Oracle-Sun Merger Moves Ahead
After a long review, the EU approved of Oracle’s purchase of Sun. So now it is consumated. Jonathan Schwartz, the Sun CEO, announced his resignation on Twitter.
Oracle has a reputation for being very bottom-line oriented with their businesses. While that is a good thing, in the case of their acquisition of Sun, it caused a lot of questions.
MySQL: Just as Oracle’s namesake relational database management system is the top product in the commercial RDBMS space, MySQL is the top product in the open source RDBMS space. There was justifiable concern that Oracle might use its control over MySQL to eliminate a lot of lower-priced sales. In the process of obtaining approval, Oracle pledged to continue to maintain MySQL’s database products under the GPLv2/commercial plan.
It has seemed that Oracle was pursuing MySQL for years. I recall when Oracle bought Sleepycat, makers of the Berkeley DB. BDB was, at that time, one of two ACID-compliant storage engines that MySQL used. Then, Oracle bought the company behind the InnoDB storage engine, which was the other ACID-compliant storage engine. So the fear that Oracle might shut MySQL down, change its licensing, or slow development was justified.
Java: Many of Oracle’s database features are built around Java. So continued development of Java is pretty well assured. However, seeing that another major Java user is the company behind RDBMS competitor DB2, there could be some changes that are optimized for Oracle’s own products.
OpenOffice.org: I use OpenOffice.org (OOo), KOffice, and AbiWord, all of which have some level of ODF support. (I’m doing some interoperability trials with the standard versions found in Xubuntu and Linux Mint. I have some suggestions for improvement that I hope to write up soon.) OOo is the reference implementation, so I am very interested.
At this time, at least, Oracle intends to keep OOo in active development. This is very good news. But in the interest of motivating Oracle to stick with it, I recommend we try and buy their commercial version, StarOffice, if you can.
Sun hardware: This is where Sun used to make most of its money. In the last few years, I don’t think their sales have been as high. In the x86/AMD64 server market, there are plenty of relatively low-priced competitors (including HP and Dell). Meanwhile, I’m guessing that fewer companies were willing to consider their SPARC hardware. As far as their operating system sales went, I think Solaris was losing ground to both Linux and Windows servers. I believe their biggest market was the financial industry giants, and that market isn’t buying right now.
Sun employees: In any big merger, some employees leave or are left. This one is no exception. It will take some time to find out who is really going to stay for a while. This is going to be good news to competitors of the former Sun Microsystems. It will make some of the industry’s best workers available for hire. So far, it seems that Oracle is losing some of the most well-known dynamic language people.
What does the future hold? If I knew that, I’d buy a lottery ticket.
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