With or without possible licensing-related commitments on Oracle's part, wouldn't it bepossible to take MySQL's code on open source licensing terms and "fork" it?
If MySQL could be forked easily, neither would Sun have paid $1 billion for the MySQL assets inthe first place nor would Oracle now jeopardize the entire transaction, including its intendedownership of Java, in an attempt to acquire MySQL's intellectual property rights.MySQL has historically been a company rather than community project. It is a product developed by a company with a significant number of highly qualified, full-time developers on its staff, and itwill only continue to thrive in such a setting. Even Richard Stallman, the founder of the free andopen source software movement, explained in an open letter to the European Commission that theMySQL software depends on the MySQL business. Community contributions to MySQL's successmostly relate to word-of-mouth and quality assurance.Forking would be legally but not commercially viable. Under the terms of the GPL (GNU GeneralPublic License), the license under which MySQL has been released so far, any derivative works based on its code would have to be released under the GPL as well or otherwise could not bedeployed/distributed. The largest part of MySQL-related revenues can only be generated by theowner of the intellectual property rights. A fork would not have the revenue base to fund further development anywhere near the required level
Moreover, forks need a new brand identity. MySQL is one of the most well-known trade marks inthe worldwide software industry. A MySQL fork would be unlikely to achieve similar popularityand ubiquity in the foreseeable future, and even if it happened, it would take many years.
Oracle claims that MySQL is primarily used for web applications and, therefore, does notcompete with Oracle's flagship product. Is this true?
No. MySQL, like Oracle 11g, is a general-purpose database. It does not generate webpages; it storesand manages data. It happened to have a strength/weaknesses profile early on (especially in theyears after its initial release in 1996) that made it very popular among web developers, particularlyin tandem with Linux. Over time it has become increasingly functional. Transactional capabilities became available in 2001 and a series of typical enterprise-level features form part of MySQL's 5.xversion tree (different versions released from 2005 to 2009). MySQL is not only used for web purposes but also for enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, accounting, banking and other typical enterprise applications. In recent years, its primary competitor in theenterprise market has been Oracle.MySQL continues to be popular on the web and also for lower-end purposes by virtue of its opensource nature: users in those areas do not have to pay for the many higher-level features it offers.
Oracle claims that MySQL primarily competes with Microsoft SQL Server. Is this true?
No. Oracle makes this incorrect claim to falsely deny the competitive impact MySQL has on itsown business.Microsoft SQL Server is exclusively available for the Windows platform, while Oracle 11g andMySQL are cross-platform databases with most of their revenues being generated in connectionwith Linux.- page 2 of 3 -