Users campaign to save MySQL from Oracle

Ulf Michael "Monty" Widenius' campagin to thwart Oracle's move to buy up open source database MySQL through its acquisition of Sun is garnering support.

Widenius is the main author of the original version of the open-source MySQL database and a founding member of the MySQL AB company. A petition he put online has gathered over 14,000 signatures and Widenius has submitted his complaint to the European Commission, which is carrying out an antitrust probe into the Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Officials have already expressed their concerns about the future prospects of MySQL under Oracle, which currently leads the database market with its own signature database software.

According to Widenius, "If Oracle acquired MySQL (...) it would have as much control over MySQL as money can possibly buy over an open source project." He writes: MySQL's success has always depended on the company behind it that develops, sells and promotes it. That company (initially MySQL AB, then Sun) has always owned the important intellectual property rights (IPRs), most notably the trademark, copyright and (so far only for defensive purposes) patents.

"If those IPRs fall into the hands of MySQL's primary competitor, then MySQL immediately ceases to be an alternative to Oracle's own high-priced products. So far, customers had the choice to use MySQL in new projects instead of Oracle's products. Some large companies even migrated from Oracle to MySQL for existing software solutions. And every one could credibly threaten Oracle's salespeople with using MySQL unless a major discount was granted. If Oracle owns MySQL, it will only laugh when customers try this. Getting rid of this problem is easily worth one billion dollars a year to Oracle, if not more."

Monty has a list of potential third-party buyers, which include IBM, Fujitsu, Linux distribution vendors, or a private equity company that could take MySQL public.

The petition is here.