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21 April, 2009

Oracle eats Sun for lunch

Yesterday my world fell apart. O.K.,maybe not the whole world. Just one little corner. But I don't have that many corners to hand out so when Oracle announced they were going to buy Sun, I got all teary eyed. Sun has had a hard time of it for the last 5 years. Their servers do not carry the value they did in the 90's. And while they were great machines, the white box Intel / AMD boxes slowly and persistently took over their space. We can discuss for hours why this was so. We can speculate on what could have saved Sun. But speculating on what could have been done is only good if you are choosing a universe to live in among the infinity of universes within the multiverse. Did I say that right? Oh well... my apologies to Dr. D. Deutsch if not.

Sun has seen the writing on the wall for quite some time. They have tried to pull out of the tail spin, but alas it is not to be. When IBM called and said "Hey, we'll buy your little company", I was a bit bummed but also saw the spark of a relatively good fit. Sun has for quite some time endorsed the open source world. Java of course is the prime example. While their support of a variety of open source operating systems and languages shows their commitment. Their purchase and stewardship of MySQL has not hurt the product. If anything it has helped MySQL acceptance in the enterprise and only increased the number of companies using MySQL.

IBM has also been playing the open source game for a number of years. While it appears counter intuitive for them to do so, it really does make sense. IBM focuses on the full suite of IT solutions. From consulting, managed services to application development and product generation. Rumor has it they also sell some hardware. IBM endorses open source as a solution and they demonstrate that commitment through support of a variety of technologies. There are actually people (yes, people!) in IBM whose sole job is to work on open source projects. That is commitment. I wish my company could afford to do that. Some day it will.

Anyway, when the IBM - Sun deal was proposed, I wasn't to concerned. I figured MySQL would still have a future. Java would live on and so would everything else that Sun has. The one area that might change was in their server space. But, Sun has already shown they could use some help there. Perhaps Sun and IBM engineers would create an innovative product, like a ZFS based Cell chip driven backup device for my car? We shall never know because IBM did not offer quite enough for Sun.

That is fine, but what I don't get is what happened next. Suddenly Oracle walks through the door, plops down ten cents more per share and everybody gets all wiki wiki about a deal. What? Ten cents more? Why would Oracle want Sun? What could they possibly do with hardware? Revise the Internet Computer? Create Soracle and Open Soracle to replace Oracle OS? Revise their attempt at JOralce? Release a new database.... oh. A database. hmmm.....

So, the tears in my eyes are spot on. Oracle has every possible reason to rework MySQL so that only the most innovative features of future versions could be found in your Mother's relational database, Oracle. ... Um, I actually like Oracle. I cut my baby database teeth on Oracle and somewhere around here there is a certificate of completion saying so. But the days of Sun supporting MySQL are probably numbered if the take over.. I mean merger... goes through. And that will be a sad day. Sure, fans will fork MySQL into something else. There are already some forks (Drizzle) that have potential. I can only hope that those innovative folks will have as much success as MySQL has had over the last decade.

Quello e tutto per oggi!

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