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Re: MySQL analysis

From: Jan Wieck <JanWieck(at)Yahoo(dot)com>
To: santiago(at)santiagozarate(dot)com
Cc: "Joshua D(dot) Drake" <jd(at)commandprompt(dot)com>, Bruce Momjian <bruce(at)momjian(dot)us>, PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org>, Greg Sabino Mullane <greg(at)turnstep(dot)com>
Subject: Re: MySQL analysis
Date: 2008-01-24 18:44:15
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-advocacy
On 1/20/2008 8:45 PM, Santiago Zarate wrote:

> Like: If anyone buys and the licence changes... i would start a
> fork... pick up the free code and start a new branch along with other
> developers.

As has been said many times before, buying Postgres is virtually 
impossible because the copyright isn't held by a single entity. So in 
the Postgres case, this threat doesn't exist.

That said, if you look through any number of blog threads related to 
MySQL licensing (which has changed in the past and will change again in 
the future for sure), you will see in each and every one of them the 
same proposal. It basically goes "take the last GPL version and fork".

While technically and legal this seems sound, practically it won't work. 
There is nobody out there in the MySQL open source community who is 
familiar with the servers code base. All the MySQL server developers are 
employees of ... Sun now. And I doubt they will be flocking around an 
open source fork in big numbers. So the initial road map of that open 
source fork project will have one single item: "Study the code base" for 
a year or more. That is how long it took people like Bruce Momjian, 
Vadim Mikheev, Thomas Lockhart, Jan Wieck and others back in the mid 
90's to get to a point, where some substantial new Postgres feature 
didn't break half of the existing functionality by accident.

I doubt Sun has any dramatic license changes for the near term future in 
mind. But part of the reason to pay $1B for an acquisition is to earn 
some money with it. If you look around, the revenue estimates are some 
$60 to $70 million dollar US for 2007 (the official numbers aren't 
published). Over half of that, according to MySQL, is coming from 
license fees, the other (smaller) half is from services and support. 
Since licensing offers a much better profit margin than services, it 
seems reasonable to assume that much of Suns focus will be on that part 
of the business.


# It's easier to get forgiveness for being wrong than for being right. #
# Let's break this rule - forgive me.                                  #
#================================================== JanWieck(at)Yahoo(dot)com #

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