocios se mantuviera en los mismos términos (ver la justificación de Widenius), la adquisición de Sun por Oracle acercó más la base de datos a su extinción por inanición.
Así, ahora su solicitud aboga por que las autoridades europeas obliguen a Oracle a adoptar una solución que salvaguarde MySql.
Si usted de alguna manera participa en el uso de la base de datos, no estará de más que apoye la petición de aseguramiento de la persistencia de MySql.
La explicación: If Oracle buys MySQL as part of Sun, database customers will pay the bill.
La petición a firmar: Sign the Petition.
La historia de la compañía en Wikipedia, 1 y 2.

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