I’ve recently written two articles on this topic for Database Journal, the earlier, written after the InnoDB purchase, entitled Oracle’s purchase of InnoDB, their release of Oracle Express, and the effect on MySQL, and the most recent, just after the Sleepycat purchase, entitled Pressure on MySQL increases as Oracle purchases Sleepycat, with more to come.
Since I only do a monthly column for Database Journal, and things change quite quickly, I thought I’d post a few more thoughts on the topic.
The news is coming fast and furious, but there’re too few in-depth analyses, a gap I tried to fill with my articles. One of the few others I’ve seen was by Bruce Perens, who wrote an article entitled Does Oracle Understand What It’s Buying?, coming to a less charitable conclusion than I did. However, I feel that he focused too strongly on MySQL, when the purchases are part of a broader Oracle Open Source strategy.
Since then, MySQL have responded in the best way they can by looking to employ the expertise required to develop their own transactional engine. They’ve acquired Netfrastructure, Inc, and as part of the agreement Jim Starkey will be working fulltime for MySQL AB. Jim Starkey is the father of Interbase (which forked into Firebird), as well as the inventor of the term blob, now so ubiquitous in the database world. Interbase has always been a highly-regarded RDMS. I’ll be interested to see what he works on. First will presumably be the defensive task of building a long-overdue transaction engine. But after that’s been completed, there’re all kinds of other interesting possibilities. Read the Interbase World interview with Jim Starkey for a taste of his other interests, and work since Interbase.
MySQL are certainly not rolling over and waiting for Oracle to buy them, or squash them. With the purchase of Netfrastructure, they’re finally making a committment to build a high-quality engine themselves, one that is not vulnerable to outside shenanigans.