Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask – part two

Since the European Commission announced it was opening an in-depth investigation into the proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle with a focus on MySQL there has been no shortage of opinion written about Oracle’s impending ownership of MySQL and its impact on MySQL users and commercial partners, as well as MySQL’s business model, dual licensing and the GPL.

In order to try and bring some order to the conversation, we have brought together some of the most referenced blog posts and news stories in chronological order.

Part one took us from the announcement of the EC’s in-depth investigation up to the eve of the communication of the EC’s Statement of Objections.

Part two, below, takes us from there to the eve of the announcement of Oracle’s concessions.

We will continue to update part three until either the acquisition or the EC’s investigation closes.

November 9
: Statement from Sun on EC’s Statement of Objections
“The Statement of Objections sets out the Commission’s preliminary assessment regarding, and is limited to, the combination of Sun’s open source MySQL database product with Oracle’s enterprise database products and its potential negative effects on competition in the market for database products.”

November 9: Statement from Oracle on EC’s Statement of Objections
“The Commission’s Statement of Objections reveals a profound misunderstanding of both database competition and open source dynamics… Oracle plans to vigorously oppose the Commission’s Statement of Objections as the evidence against the Commission’s position is overwhelming. Given the lack of any credible theory or evidence of competitive harm, we are confident we will ultimately obtain unconditional clearance of the transaction.”

November 9: Statement from the US DoJ on EC’s Statement of Objections
“After conducting a careful investigation of the proposed transaction between Oracle and Sun, the Department’s Antitrust Division concluded that the merger is unlikely to be anticompetitive… At this point in its process, it appears that the EC holds a different view. We remain hopeful that the parties and the EC will reach a speedy resolution that benefits consumers in the Commission’s jurisdiction.”

November 10: BusinessWeek quotes EC spokesperson on Statement of Objections
[EU spokesman Jonathan] “Todd said Tuesday that Oracle would become the exclusive holder of the copyright and trademark for MySQL code “which means that despite the fact that MySQL is open source, it could be very difficult for a competitor using MySQL code to sufficiently replace the competitive constraint” that MySQL places on database rivals. The commission is concerned that Oracle could refuse to license MySQL to some companies or for some uses in order to favor its own software. “Just because MySQL is open source, does not mean that if you want to apply it in the commercial context, that you can do what you like with it,” Todd said.”

November 10
: All Things D – Morgan Stanley to EU: Whatever Larry Wants, Larry Gets, and Sun Is No Exception
“Based on our diligence, we believe the EC is likely to approve the deal with no remedies or remedies pertaining to MySQL’s licensing,” the research house said in a note to clients today. “It is highly unlikely that Oracle restructures the deal (e.g. spins MySQL) or walks away.”

November 11: eWeek – EC Schedules Sun Oracle Hearing For 25 November
“The EC and Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes scheduled the hearing for Nov. 25 at the EC offices in Brussels, a source with knowledge of the transaction revealed.”

November 11: IOUG Supports Oracle Acquisition of Sun
“We anticipate that Oracle will continue to foster innovation and openness with MySQL following the acquisition and not hinder competition. Oracle has acquired numerous other companies in the past and has built on the strength of each to foster its growth. Oracle has previously acquired databases and has continued to support and enhance them, while providing critical business support.”

November 11: MySQL paying customer Osma Ahvenlampi – MySQL – could we please move on already?
“I’m a customer of MySQL, and I don’t really savor the idea of becoming a customer of Oracle. Even so, I’d much rather see Oracle own it, than leave it straggling, let alone see this process drag on and on. This is helping no one.”

November 11
: MySQL and Wikipedia developer Domas Mituzas objects to the Statement of Objections.
“In my opinion, if you are right now in the camp of supporting objections, it is not because you’re seeing a lot now, it is mostly because you didn’t see anything before.”

November 11: ComputerWorld – SAP: Outreach to Oracle about Java, not help with Sun deal
“SAP AG said today it contacted Oracle and its CEO, Larry Ellison, in recent months over concerns about the future of the Java programming language and competition in the database market, not to offer help facilitating Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems, which is being held up by a European antitrust review.”

November 12: Bloomberg – EU’s Kroes is ‘optimistic’ about Oracle settlement
“Let’s be optimistic, and let’s find out if they could take us to a point that we say, ‘OK, here we can take the result as a satisfying result for fair competition,’ ” Kroes told journalists in Brussels when asked whether a sale of MySQL would resolve competition concerns.”

November 12: Neil McAllister – Who is trying to sabotage the Oracle/Sun merger?
“If… you mistrust Oracle so much that you honestly believe it would kill the proverbial golden goose just out of spite, so be it. But when you root against Oracle, make sure you know just what — and who — you’re rooting for. Open source isn’t the whole story.”

November 12: The Economist – Merger interruptus
“It is hard to find anyone in the technology business who is prepared to argue that MySQL and Oracle really compete—or ever will. The commission is on firmer ground when it argues that the way MySQL is licensed would allow Oracle some control over commercial use of the program. Although MySQL and its underlying recipe are available free, any added code built around the open-source product must also be made open source. Most firms that develop products on top of MySQL prefer to buy a commercial licence that does not come with this obligation. This they obtain from the copyright holder, which would be Oracle. Because of the success of this “dual-licensing” set-up, a strong alternative to MySQL is unlikely to emerge.”

November 13: Internetnews.com – Should Oracle Dump Europe Before MySQL?
“When a regulator says to a company ‘prove to me that you are not hurting competition’ when there is virtually no concrete evidence to prove they are, then this no longer feels like an evidence-based proceeding, it feels like a conclusion-based proceeding.”

November 20
: Reuters – EU extends review of Oracle plan to buy Sun
“”Oracle requested the extension in order to have the opportunity to further develop its arguments in response to the Commission’s concerns,” the Commission said. The Commission… pushed back its deadline to Jan. 27 from Jan. 19.”

November 23: Bloomberg – Oracle Purchase of Sun’s MySQL May Remove Competitor, EU Says
““Oracle has strong incentives to adopt a commercial and technology strategy for MySQL which prevents it from cannibalizing Oracle’s significant revenues from proprietary offerings,” the Brussels-based commission said in the so-called statement of objections.”

November 24: InformationWeek – Senators Urge EU To Finish Oracle Sun Probe
“Sun Microsystems’ financial position has become more precarious and the commission’s inquiry has continued.”

November 25: Reuters – EU hearing on Oracle, Sun deal on Dec 10
“Oracle will present to European Union regulators on Dec. 10 its case for buying computer maker Sun Microsystems, two people with knowledge of the matter said.”

November 29: Brian Gentile – Stop the Delay of Oracle’s Acquisition of Sun
“Done properly, Oracle’s acquisition of Sun should serve the market, community and customers even better. The company will be put in a position where it can play an important leadership role in helping its global peers more surely understand the open source model.”

December 1: Fabrizio Capobianco – Competition in Free/Libre Open Source software
“We believe the evidence shows that Oracle’s stewardship of MySQL will enhance the marketplace and offer greater choice and more effective competition for established proprietary database providers.”

December 2: Mark Callaghan – Oracle RDBMS != MySQL RDBMS.
“The Oracle and MySQL RDBMS are very different products. This makes me happy. I used to work on the Oracle RDBMS. It has a lot of features that do amazing things. Unfortunately, this also makes it extremely hard to modify. MySQL doesn’t have as many features. This makes it easier to modify.”

December 3: Reuters – Activist lawyer sees flaw in Oracle-Sun report
“Eben Moglen said that he has found errors in a document from EU regulators that outlines their concerns about clearing the deal… “The issues raised (by the commission) concerning the GPLv2
status of the MySQL code base do not warrant a conclusion that this transaction threatens significant anti-competitive consequences,” Moglen told EU regulators.”

December 4: New York Post – Oracle leader blinks
“Ellison is now willing to create a separate entity within a combined Oracle-Sun that houses Sun’s MySQL open database software business in order to get the deal completed before a hearing Thursday.”

December 4: Reuters – Oracle says NY Post report on Sun is false
“”The New York Post article is completely untrue,” said Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger.”

December 4: 451 COS Theory – 451 Group survey highlights user concerns over Oracle’s proposed ownership of MySQL
“Everyone seems to have an opinion about whether Oracle should be allowed to acquire the MySQL database along with Sun Microsystems. What do open source software users think? We asked the members of the “CAOS user community”* to tell what they thought of the proposed deal, as well as share some details on current database usage.”

December 8
: Wall Street Journal – Oracle/Sun Merger Opponents To Speak At EU Hearing
“Microsoft and SAP compete with Oracle and have already told antitrust regulators they oppose the merger. Both have been confirmed as speaking at a hearing Thursday and Friday in Brussels… Swedish network equipment vendor L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co… is attending the hearing to support Oracle… Other people scheduled to speak during the hearing include Michael Widenius from Monty Program Ab who created the MySQL database, as well as open source advocates the Software Freedom Law Center.”

December 8: The Associated Press – EU Antitrust Chief Slams Senators on Oracle Deal
“The European Union’s antitrust chief said Tuesday that U.S. senators who pressed her to approve Oracle Corp.’s takeover of Sun Microsystems Inc. should stop interfering in Europe’s affairs and prioritize U.S. health care reform.”

December 9: Fluendo Group Concerned over EC threat to open-source investment
“The Fluendo Group believes that the Commission should abandon its view that any open source software product represents a price constraint on proprietary vendors, regardless of actual competition. If this precedent is established a vital source of funding for OSS vendors will dry up.”

December 9: The Financial Times – Rival dismisses antitrust issues in Oracle/Sun deal
“Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems did not raise any significant antitrust issues and was likely to close soon in spite of objections raised in Brussels, according to Steve Mills, head of IBM’s software division and one of Oracle’s biggest rivals.”

December 9: Matt Asay – MySQL and a tale of two biases
“The license works, as its co-author, Eben Moglen, recently articulated. That is, it works to preserve software freedom. It says nothing about Widenius’ freedom to make money from MySQL, nor should it. That’s a business model question for him to overcome, not a political question for him to lobby.”

December 10: 451 CAOS Theory – The case against the case against Oracle-MySQL
“Matt Asay is right, in my opinion, to point out the inherent bias in the case Monty Widenius et al have made against Oracle’s potential ownership of MySQL. I would go further, however, in stating that the case being made against Oracle is flawed by the fact that it is so self-serving.”

December 10: Financial Times – Oracle summons support for EU hearing
“According to a person familiar with the schedule for the hearing, users that would lend their support to Oracle’s case include Ericsson, Vodafone, Sabre and BBVA, as well as the UK Atomic Weapons Agency and National Health Service.”

December 10
: Financial Times – Oracle accuses Brussels over Sun evidence
“Oracle claims “many if not most” of the two dozen customers cited in the Commission’s statement of objections “do not support the Commission’s theory of harm”. The US group also argues that the views of some of the biggest-name customers have been “simply ignored” by Commission officials – including the likes of General Electric, Fujitsu, Siemens and Nasdaq.”

December 11
: Wall Street Journal – Oracle Fights EU Objections to Its Sun Bid
“Oracle contends that the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, misrepresented the opinions of database users and gave a “distorted view” of the market by “selectively” quoting from surveys as it put together its case.”

December 12: Monty Widenius – Help saving MySQL
“Without your immediate help Oracle might get to own MySQL any day now. By writing to the European Commission (EC) you can support this cause and help secure the future development of the product MySQL as an Open Source project.”

December 12: Josh Berkus – Snoracle, MySQL and the Death of Dual-Licensing
“The fact is that MySQL AB chose to pursue dual-licensing rather than other business models, and painted itself into a corner with it.”

December 13: Lukas Kahwe Smith – Come on Monty
“If you want to keep control over the copyright of your own code, do not go sell it to VC’s.”

December 13: Björn Schotte – MySQL: from midrange to the enterprise market
“There are many areas where MySQL does not compete with an Oracle, but due to this transition to the web there are also many many situations where MySQL could become a great choice for an Enterprise customer.”

December 14 Eben Moglen – The European Commission and Oracle-Sun
“This is why their argument has nothing to do, in the end, with competition law. Any holder of MySQL, be it for-profit company or non-profit trustee, that didn’t agree to commute the GPL for money would be equally unsuitable from their point of view. Whether Oracle is or is not “competitively constrained” by MySQL is irrelevant to the reasons for their concern.”

December 14: Kirk Wylie – My Open Letter to the European Competition Commissioner
“Delaying this merger over the matter of MySQL would result in far greater anticompetitive results to European consumers of computing technology than even the worst case arguments of biased, self-interested advocates in this matter.”

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15 comments ↓

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