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Re: Will Open Source be forced to go Proprietary

From: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org>
To: pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Will Open Source be forced to go Proprietary
Date: 2004-01-11 04:28:49
Message-ID: m3vfnjxg5a.fsf@wolfe.cbbrowne.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-advocacy
Oops! scrappy(at)postgresql(dot)org ("Marc G. Fournier") was seen spray-painting on a wall:
> On Fri, 9 Jan 2004, Christopher Browne wrote:
>> The latter is what gives people pause.  The company presumably has
>> a few million dollars of their venture capital left, and therefore
>> can afford more lawyers than most of the rest of us can.
>
> So, basically, they have to hope they don't run out of that money
> before they lose their market share to us and/or firebird? :)

They are quite clearly pushing deals with large companies, which
allows collecting fairly large sums of licensing fees from single
points of contact.

  "MySQL AB ... has recently signed commercial licensing agreements
  with Active Voice, Avery Dennison, Caterpillar Inc., NEC America,
  Sabre Holdings"

   <http://www.mysql.com/press/release_2003_34.html>

I find that last company entirely surprising; Sabre Holdings has long
had LARGE numbers of Oracle and DB/2 licenses kicking around; even
some Sybase and Teradata.  It seems _really_ curious that they would
pick MySQL for some of their online systems when there's a _strong_
tradition of considering Unix to be a not-reliable-for-vital-systems
"Johnny-come-lately" operating system.  (You put the _important_ stuff
on DB/2 or IMS on a mainframe...)

In a manner of speaking, PostgreSQL doesn't _have_ "market share,"
since it usually isn't "sold."  A hundred thousand deployments at a
pricetag of $0 is a lot _less_ "market share" than 100 deployments at
$1500/license, as the former is worth "nothing" when the latter is
worth $150K.  _Infinitely_ more "market share."

If the company is suitably aggressive in pursuing opportunities to
collect licensing fees, they may _not_ so quickly run out of money.
And it is entirely clear that this is something they are doing.

And look at what they're doing with MaxDB; they inherit "legacy"
customers, and and look to be charging quite Oracle-like pricing on
it.
-- 
wm(X,Y):-write(X),write('@'),write(Y). wm('cbbrowne','acm.org').
http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/spreadsheets.html
Rules of the Evil Overlord #178. "If  I have the  hero cornered and am
about to finish him off and he says "Look out behind you!!" I will not
laugh and  say "You  don't expect me  to fall  for that old  trick, do
you?" Instead I will take a step to the side and half turn. That way I
can still  keep my  weapon trained on  the hero,  I can scan  the area
behind me, and  if anything was heading for me it  will now be heading
for him." <http://www.eviloverlord.com/>

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Subject: MySQL licensing, was Will Open Source be forced to go Proprietary
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