Sun Microsystems has made with I think is arguably the smartest strategic move in their recent corporate history; purchasing open source vendor MySQL. The price, a whopping $1 billion of which $800 million is in cash and $200 million in stock. If Sun plays it right, MySQL is worth that and a lot more.
Be prepared -- this is going to send tremors down the open source faults for those who have religious tendencies about what open source "is" is. The whole topic of Sun, Java and whose version of open source is the right one will come to the surface again as everyone debates MySQL's future and how close they will remain to the GPL open source license.
Licensing questions will surely abound but I think Sun would be very wise to make a strong statement up front that MySQL's licensing won't change for the foreseeable future. For one, it would at least begin to mend some of the fences between Sun and open source advocates. It would also let MySQL tool right along as the database of choice for Linux based environments, online SaaS businesses, and open source users.
Will Sun make such a strong statement? I have my doubts but given the smarts Sun has shown by purchasing MySQL in the first place, maybe some of those smarts still remain to make the right next moves.
The real loser in the deal? Oracle. MySQL has now just been thrust into the mainstream with the market and corporate muscle of Sun. As much as Oracle would like to claim dominance in Linux land, everyone knows that MySQL and Postgres are favorites for anyone without a must-have Oracle on Linux requirement.
How does Microsoft fare? In the short term, not much impact, but with Sun's backing of Open Office and now a powerful database like MySQL, things could get interesting. Now, if Sun were to team up with Google somehow, that would be a real game changer.
In summary... Sun:
* Make a strong statement that MySQL licensing will remain the same
* Buddy up to the SaaS On Demand software community and seal the deal so MySQL is THE database for online applications
* Make MySQL THE database for virtualized environments. Get ties into the virtualization communities so MySQL is optimized for VMware, XEN and Microsoft Hyper-V. And don't let your own Solaris virtualization me-too plans get in the way.
* Figure out a way to leverage Open Office and MySQL so you can make a real play at the business IT environment and desktop dominated by Microsoft.
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