Pulling the rug under MySQL

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Stephane Faroult
Oct. 11, 2005 11:44 PM
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URL: http://www.oracle.com/innodb/index.html...

No doubt that the OpenSOurce community is shaken by the announcement on October 7th that Oracle is acquiring Innobase, the company behind InnoDB. InnoDB is the product that enables MySQL to turn into an enterprise-grade DBMS, with the support for commit and rollback, foreign keys, row locking ... Forget about all the reassuring noises about "commitment to open source software", etc. Commitment to keep OpenSource software under close watch, so that it stays a toy, and not a menace in the corporate world ? (OpenSource database software, that is. Anything that has to do with operating systems, word-processing or spreadsheets is welcome).

In fact, there are many positive aspects to this announcement. Firstly, Oracle still has an interest in databases, something that wasn't absolutely obvious from the recent buying-spree. Secondly, Oracle implicitly acknowledges that OpenSource software databases have reached a level of maturity that makes them worthy contenders in the corporate market. Thirdly, it may be an opportunity for some other OpenSource entreprise-grade DBMS products to step out of the MySQL shadow. Fourthly, it makes MySQL a greater champion, if the MySQL announcement is to be believed, of the GPL license; time to dust off business models perhaps. And fifthly, it may announce the birth of a new lucrative cottage-industry: developing strong storage engines.

Stephane Faroult first discovered the relational model and the SQL language in 1983.