451 CAOS Links 2011.09.23

Red Hat revenue up 28% in Q2. Funding for NoSQL vendors. And more.

# Red Hat reported net income of $40m in the second quarter on revenue up 28% to $281.3m.

# 10gen raised $20m in funding, while DataStax closed an $11m series B round, while also releasing its DataStax Enterprise and Community products. Additionally Neo Technology raised $10.6m series A funding.

# Oracle announced the addition of new extended capabilities in MySQL Enterprise Edition. The move confirmed the adoption of the open core licensing strategy, and was both welcomed and derided.

# BonitaSoft announced an $11m series B funding round.\

# Platfora raised $5.7m in series A funding to accelerate development of its BI and analytics platform for data stored in Hadoop.

# EMC launched its EMC Greenplum Modular Data Computing Appliance, which includes both the Greenplum Database and Greenplum HD (Hadoop), and introduced the Greenplum Analytics Workbench, a test bed cluster for integration testing Apache Hadoop.

# Oracle acquired GoAhead Software, which offers a commercial distribution of OpenSAF.

# Ingres changed its name to Actian and launched its Action Apps and Cloud Action Platform.

# Richard Stallman asked ‘Is Android really free software?’. Predictably enough the answer is ‘no’. Carlo Daffara called FUD.

# LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ HPCC Systems released the source code for its HPCC Systems platform, and introduced a covenant to keep contributed code open source for three years.

# OpenStack released Diablo, the fourth version of its open source cloud software.

# The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announced the release of PostgreSQL 9.1.

# VoltDB announced the general availability of VoltDB version 2.0.

# Samsung is reportedly planning to release its Bada mobile operating system under an open source license.

# Karmasphere updated its Karmasphere Analyst Big Data analytics product with new workflow capabilities for Apache Hadoop.

# The Open Virtualization Alliance now has more than 200 members.

# The Outercurve Foundation announced the acceptance of the GADS open source project into its Data, Language and System Interoperability Gallery.

# Openbravo announced that customer deployments of its ERP product on Amazon have increased over 187% in the last 12 months.

# The Apache Software Foundation confirmed Apache Whirr as a top-level project.

# Qt gained more independence from Nokia.

# SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has been selected for Use with SAP HANA.

# Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was certified by SAP to run SAP business applications, as well as support for SAP running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2.

# 10gen’s MongoDB was chosen by SAP as a core component of SAP’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering.

# Puppet Labs announced Puppet Enterprise 2.0.

# Microsoft added Casio to its list of Linux-related patent agreement signees.

# Dries Buytaert explained why Acquia acquired Cyrve and GVS and addressed concern that Acquia is sucking up all the Drupal talent.

# Medsphere Systems announced the generally availability of the enhanced OpenVista electronic health record (EHR) platform.

# Stormy Peters asked whether open source is excluding high context cultures.

# OpenIndiana’s fork of OpenSolaris added support for the Illumos kernel.

# Cenatic released the results of its research into public administration involvement in open source communities.

# Spring Roo is shifting to be 100% Apache licensed.

# VLC developers are looking for anyone who has contributed to libVLC so that they can approve the change in licence from GPLv2 to LGPLv2.

# Virtual Bridges joined OpenStack.

# Github now has over one million users.

# Splunk open sourced the code for docs.splunk.com.

Going Open, Going Closed: best practices and lessons learned

The 451 Group’s CAOS practice last week published its latest long format report: Going Open, Going Closed.

The report is the latest in a series from the 451 CAOS practice examining the impact of open source on business strategies. As previously indicated, it takes a look at a number of vendors that have successfully ‘gone open’, including WANdisco, JetBrains, SAP, Intuit, and VMware.

It also tracks the progress (or lack thereof) of the vendors profiled in our 2007 Going Open report, including Covalent, Hyperic, Ingres, Intalio, Jaspersoft, Laszlo Systems, Openclovis and Qlusters.

Finally, it also takes a look at vendors that have walked away from, or at least decreased their engagement with, open source licensing and development projects, investigating the reasons why they failed to gain the expected benefits from open source – or open source failed to meet their requirements.

The vendors that fall under this category include Calpont, GroundWork, KnowledgeTree, Symbian and SnapLogic. To be clear with regard to the report’s title , we would consider all of the following vendors to still be ‘open’ to some degree. As the report explains, however, they are not as open as, perhaps, they once were.

The report also includes more in-depth analysis of themes discussed in recent blog posts, such as the decline of ‘open source’ as an identifying differentiator, and the commercial open source window of opportunity, as well as a list of the best practices for software vendors considering an open source move and the lessons learned from those vendors that have had less successful engagements with open source licensing.

Our key findings:

  • The trend of closed source companies adopting open source software licensing and development methods has continued apace since our previous report.
  • Contrary to our initial expectations, however, there have been relatively few business-model shifts in the years following the publication of that report.
  • At the same time, there has been an explosion in the amount of M&A activity involving open-source-related vendors.
  • There is also a small but growing list of vendors that have backed away from open source licensing and development strategies, opting instead for ‘shared source,’ ‘freemium’ or SaaS-based approaches.
  • The fact that closed source vendors are not dependent on directly monetizing open source software gives them the freedom to relax control and encourage community through more permissive strategies.
  • Going open is not an either/or option for most companies, but a matter of applying the benefits of open source to their advantage while retaining an established closed source business, where appropriate.
  • While early approaches to going open were based on new vendors exploiting licensing to disrupt the existing market, we have also seen the emergence of approaches that involve incumbent vendors maintaining the status quo and avoiding disruption.
  • Shifting an entire business model to take advantage of open source licensing and development is a difficult process that is not to be taken lightly.
  • By comparison, it is easier for existing vendors to acquire vendor-led open source projects, engage with an existing foundation, or encourage open source development that complements their closed source software.
  • Open source is not a panacea. This is true of closed source vendors trying to reinvigorate a distressed product, but also of specialist vendors building a business around an open source project.
  • Strategies for ‘going open’ have become more nuanced as both closed source vendors and open source specialists have come to better understand the benefits and limitations of open source.

The overall conclusion is that ‘going open’ is a complicated and difficult process that requires concerted effort and an understanding of best practices, as well as the lessons learned from companies ‘going closed.’ Overall, the report presents an impartial overview of the strengths and weaknesses of open source strategies, the successes to replicate and the mistakes to avoid.

451 CAOS Links 2011.07.15

IBM offers Symphony to Apache OpenOffice. Jaspersoft raises $11m. And more.

# IBM announced that it will offer the Symphony source code to the Apache OpenOffice incubator for consideration. Bob Sutor explained how and why.

# Jaspersoft raised $11m in funding from Quest Software, Red Hat, SAP Ventures, Doll Capital Management, Morgenthaler Ventures, Partech International, Scale Venture Partners, and Adams Street Partners.

# The judge overseeing Oracle and Google’s intellectual property lawsuit said it is possible Google knew of its Java violation.

# SAP joined the OpenJDK project.

# Savio Rodrigues speculated that vSphere 5 licensing could open the door for open source.

# Simon Phipps rounded up reaction to the Harmony Project agreements and added his own perspective.

# The Zenoss Community Alliance was formed to revitlatize, and possibly fork, Zenoss Core.

# Gluster named Rob Bearden to its board of directors.

# Jaspersoft released Jaspersoft Studio, an open source BI design environment for Eclipse.

# Joyent and Cloud9 announced an agreement to provide web application developers with a cloud development and deployment platform for Node.js applications from within the Cloud9 IDE.

# With Stackato, ActiveState has extended Cloud Foundry to support Python and Perl.

# WANdisco launched professional uberSVN support.

# Heroku announced that Yukihiro Matsumoto, creator of theRuby programming language, will join Heroku as Chief Architect of Ruby.

# Tarus Balog discussed the importance of trademarks for an open source business.

# Microsoft was apparently the fifth-largest corporate contributor to the Linux kernel version 3.0.0, as measured by the number of changes to its previous release.

# Samba reportedly may consider accepting corporate-donated code.

# basysKom, Codero, Gluster and Nixu Open joined The Linux Foundation.

# Virtual Bridges joined the Open Virtualization Alliance.

451 CAOS Links 2011.05.17

The Future of Open Source. de Icaza launches Xamarin. Funding for Datameer. And more.

# North Bridge Venture Partners announced the results of its annual Future of Open Source Survey, conducted in partnership with The 451 Group.

# Miguel de Icaza announced the launch of Xamarin, a new company focused on Mono-based products.

# Datameer raised $9.25m for its Hadoop-based analytics from Kleiner Perkins and Redpoint Ventures.

# Microsoft announced support for CentOS on Windows Server2008 R2 Hyper-V as part of a new focus on community Linux.

# Protecode released Developer Assistant for real-time open source license management.

# OpenLogic released some new research into the use of the various open source licenses by developers and enterprises.

# Mark Webbink is the new editor of Groklaw.

# SAP and Red Hat improved support services for users running SAP applications on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

# C12G Labs announced the availability of OpenNebulaPro 2.2.

# The Open Source Integration Initiative was launched to develop a modular ‘stack’ solution for open source business software.

# Icinga released version 1.4 of its open source monitoring software.

# EnterpriseDB’s Postgres Plus Advanced Server is now available on HP-UX.

451 CAOS Links 2011.02.25

UK Govt goes big on open source. DotNetNuke acquires Active Modules. And more.

# This week the UK Government confirmed that it really is serious about open source software adoption. Mark Taylor reported from the UK Cabinet Office’s Open Source System Integrator Forum, while ComputerWeekly rounded up the latest changes to the UK government ‘s strategy for open source.

# DotNetNuke acquired social collaboration solutions provider Active Modules.

# Acunu raised $3.6m in series A funding for its Apache Cassandra-based data storage software.

# Canonical and Banshee agreed to disagree on music store revenue.

# SAP’s HANA appliance runs SUSE Linus Enterprise Server.

# Vaadin released a Vaadin Pro subscription with set of commercial tools, components and support.

# Oracle Technology Network published an article on using Berkeley DB as a NoSQL data store.

# Quest Software is sponsoring the Sudo project.

# LINBIT’s DRBD replication software is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

# Marten Mickos discussed how open source impacts company culture.

# Openbravo introduced “Agile ERP” with Openbravo 3.

# The Chemistry open source implementation of CMIS is now a top level Apache project.

# The first release of Spring Gemfire integration is now generally available.

# Sencha introduced PhiloGL, an open source WebGL framework.

# A project has been started to create a Qt implementation for Android.

# Karmasphere updated its Studio and Analyst development and analytics products for Hadoop.

# Andy Updegrove discussed best practices in open source foundation governance.

# arstechnica explained why Microsoft was right to ban GPL apps from its app store, and why Apple should do the same.

# Yahoo plans to release its internal cloud computing engine using as open source license.

451 CAOS Links 2011.01.04

Red Hat Q3 results. OSI calls for investigation of Novell patent sale. MPL 2.0. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# Red Hat reported third quarter revenue of $236m, up 21% year on year, and net income of $26m, compared to $16.4m a year ago.

# The Open Source Initiative asked the German Federal Cartel Office to investigate the sale of Novell’s patents to CPTN.

# The Mozilla Foundation began beta testing version 2.0 of the Mozilla Public License.

# OpenSUSE.org published a Q&A with Jeff Hawn, chairman and CEO of Attachmate by Jos Poortvliet, openSUSE Community Manager at Novell.

# NetworkWorld reported that most Android tablets fail at GPL compliance.

# Monty Program released the first public draft of its MariaDB trademark policy.

# Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reportedly ordered government agencies to move to open source software by 2015.

# WANdisco announced plans to overhaul the Subversion project, prompting a slap on the wrists from the Apache Software Foundation

# Both The Document Foundation and KDE joined the Open Invention Network.

# Oracle released version 4,0 of its Oracle VM VirtualBox virtualization software.

# Dries Buytaert shared his perspective on the year gone by for both Drupal, and Acquia. The latter grew by more than 400% and went from 35 to 80 full-time employees.

# Digium announced that Switchvox, its Asterisk-based VoIP unified communications offering for small- to mid-sized businesses, grew more than 30% in 2010.

# CollabNet updated its CollabNet Lab Management cloud-based server provisioning and profile management offering to version 2.3.

# Erwin Tenhumberg published an overview of open source at SAP in 2010.

# Ingres claimed “substantial year on year growth” in 2010.

# The Outercurve Foundation accepted the ConferenceXP project into its Research Accelerators Gallery.

# Canonical and the Ubuntu project released the Ubuntu Font Family.

451 CAOS Links 2010.12.07

The future of Java. Google releases Gingerbread. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# The Register reported, and Oracle later confirmed, that Oracle’s proposed roadmap for Java 7 and 8 has been accepted.

# Stephen Colebourne provided more details on the results of the vote on Java 7 and Java 8.

# Google introduced the Nexus-S with Android Gingerbread.

# Nuxeo launched new modules for semantic linking and auto-categorization.

# Red Hat released JBoss Enterprise BRMS 5.1.

# Minkels released Varicontrol 1.0, an open source-based data centre monitoring system.

# Oracle is planning to port its Enterprise Linux distribution to its Sparc processor.

# Groklaw offered its perspective on what Novell’s OIN membership means for those 882 patents.

# Mentor Graphics acquired certain assets of CodeSourcery.

# SAP leveraged SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP StreamWork, enterprise edition.

# Henrik Ingo continued the discussion on the state of MySQL forks/ecosystem.

What is open core licensing (and what isn’t) UPDATED

This is an updated version of a post that was originally published in July 2009. It has been updated in response to ongoing confusion about open core licensing.

There has been a significant amount of interest in the open core licensing strategy since Andrew Lampitt articulated it and its benefits for combining open source and closed source licensing.

There remains considerable confusion about exactly what the open core licensing strategy is, however, which is strange since the term arrived fully packaged with a specific definition, courtesy of Andrew. Recently I have begun to wonder whether many of the people that use the term open core regularly have even read Andrew’s post.

I feel somewhat responsible for this given that our Open Source is Not a Business Model report was partly responsible for the increased use of the term open core, and since I remembered that it was this post about commercial open source strategies that prompted Andrew to define open core in the first place.

Additionally, since business models related to open source are evolving constantly, I thought it was worth revisiting the definition of open core and putting it in some context.

What is open core?
According to Andrew’s original post it is a licensing strategy whereby a vendor combines proprietary code with open source code, where “the commercial license is a super-set of the open source product, i.e., it offers premium product features that you will not see in the GPL license”.

At first Andrew was very specific about the use of the GPL license and a development model dominated by a single vendor. However, it quickly became clear that a company like EnterpriseDB, which provides proprietary extensions on top of the community-developed, BSD-licensed PostgreSQL database, also fits the general model.

Therefore, Andrew clarified that there were Vendor Controlled (VC) and Community Controlled (CC) variants on open core.

Incidentally, Andrew did not create the open core strategy. As he himself admitted, he “invented nothing, just articulated it”. Credit goes to Barry Klawans and Paul Doscher (Jaspersoft co-founders), as Andrew noted.

In fact our research indicates that the formation of companies using the open core licensing strategy had already peaked by the time the term was coined – but more on that another day.

What isn’t open core
Sometimes it is easier to define what something is by explaining what it isn’t. Open core is a commercial open source strategy, but just as “all of Alma Cogan is dead, but only some of the class of dead people are Alma Cogan”, not all commercial open source strategies are open core (and more specifically, given recent statements, not all strategies that involve copyright agreements are open core – more on that another day as well).

So, to clear up some apparent confusion:

  • Red Hat’s strategy is not open core

Red Hat reserves support and features for paying customers, but it does not do so using closed source licensing (a prerequisite of open core). Instead Red Hat gives away the source code but withholds the compiled, binary version for paying customers.

(N.B. Beware companies claiming to be following “The Red Hat model” as they invariably aren’t – most often I find they mean that they use a subscription revenue model. Very few companies have copied Red Hat’s model for a variety of reasons – a subject I’ll leave for another post.)

  • Dual licensing is not open core

In fact, as Andrew Lampitt explained in his definition, open core is a variant of dual licensing (or proprietary relicesing, as some like to call it, or indeed “selling exceptions”). The important thing to note is that in the dual license strategy a single code base is available under an open source or closed license, while with open core the closed source licensed code is a superset of the open source code. Both result in closed source software, but only in the open core strategy is the closed source version functionally different from the open source version.

  • The MySQL strategy is not open core (yet)

One of the reasons for the confusion is that MySQL originally started out with a dual license model but changed over time to the subscription revenue model, and flirted with open core. At this point the strategy for MySQL remains dual licensing. It remains to be seen whether the MySQL Server code for Enterprise Edition 5.5 will be different from Community Edition with the inclusion of MySQL Enterprise Backup (which would make it open core) or if the new capabilities will be delivered as a subscription service.

  • Subscription strategies are not open core

Although they are a step in that direction. The subscription model provides vendors with a mechanism to distribute value-added features to paying customers. Until now the additional capabilities in MySQL Enterprise (such as Enterprise Monitor) have been delivered as a service via the MySQL Enterprise subscription. Although the code for Enterprise Monitor has not been made available, we would see this strategy as distinct from open core since open core results in a product with a different code base, where as the MySQL Server code in Enterprise and Community is the same. To differentiate from regular support subscriptions I have used the term value-added subscription to refer to this type of subscription. Other examples include Canonical’s Ubuntu Advantage and Nuxeo’s Connect. I would also put Red Hat Network and JBoss Operations Network in this category, although the source code for those value-added services was originally closed, it has now been made available as open source (as previously discussed).

  • Open foundation is not open core

Vendors such as IBM, Cisco, Oracle and SAP (in fact just about every software vendor) include open source code within larger closed source software packages and hardware products. There is a fine line between the two, but as I previously explained while open core involves offering proprietary extensions targeted at a segment of the open source project user base, open foundation involves using open source software to create entirely new products, targeted at a different user base.

  • Microsoft’s open source strategy is not open core

Microsoft is undoubtedly making use of more open source and encouraging open source development on its platforms, but its strategy is by definition not open core since it is extremely unlikely the core will ever be open source. In fact, as previously discussed, Microsoft’s strategy turns the open core strategy on its head by encouraging open source development around a commercial core, and has been described by Microsoft as open edge, and by Andrew Lampitt (more amusingly) as open crust. We have adopted the term open edge to describe this strategy and have seen it adopted by a small number of players beyond Microsoft.

451 CAOS Links 2010.09.21

Oracle launches Unbreakable Kernel, updates MySQL and Java plans. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# Oracle launched its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel.

# Oracle announced the release candidate of MySQL 5.5.

# Oracle outlined its plans for Java platform. JavaWorld has the details.

# Novell and SAP have collaborated on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications.

# Mozilla joined the Open Invention Network as a licensee.

# PostgreSQL 9.0 has been released.

# Matt Asay noted that Novell’s patents are complicating its sale.

# Patrick Backman provided some insight into the founding of SkySQL.

# Mageia launched a new Linux distribution, forked from Mandriva.

# Mandriva maintained it is alive and well, and promised an autonomous Mandriva community.

# eXo launched eXo Platform 3.0 and partnered with JasperSoft.

# Ian Skerret published his JavaOne wish list. http://bit.ly/ackLn0

# The H reported that the Swiss Canton of Solothurn is abandoning Linux.

# Scality announced plans to open-source the Software Development Kit of its RING technology.

# Tasktop and Polarion announced a partnership to deliver Eclipse integration as part of an integrated ALM Suite.

# Red Hat is reportedly looking to expand its HQ with a move outside NC.

451 CAOS Links 2010.07.27

New projects. Old arguments. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

New projects
# Gemini Mobile Technologies released Hibari, a new open source non-relational database for big data.

# Lockheed Martin launched the Eureka Streams open source project for enterprise social networking.

# Sony Pictures Imageworks expanded its open source initiative with the release of OpenColorIO.

Old arguments
# Kirk Wylie discussed the importance of natural split in open core , OpenGamma’s approach.

# Alan Shimel offered 10 commandments for open core. Mostly sensible, #6 will ruffle some feathers though.

# Simon Phipps maintained that open source does not need “monetising”.

# Carlo Daffara discussed property and efficiency as the basis of OSS business models.

# Jorg Janke continued his discussion of various open source business strategies in relation to Compiere.

# Henrik Ingo explained what you can do to help get rid of open core if you are so inclined.

# dotCMS went open core with the release of version 1.9.

# IBM faces EU antitrust investigation linked to TurboHercules complaint.

# The FT reported that IBM is blaming Microsoft for the EU investigation into its mainframe business practices.

# TechDirt explained how WordPress and Thesis have settled their differences over themes and the GPL.

The best of the rest
# Novell introduced SUSE Gallery for publishing and sharing Linux-based appliances.

# VoltDB released version 1.1 of its open source database.

# EnterpriseDB released Postgres Plus Advanced Server 8.4 and added Rob Bearden to its board.

# SAP has adopted Black Duck’s Suite to manage the use of open source software in its software development process.

# Oracle provided details of the MySQL Sunday event at Oracle Open World.

# SearchEnterpriseLinux reported that Ubuntu is gaining ground as a data center OS at the expense of SUSE Linux.

# Physorg.com explained how Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are helping the US military benefit from OSS.

# GENIVI Allianced has reportedly opted for MeeGo for its in-vehicle infotainment platform.

451 CAOS Links 2010.02.12

Licensing, community, funding, revenue, business models, patents. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# The OpenOffice.org Community announced the release of OpenOffice.org 3.2.

# An interview with Michael Tiemann on licensing and community.

# DotNetNuke raised $8m series B funding.

# Microsoft updated its Linux Integrated Components, introducing support for RHEL in Hyper-V.

# An interview with Marten Mickos on how open source businesses can break through the $10-15m plateau.

# Joe Brockmeier discussed how to make Thunderbird financially stable.

# Glyn Moody dissected SAP’s statement on software patents.

# Datamation reported on Red Hat’s open source cloud projects.

# eXo Platform introduced xCMIS, an open source implementation of the CMIS specification.

# Monty Widenius’s Open Ocean Capital invested an undisclosed sum in MoSync.

# OpenLogic grew bookings 86% in 2009 now has more than 130 customers.

# GigaOm reported what you didn’t know about Cloudera.

# Dave Rosenberg blogged about Hashrocket’s use of MongoDB.

# Dirk Riehle explained the role of open collaboration with corporations.

# The UK’s NHS will reportedly use Novell’s OES 2 as the backbone for its move towards a cloud computing environment.

# Black Duck announced version 5.1 of its Protex code analysis engine.

# Sauce Labs released Sauce RC (Remote Control) 1.0 – a commercially supported Selenium distribution.

# Couchio, formerly Relaxed, is now offering support for CouchDB.

# Sierra Ventures managing director Tim Guleri discussed what open source means to VCs.

# Stephen Walli advised Novell – following Red Hat means you’ll always be second.

# Eclipse board candidates outline their vision for Eclipse in 2010.

# Linux.com published Myth busting – is Linux immune to viruses?

# The 451 Group’s Brenon Daly poured cold water on the latest Sourcefire acquisition rumour.

SAP as a case study for open source engagement

There was some incredulity expressed yesterday when I suggested that SAP is a great case study on the way in which proprietary companies have engaged with open source.

To be clear, I was not suggesting that SAP is, or should be considered, an open source company, but based on our understanding of SAP’s changing strategy with regards to open source software it represents a good case study on how proprietary companies have learned that it is in their best interests to contribute to open source software projects.

Jay and I had the opportunity yesterday to speak to Claus von Riegen, SAP director of technology standards and open source, and Erwin Tenhumberg, SAP open source program manager. Our formal assessment of the company’s strategy with regards to open source will be published in due course (it is now here), but given the disbelief expressed about SAP’s strategy, I thought it was worth publishing some edited highlights.

  • The company’s strategy is not perfect, and it has made mistakes in the past, not least Shai Agassi’s dismissal of open source as an innovative development model, and the initial release of the SAP DB code under the GNU GPL (as we documented in our November 2008 report – clients only – the company has admitted that it did not properly understand the governance required to create a successful open source project and manage community contributions with that effort).
  • Due to those mistakes, perhaps, SAP has been slow to embrace open source, despite becoming a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation in 2004. That move was motivated by a realization that open source software provided an opportunity to reduce development costs for non-differentiating features and in 2005 the company began documenting the formal processes required for the use of open source software within its internal development projects.
  • That documentation effort is representative of the cautious approach SAP has taken to open source but it has arguably paid off – the processes for the use of open source have subsequently become baked-in to the company’s overall software development and productization process.
  • Another reason that SAP’s progress has been slow is that until 2006 every proposal to make use of open source software had to be approved by the company’s executive board. Clearly that system was unworkable and it has subsequently been replaced by delegation to executives that lead the company’s individual business units.
  • In 2007 SAP began formally contributing to Eclipse projects with the company having realized that it did not make economic sense to maintain its own code patches and modifications and that it stood to gain by proactively contributing to projects. That decision prompted the company to start work on the policies and processes that would be required to enable greater contribution to open source software projects.
  • The processes for expanded contribution were accepted by the executive board in December 2008 and are also now part of the productization process. The impact has been a significant increase in the number of projects that SAP contributes to has jumped from three in late 2008 to more than 25 today.
  • June 2009 saw the company increase its Eclipse membership level from strategic consumer to strategic developer in line with the company’s enhanced contributions. As a result of this increased activity SAP was the third-largest corporate contributor to Eclipse in 2009 in terms of lines of code, with 1.8 million.
  • In October 2009 SAP announced that it was also joining a number of Apache Software Foundation projects, including the Chemistry implementation of the CMIS implementation as well as Maven, VXQuery, Tomcat, OpenEJB and ActiveMQ.
  • Other projects that SAP have contributed to include Ruby on Rails and JRuby, primarily motivated by its use of these technologies in its Business Objects business intelligence software.
  • The company is now routinely seeing product units request open source use and contribution approval at the same time, indicating that the benefits of contribution have been widely accepted.

There is a lot more to SAP’s open source story than that – see our formal report for details on the due diligence checks performed by SAP on its code use, as well as plans to encourage more open source development from the members of its SAP Developer Network for example (I’ll add the link when the report is available) – but there is a clear journey that SAP has been on that continues to drive it towards even greater use of, and contribution to, open source software. Progress has arguably been slow, but the previous barriers to contribution have been lowered and the diligence that SAP has shown in putting processes and policies in place have put it in a good position to be able to benefit from greater involvement with open source projects.

Software patents

Of course some issues remain. On a related issue, one of the most significant for free and open source advocates is the company’s attitude towards software patents. A good explanation as to why this is the case is provided by Glyn Moody.

I asked Claus and Erwin for their perspective on SAP’s stance on software patents and how that impacted the perception of SAP. Part of the response was the expected position that as SAP exists in a world where there are software patents it has no choice but to engage in patenting software itself if it is to retain a strong position against competitors. The other, with specific reference to open source, was as follows:

    “SAP actually is a big proponent of strong and concise IPR licensing regimes for all standards and open source initiatives we participate in. Whatever claims of patents and patent applications that essentially need to be infringed to implement a standard or use an open source component should always be licensed in a reasonable and non-discriminatory manner by the individuals and organizations that have contributed to the project (obviously, in open source projects RAND means royalty-free). SAP does participate in open source projects particularly in order to drive adoption of a certain technology. There may be SAP patents in that very domain and they may be essential, but we require ourselves to freely license those patents to everybody. But we expect the same from any other project participant. And that’s actually why we prefer governance models like the one from the Eclipse Foundation (that also comprises contribution analyses in order to minimize unintentional copyright infringements).”

UPDATE – Glyn Moody has predictably and helpfully obliged with his analysis of that statement, here.

A guide to The 451 Group’s open source software coverage

Regular visitors to the 451 CAOS Theory blog will be well aware of The 451 Group’s CAOS (Commercial Adoption of Open Source) research service and our CAOS long-form reports.

They are probably less aware of the open source coverage that The 451 Group provides on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis, however, and I thought it would be worthwhile to provide some examples of The 451 Group’s ongoing open source coverage by highlighting a few recent reports.

The company’s core services are 451 Market Insight Service, which delivers daily insight into emerging enterprise IT markets, and 451 TechDealmaker, a forward-looking weekly analysis service focused on M&A activity within the enterprise IT business.

Here’s some examples of how our coverage fits in to those two services. Needless to say, these reports are only available to clients, although you can apply for trial access. Vendors – open source or otherwise – do not have to be clients in order to be covered by our analysts.

451 Market Insight Service
The 451’s CAOS analysts – Jay and I – are responsible for much of the coverage of open source specialist vendors. Recent examples include:

Meanwhile The 451 Group’s team of analysts also cover open source related vendors in their respective coverage areas, often in conjunction with CAOS analysts. For example:

Additionally, we also provide reports assessing the strategies of proprietary/mixed source vendors towards open source. Examples include:

In addition to our vendor-centric MIS output, open source also regularly makes an appearance in our reports assessing wider industry trends. For example:

451 TechDealmaker
451 Group analysts follow open source-related M&A in their coverage areas, again often working with the CAOS analsyst. Examples include:

While we also provide reports assessing the prospects of potential acquirers and targets alike. For example:

And again, open source makes an appearance in our reports assessing wider industry trends. For example:

For those with an interest in M&A it is also worth mentioning is 451 M&A KnowledgeBase – the company’s merger and acquisition database, which contains details of all M&A deals tracked by The 451 Group, and offers the ability to filter search results to contain deals that are themed “open source”.

451 CAOS Links 2009.12.18

Shuttleworth steps down as Canonical CEO. Open source at SAP. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

For the latest on Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL via Sun, see Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask

# Mark Shuttleworth explained why he is stepping down as CEO of Canonical.

# Groklaw published The EU and Microsoft Settle Browser Issue; Interoperability with FOSS Still a Problem.

# Erwin Tenhumberg published an overview of open source at SAP in 2009.

# OpenLogic launched an Open Source Fulfillment Center to help companies ensure compliance with open source licenses.

# Ingres lost a claim for $60m made against its former owner CA, is required to provide products and support to CA.

# Krishnan Subramanian dug a bit deeper into open source as an end game for SaaS.

# Serdar Yegulalp noted that open source, minus people, equals zero.

# Stormy Peters pointed out that, open source or not, hosted software is very hard for end users to use without hosting.

# Open-Xchange added 7 million collaboration software end users in 2009, an increase of 80%.

# Continuent updated its open source replication For MySQL And PostgreSQL.

# Rackspace Cloud added FathomDB, MySQL Database-as-a-Service, to its Cloud Tools ecosystem.

# Untangle updated its open source Web filtering software to version 7.1.

# OpenNebula released version 1.4 of the OpenNebula Virtual Infrastructure Manager.

# WS02 released a portal server, WSO2 Gadget Server and also Business Activity Monitor.

# Alfresco and RightScale partner to enhance content management in the cloud.

# Matt Asay published a Q&A with Eucalyptus CTO Rich Wolski.

# JavaWorld published The Problem of the Open Source Commons: Harsh Economic Realities of Open Source Software.

# Bruce Perens’ statement on Busybox lawsuits.

# openQRM team lead Matt Rechenburg formed openQRM Enterprise GmbH.

# MindTouch and SnapLogic unveiled a jointly developed application integration offering.

# Black Duck announced its Enterprise Code Search Initiative, building on its acquisition of Koders.com.

New approaches to going open highlighted in 2009

Looking back through our 451 CAOS Links posts there are a number of examples of companies “going open” in 2009 – either embarking on an open source project for the first time or expanding their engagement with open source through new initiatives.

Here’s some examples:

  • January: Prism Tech released its OpenSplice DDS low-latency data distribution software under the LGPL.
  • April: TIBCO contributed General Interface source code to the Dojo Foundation.
  • June: SAP increased its commitment to the Eclipse community, including the Eclipse Git Team Provider (EGit), the Eclipse Modeling Project (EMP) and the Eclipse Equinox Project.
  • June: Mark Logic released MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel under the Apache license.
  • July: Intuit launched an open source community for developers via its partner program.
  • October: JetBrains announced the free, open source Community Edition of its Java IDE, IntelliJ IDEA.
  • October: Objectivity launched an open source developer network to dive interest in Objectivity/DB.
  • October: SAP announced plans to contribute to several Apache projects, including Maven, VXQuery, Tomcat, OpenEJB and ActiveMQ.
  • October: Mark Logic released its open source MarkLogic Toolkit for PowerPoint.

We also saw a couple of non-vendors releasing projects under open source licenses:

  • July: Lockheed Martin announced that it is to release an in-house developed social media tool under an open source software license.
  • July: Sony Pictures Imageworks launched an open source code site including visual effects, data storage and database migration software.

In our 2007 research report on “Going Open” we identified two main strategies for proprietary companies engaging with open source:

  • release of an open source project
  • business model shift

True business model shifts are rare and we did not see any examples in 2009, but there were a couple of examples of project-level shifts, including PrismTech, and JetBrains.

Overall though the examples of companies going open in 2009 demonstrate that there are now more nuanced and sophisticated strategies in play.

SAP’s two major initiatives in 2009 are examples of a foundational approach to open source – engaging with and contributing to the projects of open source foundations such as Apache and Eclipse and using the results within the in-house product development process.

Meanwhile there are similarities in the approaches taken by Tibco, Mark Logic, Intuit and Objectivity in using open source licensing to encourage developer and user communities to use and innovate on top of the companies’ proprietary products. Each vendor is going about this in its own way, but the result is that the vendors hopes to encourage open source development and application deployment on top of its suite of commercial software, much like Microsoft is doing with its “Open Edge” strategy.

Both of these strategies demonstrate that going open is not an either/or option for most companies but a matter of exploiting the benefits of open source to their advantage. One observation I would make about these approaches is that the “foundational approach” is highly inward-looking and about exploiting open source to improve internal development practices, whereas “open edge” is highly external-facing and about exploiting open source to encourage innovation outside the company.

Another observation is that while the traditional approaches to going open were largely based on exploiting vendor-led open source licensing as a distribution strategy to disrupt the market, the newer approaches are focused much more on exploiting community-led open source as a development strategy.

We previously noted an increased focus on community-led projects among open source specialist start-ups. From the examples above we see significant use of permissive licensing, which often (although not always) goes hand in hand with collaborative development.

Clearly SAP will use the Apache and Eclipse licenses respectively for the projects it is engaging in, while Mark Logic and JetBrains also used the Apache Software License, Intuit selected the Eclipse licenses (having been persuaded against using a license of its own creation) and Tibco made use of the BSD license for its contributions.

I expect to see more examples of both the foundational and open edge approaches to open source engagement as more proprietary companies get involved with open source in the next decade.

451 CAOS Links 2009.11.24

Chrome OS and Andoid to merge – eventually. Oracle and SpringSource propose Eclipse OSGi project. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

For the latest on Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL via Sun, see Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask

# Gizmodo reported that Chrome OS and Android are destined to merge, somehow.

# Q&A with open government activist David Eaves about Portland’s move towards open source, open data, and open standards.

# Oracle and SpringSource proposed a new Eclipse project, Gemini, for enterprise OSGi.

# SAP was the 4th largest contributor to Eclipse in 2009 with terms of lines of code.

# Extremadura Director General of ICT says open source is fundamental to sustainable and independent development. http://bit.ly/5ITmHf

# Mark Fidelman discussed the role of closed loop marketing for commercial open source companies.

# Alfresco included the OASIS CMIS version 1.0 in Alfresco Community 3.2.

# Andrew Aitken noted that open source vendors love lock-in too.

# Matt Asay reported that Microsoft’s embrace of MySQL could kill it.

# Mike Hogan asked, who owns the customer in the cloud?

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.”

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

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, below, takes 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, 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.

September 3: The European Commission announces that it has opened in-depth investigation into proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle with a focus on MySQL.
“The Commission’s investigation has also shown that the open source nature of Sun’s MySQL might not eliminate fully the potential for anti-competitive effects. In its in-depth investigation, the Commission will therefore address a number of issues, including Oracle’s incentive to further develop MySQL as an open source database.”

September 4: 451 CAOS Theory – The EC is mostly, but not entirely, wrong about Oracle/MySQL.
“Copyright ownership does not just impact the ability to license code, it also provides control over potential commercial uses of that code. This is where it could be argued that the EC could be right to have anti-competitive concerns over Oracle’s future ownership of MySQL.”

September 4: Monty Program Ab Chief Community and Communications Officer Kurt von Finck tells Ars Technica that that copyright and dual licensing is a significant concern.
“If Oracle were to release MySQL under a different license, say the Apache license, this issue would be mitigated to an extent. But for now, Oracle has many more avenues of [MySQL-related] business and revenue than do others.”

September 15 451 CAOS Theory – Oracle *could* kill off MySQL as a commercial product, but probably won’t
“It is impossible to create a fork that can be integrated with non-GPL code (or at least it appears to be.)”

September 17
: Bill Schneider – Would MySQL survive without Oracle?
“MySQL is almost impossible to be monetized. More than 98 percent of the customer base is DIY, and they don’t see any value in paying for support.”

September 22: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison reportedly says Oracle will not spin off MySQL.
“Ellison asserted that Oracle and MySQL do not compete – and he said Oracle has no intention of spinning off MySQL.”

September 30: The Wall Street Journal reported that documents indicate that Oracle intends to use MySQL to compete with Microsoft SQL Server.
“Oracle’s position is that in the market for small to medium-sized business databases, Sun’s MySQL database product, enables the company to compete against Microsoft.”

October 1: Matt Asay reiterates that MySQL’s value to Oracle is about competing with Microsoft.
“Open source is simply a means to an end, and in the case of MySQL, a means to denting Microsoft’s rising strength in emerging markets where Oracle’s expensive database technology doesn’t resonate.”

October 1: Carlo Piana explains why he is assisting Oracle’s legal team to get the acquisition approved.
“It must be passed through as soon as possible, or the company will die. And with it, some of the good development teams that have considerably contributed to the success of Free Software.”

October 8: Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos urges the EC to approve Oracle’s acquisition of Sun.
“I believe that Oracle’s acquisition of Sun (and MySQL) will increase competition in the database market. And I also believe that if, on the other hand, it becomes difficult or impossible for large companies to acquire open-source assets, then venture investments in open-source companies will slow down, harming the evolution of and innovation in open source, which would result in decreased competition.”

October 11: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison reportedly says Oracle will invest in MySQL.
“He added a new line to the previously four-point list, this one promising MySQL would also receive more money for development and research.”

October 19: MySQL creator and Monty Program CEO Monty Widenius urged Oracle to give up on MySQL in order to land Sun.
“MySQL needs a different home than Oracle, a home where there will be no conflicts of interest concerning how, or if, MySQL should be developed further.”

October 19: Richard Stallman, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) and the Open Rights Group sent a letter to the EC urging it to block Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL.
“If Oracle is allowed to acquire MySQL, it will predictably limit the development of the functionality and performance of the MySQL software platform, leading to profound harm to those who use MySQL software to power applications.”

October 19: Matt Asay argued that EU’s MySQL inquiry may backfire for open source.
“Why should commercial entities bother fostering community–the very community that makes them less susceptible to hostile takeover and anticompetitive forces–if doing so simply ends up ruining financial returns?”

October 20: Matt Asay and Simon Phipps note Stallman’s apparent admission that the GPL alone doesn’t guarantee software freedom.
“The GPL, which is supposed to be the ultimate guarantor of software freedom, may deliver the opposite.”

October 20: Sun Microsystems announced that it will lay off up to 3,000 people.
“The Board of Directors of Sun Microsystems, Inc. (the “Company”), in light of the delay in the closing of the acquisition of the Company, approved a plan to better align the Company’s resources with its strategic business objectives.”

October 20: 451 CAOS Theory – Closing Oracle out of open source?
“Although it might not be tasteful to all supporters of free and open source software, their very mantras and doctrines dictate their software and communities are open to all equally. Anything less is a contradiction of the core ideology of free and open source software.”

October 20: Carlo Piana – Apache what?
“I don’t see any suitable prospect investor which would be able both to pay the bill for this and to safeguard MySQL as Free Software more than Oracle is.”

October 21: 451 CAOS Theory – What about Woman’s Hour? Free speech, free markets and the future of MySQL
“The only possible argument in favour of the EC blocking Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL is that it is damaging to competition, not that it is damaging to MySQL itself. Otherwise we are asking the EC to rule on whether Oracle is open source-friendly enough to own MySQL, and that is neither something that an organisation like the EC is equipped to answer nor something that it should be asked to decide.”

October 21: Groklaw – Reasons I Believe the Community Should Support the Oracle-Sun Deal
“The most important reason is that opponents are trashing the GPL and calling it a source of “infection” in their FUD submission to the EU Commission.”

October 21: Kirk Wylie – Monty, Stallman, MySQL, Oracle, and Sun: Open Letter Wars
“Unfortunately, saying that you personally dislike something doesn’t provide a valid reason to block an acquisition on competition grounds. Saying that you don’t trust Oracle doesn’t alter the marketplace in a way that disadvantages customers as a whole. Saying that nobody else could make money by selling commercial licenses for MySQL doesn’t mean someone else must be allowed to.”

October 21: An EC spokesperson told The BBC that Oracle has not produced any evidence to ease its concerns.
“Oracle had failed to produce, despite repeated requests, either hard evidence that there were no competition problems or, alternatively, proposals for a remedy to the competition problems identified by the Commission.”

October 21: Tim Bray – The EU and MySQL
“If, in a merger or acquisition, partial control over a financially-insignificant Open-Source project can now be expected to result in many months of anti-trust review, that’s going to have a massive negative effect on the viability of M&A transactions all over the technology landscape.”

October 21: Jeremy Zawodny – Oracle and MySQL
“I haven’t yet seen anyone explain what motivation Oracle has for pouring resources into MySQL, especially if it eats away at their DBMS business on the low end.”

October 22: Ed Burnette – Stallman admits GPL flawed, proprietary licensing needed to pay for MySQL development
“Even if MySQL were owned by Oracle because of its purchase of Sun, the database would still be Free Software. Anyone could use the source code, build their own version, and distribute it to others. But finally Stallman has recognized that may not be good enough because somebody has to pay for this stuff.”

October 22
: Brian “Krow” Aker – RMS, GPL, The Peculiar Institution of Dual Licensing
“Dual licensing forces any developer who wishes to contribute into a position of either giving up their rights and allowing their work to end up in commercial software, or creating a fork of the software with their changes. In essence it creates monopolies which can only be broken via forking the software.”

October 22: New York Times – Weak Points of Sun Deal Come Out in Europe
“The Sun/Oracle acquisition agreement includes no requirement that Oracle make any asset sales or agreements on its business to assuage regulators… Oracle is not required to complete the transaction unless it specifically obtains the European Union’s antitrust approval.”

October 23: Stephen O’Grady – Oracle, MySQL and the EU: The Q&A
“Given that Oracle has a negligible presence in the markets that Microsoft has been successful in, then, I think they’ll be the primary target. Meaning that competition shouldn’t be much of an issue.”

October 23: Karsten Garloff – The case for independence – Oracle, Sun and what to do with MySQL
“The present danger for MySQL shows how dependence on a single company (brought about by a dual-licensing strategy) puts even the most successful projects at risk.”

October 24: Monty Widenius – The importance of the license model of MySQL or Can MySQL be killed?
“It’s possible to create companies doing support for MySQL, but without the economics, there will not be enough money and incentive to pay enough for the development of MySQL to satisfy the requirement of all the MySQL users.”

October 24: JavaWorld – Who Should Oracle Sell MySQL To?
“It’s easy to suggest that Oracle should sell to a “suitable third party?” That’s just talk. The potentially significantly more difficult thing might be to actually find a buyer that meets the definition of “suitable” to all involved.”

October 25: Sacha Labourey – SUN vs./and ORCL: the failure of the dual licensing model?
“Some of the ex-MySQL co-founders who now ask for ORCL to let MySQL go are responsible for the current situation: their choice of a dual license business model years ago is what led to the current situation … but also what led MySQL to a 1B valuation. You cannot have it both ways I guess.”

October 25: Brian Aker asks Richard Stallman about MySQL and the GPL at foss.my 2009

October 26: eWeek – EU Strategist Claims an Oracle-owned MySQL Cannot Be Competitive
“It is legally possible but not viable [for Oracle] to be an innovative competitive force [by owning MySQL].”

October 28: Kirk Wylie – Monty’s Almost Certainly Looking for Investment
“I think… Florian is attempting to drum up a capital raise to acquire the MySQL IP to make the problem go away for Oracle, and to convince Oracle and Sun shareholders that Monty and Florian will do whatever it takes to block the acquisition so that they’ll tell Larry to let go.”

October 28: Carlo Piana – Send the GNU GPL to the Amazonia
“Amazon [Relational Database Service] gives us the best evidence that MySQL can be “monetized” by offering it in a Software As a Service setting. This can happen with GNU GPL licensed software and without receiving any special permission from the copyright holder, contradicting all claims that there is no viable way to fund development of a Free Software project without a dual license.”

October 29: Oracle updated its its Sun acquisition FAQ to include plans for Glassfish, Netbeans, MySQL and Openoffice.org
“Oracle plans to spend more money developing MySQL than Sun does now. Oracle expects to continue to develop and provide the open source MySQL database after the transaction closes. Oracle plans to add MySQL to Oracle’s existing suite of database products, which already includes Berkeley DB, an open source database. Oracle also currently offers InnoDB, an open source transactional storage engine and the most important and popular transaction engine under MySQL. Oracle already distributes MySQL as part of our Enterprise Linux offering.”

November 2
: MySQL rival was Oracle not Microsoft-Widenius
“The largest and the most common rival was Oracle. In every deal we were competing against Oracle… there is very little money to be made on the Windows side for MySQL. They are not going to make a profit there. The big money is on the Linux side where MySQL already successfully competes with Oracle, and where MySQL has put all their efforts during the last 10 years.”

November 4
: Financial Times – Oracle braced for EU objection on Sun deal
“The US software company has refused to offer any concessions to European regulators to meet their concerns about the deal, according to one person close to the process. That has left Brussels close to issuing an official statement of objections, the first step on the path to blocking it, this person added… Some suggest that Oracle has little to lose by waiting to see Brussels’ precise concerns. It would then still have time to offer concessions or try to mount a legal fight.”

November 4: Matt Asay – Amazon’s move mocks EU’s fear of Oracle
“Amazon’s RDS proves that strong, viable competitors to MySQL can arise from within the MySQL community, which disproves the EC’s argument that Oracle’s control of MySQL will somehow crush competition.”

November 4: Forbes – What If Larry Leaves Sun At The Altar?
“The main deal protection for Sun shareholders is a breakup fee of $260 million, plus up to $45 million in expenses. By way of comparison, that’s about how much Oracle earns every 20 days.”

November 5: John Mark Walker – Open Source: More than a License
“The remarkable thing about the Oracle – MySQL case is that it forces us to put up or shut up in a realistic, fact-based way not clad in ideological robes. Whatever your opinions, you now have a test case against which to apply them. In the past, I decried the software freedom debate as much ado about nothing – the 21st century equivalent of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. But now we see it in real-world terms where something tangible is at stake.”

November 5: New York Times – E.U. Faces Tricky Decision on Oracle Deal
“The dilemma has prompted speculation that the best outcome for Ms. Kroes would be for Oracle to drop its interest in buying Sun, relieving the regulators of the need to make a choice.”

November 5: Wall Street Journal – SAP’s ‘Invitation’ to Oracle
“On September 15, less than two weeks after the Commission launched its extended probe, SAP CEO Leo Apotheker wrote a letter to Oracle’s Larry Ellison. The letter, which we have seen and hasn’t previously been reported on, reads in full: “As you know, we have significant concerns about Oracle’s proposed takeover of Sun. We renew our invitation to meet to attempt to resolve our concerns and other open issues between our companies. Please let us know if and when you would like to meet.””

November 6: eWeek – Former CEO: MySQL’s Installed Base Will Keep it Independent
“”MySQL most certainly competes with Oracle,” Mickos said. “And successfully so. But what must be remembered in terms of dollars in that competition, it is not significant enough to warrant an antitrust consideration… “I don’t specifically have an opinion on where it should be,” Mickos told eWEEK. “I’m just saying that there’s no rational argument for not letting the company who’s buying Sun, have all of Sun.””

Continue to part two.

451 CAOS Links 2009.08.11

VMware acquires SpringSource. Doug Cutting joins Cloudera. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

VMware acquires SpringSource
VMware announced that it is to acquire SpringSource for $420m, including $362m in cash and equity and $58m in unvested stock and options. The company published a long and detailed explanation for its acquisition while initial reaction came from CAOS Theory‘s Jay Lyman, Matt Asay, and Redmonk’s Coté.

Best of the rest
# Doug Cutting is joining Cloudera.

# The Samba team revealed that Chris Hertel is the first Samba Team member working at Microsoft.

# Acquia added 200 new customers in six months. Up to 250 from 50 in March.

# Qt Software is now known as Qt Development Frameworks and resides at http://qt.nokia.com.

# Compiere launched Compiere Exchange, a hub for extensions built and supported by Compiere Authorized Partners.

# xTuple announced the release of xTuple ERP 3.3, including an international tax management system.

# LiMo Foundation announced new LiMo-compliant handsets and new members.

# MuleSource has a new SAP transport for Mule ESB, thanks to partner Osaka Gas Information System Research Institute.

# BitNami released over 30 BitNami Application Stacks, including Alfresco, WordPress, JasperSoft and Joomla as AMIs.

# Barracuda Networks launched CudaTel, a wholly owned subsidiary to create a VoIP PBX offering based on FreeSWITCH.

# Odyssey Logistics & Technology migrated from Unix to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

# Simon Wardley argued that open source clouds are essential and that the GPLv3 is the perfect license for the cloud.

# Dirk Riehle published his slides on the single-vendor commercial open source biz model.

# Matt Asay parsed Gartner’s view on Oracle Enterprise Linux and the potential impact on Red Hat.

451 CAOS Links 2009.06.12

Yahoo opens up Hadoop distribution. Microsoft and Novell claim customer wins. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory

The elephant in the room
Plenty of news emerged form the Hadoop Summit this week, including Cloudera announced support for Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and introduced Sqoop, open source tool for importing databases into Hadoop, while Yahoo! Released! The! Yahoo! Distribution! Of! Hadoop! opening up its Hadoop developments to the wider community. As Savio Rodrigues noted, there has been a surge in the number of contributors for the Hadoop project in the last year.

Best of the rest
# Novell and Microsoft claimed 300 customers for their SLES certificates, more than 100 of which have been added in the last six months.

# Matt Asay presented a Q&A with Accenture about its open source involvement.

# GCN reported on a DHS project that aims to bring more open source software to state & local agencies.

# Mike Hogan provided an explanation of why the “open source + paid support” business model only works for huge markets.

# Pentaho and Vertica partnered for BI/DW in the cloud.

# Giuseppe Maxia revealed that MySQL has a new release model

# Black Duck research indicated the level of savings to be made from open source in health care.

# Vyatta’s Dave Roberts explained Citrix relationship with an investment in the open source networking vendor.

# Bertrand Diard asked Community: hype or enabler?

# The Journal: Indiana District Funds Classroom Makeovers with Open Source Savings.

# KnowledgeTree released new version of its open source document management as well as a Microsoft Office add-in.

# Glyn Moody asked SAP: open source’s friend or foe?

# The eXo Portal project to be migrated to JBoss.org and merged with the JBoss Portal code base.

# SugarCRM expanded its European footprint with a Munich HQ, training partners and customer wins.

# Tom Seidel announced new Eclipse-based open source project for information management.

# Carlo Daffara asked whether it is possible to increase participation in open source.

# Onepoint delivered Project On Demand, open source PPM software as a service.

# Cuba placed its bets on open source software.