The EC also delved into the specifics of Oracle’s pledges to its customers. Oracle in December issued a bevy of promises in press releases to customers around its future treatment of MySQL. The EC’s statement on the merger cited these promises.
“Given the specificities of the open-source software industry, the Commission also took into account Oracle’s public announcement of 14 December 2009 of a series of pledges to customers, users and developers of MySQL concerning issues such as the continued release of future versions of MySQL under the GPL (General Public Licence) open-source licence,” read the statement.
“Oracle has already taken action to implement some of its pledges by making binding offers to third parties who currently have a licensing contract for MySQL with Sun to amend contracts. This is likely to allow third parties to continue to develop storage engines to be integrated with MySQL and to extend the functionality of MySQL.”
MySQL’s creator, along with developers and users in the MySQL community, have been worried that Oracle will not live up to these promises, and the company’s handling of InnoDB is often cited as an example. Kevin Burton, CEO and founder of SaaS Web-crawler company Spinn3r, has used MySQL since the company began.
Burton said that Oracle’s acquisition of InnoDB, at the time the most popular open-source transaction engine for MySQL, resulted in a much slower pace of development for that transaction engine. Burton said he has already moved his company towards a MySQL-less future based on Drizzle and Percona, both of which are new open-source takes on old MySQL projects.
The European Union seemed quite confident in the capabilities of PostgreSQL, the “other” open-source database. Bruce Momjian, cofounder of the PostgreSQL, sees the EU’s ruling as a validation of the power of PostgreSQL.
“The approval of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun is not surprising. What is surprising is that after months of deliberation, the European Commission never fully understood the competitive issues surrounding MySQL,” said Momjian.
“PostgreSQL can handle any of the lightweight processing that MySQL was designed for, but in reality PostgreSQL is a full-featured open-source database built for high-transaction, highly scalable enterprise applications.”
Momjian continued: “MySQL was built by developers for quick and dirty applications with simple scripting languages, but it’s not ready for true enterprise IT developers. PostgreSQL, on the other hand, was designed to address the needs of IT applications requiring a full-featured RDBMS.”