Oracle’s pending acquisition of Sun Microsystems apparently has some
users of MySQL worried. MySQL, of course, is the open source database
owned by Sun and offered freely under a GNU General Public License.
It’s the most popular open source RDBMS in the world, and is used with popular
products like WordPress and on major websites like Facebook and
But according to The 451 Group, a technology analyst firm, some MySQL users are going to think twice about using it if Oracle’s acquisition of Sun is allowed by regulators.
In a survey of 347 open source software users, The 451 Group found that 82.1% use MySQL but 15% would be less likely to use MySQL if Oracle’s acquisition of Sun goes through. It predicts that by 2014, MySQL would be used by only 72.3% of the respondents.
Obviously, 347 is a really small sample and as a MySQL user myself, I find it a little hard to believe that so many would consider abandoning MySQL simply because Oracle owns it. In my opinion, Oracle would have to try to mess up MySQL to drive a significant chunk of users away. That’s partly due to the fact that there really aren’t many alternatives to MySQL. Yes, there’s PostgreSQL, which is very solid and which I’ve personally used before, but a major problem with Postgres is that there aren’t nearly as many developers and DBAs skilled with Postgres.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a MySQL branch like MariaDB gain some traction based on the Oracle paranoia factor, but I still doubt these will see significant traction. Indeed, The 451 Group expects MariaDB market share to reach 3.7% by 2014. That type of market share is unlikely to lead to the type of developer ecosystem that has been built around MySQL and which makes it such an attractive choice for developers and businesses alike.
That said, I wouldn’t complain if MySQL was maintained outside of Oracle, and the good news is that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is reportedly considering going that route (begrudgingly of course) in order to get the nod of EU regulators. Such a compromise would do a lot to help allay fears that MySQL will falter under the umbrella of Oracle. But at the end of the day, I suspect MySQL will do just fine under Oracle either way.
Photo credit: jimw via Flickr.