It's great to be king (aka "Oracle"), but apparently the peasants are secretly in revolt. According to a survey of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) [PDF], open source adoption is rampant within the rank-and-file of Oracle users...including widespread adoption of MySQL.
Uptake is still small, but the cracks in the part iron, part clay feet are starting to spread:
There was an increase in the number of organizations reporting that they are running over half of their applications on open source software, increasing from 9 percent in 2006 to 13 percent in the 2007 report. Currently, more than one-third of the respondents report that they have deployed an open source database in production, with nearly three-quarters of that group having MySQL installed. Interestingly, the availability of "Express Edition" databases from Oracle, Microsoft and IBM has not slowed the adoption of open source databases - at sites with an "Express Edition" installed 56 percent also reported MySQL installed and 22 percent reported PostgreSQL.
While open source is prevalent at many levels in the enterprise, the study found its adoption does not run deeply, yet. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of enterprise application portfolios are supported or interact with open source systems. At the same time, 52 percent of all organizations plan to increase their adoption of open source software in the coming year, a pattern that is consistent across both large and small organizations. Organizations are attracted by the low cost of open source software with over two thirds reporting cost savings as the top reason for open source implementations, up from 57 percent in last year's open source study. [Emphasis mine.]
Of course such lame Express Editions can't stop MySQL, PostgreSQL, and other open-source databases. Why? Because they only tackle one (albeit a prominent) factor in open-source database adoption: cost. I've written about this before:
My prediction [on Oracle's Express Edition]? This move will be completely forgotten. Few to nobody will use it. And, 6-12 months from now, Oracle will have to give a real response to the open source threat it faces. Tossing a lightweight database in front of a fast-moving market that wants free, open, and killer databases just won't fly.
Crippled software is not the answer to open source. Open source is.
Until Oracle, IBM, and other proprietary database vendors figure this out, they'll continue to encourage fissures in the foundations of their revenue models. It will take time, but open source is clearly a threat.