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In a recent article regarding SUN Microsystems` purchase of the MySQL database, I alluded to many concerns that were raised by the MySQL community about the future of MySQL and fears that the database product they freely contributed to for so many years, was to be snatched away by another Internet juggernaut.

I was surprised to receive and email from no less than Marten Mickos, Senior Vice President, Database Group, Sun Microsystems. His response outlined many of the misconceptions and cleared many of the rumours and FUD surround the acquisition. After several email exchanges with Marten, I finally received a response from another MySQL heavy weight, Kaj Arno, VP MySQL Community Relations, MySQL Ambassador to Sun. Rather than bang on about it, here is the unedited reply, reproduced, with kind permission from Marten Mickos and Kaj Arno.

Kevin,

Sorry for the late reply!

Most of our thinking is communicated already in 
http://blogs.mysql.com/kaj/2008/05/06/mysql-server-is-open-source-even-backup-extensions/ 
which last time I read had 29 comments.

I hope the reasoning in that blog entry will shed light on the situation 
and provide a good reason to stay with MySQL.

In particular, I'd like to stress and repeat these points:

As reported from CommunityOne:
- MySQL Server is and will always remain fully functional and open source,
- so will the MySQL Connectors, and
- so will the main storage engines we ship.

In addition:
- MySQL 6.0’s pending backup functionality will be open source,
- the MyISAM driver for MySQL Backup will be open source, and
- the encryption and compression backup features will be open source,

where the last item is a change of direction from what we were 
considering before.


On top of the blog, I'd also like to come with a comparison between 
MySQL and PostgreSQL, where I personally think the MySQL licensing based 
on GPL is superior. I know that opinion is not shared by the PostgreSQL 
camp, whose differing opinion I obviously respect.

In http://phpro.org/articles/SUN-MySQL-PgSQL.html you portray the BSD 
licensing of PostgreSQL as being somehow *safer* for the community than 
the GPL licensing of MySQL (at least that's how I interpret it, although 
I may be reading between the lines). That's something I don't fully 
agree with.

First, as to your statement "There can be no closing of source": That 
applies to any FOSS license -- GPL or BSD. What once was open, will 
remain open in both licenses.

Second, as to your statement "[There can be no] selective feature 
releases": I think most commercial spin-offs of PostgreSQL are just 
that, namely selective feature releases. So far, MySQL has had zero such 
releases, and now, we're merely *contemplating* them. So to me, MySQL 
has a track record of being more open (in fact, fully open for all of 
MySQL Server) than the combination of PostgreSQL and its commercial 
derivatives. That said, we reserve the right to one day *do* such releases.

And my third objection to your blog entry (which I otherwise follow and 
respect for its helpful attitude of wanting to guide Sun to do what is 
right) relates to the alleged aggravation of MySQL contributors, that 
their code would now be somehow limited.

We don't expect and have never expected anybody to contribute code to 
MySQL, and see that code "spontaneously privatised" (as the term went 
when the Soviet Union was dismantled and common goods were made private 
without reason or legal fundament). There is no motivation for anyone to 
contribute under such circumstances.

Thus, to the degree we do get contributions and apply them to the MySQL 
Server code base, while we require ownership of the code, we can also 
guarantee that the code will remain out in the open.

In summary, I'm thankful for your comments and help to keep Sun on 
course. And I would appreciate to hear what you think about the above 
semi-philosophical thinking!

Best regards,

Kaj

Kaj Arnö <******@mysql.com>, Sun Microsystems GmbH
VP MySQL Community Relations, MySQL Ambassador to Sun
********** ******  München, Deutschland
Mobile +**-***-*******; Skype *******

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