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Help save MySQL - Petition not successful
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2010-01-27 addendum

Oracle completed the acquisition of Sun Microsystems one week after the Eurpean Union gave its approval to the $7.4 billion (US) cash purchase.


2009-12-31

The creator of MySQL, Michael "Monty" Widenius, has started an urgent campaign to help save MySQL from Oracle's clutches.  In his blog, http://monty-says.blogspot.com/2009/12/help-saving-mysql.html he provides details on the dangers to the open-source MySQL in the acquisition by Oracle of Sun Microsystems.

An online petition in 18 languages is available at http://www.helpmysql.org along with background details of the acquisition by Oracle and the risks to the open-source MySQL.

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MySQL - the wider implications for all of us
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Most computer users are not necessarily interested in the inner workings of their software and hardware; they just want to turn it on and use it. Even fewer realise the role played by the 'open source' community in developing the software that goes into many of the systems we take for granted. Perhaps even fewer comprehend the ubiquitous nature of databases, and the fact that they are a necessary component of electronic devices from computers, to mobile phones, to Nintendo type games, to the control of their home heating and air conditioning systems... and so on.

From a physician's point of view, databases are at the heart of all medical office software. It would be a safe bet to suggest that for the majority of these they are built around the MySQL software, which has been free heretofore. While we cannot predict with any certainty the implications of 'privatisation' of MySQL on our future software support and development, it's a fair bet that it will not make it cheaper.

For my part I have sent the following message to the web page cited in post above:

I am one of many millions of people around the world who either knowingly or unknowingly run the MySQL database software on their computers. It is at the heart of countless applications in general everyday use - in my case, medical office software, for example.

The European Monopolies Commission has already seen what can happen when a giant corporation such as Microsoft controls the source code of software: it becomes arrogant and monopolistic, and exploits hundreds of millions of computer users to its own advantage. Over the past 15 or so years computer users have come to realize the importance of maintaining key software products as "open source". This allows for an army of private individuals to develop and improve the product for the betterment of all citizens of the planet. This is best exemplified by remarkable growth over the past decade of the Linux operating system. In fact this operating system is at the heart of items from domestic appliances to mobile 'phones to 'tablet' computers, - as well as an increasing number of desktop computers in domestic and corporate environments.

The EC should make it a priority to protect the very concept of 'open source' software, not only for the benefit of its own citizens, but for the world at large. The EC should not allow MySQL to be taken over by Oracle or any other privately motivated software company.

People are, of course, free
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People are, of course, free to support the petition but before they do, they might want to consider some of the following.

Monty was a principal in MySQL and personally derived more than 16 million euros from the overall one BILLION dollar sale of MySQL to Sun, and it was that sale to Sun (in lieu of MySQL being taken to IPO) which put MySQL into the current corporate asset environment. Monty then quit Sun, and developed one of several forks of MySQL which could replace it, if it should fail. Opposing acquisition by a company (like Oracle) with a better capacity than the financially-bleeding Sun to keep MySQL strong would seem a conflict of interest.   People might want to read http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10412734-16.html? and also what is essentially an op ed by Carlo Piana, legal counsel for the Free Software Foundation (Europe) who has decided to help Oracle as now co-counsel and who, at his blog, posts his argumentation on the rationale and importance of doing so: http://www.piana.eu/en/sun   Even in the event that MySQL as managed by Sun or Oracle should fail, there would be nothing stopping the open source community from adopting an already-existing fork (like Monty's) or forking the most-recent open-source version of MySQL.   Some have been concerned for software like Drupal and OSCAR McMaster EMR. While Drupal can already run on PostgreSQL: http://pgedit.com/install_drupal, for OSCAR to do so would be non-trivial, in spite of the benefits to being able to run on Postgres.