15. February 2006 · Comments Off on Oracle Moves Towards Open Source · Categories: Technology

This from Victoria Murphy Barret at Forbes:

BURLINGAME, CALIF. – Mårten Mickos may give away his software, but that doesn’t mean his competitors aren’t taking him seriously. His MySQL has raised $39 million in funding, claims to have more than 8 million installations of its database software, and counts Alacatel, Google, and Yahoo! among its customers; they get free software but pay the company for support and maintenance.

MySQL’s success has caught the eye of mighty Oracle (nasdaq: ORCL news people ), which is now buying its way into the same open source business: This week Oracle bought open source vendor Sleepycat, and observers expect it to close a deal on JBoss, another open source company, as early as today. The acquisitions are likely to let the database giant offer its own free, open source database for smaller customers.

We met with Mickos at an open source conference in San Francisco this week to discuss the evolution of the software industry, Oracle’s threat to the CEO’s company, and how discos are cool only so long as the kids think so.


How do Oracle’s recent open source acquisitions affect MySQL?

Mickos: They don’t. We did not see Sleepycat in customer negotiations. Oracle bought InnoDB last fall. December was our best month ever. Our customers voted with their wallets. Our revenues nearly doubled last year, of course off of a small base.

Oracle’s free database is crippleware. There is a glass ceiling, so once you get to a certain level of people using the technology, Oracle moves you up to their database. We don’t limit our customers that way.

These acquisitions give us credibility. People are wondering why Oracle has to buy all of this technology.

Is Oracle more of a threat now?

Mickos: No. They don’t really understand open source. It isn’t about price; it is about freedom of software. They think if you give people free beer you can take away their free speech. It doesn’t work that way in open source.

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